RACING Victoria (RV) Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, has sought to clarify statements made in yesterday’s Herald Sun regarding the financial state of the racing industry in Victoria.

The article incorrectly stated that the Victorian racing industry is facing a $20 million reduction in income this financial year, rising to $30 million next year and $40 million the following year.

Saundry explained that the actual facts are as follows;·       

RV revenue is expected to increase by $1.3 million this financial year;

·         RV is on track to deliver a budgeted profit of $14.4 million this financial year;

·        That profit would reduce to $8.4 million if an appeal by the State Government is successful against a Supreme Court decision to uphold an appeal by RV’s Joint Venture partner Tabcorp against the imposition of the Health Benefit Levy on poker machines during the 2012-13 financial year;

·         The forecast reductions to RV revenue tabled in the article are grossly inaccurate;

·         RV’s newly released Strategic Plan outlines that industry revenue beyond the next three years will come under threat if current wagering trends continue and no innovation or change is enacted collectively by stakeholders;

·        Wagering nationally on Victorian thoroughbred racing over the past 12 months has grown only 0.1% to $5 billion with 44% of bets now delivered via digital wagering;

·         Corporate bookmakers and Betfair have grown their share of the national Victorian thoroughbred wagering market by 4.4% over the past 12 months to 32%.

“The short term health of the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry is strong and it’s disappointing that this is not accurately reflected in the article published,” Saundry said.

“Longer term though there are challenges for the industry to confront around growth and its measures of success as we’ve clearly documented in our Strategic Plan released this month.

“Racing Victoria does not have all the levers to enact change, but we are committed to working with our stakeholders and commercial partners to build a pathway that delivers long term growth.”

Saundry acknowledged the shift nationally in customer preference from pari-mutuel wagering to fixed odds wagering has come at a time when the industry has been unable to stimulate across-the-board growth.

“The need to grow the entire wagering pie is one of six game changers identified in our Strategic Plan and we’re working to achieve this through a quantum of measures led by a restructure of the raceday calendar, a review of our racing and training infrastructure, the integration of media and digital assets and a more cost effective racing model,” Saundry said.

“The Strategic Plan, developed in consultation with our key stakeholders, is a road map for the future. It identifies the key objectives and priority activities to achieve growth across a number of sectors including wagering, attendance, prizemoney, viewership and digital assets.”

The article titled ‘Racing’s $20m dip’ stated that Victoria’s financial position is influenced by the fact that it has “too many tracks to upkeep”, thus inferring that a reduction in the number of racetracks – currently 67 in Victoria – would deliver significant cost savings.

“It’s too simplistic to say that if you cut a few tracks you’d save money. We have 24 tracks that host one or two meetings a year, but these function largely on a volunteer basis so they are not a financial drain on the industry,” Saundry explained.

“To the contrary, these once or twice-a-year clubs that work to engage with their local communities ensure the vast footprint of thoroughbred racing remains across the state by providing a critically important touch point for the sport in regional Victoria.

“As detailed in the Strategic Plan we’ll be undertaking a major review of the state’s racing and training infrastructure over the next six months with stakeholders to formalise a plan on optimum track usage over the next decade.”

The article also referred to the industry being overburdened with costs stating that “too many overheads, especially staff” is a significant factor influencing its bottom line.

“Returns to owners and participants, club funding, shared services and infrastructure investment represent the vast majority of industry expenditure and there have been significant savings realised over the past five years, particularly around staffing,” Saundry explained.

“Close to 50 Racing Victoria employees now operate under a shared services model with industry stakeholders, predominantly delivering IT, payroll, accounts, HR, industrial relations, racing and Customer First resources and assistance.

“By way of example, there is one payroll team now providing payroll, superannuation reporting, payments and tax reporting services for Racing Victoria, Country Racing Victoria and 41 country race clubs.

“That said, we have outlined in the Strategic Plan the need to review, in conjunction with the clubs, the industry’s raceday resourcing to determine if there are further efficiencies to be made.”

RV’s Strategic Plan can be viewed at


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