Confirmation by Racing Minister David Bennett that the Racing Amendment Bill is now before Parliament has been welcomed by racing industry heads.
The Bill modernises racing and sports betting in New Zealand, amending the Racing Act 2003.
“These changes make it possible to get a return for the information received from betting on New Zealand events and also bets placed by New Zealanders,” Mr Bennett said.
The Bill seeks to return money into New Zealand through information and consumption charges from offshore betting operators.
An information charge seeks money from offshore operators taking bets on New Zealand racing and sporting events, while a consumption charge seeks money from offshore operators taking bets from people living in New Zealand.
“The Racing Amendment Bill will also enable in-race betting, bringing it into line with in-play betting for sports and will allow the New Zealand Racing Board to offer betting on a wider range of sports,” Mr Bennett added.
“I welcome this advancement in collection of betting charges that can be used to assist the racing industry and other sports bodies.”
The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) and Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ), see the introduction of the bill a major milestone in the process towards enacting legislation that will bring a welcome increase in funding to the industry.
The proposed legislation addresses the rapid and broad growth of online betting and the loss of potential industry income to overseas bookmakers.
“We are delighted to see the recommendations from the Offshore Betting Working Group progressing through to legislation,” commented NZRB Chair Glenda Hughes.
“NZRB is also continuing to work on improving its competitiveness to enhance our customers’ experience and ensure they can receive the same level of service and options as they find offshore,” says Ms Hughes.
The heads of racing’s three codes also added their voice of approval to the legislative progress. “We welcome the proposed legislation and look forward to engaging with the Racing Board and Government to maximise revenue opportunities for the industry,” said NZTR Chair Alan Jackson.
It is understood that the Racing Amendment Bill, which has broad support in Parliament, will pass its first reading before the House rises ahead of the general election in September. Longer term it is hoped that the full process invoking new legislation will be completed in the first half of 2018.