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Flapping – Unlicensed Greyhound Racing

How Greyhound Racing WorksFlapping is how they are called in the UK those independent and unlicensed dog racing. Although they are not licensed, they are not at all illegal. One thing to remember is that unlike regular greyhound races where the rules are more or less the same, flapping regulations can change from venue to venue. Some fans believe that this is the true form of greyhound racing.

History of Coursing and Greyhound Racing

Today’s dog racing started with coursing which was a race of two or more dogs that were chasing an animal. The transition to modern dog racing began in 1776 in Norfolk where rules, where made that declared that only two greyhounds could take place in the race and the hare, should be given a 240-yard advantage. After 100 the artificial hare was introduced, and it has since being used until today.

From 1926 the attendance started to increase, and greyhound racing becomes one of the favourite sports of the working class. Later in that century, there was a decline, and you can read all the details in our dedicated article.

When Split Happened Between Licensed and Unlicensed Dog Racing

greyhound-board-of-great-britainThe Greyhound Board of Great Britan (GBGB) regulates all licensed meetings that are in the UK and also dictate rules in regards to welfare, facilities and even dogs retirements process. Deals are very strict, and if there are breaches, someone can even be reported to the police.

Since not all greyhound owners like following all those rules dictated by the GBCB the unlicensed races do exist. Unlicensed tracks have been around for a long time, and in fact, the majority of licensed tracks started their life unlicensed.

What Is The Difference Between Flapping And Licensed Greyhound Racing
The main difference between Flapping and licensed races is in the regulation. Races that are under the GBGB have to have the same standards while unlicensed races do not have to follow all those rules especially in regards to welfare, etc.

Many greyhound owners will use flapping races to get the dog used to the world of racing: dogs don’t need to have official paperwork to compete so dog owners can get them to race for fun. Even though unlicensed racings are doing their best to ensure the welfare of the animals, there isn’t a code of practice, and controversial things do happen from time to time.

Betting on Unlicensed Greyhound Racing

Greyhound Racing GuideIt is important to stress that flapping is not illegal, it is just not regulated by the GBCB. Races are well prepared in advance, and there is a race card, odds and so on. This means that betting sites are providing both on track and online odds on independent racing. You won’t find those in every bookmaker tough. Take a look at our Greyhound Racing guide where you will find all the recommended bookmakers for this sport.

Despite being entirely legal, there are two downsides of betting on flapping meetings: there is little history on dogs performance, and this means that bookmakers tend to have rather poor odds to protect their margins. Payouts limits will also be lower than licensed races.

Public Opinion In Regards To Unlicensed Racing

Flapping is being seen as the Wild West of greyhound racing, and the main issue is that there isn’t consistency in the sport. It goes against all the efforts of people that have been trying to professionalise greyhound to save it as a sport after the decline of the latest decades.

The welfare of the dogs is secondary in flapping races while in licensed races it is the most important thing. This is not the case in all flapping races tough as some dog owners are going to unlicensed races just because they don’t like the strict rules of the GBGB: they do however take care anyway of their animals.

Many believe that in the future the government will further regulate and will close off what is a loop-hole that is allowing flapping racing to continue damaging the reputation of the whole greyhound industry.

What to Expect At Flapping Track

Trainers that do take part in flapping races would say that those competitions are perfectly legal and not ‘dodgy’ and that are in fact a great way to introduce puppies to the world of racing without the pressure and costs associated with licensing greyhound racing. Even if unlicensed, flapping is not illegal so a trip to an unlicensed track would be similar to go to a licensed one.

Bookies will still be offering odds on some unlicensed races just like in a GBGB regulated competition. It will be interesting to see how the sport is going to evolve in the future and if the government will introduce some more specifics laws that might kill flapping races. After all, times might be right to clean up the industry reputation further also considering the drop in attendance in all greyhound racing and the takeover of online streaming that will not work well with flapping.