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Sports Information Services (SIS), the racing industry content giant, quietly withdrew its greyhound simulcast operations from the U.S. market at the end of last year. The company had provided thousands of races a year to U.S. operators from tracks in the UK.
SIS is jointly owned by some of the biggest players in the UK betting industry, including William Hill, 888, Betfred, and Entain, the latter the largest shareholder with a 23% stake.
Through its joint venture with Arena Racing, Entain owns nine of the 20 licensed British greyhound tracks and the media rights for five independent tracks.
Dog Days of Racing
The move represents another nail in the coffin for greyhound racing in the U.S. The sport is banned in 42 states, and live racing is now confined to just two venues, Wheeling Island Casino & Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort, both in West Virginia.
Some of the pari-mutuel venues that have ceased to offer live races in recent years are still licensed for simulcast betting and relied on SIS’ services for greyhound transmissions.
“This was a simple economic decision,” Michele Fischer, VP of SIS Content Services, told Casino.org via email Wednesday. “As more U.S. states ban betting on any greyhound product, there are not enough pari-mutuel operators able to sell the content to produce a profitable product. This is a very unfortunate situation.”
Campaign Group Welcomes News
Not so for Grey2K USA Worldwide, a campaign group that wants to see the end of greyhound racing for good. The organization’s executive director, Carey Thiel, was upbeat about the news Wednesday.
One of the largest companies in the world that actually owns dog tracks has ended all greyhound simulcasting operations in the U.S. That’s huge,” Thiel told Casino.org. “Across America, remote gambling on dog racing is being prohibited. We are sending a clear message that the U.S. market will not be used to prop up the cruelty of greyhound racing.”
Ficher said SIS remains committed to the U.S. market, just not for greyhound racing. It has recently gone live in New Jersey, Colorado, and Kentucky with its esports product, which it expects to expand into more states this quarter, pending regulator approval.
It plans to offer its horse racing portfolio to Colorado sports books in 2024 as a fixed odds product, which is legal under the state’s new sports betting laws. SIS also sells pari-mutuel horse racing content from Australia and the Middle East to U.S. operators.
The company continues to distribute greyhound racing from the UK, Ireland, and Mexico to operators for fixed odds betting in territories where it is permitted.