Horseracing fans have been urged to back their favourites in a flagship race and raise money for cancer and Covid-19 charities at the same time.
The UK’s biggest betting operators have agreed to give all profits made from win and each way bets, after levy and duties are deducted, from the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot today to good causes.
The money raised will be given to Prostate Cancer UK, Marie Curie, The Care Workers Charity and the Berkshire Community Foundation Coronavirus Fund.
Betting and Gaming Council members, including Paddy Power Betfair, bet365, Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill, Sky Bet, Betway, BetVictor, Virgin Bet, Grosvenor Sport, FitzDares and JenningsBet, have all signed up to the fundraising initiative.
The race takes place at 4.10pm on Ascot Gold Cup Day, and punters are being urged to raise much-needed funds for the worthy causes.
It follows the huge success of the Virtual Grand National in April, which raised nearly £3m for NHS Charities Together after BGC members agreed to donate all of the profits they made from the race.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “Royal Ascot is one of the highlights of the racing calendar, and it’s fitting that the profits betting companies make from one of its great races will go towards some fantastic causes.
“It might be behind closed doors this year, but it is already proving to be a fantastic spectacle featuring some top-class races.
“The betting and gaming industry has stepped up to the plate to help the national effort, following on from the hugely successful virtual Grand National, and I’m delighted that again we can show our support for those on the front line with this brilliant initiative.
“We all love winning a few quid off the bookies, and the fact that all the profits they make will help four wonderful charities will make it all the sweeter.”
Sir A.P McCoy, nineteen-times Champion jump jockey said: “Betting operators have done a lot to help the national effort in tackling the coronavirus, and this is another good initiative that will hopefully result in big donations to some wonderful charities. It has my full support.”
Tracey Pritchard, Director of Fundraising & Supporter Engagement for Prostate Cancer UK said: “I would like to thank everyone at the Betting and Gaming Council and their betting operator members for their incredibly kind gesture in helping donate vital funds to Prostate Cancer UK.
“Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the UK, with around 400,000 men and their families living with the disease. The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t just disrupted healthcare – it’s disrupted vital research too. While our research came to a standstill, prostate cancer didn’t.
“Money raised by this fantastic initiative will go towards lifesaving research into treatments and better tests to stop the disease being a killer, and men and their families accessing our support service
The initiative from Betting and Gaming Council members coincides with Ascot’s launch of its #StyledWithThanks charity appeal which has already benefited from a £100,000 donation from the racecourse.