Shelbourne Park’s 22-week closure proves costly for Irish Greyhound Board

The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) yesterday released an interim 2017 statement which provides an overview of the financial position and highlights the impact of Shelbourne Park’s 22 week closure.

The data is published pending a full audit of the accounts by the Comptroller & Auditor General.

The preliminary figures show a group operating surplus of €1.67 million (EBITDA), a reduction from €3.2 million in 2016.

Total prize money in 2017 was €8 million including a general 25% increase in prizemoney from October 2017.

Total attendances were reduced by circa 98,000 (2016 636,914) to 514,546 customers in 2017.

The disruption to racing at Shelbourne Park also adversely impacted on other income streams, principally all tote betting platforms.

Tote income for the year was €15.9 million (2016 - €19.5m) while winnings of €11.3m were paid out.

Exchequer support from the Horse & Greyhound Fund increased to €16 million (2016 - €14.8 million).

Staff remuneration costs reduced from €10.2m to €9.8m with the number of employees reducing from 243 in 2016 to 225 (Full Time Equivalents) in 2017.

Long term debt was €16.2 million at year end with an additional overdraft of €5.8 million.

The imminent sale of Harold’s Cross will address the long term debt burden.

The deficit on the defined benefit pension scheme stood at €3.6m on 31 December 2017 which represents a reduction of €4.6 million following the implementation of a restructuring programme in 2016.

IGB CEO Gerard Dollard commented: “The disruption to racing at our premier stadium Shelbourne Park, had a very significant impact across all operations.

“The IGB together with the greyhound sector has been working to return the industry to growth, the early signs of which had been evident in recent years.”

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