Sunday 6. March, 2016

Western Australia Racing Minister Urges Punters to Wager on Horses

Western Australia’s Racing and Gaming Minister Colin Holt is urging punters to wager on the horses, rather than other sports betting in an attempt to boost country racing clubs while uncertainty over the sale of the government-owned bookie, TAB, remains.

TAB, the last government-owned bookie in Australia, may be put up for sale as early as next month and doubt over the future of country racing clubs has been expressed as their most reliable revenue stream may disappear.

“Sports betting doesn’t contribute to the racing industry like wagering on the races does,” said Mr Holt in an interview with ABC Goldfields. “So we certainly would like to promote that if you’re going to have a wager, have a wager on the horses. I certainly would like to see punters support their bookies and the local tote a lot more.”

Online and mobile betting have been identified as one of the biggest challenges facing country racing clubs. Events such as the Esperance Cup and Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Race Round are essential for the survival of the clubs as they provide signficant injections of cash to these centres. Smaller racing clubs struggle to attract runners or punters and sponsorship drives to get the stakes up high enough to attract trainers and horses for country cups are essential to their success.

According to Esperance Bay Turf Club president Ken Norton, agency sales have been shown to have negative results across Australia.

“If it does cut out and the money does go to a private operator and the corporate sector, country racing clubs are the first to suffer,” Mr Norton said.

“If it does sell, the money must go back into racing in WA,” he continued.

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