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Have your say on the Racing Industry Bill

18th December, 03:45

The Transport and Infrastructure Committee is calling for public submissions on the Racing Industry Bill.

The Racing Industry Bill represents the second phase of the Government's response to the Review of the New Zealand Racing Industry (the Messara report). The response began with the Racing Reform Act 2019, which brought in a transitional period for the reform of the industry and took various measures to increase the financial sustainability of the industry.

Broadly, the bill's purpose statement outlines a focus on minimising harm from gambling, and the provision of a high-level overview of the industry that recognises its pivot to a more commercial orientation. The bill seeks to finalise the post-transition governance structure of the racing industry, create a legislative framework to enable property to better benefit the racing industry, and enable new ways of seeking approval for betting products.

The three key policy areas in the bill are outlined as follows:

Governance of racing industry

The bill provides the post-transitional governance structure of the racing industry, with the creation of TAB NZ as the sole betting provider for racing and sports. The bill seeks to provide the 3 racing codes (Thoroughbred Racing New Zealand Incorporated, Harness Racing New Zealand Incorporated, and New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Incorporated) with more independence from the Government by empowering them to effectively govern their respective industries and networks of clubs and venues. The bill would establish the Racing Integrity Board (RIB) as an entity responsible for all integrity functions, independent from the racing codes.

Property of racing clubs

The bill introduces a suite of changes intended to resolve historic property issues. Two property objectives are introduced to guide decision making: that the value of racing property should be retained in the industry, and that the value of racing property should be used for maximum industry benefit. The bill contains new provisions to support negotiations between clubs and codes on the utilisation of surplus venues. It also introduces, as a backstop, a statutory decision-making process for the Minister for Racing to recommend an Order in Council to transfer property to the code. Provision is made for payments to the club and community, where these are warranted.

Betting

The bill seeks to implement an approval mechanism to enable consideration of new racing and sports betting products, which to date has required legislative change. It would also allow TAB NZ to seek agreement from an independent body to new betting rules, requiring that harm minimisation is prioritised in any application for a new betting rule. Under the bill, TAB NZ would be granted exclusive rights to the racing industry's intellectual property used in racing betting and broadcast products in the Australian and New Zealand market.

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