To the winner go the spoils. Anyone acquainted with the mechanics of the gambling world will know that whether it’s a few coins in a slot game or a fiver on the horses, there’s only ever one winner in the long run, and that’s the casino or bookmaker collecting the bets. Every rule is made to be broken, however, and a unanimous vote by members of the UK’s Betting and Gambling Council (BGC) means that some of the nation’s top charities will get a cash payoutas a result of this year’s Britannia Stakes. That’s regardless of which horse people were backing in the sweepstake!
The BCG is made up of some of the leading UK no deposit casinos and sports betting operators. These include William Hill, Bet365 and Entain, which owns the Coral, Ladbrokes and Party Poker brands. On 01 June, the members agreed to donate their profits from the headline race at Royal Ascot and for the money to be divided between six worthwhile causes.
A race to remember
The Britannia Stakes is run over a one-mile distance. This year’s race took place on Thursday 17th June, and was the headline race for the third day of this year’s Royal Ascot racing festival. It proved to be a race filled with drama and surprises, and ultimately raised well over a million pounds for charity.
The surprise winner was Perotto, a three year old gelding trained by Marcus Tregoning and ridden by Oisin Murphy. The 18-1 shot was not a popular choice among the punters, which spelt good news for the charities as it meant the BCG members reaped significant profits.
The win ended an 18 year drought for Tregoning, who had not trained a winner since 2003, when he bagged a double, with High Accolade in the King Edward VII Stakes and Nayef winning the Prince of Wales Stakes in quick succession.
Tregoning said it was “fantastic to be back.” He added that Perotto has “the heart of a lion” and predicted that the horse has a great future ahead of him. Jockey Murphy added that the race had been a rare opportunity to team up with Tregoning, whom he described as a “top class trainer,” and agreed that Perotto had shown class, composure and stamina that hinted of special things to come.
The real winners
Of course, it takes a gesture like that of the BGC members to remind us that in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not such a big deal which horse finished first or second. The real winners after this year’s Britannia Stakes were the charities between whom the total profits of £1.25 million were divided. Let’s take a moment to find out a little about each of them.
Prostate Cancer UK
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among males, with 48,500 diagnoses every year – that equates to 130 people being told they have prostate cancer every day. Prostate Cancer UK provides support for those diagnosed with prostate cancer and their families. The charity is also involved in raising funds for research into new treatments and has funded and some major breakthroughs in prostate cancer care over recent years.
Named after the Nobel Prize winning physicist, researcher and humanitarian, Marie Curie is a charity that provides end of life care for people living with terminal illness, and support for their families. The charity was formed in 1948, the same year as the NHS, and operates nine hospices around the UK. The nursing staff at Marie Curie care for more than 40,000 terminally ill people every year. The charity also runs a free support line that is manned 24/7.
Over the past year or so, we have all come to realise just how deeply we rely on the unsung heroes of the NHS. Care Radio is a not for profit organisation staffed entirely by volunteers that provides a nationwide radio network for NHS staff, carers, and, not least, the patients they care for. Launched in June 2021, Care Radio has some famous broadcasting names giving their time, including Andy Hoyle and Gary Robinson. However, it relies completely on donations to meet day to day running costs.
Armed forces charities
Three armed forces charities also benefited from the fund raising:
- The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity is the principal charity of the Royal Navy. It provides lifetime support to mariners, sailors and their families through a range of initiatives and events.
- The Soldiers Charity was formerly known as the Army Benevolent Fund.It provides similar support to soldiers, veterans and their families when they are in need. Last year, the charity spent more than £17 million supporting in excess of70,000 members in 68 countries around the world. The organisation also provides funding to almost 100 other charities and foundations that deliver support on its behalf.
- The RAF Benevolent Fund fulfils the same role for members of the Royal Air Force and their loved ones. Services include home care support for elderly veterans, home adaptations for those with limited mobility, retraining for former servicemen to help them find new careers and lots more.
The past 18 months or so have been difficult for everyone, but charities have been hit especially hard. The BGC deserves warm recognition for this incredible initiative, and it can only be hoped that industry bodies in other sectors will follow suit.