Queensland’s racing industry will see a ‘boost’ following a new sustainable funding model introduced by the Palaszczuk Government, with a key focus on country racing.
The changes include a new 5% racing levy added to the betting tax, broadening the betting tax to include free and bonus bets and increasing the proportion of betting tax revenue that goes directly to the racing industry from 35% to 80%.
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, said the model recognises ‘significant changes’ that have occurred in the racing industry and the important role country clubs play in regional communities.
The Treasurer said: “There are 125 racing clubs across Queensland. For 85 of those clubs, a race meeting is the biggest or second-biggest event in their community each year.
“For many of those clubs, a race meeting is a once-a-year event that is an unparalleled opportunity for people to get together. Our government recognises how important those gatherings are to the social fabric of Queensland, and today’s announcement will help them thrive into the future.”
Dick also continued to explain that the change from the current 35% share of the betting tax going back into the industry increasing to 80% also creates a single funding stream. He added: “At present, a lot of the funding that goes to the racing industry is in the form of short-term government funding programs.
“Now, the industry will have the certainty of knowing they will get 80% of the betting tax, and if the size of the pie grows, so too will their share. The significant growth in online betting over the last few years has led to a very different wagering market in Queensland and we need to adapt.
“The Palaszczuk Government is levelling the playing field for all wagering operators and ensuring that organisations profiting from Queensland’s thriving racing industry are investing into its future too.”
Since 2014, Racing Queensland funding has been reportedly reliant on an agreement with Tabcorp that will now be unwound as part of the new funding model. Racing Minister, Grace Grace, suggested that the changes would offer more sponsorship opportunities for racing clubs across Queensland.
She continued: “While Tabcorp will still offer on-course betting services and retain retail exclusivity, its on-course ‘sponsorship and advertising’ exclusivity will end once these changes take effect.
“This means race clubs across Queensland will have opportunities to enter into new sponsorship agreements with other wagering service providers. Other benefits of the agreement include a further injection of $50 million from Tabcorp to cater for future racing infrastructure needs, and a one-off payment of $100 million to Racing Queensland.”
Over the past five years, the industry has grown to generate a total economic contribution to the Queensland economy of $1.9 billion in 2020-21, whilst supporting a high number of jobs across the state, with a ‘significant’ amount of these in regional areas.