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Bookies lose out, but charities enjoy fantastic Royal Ascot windfall

Cancer and Covid-19 charities are in the money after the bookies took a bashing at Royal Ascot.

A quarter of a million pounds will go to Prostate Cancer UK, Marie Curie, The Care Workers Charity and the Berkshire Community Foundation Coronavirus Fund after Khaloosy romped to victory in the Britannia Stakes.

The UK’s biggest betting operators had vowed to hand over all profits on win and each-way bets, after levy and duties were deducted, from the race to the worthy causes.

But the second favourite’s comfortable win meant the bookies actually made a loss on the heritage handicap.

Nevertheless, the Betting and Gaming Council’s largest members have agreed to boost the charities’ coffers by a cool £250,000 in recognition of the fantastic work that they do.

Michael Dugher, the BGC’s chief executive, said: “It was a great day for punters, though not such a good one for the bookies.

“However, it’s brilliant to see that despite bookmakers not making a profit in the race, they will still make a large donation of a quarter of a million pounds to four fantastic charities, who undoubtedly deserve every penny.

“I’d like to thank those BGC members for this wonderful gesture.”

Tracey Pritchard, Prostate Cancer UK’s Director of Fundraising & Supporter Engagement, said: “I would like to thank everyone at the Betting and Gaming Council and their betting operator members for this incredible donation to Prostate Cancer UK.

“Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the UK, with around 400,000 men living with the disease, and we appreciate having the opportunity to raise awareness about this on such an iconic occasion.

“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 during these challenging times.”

Sam Barry, Marie Curie Corporate Development Manager, said: “We are hugely grateful to the Betting and Gaming Council members for their incredible donation.

“At a time when Marie Curie is on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis providing care and support to people across the UK both with and without coronavirus, our fundraising has been impacted. It’s thanks to generous support like this that we can continue our vital care for dying people and those living with terminal illness.”

Alastair Warwick, chief operating officer at Ascot Racecourse, said: “This initiative was a tremendous gesture by the betting industry and reflects the ongoing contribution being made throughout the pandemic. The beneficiary charities will be most appreciative of this invaluable funding.”

Gerry Lejeune OBE · Chief Executive · Berkshire Community Foundation, said:

“Since the crisis began we have helped over 150 charities with £850,000 in grants. Among those already supported are families living in a household with domestic abuse, those with mental health issues, the elderly, those living in poverty having to rely on foodbanks, and young people on the very edge of society to name a few.

“This donation will go a long way in helping us move from the immediate impact to the recovery as we all move into this new world.”

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