Greyhound racing had subsidised its thoroughbred counterparts in NSW to the tune of $6.25 million over the past 12 months, effectively making the dogs the largest sponsor of thoroughbred racing in this state, Greyhound Racing NSW Chairman Professor Percy Allan AM, said today.
Professor Allan said thoroughbred and harness racing had benefitted from leakage of more than $9.2 million from greyhound racing over the past financial year.
“Since the NSW Government privatised the TAB in 1999, greyhounds have sponsored the other codes by more than $100 million,” he said.
Professor Allan said the leakage of funds to the other racing codes was real and quantifiable.
“The leakage is a result of the Inter-Code funding arrangements, introduced in 1999 at the time of TAB privatisation, which set a fixed proportion of racing revenue to each of the racing codes and now threatens the viability of the NSW racing industry as a whole,” Professor Allan said.
“For greyhounds this means that despite contributing racing revenues worth 17 per cent of total TAB revenues, our code only receives 13 per cent in TAB distributions.”
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.
“In that report Cameron clearly made a recommendation that the Government should set aside the Inter-Code agreement and secure the future sustainability of the NSW racing industry,” said Professor Allan.
“To allow the leakage of funds from one sport to bolster the bank balance of the other two by an average of $8 million a year clearly shows the Minister needs to act and act decisively.
“The Minister can actually plug this leak. He doesn’t need to seek assistance from his interstate or Federal colleagues like he does with many of the other issues confronting the NSW racing industry such as tote odds betting. This problem can be fixed in NSW alone if the Minister implements the recommendations from the Cameron Report, sets aside the inter-code agreement and confirms the future sustainability of the NSW racing industry.”
Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan said that greyhounds had, in effect, become the major sponsors of horse racing in NSW through the unfair redistribution of revenue generated at its meetings back to horse racing.
“The recent Ernst and Young report into the AJC/STC merger proposal suggested the combined annual total of metropolitan thoroughbred racing sponsorship is $7.2 million. NSW greyhound racing provides almost that amount again in funding to the sport, so by rights we should be recognised as the number one sponsor of thoroughbred racing in this state.”
“If the NRL decided to sponsor a second AFL team in Sydney, people would think it was a bit odd yet that’s what’s happening in racing.
“The Minister has clear justification for intervening in this issue, just like the Government did with the thoroughbreds Intra-Code agreement, the Race Fields legislation and the push towards the metropolitan racing merger proposal.
“The NSW Government must be willing to implement policies that force racing to operate in a commercial environment and ensure continued growth of the industry,” Mr. Hogan said.