Racing Industry Bill |Step in the Right Direction for New Zealand Racing and Sport

Piers Daubeney

Posted On:   JUN - 25 - 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Racing Industry Bill had its third and final reading today at the Parliament. Supporters of the bill have hailed it as a positive step that will lead to the revitalisation of New Zealand racing.

The passing of the bill is monumental as it transfers racing administration functions to the racing codes and establishes TAB New Zealand (NZ) as a commercial gambling partner.

The Racing Industry Bill will come into effect on 1 August 2020.

As per Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) Executive Chair Dean McKenzie , the bill was necessary to allow the racing industry to reach its potential. McKenzie had the following to say

“The changes which underpin the Racing Industry Bill require the TAB to have a resolute focus on our customers and maximising profit for the racing industry and returns for sports, while at the same time ensuring a strong commitment to responsible gambling.

“Many of the changes enabled by this Bill have been mooted for decades but never progressed. It’s significant to see some of these proposals finally put into action.

“RITA was established by the Minister for Racing one year ago to enable the transition of the industry into a financially sustainable future. Despite the significant impact of COVID-19, the Government has been steadfast in their commitment to New Zealand’s racing industry and tens of thousands of New Zealanders who depend on it for their livelihoods.”

Not only will the bill lead to the creation of TAB NZ but will also place a crucial requirement for offshore bookmakers. Gambling operators will be required to pay for their use of New Zealand racing and sport information.

In addition to this there will also be a new new approval authority for introducing new wagering products. The authority will also deal with venue structure issues and the creation of what is known as the Racing Integrity Board. Racing New Zealand will also be created which will act as a collaborative forum of the racing codes.

The passing of the Bill will lead to the closure of RITA. The current Board of RITA will however serve as the interim Board of TAB NZ.

McKenzie is confident that the new Bill will give a boost to the racing industry and give them further incentive to work in a meaningful manner.

“The passing of two pieces of far-reaching racing legislation in the last 12 months has given the New Zealand racing industry all the necessary levers to enable it to deliver a financially sustainable future. What it does with those levers presents unprecedented, generational opportunity.“

“On behalf of the RITA Board, we want to thank the Minister for Racing – Rt Hon Winston Peters, Government officials and the Select Committee for their commitment and focus in passing this important Bill.”