It will not happen, and for a large number of reasons.
- 1. Racing in NSW can be controlled only by GRNSW under an Act of Parliament.
- 2. Queensland cannot control any racing in NSW, also under an Act of Parliament. Even if it wanted to, Queensland cannot rule on or supervise racing in NSW.
- 3. Two weekly TAB meetings are mooted – but run by whom? Tatts could offer away-betting facilities but is legally qualified to control Queensland racing sites only, not those in NSW. Tabcorp, which already controls betting at Border Park, has long said Saturday afternoon racing (Border Park’s prime slot) cannot accommodate more races, especially not dog races. That policy is why greyhound racing at Newcastle’s Beaumont Park met its fate in the 1990s.
- 4. Border Park already has TAB facilities under an “auditorium” license (as at Randwick and Broadmeadows in Newcastle) which allows them to take bets even when local races are not being run.
- 5. NSW encouragement for this change is the height of hypocrisy – it was GRNSW which chopped back Border Park meeting numbers a couple of years ago, even though the region needed a boost following the closure of the Gold Coast track.
- 6. The broader region of SEQ and NSW Northern Rivers already sees a plentiful exchange of dogs amongst the five available tracks (including Casino and Lismore) so the only impact of this proposal would occur if Border Park prize money were to increase substantially.
- 7. Any extra prize money would require full TAB coverage which would have to come in an already overcrowded weekly program. Only two possibilities are available – first, to run races at breakfast time when most TAB shops are closed or, second, to jam then into a more popular slot and thereby split the available betting funds more thinly. The latter has already created a major problem for intending punters at other tracks. In the interests of the industry, neither option is practicable or desirable.
- 8. The Queensland state is already short of money and so is Racing Queensland – hence the longstanding dithering about building a new track.
- 9. Racing Queensland has shown no competence in running racing and is currently presiding over a decline in finance and standards across all three codes. It has already done back-flips over track expenditure and racing dates at Toowoomba, Caloundra and other provincial galloping locations. The imminent appointment of industry insiders to local boards is likely to make those problems worse.
- 10. The plan’s support from the GRNSW CEO, who has no executive authority, must have emerged before checking with his board. His chairman is a lawyer and would certainly have seen the above blockages.
The tragedy of all this kerfuffle is that the national racing package would be enhanced if a well-built, one-turn track were to emerge at Border Park. But there are two provisos. The region does not have enough good dogs to justify that plan at the moment. The cart has been put before the horse.
Secondly, full TAB coverage of the new meetings would have to occur as a replacement of existing meetings. Otherwise, finances will suffer somewhere else. Who will accept that?
The greyhound code’s major need is not to add more tracks or more meetings to the calendar but to make a better job of those that already exist. The starting point would be the development of a bigger pool of customers with fresh money.