Friday, March 18, 2005Contact: Simon Cooper
(64) (0) 4 576 6270
‘No’ to Betting Exchanges in New Zealand

The Chairman of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Guy Sargent, has announced to the biennial Australasian Conference of Racing Ministers in Auckland, New Zealand, thoroughbred racing’s opposition to betting exchanges operating on New Zealand racing.

The conference of Racing Ministers is discussing this issue at its meeting in New Zealand today, Friday.

The British betting exchange company, Betfair, the trade mark of The Sporting Exchange Ltd and the dominant online exchange, has its sights set on New Zealand and Australian racing.

Sargent stated, “I have seen the independent economic analysis on the implications of exchanges for racing and anyone who thinks that betting exchanges would be a good thing for the New Zealand industry should think again.”

“The research undertaken for our Australian counterparts shows that licensing betting exchanges could cut their revenues by up to A$150 million a year, equivalent to almost one-third of Australian thoroughbred racing’s total funding.”

“A similar fall in the percentage amount of our funding would see over 30 of New Zealand’s 70 race clubs wiped out. This would inevitably result in job losses and the erosion of a major source of revenue for New Zealand.”

The New Zealand racing industry generates more than NZ$1,483 million in value added to the country’s gross domestic product, a similar amount to the fishing industry. Of this NZ$1,483 million, thoroughbred racing accounts for 73%; with harness racing at 22% and greyhound racing at 5% providing the remainder.

“From the New Zealand thoroughbred racing industry’s point of view I can give them an unequivocal answer: No! Betting exchanges have nothing to offer our racing industry and they should start looking elsewhere.”

Guy Sargent is also a member of the Executive Council of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF), the members of which account for 63.9% of the global handle on thoroughbred horserace wagering.

“Being a member of the ARF Council makes me fully aware of the strength and depth of the international opposition to exchanges. It is no accident that opinion is so strong on exchanges, because anyone who takes the time to look at this issue closely can see what a disaster they are.”

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