The Victorian racing industry, a critical part of the state's economy, will be strengthened following the successful passage of key racing legislation through the Parliament of Victoria.
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said the Racing Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 was debated at the special Bendigo sitting of the Legislative Council last Thursday and was passed by both houses of Victorian Parliament earlier today.
The Bill amends the Racing Act 1958 to:
- enable Victorian registered bookmakers to accept phone and electronic bets at approved off-course premises;
- remove the current cap of 1 per cent of wagering turnover relating to the Bookmaker's Licence Levy; and
- specify additional bodies to which the Racing Integrity Commissioner may disclose integrity related information (including the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Centrelink and Ombudsman Victoria).
"The Victorian Coalition Government has successfully developed and passed legislation ensuring Victorian-registered bookmakers can compete more effectively with their interstate counterparts by allowing them to take phone and electronic bets at approved off-course locations," Dr Napthine said."The current rules were developed many years ago well before today's betting technology was even considered and required all Victorian-registered bookmakers to have offices located on racecourses to accept all types of bets.
"While bookmakers will still be required to accept all in-person bets on-course, they will now be able to open approved offices subject to monitoring and certain other conditions including provisions relating to maintaining their presence on-course during racedays.
"In addition to the new premises arrangements for bookmakers, the legislation will provide the racing industry with the flexibility to set product fees at a level that provides it with a fair and reasonable return from wagering operators.
"Currently, there is a legislated cap of 1 per cent of wagering turnover for the Bookmaker's Licence Levy. This approved legislation will remove that cap.
"Racing Victoria has already indicated it will introduce a new pricing model based on a rate of 1.5 per cent of wagering turnover increasing to 2 per cent during the Spring Racing Carnival months of October and November.
"In order to minimise the impact of its new pricing policy on smaller, on-course bookmakers, particularly those who only operate in regional areas, Racing Victoria will set a fee of 1 per cent for all turnover below $5 million."The Victorian racing industry is widely recognised as an international leader; contributing more than $2 billion to the state economy and supporting more than 70,000 jobs particularly in rural and regional Victoria.
"The Coalition Government is committed to stimulating further growth across all three racing codes through these legislative initiatives alongside its $79.5 million Victorian Racing Industry Fund," Dr Napthine said.