Issued: Thursday 21 February, 2013
The NSW Government has introduced legislation to support the viability of the State’s thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing industries, Minister for Racing, George Souris, said.
Mr Souris said the Racing Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 makes two important changes to racing and wagering legislation.
"This legislation will allow NSW licensed on course bookmakers to offer bets reflecting the declared tote dividend," Mr Souris said.
The TAB has for some time had the right to offer fixed odds betting.
Mr Souris said currently the Totalizator Act 1997 prohibits a bookmaker from offering bets based on the dividends declared by a totalizator, a practice known as ‘tote odds betting’.
"While this practice has previously been prohibited in NSW, bookmakers in other States including the Northern Territory, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have been allowed to do it," Mr Souris said.
"NSW and Tasmania were the only jurisdictions still to have this prohibition in place.
"The NSW Bookmakers’ Co-operative requested that NSW bookmakers also be allowed to offer tote odds betting to provide a level footing with their interstate counterparts.
"Race days would not be the same without the colour and movement that on-course bookmakers provide.
"The three controlling bodies of racing – Racing NSW, Harness Racing NSW and Greyhound Racing NSW - all support this change and the proposal was also recommended at the Australasian Racing Ministers Conference last year.
"This will not weaken the regulatory controls over bookmaker operations and NSW licensed bookmakers will still be subject to the current level of scrutiny by racing authorities and Government."
Mr Souris said the Bill also amends the Thoroughbred Racing Act 1996 to provide Racing NSW with the power to impose a wider range of sanctions on race clubs for breaches of conditions of their registration.
"This will apply to breaches of such things as compliance with federal and State laws including those relating to racing and wagering, liquor licensing and workplace safety; breaches of a club’s non-profit status; or a club’s failure to adhere to the terms of their constitution and articles of association.
"Under these changes, if a race club fails to meet standards, Racing NSW may publicly admonish it, impose a civil penalty of up to $5,500 for a first offence and up to $11,000 for subsequent offences or suspend or cancel the race club’s registration in serious cases.
The CEO of the NSW Bookmakers’ Co-operative, Peter Fletcher, said: "This legislation is a significant step forward for NSW on-course bookmakers, their wagering customers and the NSW Racing Industry in general".
"The initiative enables NSW on-course bookmakers to retain their regular clients who expect to be able to access the same betting products offered by interstate operators including corporate bookmakers.
"On-course bookmakers are vital to NSW racing clubs in attracting attendances to their race meetings. This initiative helps NSW bookies to remain viable in a very competitive national wagering market.
"Tote odds betting" is a wagering product that punters Australia-wide now expect from their bookmaker. This move allows NSW bookies to remain competitive with their interstate counterparts.
It’s a win all round for our members, their betting clients and the wider NSW racing industry that benefits from the wagering proceeds and increases in race meeting attendances".