Virtual Grand National Bets Raise £2.6m for NHS Trust Charities

  • UK sportsbooks will donate profits to the NHS Charities Together organization
  • Potters Corner emerged as the Virtual Grand National winner at 18-1 odds
  • ITV's event broadcast saw an average audience of 4.3m, a sixfold increase on 2019 viewership
  • The computer-simulated race featured all 40 runners expected to participate at Aintree
Grand National runners on the track
Profits from wagers placed on this past Saturday’s Virtual Grand National will go to NHS Charities Together. [Image:]

Money going to a good cause

UK sportsbooks are donating profits of more than £2.6m ($3.19m) from bets placed on Saturday’s Virtual Grand National horse race. The funds will go towards the NHS Charities Together organization.

Following the cancellation of the actual event due to COVID-19, the computer-simulated race was put together by Inspired Entertainment with the aid of historical data, CGI, and algorithms.

The money from bets placed in Ireland will be donated to local charities such as the Irish Red Cross.

An 18-1 win for Potters Corner

The winner of the Virtual Grand National with an 18-1 chance was Potters Corner. Trainer Christian Williams told BBC Sport that there was “great excitement in the house.” He added:

The children were on their toy horses and it was great watching the race and seeing our horse come through to win.”

UK sports betting operators accepted wagers on the race, up to a maximum of £10 ($12) each way per horse. The average bet placed is reported to have been £2 ($2.50) per customer.

The audience numbers

Broadcast on ITV, the Virtual Grand National race saw an average audience of 4.3m. Figures peaked at 4.8m, around 30% of the audience share.

race saw an average audience of 4.3m

Notably, the numbers were only half of those projected to tune in to the real thing had the Grand National race been permitted to run. Still, compared to last year’s Virtual Grand National, 2020 viewership represents a more-than-sixfold increase. Last year’s event saw 737,000 viewers tuning in.

Where the runners finished

40 runners that were expected to line up at the Aintree racecourse took part in the Virtual Grand National. Potters Corner came in first at odds of 18-1, Walk In The Mill was second at 16-1, and Any Second Now finished third at 10-1. Tiger Roll came fourth at 5-1, while Burrows Saint finished in the last position at 12-1.

Michael Dugher, the CEO of the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council, said they were “overwhelmed” by the public support for the virtual race. He added that a “fantastic amount” has been raised for the NHS heroes.

Despite the positive news from the event, the cancellation of the real Grand National is reported to have dealt a £500m ($614m) blow to the racing and betting industries.

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