Racing NSW out to collect
Racing NSW will seek to retain the $20 million it has collected from wagering operators under the Race Fields legislation so far, even if it loses upcoming court proceedings against the new laws.
Betfair and Sportsbet have launched a Federal Court challenge against the legislation introduced on September 1 last year which requires any company operating on NSW racing to pay a 1.5 per cent fee on turnover.
Corporate bookmakers based in the Northern Territory have paid the fee pending the court action but argue they should pay a percentage of gross profit rather than turnover.
Racing NSW chairman Alan Brown said NSW racing was losing $40 million a year to operators outside the state and that loss would affect prizemoney levels.
“Because of the legal proceedings, Racing NSW has not been able to distribute the money it has received to date and in the unlikely event the legal challenges are successful we will be forced to return the revenue,” Brown said.
“There is every likelihood we could spend 12 months in court so we are going to write to all the corporates and all the totes and ask if they will agree to release the funds.”
Brown also dismissed thoughts of any extra funds for racing from the mooted sale of the Sydney Turf Club-owned Canterbury Racecourse, because it is simply not for sale.
In fact, the push is on to use the suburban track for increased night races subject to agreement with NSW harness racing authorities who currently hold exclusivity over Friday nights in Sydney forcing Canterbury to conduct racing under lights on Thursdays.
Brown said he was confident agreement would soon be reached allowing Friday night racing in Sydney in conjunction with Moonee Valley in Melbourne, which would greatly increase turnover.
By Caryl Williamson