Racing Industry deal expected to inject millions
HIGHLY respected racing identity Bob Frappell believes the industry will prosper under a lucrative deal which will see millions of dollars injected into regional clubs across the state.
Racing Minister Steve Dickson announced on Friday the highly-anticipated retail wagering licence had be awarded to the Tatts Group.
He said the exclusive 30-year wagering agreement, which is expected to provide more than $4.5 billion to the state's racing industry, would see much-needed funds flow into the coffers of regional race clubs across the state.
"Importantly, country racing and infrastructure investment will both be supported, as a key part of the agreement includes $97 million for infrastructure development and $5 million over five years for country and regional racing," he said.
"We will ensure Queensland's racing industry is a competitive force on the Australian racing scene."
Part of the new deal will see an extra $850 million funding injected over three decades into the industry, in addition to the $130 million per year in revenue, it currently receives under existing arrangements.
Tatts Group will also invest more than $74 million in the racing industry by increasing Queensland marketing activities and expanding its retail network across various hotels, clubs and pubs across the state.
Former Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association president Bob Frappell said he was excited at the possibilities now for the future of the industry under the agreement.
"We said to Racing Queensland 'it better be good' and I believe this new agreement is," he said.
"The increase in the funding model could lead to more prize money.
"They have not announced that, but that is exactly what the industry wants.
"The industry is crying out for more prize money."
Mr Frappell said sadly the Tatts Group would always face challenges in relation to wagering.
"What is destroying wagering in Queensland are the corporate bookmakers," he said.
"Tatts Group cannot, and are restricted, in competing with them at that level.
"In my honest opinion, it was a dark day for the industry when Tattersall's was privatised.
"I firmly believe there should be a national wagering system established, but that is still a long way off."
Racing Queensland chairman Kevin Dixon said the racing industry had high expectations for the wagering licence process, and the new agreement would deliver the investment needed for racing to grow and prosper.
"This is a day for the racing industry to celebrate," he said.
"It is a new beginning which sees all parties involved committed to a strong, successful future."