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NSW Crisis Meeting On Bet Fees & Clubs Merger
A group of NSW's "most influential racing & breeding identities have organised a crisis meeting today to discuss the wagering revenue issue & club mergers," reported The Daily Telegraph. The "industry heavyweights will gather at Racing NSW to determine policy on both topics, regarded as vital to racing's long-term financial sustainability". Racing NSW "is currently embroiled in legal action against corporate bookmakers over product fees", while the club merger debate "has intensified" after last week's release of the independent report recommending amalgamation of the Australian Jockey Club (Royal Randwick & Warwick Farm) & Sydney Turf Club (Rosehill Gardens & Canterbury Park). Arrowfield Stud boss John Messara confirmed he & other owners, breeders & trainers had been asked by industry participants to attend the meeting at Racing NSW headquarters & noted: "We're keen to support the Australian Racing Board & Racing NSW in their quest to get the corporate bookmakers & betting exchanges to pay an appropriate fee to the racing industry. The meeting is participant-driven. We want to know what is being done & how we can help. Many of us feel this issue is one of the most important facing racing in 20 years." Prominent trainer Lee Freedman confirmed he "hoped to attend the meeting" adding: "I think we all have to be of the mind-set that there has to be change in the racing industry. If it can be proven there are significant savings, then clubs need to seriously consider merging." Earlier this week Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association chairman David Moodie declared the "future looked bleak unless corporate bookies were reined in & clubs merged" & emphasised: "If prize-money starts going backwards, as we predict it will, then the industry is definitely at risk. We have to go to war."