Greyhound racing contributed more than $144 million to the economy and communities of NSW during the 2009-10 financial year, according to a leading independent economic consultancy firm.
The Access Economics report described the NSW greyhound racing industry as making a “substantial contribution” to the state's economy.
The report analysed the economic and social contribution of greyhound racing in NSW considering both the direct contribution ($92.3 million) of the sport to Gross State Product and employment, as well as the indirect contribution ($51.9 million) through flow-on impacts to other industries such as support services and dog food suppliers.
NSW has long been the leading breeding state and the largest contributor to the stock of racing greyhounds in Australia. It is therefore no surprise that the Access Economics report found that breeding and training was the single most important sector within the sport, accounting for $83 million of the sport's economic contribution to the state's economy during the 2009-10 financial year.
In NSW over 13,000 participants are involved in: owning, breeding and training greyhounds; organising the tracks and race meetings; and, administering the sport (often on a volunteer basis). Volunteering plays a large role in the industry and during 2009-10 the unpaid time invested by trainers in the sport was conservatively estimated to be worth $40 million. In addition to this, the sport is estimated to employ 1,561 people as full time equivalents, either directly or indirectly.
With an estimated $822 million wagered on NSW greyhound racing during the 2009-10 financial year, the sport helped contribute just over $13 million in NSW Government taxes.
“With the recent expansion of NSW greyhound racing and plans afoot to continue that expansion during 2011, the economic contribution of the sport to the state's economy will continue to grow, along with the amount of revenue collected by the Government”
The economic contribution of greyhound racing was more pronounced in regional areas where the sport forms an important part of the social fabric in the community. The sport provides a range of social benefits and plays an important role in many communities across NSW, where the local club can often be a focal point for social interaction.
For example, greyhound racing tracks provide a venue that can be used by the broader community for a diverse range of activities when races are not being held. Further, greyhound tracks provide essential facilities for the sports' participants to educate and exercise their racing animals.
“A key feature of greyhound racing in NSW is its regional focus, which is seen by many as the backbone of the sport”, GRNSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan said.
“Over 45% of the sport's direct economic contribution was provided outside of our major cities. In addition, over 65% of breeding activity, 62% of racing dogs and 60% of trainers in NSW were located in regional areas, providing significant flow on benefits to communities across the state”.
“The Access Economics report highlights both the substantial economic and social benefits of greyhound racing to the state of NSW. It is imperative that Government and local Councils recognise this contribution and continue to support the sport as part of their ongoing planning and administrative duties.”