Top charities the odds-on favourites to benefit after betting firms agree to donate profits from flagship race
Some of the UK’s top charities are in line for a major cash boost after the country’s biggest betting operators agreed to donate all of their profits from a flagship horse race.
Prostate Cancer UK, Marie Curie, the three Armed Forces charities and Care Radio will all benefit from the Britannia Stakes, which takes place at Royal Ascot on June 17.
Betting and Gaming Council members Flutter (Paddy Power, Betfair, Sky Bet), bet365, Entain (Ladbrokes, Coral), William Hill, Kindred (Unibet), BetVictor, Betway, Rank Group (Grosvenor Sport), the Tote and Fitzdares have all signed up to the fundraising initiative.
They will hand over all profits they make from win and each-way bets, after levy and duties are deducted, on the big-field heritage handicap.
And if they do not make a profit on the race, the operators have agreed to make a donation to the charities.
It follows the success of last year’s Britannia Stakes fundraising drive, when £250,000 was raised for a range of good causes.
The BGC hopes the initiative will help punters enjoy a race where, even if they lose, charities are guaranteed to win.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the BGC’s largest members are once again leading this fantastic initiative, which will raise vital funds for some of the country’s top charities.
“Racing is a sport that has the power to bring people together and Royal Ascot is one of the great highlights of the calendar. Millions of people enjoy a flutter and I’m proud that betting companies will donate their profits from one of Royal Ascot’s top races to go towards some brilliant causes that will help so many people from across the country.”
Alastair Warwick, managing director at Ascot Racecourse, said: “We are thrilled that the betting industry will once again be donating profits from the Britannia Stakes to these very worthy charities.
“Run on Gold Cup day, the Britannia Stakes is always one of the biggest betting heats of the week and extremely popular with punters, so hopefully lots of money will be raised at a time when it is much needed in light of the impact COVID-19 has had on charity fundraising efforts.”
The Tri-forces charities who will all benefit from the race are the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) - The Army’s National Charity - and the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Brigadier Peter Walker OBE, Chairman of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity for Berkshire, said: “The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund would like to thank the members of the Betting and Gaming Council for very kindly agreeing to make a donation to the three Armed Forces charities during Royal Ascot.
“The charities, who will be represented by Service men and women at Royal Ascot throughout the race meeting, work tirelessly to assist military personnel, past and present, and their families in times of need with a wide range of practical, emotional and financial support. They would not, however, be able to provide this vital level of care without assistance and thus this very kind offer from the betting operators is very much appreciated.”
Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie, said: “This is an incredible gesture and we are grateful to be benefitting from the generosity of everyone involved.
“Across the past year, Marie Curie has been needed more than ever, providing more care to people in their homes during the pandemic and all while our fundraising activities were heavily restricted. Money raised will help ensure Marie Curie Nurses can continue to be there to provide end of life care for those who need it most.”
Nicola Tallett, Director of Fundraising & Supporter Engagement for Prostate Cancer UK, said: “I would once again like to thank everyone at the Betting and Gaming Council and their members for their incredibly kind gesture in helping donate vital funds to Prostate Cancer UK for a second successive year.
“Around 400,000 men are living with prostate cancer; it’s the most common cancer in men, and thanks to this wonderful support we are able to continue our lifesaving research into treatments and better tests to stop the disease being a killer, while also supporting men and their loved ones.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has made living with a diagnosis harder, but hard times show what people stand for. When the future is uncertain and the choices are tough, we stand for men with prostate cancer. We thank everyone involved for their continued support.”
Hedley Finn, chairman of Care Radio – the UK’s first station dedicated to the country’s nine million carers - said: "The Britannia Stakes is the flagship race at Royal Ascot and a fitting opportunity to pay tribute to the heroes of our care sector.
“We are delighted that members of the Betting and Gaming Council have once again agreed to donate their profits from this year's race to a selection of good causes, including Care Radio. This is a wonderful gesture and will help Care Radio, the country's first radio station dedicated to those who care and those they care for, reach out to and support many more carers and their families.”