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BCG Britannia Stakes charity race at Royal Ascot is a win-win for good causes

Michael Dugher, CEO and Acting Chair | Betting And Gaming Council

4 min read Partner content

For the fifth year running some of Britain’s biggest bookmakers will once again donate all profits from the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot to a raft of top UK charities.

It is an initiative that has raised nearly £3 million since its launch - a fantastic sum - which has been split between some of the nation’s best loved health, veteran and sports charities.

This year the pot, gathered from all win and each-way bets after levy and duties are deducted, will go to Prostate Cancer UK, Missing People, veterans charity the Churchill Lines Foundation, plus racing charities Ascot Racecourse Supports, HEROS and GoRacingGreen.

And even if bookmakers fail to make a profit - which happens (a lot!) - on Thursday’s race, they have agreed to make a combined donation of £200,000 to be split among the charities, guaranteeing they win whatever the outcome of the big-field heritage handicap.

It’s all thanks to Betting and Gaming Council members Flutter, which operates iconic brands Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Bet, Entain, who own Ladbrokes and Coral, Evoke, formerly 888 William Hill, Kindred’s Unibet, Betway, Rank Group’s Grosvenor Sport, Virgin Bet, LivescoreBet, Fitzdares, Star Sports, QuinnBet, Tote and Bet with Ascot, who have all signed up to the fundraising initiative.

It’s a very long list of bookies, demonstrating the depth of commitment to the Britannia Stakes charity bet campaign. Sport has always had a unique and enduring power to do good, perfectly demonstrated by our member’s genuine commitment to generous giving like this.Britannia Stakes logo and the logos of charities benefitting from the initiativeHorseracing and betting have always gone hand in hand, so it is fitting that this year three racing charities are benefitting from the initiative. Ascot Racecourse Supports, HEROS and GoRacingGreen will all benefit this year.

HEROS does incredible work both retraining and rehoming former racehorses and runs a wonderful education programme offering unique and bespoke learning to students from 11-year-olds upwards.

Meanwhile, GoRacingGreen supports those with mental health challenges accessing and enjoying horseracing while Royal Ascot Supports backs a range of local community causes by, amongst other endeavours, donating raceday rickets.  

This year’s Britannia Stakes will also support nationally recognised charities Prostate Cancer UK, which is using this event to take their awareness campaign to the heart of the racing community, and Missing People which operates a vital Helpline for the 170,000 people reported missing each year.

Maintaining the BGC’s long-standing support for veterans charities, the final beneficiary this year is the Churchill Lines Foundation, the discreet charitable arm of the Special Forces Support Group, an elite UK military force on permanent standby to respond to global threats.

The BGC’s fundraising comes in addition to the support our members, both large and small, give to a host of good causes every year, from Sky Bet pledging £3 million to the British Heart Foundation to inspire the nation to learn lifesaving CPR, or The Rank Group whose decade long partnership with Carer’s Trust has transformed the lives of millions of unpaid carers in the UK. Entain (Ladbrokes/Coral) have their ground-breaking Pitching In program boosting grassroots football, whilst Evoke (who are William Hill and 888) have the amazing Support Within Sport partnership with the Scottish Football Association, offering clinical support to players and coaches. The list goes on.

Millions of us enjoy a regular flutter, in fact 22.5m adults have a bet each month in Britain, making it one of the biggest leisure activities in the country. And despite its popularity, problem gambling rates remain low, with 0.4 per cent of the population classed as problem gamblers according to the latest NHS Health Survey for England.

Betting shops support 42,000 jobs on the UK’s hard pressed high streets, contribute £800 million a year in tax to the Treasury and another £60m in business rates to local councils.

Meanwhile, the entire regulated betting and gaming industry in the UK supports 110,000 jobs, generates £4.2bn in tax and contributes £7.1bn to the economy. BGC members also help fund horseracing to the tune of £350m a year through sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy.

As the BGC’s Royal Ascot charity race hits its fifth year, let’s hope it’s a high five for such a fantastic list of good causes. So if you have a couple of quid on Thursday’s Britannia Stakes you know that win or lose, you will be helping some really worthwhile charities. It really is a win-win. 

Michael Dugher chairs the Betting and Gaming Council. He is a former Labour MP and Shadow DCMS Secretary. 

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