NZRB Welcomes Next Steps For Racing Industry Reform

17 April 2019

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Racing, Rt. Hon. Winston Peters to introduce the Racing Amendment Bill as a matter of priority, enabling critical investment in racing in New Zealand.

It is anticipated the introduction of the Bill will see increased returns to the industry by making offshore betting operators contribute for bets they take on our racing and sports codes, and from the bets they take from New Zealanders. This is a major milestone in the process towards enacting legislation that will bring a welcome increase in funding to the industry.

“We welcome the introduction of legislation to create offshore bookmaking charges which will ultimately provide a fair return for New Zealand racing product,” said NZRB CEO John Allen.

“We operate in a challenging and competitive environment with the central goal of returning profits back to racing and the community. However, as online offshore providers are not required to do the same, many have operated at a competitive advantage and attracted New Zealand punters offshore without paying for the privilege.

“These charges recognise that offshore bookmakers should pay a royalty for their use of New Zealand racing product, and that money should return to New Zealand communities when bets are taken from a New Zealander,” said Allen.

Mr Allen said the announcement provided a clear programme of priorities which would deliver transformational change across the industry and looked forward to working with the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) as they oversee changes proposed under the Review of Racing by John Messara.

“NZRB has been working alongside the Minister’s Advisory Committee (MAC) since December last year, and have a good understanding of the approach and direction,” said Allen.

The term of all but one of the current members of the NZRB Board expired in July 2018 however they have remained in place to oversee the operations of the NZRB and enable a smooth transition during a period of significant change.

The current Board has overseen many critical improvements including Cloud-based digital transformation, the broadcast of racing in HD, successful launch of a fixed odds betting programme, increased distributions to racing and customer growth.

“The Racing Industry in New Zealand contributes $1.6b to the New Zealand economy, provides a livelihood for 14,000 kiwis and is an important part of our heritage. It has the potential to deliver even more. The announcement by the Racing Minister to enact legislation that provides vital revenue for the sector is good for New Zealand.

“We appreciate the support he is providing New Zealand racing and look forward to working with him, the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) and broader government to make a real difference to the industry,” said Allen.