29 Nov 2013NZTR is becoming increasingly concerned about the growing leakage to offshore bookmakers
(Sportsbet, Sportingbet, Bet365, Centrebet, IASBet, Betstar, Betezy, et al), which take bets on New
Zealand racing and pay nothing to our industry, in the absence of race fields legislation here.
In FY13 Racing New South Wales received $66.4 million in fees and associated interest as a result of
race fields legislation. In the same period, Racing Victoria received $78.1 million and Racing
Queensland received $30.5 million from having race fields legislation in place.
The New Zealand Racing Board estimates more than $200 million per annum is bet by New Zealand
residents on racing (and increasingly sport) through offshore bookmakers. These bookmakers have
become increasingly aggressive in their pursuit of domestic betting spend.
Anecdotally, the TAB has noticed the departure of high‐staking customers and the sensitivity of
activity by those customers to the odds set by the fixed odds book. I know, and I am sure you know, of
numerous anecdotal stories of industry participants betting with these free‐riding agencies.
By paying no New Zealand tax or industry product fees, the bookmakers have a significantly unfair
cost advantage and, therefore, are able to offer better odds.
So, what are the solutions?
Enacting race fields legislation
This would give the NZ Racing Board the power on behalf of the racing/sporting codes to
approve any overseas agent in consultation with the codes. Such approval would require
payment of a fee to be set by the NZ Racing Board as a percentage of turnover and/or gross
Strengthening the advertising ban
This would provide stronger enforcement of the existing advertising ban under the 2003
Gambling Act, which is being increasingly circumvented by digital media.
Race fields legislation should impose penalties which include extradition. This is the model
followed by Australia and most other countries. This would ensure compliance by corporate
This is an alternative approach. It defines the location of the placing of a bet by where the
bettor resides, rather than where the agency’s computer server or the betting agency is located.
This would ensure the bet has domestic New Zealand taxes and product fees levied on it
regardless of where an overseas bookmaker has placed its server. This legislation has passed its
first reading in the United Kingdom Parliament.
You might ask why we don't assert copyright of our race fields. This option would cost many millions
of dollars because we would have to fight each bookmaker separately on a slight variant of how they
are using our race fields information. Australian authorities looked at this exact question and
concluded legislation was needed.
Your MP should be aware of:
A loss of jobs and economic activity throughout New Zealand
This leakage to overseas bookmakers directly causes a decline of racing and sporting codes'
income, resulting in lower prizemoney and a lesser number of events being held. The racing
industry directly generates more than 16,000 full‐time jobs, many in regions with few other
opportunities, so the negative impact isn’t a pin‐prick at the margins but one that really
Threats to Racing Integrity
It is impossible to monitor whether participants with direct control over the outcomes of events
are betting through these agencies. Imagine the furore if an All Black was found to be betting
through an overseas bookmaker.
Overseas bookmakers offer credit betting into New Zealand and typically attract larger bettors,
who, by their nature, are more likely to have problem gambling issues. These bookmakers pay
no problem gambling levy and do not provide appropriate harm reduction measures.
Lost tax revenue via GST and Wagering Duty
This is very significant in the context of $47 million in GST and wagering duty paid directly by the
NZ Racing Board and the many multiples of this in GST and income tax generated by
downstream racing activity.
Most other major racing jurisdictions have effective legislation in place to combat this leakage.
New Zealand does not. The upturn in Australian prizemoney and general industry health has
been significant since their successful defence of race fields legislation. New Zealand must