NZ racing shakeup raises industry hackles

Opponents of the sweeping changes proposed for the racing industry in New Zealand are questioning whether the reforms are legally and practically possible. The changes proposed in a government commissioned review of the industry by Australian racing figure John Messara cover the structure, finance and legislation governing the industry, the system of betting and the industry owned monopoly operator, the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), and the racing clubs, race courses and prize money. He recommends a sweeping series of changes including stripping the New Zealand Racing Board of most of its powers, leasing out the TAB to an Australian operator, closing 28 of the country’s 48 race courses, turning the NZ Racing Board into a Wagering Board responsible only for broadcasting and betting, and devolving power to run thoroughbred, harness racing and greyhounds to the respective codes. He is also seeking changes to the taxation regime to cancel the gambling levy (worth...

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