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AJC Prizemoney Slashed 1: Gr1 Races Bare The Brunt
Just a day after an informal meeting of influential industry participants at Racing NSW's Sydney office to discuss "revenue leaking from NSW to the corporate bookmakers in the territories", the Australian Jockey Club has announced massive cuts to prizemoney for next season (which starts on August 1) to the tune of $4 million. According to the Daily Telegraph, a total of "$8.5 million in budget cuts and staff redundancies (were implemented) to balance the club's financial books." Major races effected by the cuts include the Gr1 Doncaster Handicap (down $500,000 from $2 million) & the Gr1 AJC Derby (down $300,000 from $1.6 million), although every Gr1 race conducted by the Club has been trimmed. Another 7 staff also lost their positions, bringing the total redundancies to 19. AJC chairman Ron Finemore stated: "Racing in NSW is under siege from corporate bookmakers and Betfair who are undermining the core wagering revenue stream. It is not possible for the AJC to continue to protect prizemoney in the face of corporate bookmakers assault on critical wagering revenues. There was no other option but to reduce the level of prizemoney on feature races to achieve a break-even budget for 2010." Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph reports Racing NSW CEO Peter V'Landys noting he had been "predicting this prizemoney crisis for a couple of years and unfortunately it has come to fruition. If people keep taking the product and not paying for it, naturally there is going to be reductions in prizemoney. These corporate bookies and Betfair have made themselves wealthy out of the efforts of the 50,000 participants but they don't want to pay for the privilege. I feel sorry for the clubs because Victoria receives $50 million a year more than NSW in funding but the Sydney clubs have been able to keep up with Victorian prizemoney."