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Horse Racing – Paying the Price

By cranky - 25 October 2009 29

Saturday’s CT front page main item has the local ‘racing’ industry, (apparently consisting of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound afficiendos) up in arms that they are not being paid millions more from the ACT Treasury to pursue their interests.

I would cross the road to see a horse race to save my life, but for no other reason.

On what grounds do these people have a claim on the ACT ratepayers?

UPDATED: While there is no online version of this story, there is a story today about ACTSport wanting more governemnt money for local sporting clubs. Whether the two stories are related depends on whether you think racing is a sport.

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Horse Racing – Paying the Price
harvyk1 11:12 am 26 Oct 09

The industry itself doesn’t need handouts, it the racetracks that do…
From what I have heard, most (if not all) racetracks in Australia are losing money and are only kept open by proping up by tax dollars.

In an “industry” which deals with multiple lots of 6 and 7 figure “winnings” (not to mention the other aux industries such as TAB)on a single day I find it hard to believe that the racetracks themselves haven’t managed to get themselves a better deal where they don’t need to rely on gov’t handouts to stay in business.

Buzz2600 10:37 am 26 Oct 09

Horse racing should go the way of the dodo. Who wants to see horses whipped and euthanized for public entertainment and money?

chewy14 9:18 am 26 Oct 09

Deckard is correct.
I wouldn’t call asking for a bigger slice of the revenue you generate for the government, a handout.

Muttsybignuts 10:26 pm 25 Oct 09

When the horse flu shut down the whole horsy thing for a weekend, the papers claimed that the industry lost $100 million in just 1 weekend. If it makes that much every weekend on average then it doesn’t need a handout from the government.

VicePope 10:01 pm 25 Oct 09

Horse racing. Marginally more interesting than “motor sport”, but probably behind darts and marbles in the Canberra Vatican. Way behind the Roller Derby. Never really seen the point of it, and never really understood why people would wager real money (that they work for and could spend on something useful) on the vagaries of horses and the variable intentions of the people who train and ride them.

A bigger problem locally is that I am told the local racing scene (except for one or two races a year) is of no more than ordinary quality and that it is hard to get worthwhile odds on anything with half a chance. So why bother going? Why bother chucking public money at it (better to get a statue of John Hargreaves)? If the punting tragics pay enough to keep their hobby going, good luck to them. The modest tax take can be better used than on supporting more ordinary horses and the people who live on their efforts.

Deckard 8:35 pm 25 Oct 09

54-11 said :

So, vg, what’s naive about wanting an end to corporate welfare when our social services, such as health, are crying out for more money?

But these services receive some of their money from revenue raised by gambling. Don’t you have to sometimes feed the hand that feeds you?

dvaey 7:04 pm 25 Oct 09

This sounds familiar after the horse flu bug came through a couple of years ago, and all the racetracks and horse owners and the like, started begging government because they lost their income through lack of racing and gambling. It wasnt like the racing stock all just died, or people got horribly sick and needed intensive medical care. A few animals got the flu so they couldnt race, and they had to stay in their paddocks instead of being moved around to make money for their owners, so while the episode might have cost them a little bit out-of-pocket, the real problem is the lack of gambling money coming in and their $300 tables (as mentioned above) and the like that they were unable to sell.

54-11 5:55 pm 25 Oct 09

So, vg, what’s naive about wanting an end to corporate welfare when our social services, such as health, are crying out for more money?

Special G 5:51 pm 25 Oct 09

THe other article in the CT is about the costs associated in running junior sport competitions. The request for money into this is in the form of tax rebates to encourage parents to encourage their kids into sport to keep them fit and healthy.

This sort of thing I fully support as it promotes active lifestyles and better health which in turn reduces the cost on the health system and increases productivity in the workplace.

Horse racing is gambling. It is a sport for the jockeys and that is all. Greyhound racing is just gambling – go throw a stick for them and give them a feed.

bd84 4:26 pm 25 Oct 09

We shouldn’t be propping the so called “sport” up, it’s more about money and betting than about the actual participants and obviously they cannot control or manage their money well enough (surprising in a betting arena?). This is no reason for public money to be provided to keep it going.

Gungahlin Al 3:46 pm 25 Oct 09

54-11 said :

Horse racing is an industry, and a well-paying one at that. There is absolutely no need for ACT taxpayers to be supporting businesses like this. There is already far too much industry welfare, at the expense of vital public services.

Agreed! They are all professionals in a massive money-making machine. Why should one single one of our tax dollars go into propping it up? Not to mention the massive land space it consumes. If there is to be any nexus between ACTTAB and the industry I would have thought it would be a simple fee-based arrangement for the rights to base the gambling on meets at their track. Highest bidder – then perhaps we’d see a situation where the government doesn’t have any part in the industry.

vg 3:07 pm 25 Oct 09

Post 2 shows the naivety one would expect on the subject. Post 3 expresses the reality.

Deckard 1:46 pm 25 Oct 09

Probably because the ACT Govt makes a lot of money through ACTTAB. The racing industry probably just wants a bigger slice of this pie.

54-11 1:29 pm 25 Oct 09

Horse racing is an industry, and a well-paying one at that. There is absolutely no need for ACT taxpayers to be supporting businesses like this. There is already far too much industry welfare, at the expense of vital public services.

This would be yet another nail in the Stanhope coffin if he bails out horse racing.

GnT 1:24 pm 25 Oct 09

Also on the back page of Saturday’s CT, Thoroughbred Park is increasing the price of admission for Melbourne Cup Day to make ends meet. They are also selling tables in a fenced off area for $300, BYO food. “Plenty of tables are still available”.

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