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Racing NSW 1: Race Fields Legislation Brawl

Friday, 18th December 2009

Racing NSW yesterday briefed the media & provided a detailed written discourse on 8 controversial "matters currently before the Board". Under the heading "Industry Funding: The Facts On Corporate Bookmakers & Betting Exchanges", the briefing paper noted: "The long-term future of the industry is dependant on Racing NSW being able to obtain a fair & equitable fee from all wagering operators who use NSW race fields for their wagering activities. For this reason Racing NSW will continue to vigorously defend challenges to the NSW Race Fields Legislation." The legislation (involving a fee as 1.5% of each betting operator's turnover) was introduced in September 2008 & is currently being challenged in court by Betfair & Sportsbet; as a result $30 million (at April 30) had been collected but not distributed "to race clubs to allow them to meet their prize-money commitments". Although Racing NSW "is confident of successfully defending these challenges, it has to date been reluctant to release funds because, in the unlikely event that Racing NSW were to lose the case, all race field funds collected would need to be refunded. Racing NSW is currently examining avenues available which will enable it to distribute funds to the State's race clubs to allow them to maintain their prize-money payments, thereby ensuring the current income level of industry participants." (May 28)

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