Greyhound track races back into profit after 2017 closure
IRELAND'S premier greyhound racing track, Shelbourne Park, returned to profit last year after resuming of a full schedule of race meetings.
Latest annual accounts show Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium, owned by the sport's governing body, Bord na gCon, recorded a profit of €315,469 in 2018, reversing a loss of €115,476 the previous year.
The figures represent a turnaround in business at Shelbourne Park last year after it was badly affected by a 22-week closure in 2017 as a result of protests by some greyhound owners and supporters opposing the decision by Bord na gCon to sell the track in Harold's Cross.
The Ringsend stadium, now the only greyhound track in Dublin following the closure of the Harold's Cross stadium in February 2017, hosted 200 meetings last year, an annual increase of 85.
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Total turnover at Shelbourne Park in 2018 was up 39pc to €1.9m including almost €1m in gate receipts.
The second biggest source of income was the concession fee of €512,343 it received from Abargrove, another subsidiary of Bord na gCon which operates catering facilities at greyhound stadia around the country, while car park fees generated almost €281,000.
Total prize money paid out last year was just over €2m, up from €1.37m in 2017. The vast majority of prize money, approximately 84pc, was funded by Bord na gCon with the remainder coming from entry fees and sponsorship.
Tote turnover at Shelbourne Park in 2018 was more than €4.7m which generated a profit of €664,150.
In its accounts, Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium said it and Bord na gCon faced some of risks and uncertainties due to declining attendances and participation. The company said these were "in line with international trends which may have implications for ongoing profitability".
However, the company said it and the sport's parent body were taking several steps to maintain the profitability of all operations at the stadium.
Last week, Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium secured a temporary High Court injunction to prevent protests within 50 metres of its entrance.
The venue has been subject to regular protests by animal rights supporters following the broadcast of a RTÉ Prime Time Investigates programme into the greyhound industry.
The company claims greyhound racing patrons are being intimidated and harassed by protesters.