The Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club has recorded a spike in revenue growth during its annual Winter Carnival, signalling a revival in greyhound racing in Brisbane.
The Albion Park-based Club has recorded on-course turnover growth of near 30 per cent during the Carnival, and ticket sales up 11 per cent despite the closure of its 10,000 capacity Russ Hinze Stand.
The Russ Hinze stand was closed last year, including regular crowd puller Silks seafood restaurant inside, and is in the process of being demolished due to foundation issues.
But the Club has sent a loud message to the Brisbane community that it is still in operation drawing a larger crowd to the iconic night race venue during this year’s Sky Channel Winter Chasing Carnival, which started on June 4 and culminates with the Group One Garrards Winter Carnival Cup on July 23.
Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club general manager Luke Gatehouse said that he was very pleased by the latest figures.
“Greyhound racing is certainly making a comeback in Brisbane and the figures reflect this,” Mr Gatehouse said.
“Not only are we getting those who remember the big nights from the Gabba days back to the track, but there are a great number of younger people spending a Thursday night at the greyhounds,” he said.
“Some of the younger punters are even calling it the ‘new barefoot bowls’.”
He said the increase in gambling turnover could be attributed to its ‘entertainment factor’ as well as a barrage of top greyhound talent in Queensland at the moment.
“Like any sport, the big names pull the big crowds and we find this in greyhound racing also,” he said.
“Along with the increase in crowds and turnover, the quality of dogs has also lifted with many coming from interstate, and this has seen the Brisbane Club fly high on the national greyhound racing stage.”
The Brisbane Club also enjoyed a boom during the last Christmas period, being booked out from late October through December in 2008. The Club is already receiving bookings for this Christmas.
The Club races four days per week making it the most raced at track in Australia, with Thursday nights its flagship meeting.
An average Thursday night race meeting at Albion Park starts with race one at 6.40pm and finishes with race 10 at approximately 10pm, with races running on average every 20 minutes.
Mr Gatehouse said the objective of the Club was to ‘own’ Thursday night entertainment in Brisbane.
“It’s a simple format to follow,” he said “only eight dogs in each race, they wear the same colours in every race, its quick and the time between races is short,”
“The other great advantage we have on other venues and racing products is that it’s very laid back, so there is no need to go out and spend large sums on expensive outfits.
“We actually have a regular crew of 20-somethings that come out once a month dressed up in old vintage clothes and suits they pick up from the op-shop and they have a ball.”
The Club is now on track to launch a new ownership campaign in the next month to attract new owners to the industry through greyhound syndications.
Mr Gatehouse said while they could not give much away the new project would be focussed on providing low cost ownership and a very social experience.
The last night of the 2009 Sky Channel Winter Chasing Carnival will be held on July 23 starting at 6.30pm and will be celebrated with a giant part including music, entertainment for all ages and a $500 bet promotion.
The $500 bet promotion gives one lucky punter a free $500 win bet on a greyhound of their choice in the Winter Carnival Cup by placing their details on any losing ticket and putting it into the draw.
For further information contact the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club on (07) 3862 1744 or visit www.brisgreys.com