I will then turn my attention to the strategies we have adopted to meet the challenges, and broadly the reasons why.

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1 Ladies and Gentlemen Firstly, let me congratulate the organizers of today s meeting for their initiative and foresight in bringing together such a large cross-section of racing industry participants to discuss and consider the sustainability of racing s revenues, an issue which is probably the most crucial facing the industry for many, many years. Secondly, may I thank you for inviting Racing NSW to participate. We are always prepared to meet with the industry, if and when required. In this case of course we have been asked to address you on the funding issue. In order to understand the current crisis, it will be I believe helpful if I provide some background. It may seem a bit like a history lesson, and many of you will know much of the detail but I think it is important nevertheless. I will then turn my attention to the strategies we have adopted to meet the challenges, and broadly the reasons why. The CEO of Racing NSW, Peter V landys will then provide you with the facts and figures which explains firstly the necessity for our strategy and secondly, the hoped for outcomes and the attendant risks if we don t. 1

2 HISTORY Wagering per medium of bookmakers and totalizators has formed the life-blood of the racing industry since its inception during the 19 th century. Unlike other sporting events which are conducted as events in which people participate or attend as spectators, racing has been developed as a vehicle on which people wager. Although wagering has been extended to other sports and contingencies, such wagering remains a by-product of the sport. In other words general sporting events survive without there being any wagering on them, whereas racing is totally dependent on wagering activities for its continued viability. Accordingly, a strong and vibrant local wagering sector has been essential to the well-being of the racing industry. Unfortunately the local wagering sector has been under increasing pressure over recent years with the result that the racing industry s revenue stream from this source has been placed in jeopardy. Prior to 1964 wagering on racing in NSW was confined to bookmakers and totalizators situated on licensed racecourses. Bookmakers accounted for the majority of investments. Following the establishment of the TAB in 1964 the NSW racing industry enjoyed a long period of growth and prosperity on the back of continued increases in revenue from wagering. 2

3 The generation of this revenue was possible as a result of the approved systems of wagering in New South Wales and the other States and Territories where legal off course betting was confined to the totalizator system and on course betting was conducted by a combination of licensed bookmakers and the totalizator. This system was introduced following the conduct of Royal Commissions of Inquiry or other high level reviews by the respective State and Territory Governments. The dual tier system was considered far superior to the bookmaker dominated system which existed in the United Kingdom or the all tote systems which existed in the United States, and most Asian countries. In fact it seemed to nearly everyone that Australia s was the perfect model. Importantly, revenue generated in the respective States and Territories remained in those States and Territories. Accordingly the level of revenue received by the racing industries was generally commensurate with the size of the populations in the respective jurisdictions. Several significant initiatives such as the introduction of trifecta betting, the introduction of off-course totalizator betting up to the jump and the establishment of Sky Channel also provided major boosts to revenue growth. I might mention here that although the transmission of the racing pictures off course via Sky Channel moved investments from the racecourse to the TAB the revenue remained in the industry. Over the past 18 years however there have been a series of events which have drastically altered the wagering landscape throughout Australia, beginning with the decision of the South 3

4 Australian Government to license off course telephone betting with bookmakers which in turn was replicated by the Governments and racing industries in the other States and Territories following agitation from their resident bookmakers. These actions could be described as the major turning point because for the first time punters were able to legally access bookmakers from off the course not only in their State of residence but in any other State or Territory. The decision of the South Australia Government also had a major flow-on effect and led to a number of other concessions being given to bookmakers and the systematic erosion of the off course monopolies previously enjoyed by the State and Territory TAB s. Those concessions included: The gradual elimination of the minimum telephone bet with bookmakers, The introduction of sports betting, The establishment of betting auditoriums and sports betting offices, The licensing of internet betting (in NSW this is restricted to sports betting and futures race betting), The licensing by the Northern Territory and ACT Governments of large corporate bookmaking operations whose primary market were punters in the major States, particularly New South Wales, Imposition of low tax regimes on corporate bookmakers by the NT and ACT Governments, 4

5 Restricted corporatisation for bookmakers in other States, including NSW, The gradual elimination of State bookmaker taxes (in NSW this has resulted in annual savings for NSW bookmakers of approximately $6 million), Reductions in levies applied to bookmakers by the racing industry. By way of example most country clubs have repealed their levies and provincial clubs only charge 0.5%. Most of these concessions were initially introduced in one State or Territory and were then used as a vehicle for bookmakers in the other jurisdictions to argue for similar concessions on the basis of their alleged inability to compete with their interstate counterparts. While the concessions have provided a wider scope for punters and have no doubt been in the financial interests of bookmakers as a whole it is arguable whether they have been of any real benefit to the racing industry. It is also doubtful whether the majority of bookmakers have benefited from the initiatives. More than likely, the main beneficiaries have been the top 1 dozen or so. Furthermore any action by individual States to protect the revenue streams of the Governments and the racing industries has been restricted by National Competition Policies, Constitutional arguments and Trade Practices legislation. 5

6 The recent High Court decision in the case of Betfair vs the West Australian Government has all but put an end to the concept of State boundaries for the wagering industry. Unfortunately, what we have seen and may continue to see could best be described as The Race to the Bottom and a combination of the above concessions coupled with competition policies and trade practices and constitutional issues is placing considerable pressure on the industry s revenue streams. The major leakage of the NSW racing industry revenue base has come from Northern Territory (and to a lesser extent ACT) corporate bookmakers who although licensed in those jurisdictions have targeted punters from the major States, particularly New South Wales. The first Corporate Bookmaker (Mark Reid s International All Sports) was licensed in the Northern Territory in the early 1990 s. This was followed by the licensing of several other corporate bookmakers in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. At that time the turnovers were relatively small and had no significant impact on NSW revenues. At the same time an Off Shore bookmaking business owned by Alan Tripp was operating in Vanuatu with reported holdings of up to $500 million per annum. There has since been a number of new licenses issued by the NT Government over the past 5 to 6 years. Our records indicate that there are now 9 licensees operating in the Northern Territory and 1 in the ACT. 6

7 In addition these bookmakers operate under a relaxed regulatory regime and are able to offer a much wider range of products than NSW bookmakers or Tabcorp, e.g. Tote Odds betting. In fact, we believe Tote Odds betting by bookmakers represents the single biggest factor luring wagering turnover from NSW bookmakers and the Totes to corporate bookmakers. Many of the NT operators such as Colin Tidy, Michael Sullivan, Alex Kay and Matthew Tripp initially commenced their businesses in New South Wales where they established their clientele prior to transferring to the Northern Territory. In addition the Vanuatu business of Alan Tripp was sold to the London based company Sportingbet. Tabcorp has also established a fixed odds business with a NT license under the banner of Luxbet having purchased the NSW business of Bill Hurley. Although not having the same effect on the industry s revenues as the NT corporate bookmakers, the Tasmanian based Betting Exchange BETFAIR also attracts a significant amount of wagering turnover away from NSW operators. Funding of the NSW thoroughbred racing industry has also been affected by interstate totalizator companies which have become particularly aggressive in attempting to entice NSW customers to bet with them by providing them with cash rebates and other inducements. This has in turn caused Tabcorp to match those rebates in order to remain competitive thereby affecting the net revenue payable 7

8 to the industry. We understand that rebates as high as 5% to 6% are being paid. Again, this represents a classic case of the race to the bottom. One of the corner-stones of the industry s ability to raise revenue was the oft quoted Gentlemen s Agreement. The Gentlemen s Agreement was an informal understanding between the State and Territory racing industries which allowed the free exchange of racing and betting information between them and allowed the wagering operators (bookmakers and totalizator licensees) in those jurisdictions to accept bets on races being conducted in other jurisdictions without the requirement to pay a fee for that privilege. This understanding came about during the last century and was instrumental in allowing the racing industries in each of the States and Territories to maximize revenue from all available betting opportunities. The adoption of the Gentlemen s Agreement put the Australian racing industry into a different position to that which applied in most overseas jurisdictions. For example, in the United States a 3% fee based on turnover is charged between racing bodies in the different states. Similarly, a 3% fee based on turnover is normally charged between various countries for the use of race fields for betting services. When the Gentlemen s Agreement was reached it had no practical downsides for the relevant States and Territories because as I mentioned earlier at that time all betting was conducted on a face to face basis and was therefore confined within the boundaries of the various jurisdictions. In addition 8

9 when telephone betting was introduced by State TAB s it was agreed that there would be no action taken by them to attract customers from other jurisdictions. These actions therefore allowed the racing industries in each of the jurisdictions to develop commensurate with the relative populations of their States. The betting landscape changed significantly when telephone and internet betting with bookmakers was approved throughout Australia and certain States and Territory Governments licensed corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges whose primary objective was to attract bets from punters from the more populous states. This has resulted in the transfer of a significant level of wagering turnover of punters in NSW and the other larger States to the Northern Territory, ACT and Tasmania resulting in lost revenue for the racing industries in the larger jurisdictions. In addition the privatization of TABs throughout Australia has seen those bodies become more aggressive in respect of growing their revenue bases. Of significance also is the fact that the National Competition Council (NCC) has consistently proffered the view that in the interests of more competitive arrangements between the States, the Gentlemen s Agreement should be disbanded and that State and Territory racing bodies should charge a fee for their product. A similar view was also expressed by the Productivity Commission. 9

10 Therefore, although the Gentlemen s Agreement has served the industry well over the years it was only a matter of time before it became redundant. The introduction of Race Fields legislation by the various States and territories sounded the death-knell of the Agreement. Advertising restrictions contained in NSW legislation had to all intents and purposes been the only practical constraint on interstate corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges having otherwise unrestricted access to the NSW (and other States ) wagering market. Notwithstanding these restrictions, Northern Territory based corporate bookmakers have grown their turnover on racing events through their operations from a few million dollars in the mid 1990 s to an estimated $4 billion in 2008/09. The constitutional validity of these advertising restrictions became questionable following the decision of the High Court of Australia in the case of Betfair vs Western Australia (a case which challenged the validity of West Australian legislation banning the operation of betting exchanges and implementing a Race Fields legislation regime). Following the High Court decision Betfair and Sportsbet (a Northern Territory corporate bookmaking firm) instigated legal proceedings in the Federal Court against the NSW and Victorian Governments on the basis that the advertising restrictions in the relevant legislation of those two States were unconstitutional. 10

11 Consequently, legislation was enacted by the NSW Parliament which repealed these advertising restrictions. To date the corporate bookmakers have attracted the more educated professional punters or the hard money with the majority of recreational punters or the soft money continuing to invest through traditional sources. Removal of the advertising restrictions has again changed the wagering landscape and exposed the recreational punters to the corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges with a resultant further shift of investments. As a result of this action it was inevitable that NSW based bookmakers would argue that they are not able to operate on a level playing field with interstate bookmakers and have demanded a relaxation of the restrictions under which they currently operate (internet betting, tote odds etc.). This is a matter which is the subject of recommendations by Alan Cameron following his independent review of wagering regulation in New South Wales and are currently being considered by the NSW Government. In recognition of the changing wagering landscape, the NSW Government acted on appeals from Racing NSW and introduced Race Field legislation which allows the NSW industry to gain revenue from all wagering operators who use NSW Race Fields and Racing Information for their commercial wagering operations. 11

12 The legislation allows Racing NSW to grant approvals to wagering operators to publish NSW thoroughbred race fields and enables Racing NSW to impose conditions relating to such things as Fees that can be charged to Australian licensed wagering operators. The are presently capped by the regulations at 1.5% of the wagering operator s turnover. In other words $1.50 in every $100 bet. Other matters permitted by the regulations include integrityrelated issues such as access to any betting information required for Racing NSW stewards inquiries. Before Race field legislation various wagering operators were not supplying betting information requested by Racing NSW Stewards, thus frustrating one of our most important functions, which is maintaining the highest level of integrity of the sport. Although the Race Fields regime will allow the industry to recoup part of any losses it sustains as a result of the transfer of investments on NSW thoroughbred racing from the totalizator system and NSW bookmakers to corporate bookmakers or betting exchanges, the same does not apply in respect of the transfer of investments on interstate and overseas racing. In that respect the losses in revenue to the industry will be total. As has been reported widely in the media, two separate court actions have been commenced in the Federal Court by certain wagering operators who have challenged the validity of the legislation and the manner in which it has been applied by Racing NSW. It is inappropriate to discuss details of the challenges here other than to say that they are being vigorously defended. 12

13 THE FUTURE It is through use of the internet that what used to be a series of markets based in each State, is now becoming merged into one National market and the rate of change is accelerating. Tab operators and corporates in the smaller jurisdictions such as Tasmania and the Northern Territory, have become increasingly aggressive in pursuit of profit. By leveraging the tax and regulatory concessions available, punters in the larger states of NSW, Victoria and Queensland are squarely in their sights. Up to the present date, it has been generally accepted that the area where the industry has been particularly vulnerable is in relation to remote betting (internet and telephone) which collectively accounts for approximately 21% of the total amount wagered through Tabcorp. Although there may have been some leakage from cash betting outlets (TAB Agencies, PUBTABS and CLUBTABS, etc), those outlets were to a large extent insulated due to Tab s exclusive license and NSW legislative prohibitions. A practice is now emerging in Victoria where interstate operators are installing internet kiosks in licensed premises to capture cash punters in those premises. That facilitates punters topping up their corporate bookmaker accounts, watching the races on Sky or TVN, and then betting the corporates, often at Tote prices, as a result of which even less money flows back to the industry. It is only a matter of time before they look to commence similar activities in New South Wales thereby placing TAB s exclusive 13

14 retail license, under threat and as the PUBTAB/CLUBTAB network is fast overtaking the traditional TAB agency network, a significant amount of the wagering business is becoming vulnerable. In our view, it is therefore imperative that all wagering operators who profit from the NSW thoroughbred racing industry contribute towards sustaining our industry. It is absolutely essential that we continue to pursue our right to levy fees under Race Fields Legislation. While we are extremely optimistic about our defense of the legal challenges we are realistic and have to acknowledge that there is always some risk involved with litigation. For this reason, Racing NSW continues to explore other avenues available to us, including the imposition of fees in accordance with the industry s copyright on its race fields and other racing information. In this regard we are confident that, based on recent court decisions, we have a very strong case to pursue copyright, and we will. There are a number of other strategies which we at Racing NSW are introducing to compliment Race Fields Legislation and copyright. Many however are state specific and therefore inappropriate to discuss here. Suffice to say, however, that NSW receives about $50mil less than Victoria because of the share of poker machine income that that state enjoys. Despite that disparity, and the fact that we conduct many more races and have to maintain many more race courses, we have been able to offer similar minimum prizemoney but that 14

15 has been achieved at the cost of investment in infra-structure and facilities. I have said elsewhere and I will repeat it here. Prizemoney underpins every aspect of our industry. There may not be an immediate connection between increasing prizemoney and increases in field sizes, but there is definitely a correlation between decrease in prizemoney and decreasing field sizes. If Victoria increases prizemoney considerably more than NSW, then we will lose horses, owners, trainers and jockeys with the consequential loss in jobs, incomes, field sizes, betting turnover which in turn impacts on wagering income to the industry. If our carnivals lose the stars because of better prizemoney elsewhere, that has a flow on affect on crowds, sponsors, television coverage and thus income. At the moment we have a State Racing Minister in Kevin Greene who will do anything he possibly can to assist the Racing Industry. We are working very closely with him on a number of issues and initiatives at both State and Federal levels. We are also working through the Australian Racing Board, of which I am a member, on matters which are all designed to secure the future funding of the racing industry. One of those arises from a belief that bookmakers should be exactly that, bookmakers, and offer a fixed price at the time the bet is taken. Racing NSW and the Australian Racing Board are therefore working closely with the various Racing Ministers in NSW, Victoria and Queensland on submissions to the Federal Government for changes to the Interactive Gaming Act to prevent corporate bookmakers from offering Tote odds which as I said before represents the single biggest factor luring wagering 15

16 turnover from NSW bookmakers and the Totes to corporate bookmakers in low tax jurisdictions. At Racing NSW we have become the target of those who do not support our strategy and our initiatives which are designed to arrest any decline and provide a platform for future growth. We sincerely believe that the strategies that we are following, are the correct ones. The stakes are very high but we nevertheless believe it is essential that they be pursued in order to reach some degree of certainty to properly sustain the industry into the future. We are indeed at a crucial stage but I am confident that after today the issues facing the industry will be better understood and accordingly I again congratulate those involved in organising this meeting and to thank them for the opportunity to address you. 16

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