NSW Race Fields Legislation Approved

NSW racing industry has been given a significant boost under new legislation to come into effect from 1 July 2008, Racing Minister Graham West announced today.

Mr West said the controlling bodes of the three codes of racing will grant approvals and set fees for the use of NSW race fields by wagering operators.

He said the Racing Legislation Amendment Act 2006 will end the practice of wagering operators who use NSW racing as a wagering platform but contribute nothing to the industry.

“I am pleased to announce that today the Racing Administration Amendment (Publication of Race Fields) Regulation 2008 was approved,” Mr West said.

“This Regulation sets out application procedures, approval conditions, fees, and other criteria to enable this legislation to be implemented from July 1.

“At present there are some wagering operators betting on NSW races that give nothing back, and this ‘free ride’ costs the industry millions of dollars each year.

“This legislation will enable the NSW racing industry to receive a fair payment from those who use NSW racing product but don’t support or compensate the local industry.”

“It’s only fair that those who benefit financially from racing pay their way.”

Mr West said the legislation:
• Prohibits the publication of race fields without approval from the relevant controlling body (Racing NSW, Harness Racing NSW or Greyhound Racing NSW);
• Allows controlling bodies to set conditions for approval including a fee of up to 1.5% of wagering turnover;
• Sets criteria which controlling bodies must follow in assessing any application to publish race fields;
• Requires controlling bodies to provide written reasons for their decision to approve or reject an application;
• Enables aggrieved applicants to have a decision reviewed by the Minister; and
• Allows the decision of the Minister to be reviewed by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

“A corporation using NSW race fields without approval faces a maximum penalty of $55,000. Individuals face a fine of up to $5,500 and 12 months in jail for a first offence, and double that for repeat offenders,” Mr West said.

“While the legislation will be implemented on July 1, the offence provisions will not come into force until September 1 to allow applicants and controlling bodies time to manage the initial applications for approval.

“Applications will be managed and called for by Racing NSW, Harness Racing NSW and Greyhound Racing NSW.”

“This legislation is about addressing the unauthorised use of racing industry intellectual property and ensuring a fair price is paid after approval has been obtained.”

“All revenue raised through those wanting to use NSW racing product goes directly to the industry.”

“The Iemma Government is committed to ensuring the NSW racing industry has a sustainable future.”

Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’Landys said the race fields legislation ensures wagering operators who gain commercially by exploiting NSW thoroughbred racing events pay a fee in recognition of the time, effort and cost which the thousands of participants put in to NSW racing, and contributes to providing a return to those participants.

“For far too long, certain wagering operators have been free riding on NSW racing without making any contribution towards the costs of producing racing events which has reduced the incomes of our participants,” Mr V’Landys said.

“Despite other wagering operators now starting to pay their way for using our product, the majority of the NSW racing industry’s revenue will still come from its commercial agreements with Tabcorp and we look forward to continuing what has been a constructive and mutually beneficial working relationship with Tabcorp.

“However in an increasingly competitive wagering market it is important that the NSW racing industry is paid a fair fee by all operators who use our product.”

Harness Racing NSW Chairman Graeme Campbell said the race fields legislation would provide a welcome
boost to the industry.

“On behalf of the harness racing industry I would like to commend the NSW Government and Minister West on the delivery of the race fields legislation which will be of great benefit to all of the racing codes,” Mr Campbell said.

“The passing of this legislation will provide a further revenue stream to the three codes of racing which willdemonstrably assist in their respective viabilities.”

Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan applauded the Iemma Government for its willingness to implement a egislative package that provides for a fundamental re-alignment of the racing industry within the changing nature of the national wagering market.

“This is a watershed moment for greyhound racing and its implementation together with the associated benefits to the industry will be integral to providing a sustainable financial framework going forward,” Mr Hogan said.

A copy of the Regulation is available from the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing website at www.olgr.nsw.gov.au. Information about the application process is available on the websites of Racing NSW, Harness Racing NSW and Greyhound Racing NSW.

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