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Tabcorp Boss Warning On Future Racing Funding
Tabcorp chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper warned "changes in the wagering market are material & pose a risk to our earnings & to racing industry funding in the coming years" during yesterday's annual general meeting. He noted the traditional wagering model "has worked very well over many years to fund the racing industry & make Australia one of the leading racing nations in the world. Australia today has the 3rd largest racing industry in the world when measured in prize-money, behind the USA & Japan & well ahead of the UK. The totalisators are the main source of industry funding. In 2008, Tabcorp distributed more than $500 million to the racing industries in Victoria & NSW, despite the outbreak of equine influenza. Tabcorp's contribution in 2008 was almost 100 times the contribution of all corporate bookmakers combined. Clearly, a wagering model whereby the industry is funded by an exclusive totalisator license is working well to create a large & successful industry. However, there is now tangible evidence emerging around the country that this funding model is under threat." Highighting the growth of the corporate bookmakers based in Darwin, Funke Kupper estimated the Northern Territory bookmaking market will reach turnover of $4-5 billion this year. Funke Kupper emphasised Tabcorp is not against deregulation in the on-line fixed odds betting market, but expects prohibition of tote odds betting by bookmakers (so Tote exclusivity is maintained) declaring: "This is critical for the funding of the racing industry. Unfortunately, to date there has been no move to prohibit tote odds betting. There is no doubt that continued lack of action will hurt the industry in coming years. The charging of adequate product fees to all wagering operators is also considered vital to future funding & a tote model."