Virtual Grand National Raises £2.6 Million for NHS
April 21st, 2020 11.00am
The Grand National is one of the best-known horse races held in Great Britain, popular even among those who do not regularly bet on horse racing.
Held every year at Aintree Racecourse in Merseyside, the first Grand National was held 181 years ago – in February 1839 – and has since become a prominent part of the British culture.
And although this year’s edition of the prestigious event was cancelled due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, a virtual race was held last weekend. It was an interesting even, created with the help of the latest CGI technology, and using algorithms of 40 horses that would have most probably taken part in the race.
Coronavirus Cancelled the Original Race
It should be pointed out that a virtual form of the Grand National has been organized for the last couple of years, where a computer was used to determine the outcome of the race. However, due to the circumstance we all know, the cyber version of the famous race was the only one that could have been held this year.
Nevertheless, it has still managed to draw the attention of players, who were eager to spend their money on predicting the winner.
The race was held on Saturday and was won by Potters Corner, at odds of 18 to 1. Nearly 5 million viewers watched the live coverage on TV, which is almost half the number of spectators that would have watched the race from Aintree, where Tiger Roll would have tried to claim its third Grand National in succession, which is a feat no horse has managed to achieve.
Bookmakers across the country allowed punters to place wagers on the virtual race. Wagering was enabled only through the bookmakers’ online and mobile websites and applications as all brick and mortar gambling venues have been closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Bookmakers have also announced they plan to donate more than £2.6 million from the profits to the NHS!
According to available information, players had the chance to bet on a wide selection of horses, with wagers averaging at £2 per bettor. The stake couldn’t exceed £10 per horse. The organizers later announced that all proceeds from wagers made by players in Ireland would be given to Irish charities.
Raising £2.6 Million for the NHS!
Speaking about Saturday’s race, Michael Dugher, CEO at the Betting and Gaming Council, the UK gambling operators’ umbrella body, said they were delighted the Virtual Grand Nation had received such support from the public. He explained he was proud that millions joined to watch one of the most important sporting events in the UK, and helped to raise over £2.6 million for the NHS!
It should be noted that the Grand National is the most popular horse race in the UK, and the one most watched on an annual basis. Since the country is in the lockdown at the moment, due to the global pandemic of coronavirus, the virtual edition of the event drew a surprisingly large audience. Last year, the Virtual Grand National drew 737,000 viewers, while the real deal and Tiger Roll’s second win a row was watched by almost 10 million viewers.
The virtual race was set up using a computer programme, which calculated fixed odds on each of the 40 horses that took part, by using their current form. In the end, the software used a random number generator to choose a 1-2-3-4.
At this moment, all horse racing is suspended in the UK, at least until the end of this month.
The cyber version of the famous race was the only one that could have been held this year.