NHS to benefit from the Virtual Grand National

Following the 16 March 2002 decision to cancel this year’s Grand National because of the coronavirus pandemic, major betting operators have today (1 April 2020) confirmed that all profits from the Virtual Grand National (to be screened on ITV at 5pm on Saturday 4 April 2020) will be donated to NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation which represents over 140 NHS charities.

The Betting and Gaming Council has reported this news on its website as follows:

The UK’s biggest betting operators are lining up to ensure the NHS is the big winner at this year’s virtual Grand National.

Major betting operators have today confirmed that all profits from the race will be donated to NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation which represents over 140 NHS charities. Collectively, these charities contribute £1 million a day to support the work of our NHS.

The initiative has the backing of Betting and Gaming Council members including bet365, William Hill, Flutter Entertainment, Sky Bet, GVC, BetFred, Betway, BetVictor, JenningsBet and Inspired Entertainment.

BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “With the UK understandably and rightly in lockdown, unfortunately the Grand National can’t take place; however the virtual Grand National will be the closest we can get to creating one of those moments when we can all come together in celebration, not just for the world’s greatest sporting events, but for the NHS heroes working on the front line to keep us all safe.

“I am delighted that our members have stepped up in this way to support the national effort to combat COVID-19 by contributing all of their race profits to NHS Charities Together. Millions of us love a flutter on the Grand National. For many, it’s the only time of the year they place a bet. This year, the big winner will be our NHS.”

The offer comes days after the BGC launched a 10 pledge action plan in response to the COVID-19 crisis which includes a commitment by members to support the Government’s ‘National Effort’ by encouraging staff to volunteer for community service, as well as offering premises where possible for use by those supporting the effort to tackle the Coronavirus.

As this is a one-off we have agreed with NHS Charities Together that stakes will be limited to £10 per horse per customer for the event or £10 each way per horse. In addition, the Tote will be providing a pool on the race and donating profits to charity.

For production purposes and in agreement with the UK Gambling Commission this event has been pre-recorded by a production company on behalf of ITV and as a result of which a small number of operational people will know the outcome of the event. All of these individuals are subject to strict confidentiality obligations.

In line with strict Gambling Regulations no licensed betting operator is party to this information.

The virtual Grand National, which is Produced by Carm Productions in partnership with Inspired Entertainment, will be shown on ITV this Saturday at 5pm.

The BGC’s report can be downloaded below.

UPDATE: The BGC has now published the following Rules and Regulations for the Virtual Grand National:

Rules and regulations for the virtual Grand National

Betting / Marketing / Advertising

The Licensee hereby agrees to abide by the following Code of Conduct in respect of the Race:

  1. The Licensee will not use the Runners/Race in Agreement to profit, to gain customers or to promote Licensee’s brand and other products;
  2. The Licensee will donate all profits to the NHS Charities Together appeal
  3. The Licensee will only use the fixed prices as contained with the Runners;
  4. In line with the Remote Technical Standards, the race cannot be traded – i.e. prices offered must remain unchanged from initial publication up until the start of the Race;
  5. Each way terms should be 1/5 odds first 5 (Inspired will supply only the first 5 finishers on the results page);
  6. Exchanges should not offer markets on the Race;
  7. Forecast/tricast prices should not be offered;
  8. Additionally, no other bet types (matchbets, specials, RequestABets etc) are to be offered;
  9. A £10 maximum bet on each horse shall apply to each customer. A customer will be able to stake a maximum of either £10 win OR £10 each way on an individual horse. NB no separate place betting is permitted;
  10. All profits remaining after costs and duties are accounted for will be donated to charity;
  11. All operators to provide basic instructions to its customers as to how a virtual race operates; and this is a virtual race, the result of which is determined by an independent random number generator (RNG). The odds displayed for each horse reflect the relative probability of each horse winning.
  12. The Licensee agrees to abide by the 10 pledge action plan for COVID-19 as set out by the Betting and Gaming Council

Advertising

  1. The Virtual GN will not be advertised by operators externally – including but not limited to TV & Press, Digital advertising and Paid Search
  2. The virtual GN will not be promoted in any way via affiliates
  3. The virtual GN can be mentioned in social media but only for organic followers [of] that operator (not to a wider audience)
  4. The virtual GN can be advertised to the operators existing customer base via CRM & onsite banners
  5. Pre, during and post the virtual GN licensees commit to increasing the prominence of safer gambling messaging

Marketing & Promotions

  1. No additional markets can be added
  2. No free bets or bonuses offers can be targeted towards the virtual GN event
  3. Operators should have a link on site and or communications with an opportunity to donate to the NHS