LOCAL and national Bookmakers are describing the cancellation of the Grand National as a "devastating blow" which may cost their industry in excess of €120million.
Grand National Day is the busiest of the year for local bookies and with Cork's Davy Russell and Tiger Roll going for three in a row, it was expected to be a bonanza day for local bookmakers, big and small.
But, it was announced by Jockey Club Racecourses on Monday evening that the biggest betting race of the year - which would have featured Tiger Roll going for a hat-trick of wins - will not take place at Aintree next month, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked what impact the move will have on the betting industry, Betfair spokesman Barry Orr projected the likely loss of more than £100million in bookmakers' revenue.
He said: "From a betting perspective, it is a serious body blow.
"Not only is it the highest-ranking race in terms of turnover on sportsbooks and highest volume on the exchange, but it's also an important period for companies to engage with the betting and wider public."
Unibet's Brett Williams concurred on the estimated scale of lost finances, as well as voicing support for the decision which has had to be made not to run the 2020 National.
He said: "The cancellation of the Grand National meeting is a devastating loss for everyone and will cost the racing industry millions at a time when we are already feeling the strain of a completely decimated sporting calendar - but it goes without saying the treatment and care of those suffering, or potential sufferers, of the coronavirus is paramount and Unibet fully support the decision made by racing's governing bodies.
"This is an unprecedented situation we are all facing and it is extremely important the whole industry pulls together and adheres to the guidelines and reacts accordingly to all advice issued by the Government.
"All bets on the Randox Health Grand National have been voided."
Simon Clare, PR director for Ladbrokes Coral, said: "The Grand National is the biggest betting horse race of the year, so its cancellation is clearly a blow to the sport, to betting operators and to racing fans.
"However, the wider public health situation that we are all facing is so serious and unprecedented that tough decisions are having to be made for all the right reasons, and this is clearly one of them."