Owners and trainers are the big winners from yesterday's announcement by Greyhound Racing NSW that the 2021-22 season will offer a record $47 million in prizemoney and returns paid to participants.
The figure is double the amount of $23.5million paid just six years ago.
This year's overall increase of $8.5 million is a 23 per cent boost on the 2020-21 distribution and will be spread through a wide variety of initiatives.
They include an additional investment in the expansion of TAB racing in regional areas, an uplift to feature racing and feature racing prizemoney, the already increased prizemoney during the first two months due to COVID-19, and a $2 million increase in prizemoney levels that will begin later this year for maidens and races over the 440m distance at provincial venues.
Returns to participants will have now increased by a collective $55 million, or 46 per cent, over the five years from 2018-22 compared with the previous five years (2013-17), with leading trainer Andy Lord declaring the industry has "never been better".
"Go back then (five years ago), and there wasn't a lot of money in dogs," said Lord, who with his wife Jodie train 150 greyhounds on their property at Gunning.
"People ran on a shoestring, and 99.9 per cent of trainers cared for their dogs so well that many fed their dogs before themselves.
"That's why it's great now for those people to have a win like the one we are now seeing in the industry in NSW.
"You can now spend more money improving your property - our house is modest, but the kennels are a palace - you can buy the best meat ... everything is just easier because you can afford it now.
"I've actually had a tax bill for the last two years ... I've never had one before that; that's how well we are doing as an industry. I've been in the industry for 40 years, and it's never been better. There's plenty of trainers' bank accounts in the black now, which is a great thing."
Making the announcement, GRNSW chief executive officer Tony Mestrov said he was delighted to continue "a hugely positive upwards trend" in returns paid to the industry's participants.
"The sustained growth of the overall industry in NSW is being driven by investments in a strong wagering product and the success of GRNSW's animal welfare initiatives as a part of industry reform, which is creating greater levels of confidence," he said.
"GRNSW is delighted to be in the position to significantly increase the income opportunities and offset costs for participants while at the same time managing its whole-of-industry investment in a responsible way.
"The prizemoney fuels the livelihoods of thousands of participants and many more thousands in the regional and rural local communities where 75 per cent of our participant base resides.
"Any increase in prizemoney has a positive knock-on effect to local communities which share the bulk of more than $500 million that the NSW greyhound industry contributes to the state's economy."
Aside from these substantial increases in returns in 2021-22, GRNSW will also provide participants with more than $1.5 million in additional support through the Homing Assistance Scheme, the Racing Injury Rebate Scheme, and the Greyhound Care Scheme.
This article was produced as part of an ACM partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW.