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RACING Queensland has announced an additional $12 million in prize money will be injected annually into the industry in a move that will provide a major boost to all stakeholders.

The $12m increase will deliver an additional $8.6m to thoroughbred, $3m to greyhound and $400k to harness, which comes on top of the $3.2 million announced six months ago.

The increases will take effect on a pro-rata basis from 1 February 2018 and will provide immediate benefits to industry participants.

Racing Queensland CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said the new financial commitment follows the announcement by the Queensland government to commit $70 million to fund non-TAB thoroughbred racing in Queensland as a Community Service Obligation (CSO) over the next four years.

“The government’s CSO policy recognises the important benefits that thoroughbred non-TAB racing provide to rural communities and allows Racing Queensland to maintain the current size and scale of thoroughbred non-TAB racing across the state. With thoroughbred non-TAB racing funded by government, Racing Queensland is able to redirect $12m to prize money increases to commercial TAB racing,” Dr Forbes said.

“Metropolitan premier stakes races will be increased to $70,000 per-race from the current $60,000 while the two Saturday restricted grade races will now both carry minimum stakes of $40,000. Mid-week metropolitan races will also increase to $25,000, excluding maiden races.”

“Racing Queensland will also introduce a new formula for distribution of prizemoney for all races of $25,000 and above. This move will see increased stakes paid back to minor placed runners enhancing the distribution of funds across participants. The revised break‐up will see prizemoney to the winner reduced to 61% (previously 64%) with the balance to be allocated to horses placed second to fifth.”

Provincial clubs at the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Ipswich will have all maiden races boosted by $1000 to $15,000.

“Regional provincial clubs will have standard stakes boosted by $2000 per race and northern feature carnivals will be increased by a total of $527,000 to be spread across carnivals from Rockhampton to Cairns.”

Overall the additional money represents a 16.6% increase to metropolitan premier stake races while regional TAB races will see a 16 to 20% increase from their current stakes.

Dr Forbes said, “Today’s prizemoney announcement is another step forward in delivering on Racing Queensland’s commercial plan to boost confidence and continue to bring meaningful benefits to industry participants.”

From 1 July 2019, as forecast revenue increases materialise, Racing Queensland intends to introduce SEQ Provincial Showcase meetings with standard stakes raised to $20k and $18k for maiden races. Regional Provincial Showcase meetings will also be introduced with standard stakes raised to $18k and $16k for maiden races. It is also anticipated that midweek metropolitan maiden stakes will be raised to a minimum of $22,500 at this time.

While the Racing Queensland Board has taken into account the CSO funding package in allocating increases for participants, additional meaningful benefits arising from the Tabcorp Tatts combination have also played a part.

“Racing Queensland’s commercial plan had always targeted a significant increase in returns to participants but the Government’s CSO and the Tabcorp Tatts merger have given us the ability to move quickly. The benefits have been distributed by also taking account of the commercial impact of each code of racing.”

Dr Forbes said the greyhound code would also receive immediate additional funding in recognition of its strong commercial performance of recent years.

“The code will benefit from a $3 million annual increase, which includes $800k for sustainability measures, an overall increase of 10% in prize money spread throughout all greyhound events, and an increase to the greyhound appearance fee to $40,” he said.

The harness code will receive an additional annual $400,000 to assist with a commercialisation strategy to generate revenue.  This will include additional races to help improve the overall profitability of the code and grow participation opportunities particularly at the grass roots level. Racing Queensland will also introduce a QBRED cash bonus scheme to further support the breeding and racing of QBRED eligible horses, offering additional cash bonuses to the eligible winners of selected races for the remainder of FY18.

It comes after Racing Queensland commissioned an economic impact study, which revealed the racing industry contributed $1.2 billion to the state economy per-annum, and generates 9500 full-time equivalent jobs with 42,000 either employed or engaged in the industry.


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