Introduction: Greyhound racing has been around for many, many years. In many countries across the world it has long been a substantial component of gambling culture, while in others greyhound racing is strictly amateur and for enjoyment purposes only. In the United Kingdom and the United States particularly, greyhound dog racing is still a very popular form of betting. The same is true to an extent in Australia, Ireland and China.
Greyhound racing is a simple sport and involves a number of greyhounds, usually six or eight, chasing a lure (commonly a mechanical hare), around the track. The first dog over the line wins the race. Dog racing is primarily about betting as it is this aspect of the sport that tends to attract and retain fans.
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Although it is fair to say the sport is in decline and experiences nowhere near the levels of popularity of its horse racing counterpart, there are still a large number of racing tracks across the world that host regular dog races and enjoy steady attendance by customers.
Fans today enjoy the ability to bet on races online easily. If you don’t live near a track, that’s not a problem; you can simply place your bets online. Most sites even provide live, streaming video of races for free. All you need is an account and you watch the action live on your computer.
The traditional greyhound racing industry has a good relationship with the online betting industry. In some places, greyhound tracks operate their own websites. In other places, racetracks work in partnership with large, respected betting sites.
What this means is that you get the same odds online as the people get at the track. The money you bet online is pooled together with the money that is bet in person at the racing facility. This provides liquidity, props up bigger jackpots and basically helps keep the industry alive and healthy.
Ranking and Reviewing Greyhound Betting Sites
There are two intangible qualities that hold the most sway in determining which racebooks truly deserve the title “the best.” First and most important is the safety of player funds. When you make a deposit to a greyhound betting site, you entrust the site to protect your money and give it back when you’re done.
The safety of your funds is the most basic, fundamental job of a betting site but that does not mean it’s a given. I have seen many betting sites come and go in my time. The safest books are those that have established themselves as legitimate, longtime providers. This is the only type of book that I will ever recommend to my friends, family and readers.
Next up is the overall quality of the racebook. There’s a lot that goes into defining “quality” but we can all agree that overall quality is important. This includes the safety of your funds in addition to the site’s customer support, deposit methods, promotions and usability. We’ll get into each of those next.
There’s more to customer support than just answering questions. Any halfway competent betting site can answer basic questions. Real customer support is tested when player disputes and legitimate complaints arise. How a book handles difficult situations is what determines whether its customer support is worth anything.
For example, a player writing to say that a book unfairly cancelled his bet at the last minute puts customer support to the test. Does the betting site take his complaint seriously and address the issue or does it brush him off? Even if the book determines the player’s complaint has no standing, it can still address the player with respect and explain why it is taking whatever actions it is taking.
Your first real interaction with any greyhound betting site is depositing; your last is withdrawing. A quality racebook makes it easy for the customer at both ends. The best books have easy-to-use deposit methods that are both fast and free. They offer multiple deposit methods and treat low-rollers and high-rollers alike with respect.
It is even more important that a betting site get the withdrawal part right. Easy deposits are great and all, but easy withdrawals are absolutely, 100% mandatory. There is nothing more irritating than dealing with a racebook that slow-pays. If a site can’t get this part right, it doesn’t get listed here – no exceptions.
Value of Promotions, Odds and Prices, Payouts and Coverage
The thinnest of margins draws the line between winning and losing punters. One of the best things you can do for your long term success is to get the most value out of every selection. This means taking advantage of promotions, getting the best odds for your parlays/accumulators and choosing the best bets across a wide range of tracks and races.
Promos, odds and coverage are all things we look for in the best sites. The value of any one promotion doesn’t have much of an impact on a single bet, but promos (and payout odds) have a big impact over a course of weeks, months, years and a career.
Usability and Features
Usability and features on their own won’t change your fortune, but it’s so much easier to place your bets at a site that is easy to navigate and understand. It does help in a roundabout way when you can easily find what you’re looking for. Place enough bets at a poorly-designed site and you’ll eventually suffer at least a few missed opportunities and poorly-placed wagers.
And plus, it’s just nice to do your betting at a functional, clean-looking greyhound website – less squinting of the eyes and such. If you have two equal sites to choose from and one of them has an obviously superior betting interface, the decision is simple.
Regulation of Racebooks
United States: Online greyhound betting is legal in the United States due to the sport receiving exemptions from federal laws that restrict online gaming. The UIGEA in particular included a carve-out that specifically mentioned horse and dog racing. Therefore, the major US greyhound betting sites are legal and licensed to do business right here in the States.
This is pretty much the optimal situation for online betting in the US because it means you can play at sites that are headquartered in the USA. You get local help, easy-to-use banking options and lightning fast payouts. You can even watch the races in real time thanks to partnerships between major tracks and licensed betting sites.
For example, BetAmerica.com (full review here) is based out of North Dakota and has permission from most major US tracks to show the races in real time on your computer. You can even fund your account with bank-to-bank transfers.
ROTW: UK and European greyhound racetracks work closely with betting sites to bring the full experience to your computer. Most of the major bookmakers have agreements with local tracks that allow you to watch the races in real time on your computer and participate in the betting pools hosted by each track.
The betting sites that we recommend for dog betting are all licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and are 100% safe places to do your betting. These sites operate in the open and most of them have long histories that date back to before the internet even existed. If you’d like to put your handicapping skills to the test, take a look at any of our top-ranked betting sites. These are some of the most respected racebooks in all of Europe.
Forms of Dog Races
There isn’t much in the way of different forms of greyhound racing really. There are different classes of quality, but the actual races all follow a fairly uniform format. Most countries where greyhound racing is popular have their own governing association.
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) for example, is responsible for regulating greyhound racing in the UK, while the Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA) fulfils the same role in Australia. In the United States, the Greyhound Racing Association of America (GRAA) helps promote, educate and regulate the industry.
There are some events that are considered fairly major sporting events – such as the English Derby, the Greyhound Night of Stars in the USA, and the Irish Derby. In addition to those main events, most greyhound tracks run regular races every day. In some locations, the law actually makes it mandatory for tracks to host races every day.
Types of Greyhound Bets And Wagers
Like the sport itself, betting on greyhound racing is pretty simple. There are quite a few bets, but they are pretty straightforward:
- Win Bet – A simple bet on which dog will win the race. A site will offer odds for each dog and if your selection wins you will be paid out at the corresponding odds.
- Place Bet – This is a bet that your dog will finish in one of the top 2 places. It doesn’t matter if your dog takes first or second; you win either way.
- Show Bet – This is a prediction on the contestant that you think will finish somewhere in the top three places. The payouts for backing a dog to place are significantly lower than to win.
- Straight Forecast (Exacta) – A more difficult pick to get right, but one that pays out higher odds. A straight forecast involves predicting the two dogs you believe will finish first and second, in the right order.
- Reverse Forecast (Reversa or Quinella) – Similar to the straight forecast above, but the two dogs you select can finish in any order.
- Treble Forecast (Trifecta) – In this bet, you pick 3 dogs to take the first 3 places in that exact order. This is a difficult bet to win, but it offers high payouts.
- Win and Place (each-way) – This is two bets on one dog. Your “win” bet is a straight up bet on the dog to take 1st place. The Place bet pays if you dog finishes anywhere in the top 2. If your dog ends up taking first place, you win both bets. If your dog takes 2nd place, you only win the Place portion of the bet.
- Superfecta – Similar to a trifecta except this time you pick 4 dogs to take the top 4 places in that exact order.
- Accumulator (Parlay) – This is a combination of bets spread across multiple races. You place a bet on one race and if you win that bet, the winnings automatically roll over to the next bet. Successful parlays involving 3 or more races offer the promise of massive rewards.
Basic strategy is straightforward, but it’s not necessarily easy. Races often include closely matched greyhounds taking part so it is not easy to pick a clear winner. The best approach is to understand and follow the form guide as well as you can.
It is worth trying to get an idea of each dogs’ favoured track conditions before backing a particular section. For example, the length of the race, the weather, recent performances all have an effect on how dogs perform on any given day.
It is possible to make a profit with dog betting. But the main thing is to be sure you use a reputable site and apply good money management skills. Remember that greyhound racing always includes risk and that there is no such thing as a “sure thing.”
Patience is another useful skill in greyhound betting. Don’t get caught up in the heat of the moment and feel pressured to place bets on every race. Watch the odds, compare them to your analysis of each dog and wait for opportunities that present a clear advantage. There is nothing wrong with sitting out a few races when you cannot identify an obvious advantage.