Garry’s Corner – 28 June, 2019

Garry Chittick

This Corner will be short and not sweet. This Corner will repeat a number of points about the recent Legislation I have made before. So why, why the need. Well, I appreciate the Ministers interest in Racing but as I said at the start of this process with all legislative change be careful what you wish for. So what have we got.

We have the race fields law, this apparently allows us to collect fees for the use of our information used by wagering entities throughout the world. Enforcing In some of these places could be questionable but probably of little consequence. Most of you will not be aware we have in recent times had a number of wagering organisations who have as a result initiatives by our own Thoroughbred Racing Board been paying 1.5 % already. The Chief Executive of the Racing Board suggested, optimistically a couple of years ago we had the potential to collect 4%. Yeah Right. It would appear anything beyond 2% the wagering providers will walk. A significant part of turnover are margin punters wagering big amounts with the benefit of rebated margins offered to them. Don’t have to be Einstein to work out squeeze the margin then nothing in it. However better to have the opportunity than not. Surprising National could not work that out.

Point of Consumption Tax, once again of no cost to Government will attract little income but once again the previous Government with no understanding of POC let the ball drop. All good, these two changes will take time to build income but will, suggested amounts of around $12 m won’t be immediate but should eventuate.

The much-touted abolition of the remaining betting duty an assured $13 m over three years great, good on you Winston. Four million year one would not have covered the average increased cost of personnel over the past seven years. Let’s hope RITA can drain the swamp.

So let’s look at RITA, competent no doubt. But have we missed the point, whos industry is this. What are we trying to achieve. The Messara Report focuses on increased stakes as the driver of owner participation, well that is in itself is a conundrum as only 10% pay their way, I suppose that means those 10% will be happier but this is essentially a mind game. Right now the catch cry is, well if lucky enough to win it should be reasonable to expect a significant part of your expenses for the racing year met. Quite right. So is Messara right will $50 k Saturday races encourage not only ownership, breeding, wagering, and retention of horses. Fifty Saturday’s by eight races 400, it’s got to be better than now. More importantly, we will all feel happier if some of that increase comes from the drained swamp. It will have to, 400 by say an average $25k increase has pretty well mopped up the Galloping Codes share of Racefields and the Duty reduction. What about the other 2600 races. For them not to languish along with the owners of the winners of these races in the doldrums where is the extra money to come from. Well this will be the challenge for RITA, the current administration had a short term answer, borrow it!

Was there a need for someone from our code to be part of RITA, someone with that rare attribute an affinity and in-depth knowledge. You see like it or not galloping is close on 60% of the three codes turnover. Naively we have assumed for the last ten years that we were an important part of the equation. After all didn’t the Act prescribe that the purpose and intent of the Racing Board was to foster, breeding, ownership, and career paths. Don’t believe me read it. So now we have at best an arms length second hand involvement. Not suggesting RITA is not obviously well intentioned, they had better be but for all years I have been around racing there have been multiple suggestions of who from outside racing would have the answers. Obviously there are those who will point to failings of past administrators of racing backgrounds, fair enough, but remarkably Winston’s previous Duty reduction, the reduction of real significance that should of kick started racing is the starting point of the lack of administrative responsibility. Funnily enough after a Board of Independents was imposed on us.

Anything else of concern, this weeks Legislation passes responsibility of final distribution to the Racing Minister. Unbelievable. We have no direct representation, and sign off by a Minister of the day. Beware what you wish for. Cheers G

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