Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) today called on the NSW Government to implement the recommendations of an independent report it commissioned on wagering and the future sustainability of the NSW racing industry.
In 2008, the NSW Government commissioned Alan Cameron AM, former Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and former Commonwealth Ombudsman, to independently and objectively review wagering regulation and the sustainability of the NSW racing industry.
The NSW racing and wagering industry is in decline as a share of the overall entertainment market.
The growth of cross border wagering, thanks to the flourishing national market and new technology, has diminished the capacity of state governments to protect the traditionally state-based wagering industry.
GRNSW Chairman Professor Percy Allan AM said that the long term financial viability of the racing industry in NSW was dependent on it having the ability and the incentives to compete on at least equal terms to other jurisdictions in the national market.
“This involves embracing a culture of promoting and rewarding innovation, growth and performance and liberalising the legislative regime in order to be competitively neutral with the rest of Australia,” said Professor Allan.
“Critical to this is reform of the Inter-Code funding arrangements, introduced in 1999 at the time of TAB privatisation. The arrangements don‟t reward efficiency, innovation or growth. The fixed percentage structure of allocating TAB distributions amongst the racing codes may have been sustainable in the context of the stable and „protected‟ industry that existed a decade ago, but the forces of competition, combined with the march of technology and the burgeoning national market, have rendered these arrangements a threat to the racing industry as a whole.
“This fundamental failing was recognised by the TAB in its submission to the Cameron Review and has been identified as a key reason for the poor wagering growth in NSW relative to other States.
“The NSW Government now has an independent and highly credible report from Alan Cameron that presents a realistic and frank assessment of the industry and its challenges that can‟t be ignored any longer without imperilling the future of NSW racing. Most importantly, the Cameron Report provides a series of recommendations that provide a decisive and clear reform agenda for the Government to implement and secure the long term future of the industry.
“It is the key test of the Government‟s commitment to the future of racing and securing and enhancing the income it generates for both participants and the government”.
GRNSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan said that GRNSW is strongly urging the Government to accept the recommendations of the Cameron Report in their entirety as an essential step towards encouraging flexibility and innovation and, therefore, industry sustainability.
“If the Government passes on this opportunity or instead ignores the fundamental reforms in favour of focusing on the low-hanging fruit” amongst the recommendations of Alan Cameron, it is inevitable that the racing and wagering industry in NSW will continue along its current pathway of decline.
“The current framework that governs the racing and wagering industry in NSW encourages the protectionist and inward-looking thinking that dominates the NSW industry.
“You only have to look at Victoria, where industry funding arrangements partially reflect the contributions made by each code, to see how racing has benefited from policies that force it to operate in a commercial environment instead of the social welfare environment that current Government policy encourages in the NSW industry,” Mr. Hogan said.