New Zealand Law Society - Racing Reform Bill introduced

Racing Reform Bill introduced

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Racing Minister Winston Peters has introduced the Racing Reform Bill to Parliament. This omnibus bill forms the Government’s first legislative response to the Messara Report and is a first step in implementing a range of provisions that are intended to revitalise the racing industry.

The Messara Report was commissioned to assess the state of the New Zealand racing industry. The report confirmed that the industry is in decline and is at risk of irreparable damage without urgent reform.

The bill amends the Racing Act 2003 (the Act) and the Gaming Duties Act 1971 to bring into effect a period of transition and various financial changes to the industry.

Offshore betting

The bill provides a basis for collecting revenue from offshore betting operators and will provide safeguards relating to offshore charges (clause 21 New Part 6AA inserted).

Totalisator duty repeal

Part 2 of the bill progressively reduces over a 3-year period - and then repeals - the totalisator duty currently paid by the New Zealand Racing Board to the Crown under the Gaming Duties Act 1971. The bill also creates powers to set a formula in regulations to distribute the funds that would otherwise make up this duty. A proportion of the totalisator duty funds will be retained for harm minimisation purposes.

Changes to distribution of racing and sports revenue

Clause 13 removes the distribution formula set out in section 16 of the Act, allowing the application and distribution of racing funds to be determined by regulations and the formula for calculating minimum payments to New Zealand national sporting organisations and creates powers to set the formula in regulations.

Sports betting

The bill permits the relevant body to offer betting products on sports not represented by a qualifying domestic national sporting organisation, provided an agreement is in place with Sport New Zealand. The rationale behind this change is to help New Zealand’s racing industry to be on a more equal playing field with comparable overseas gambling providers, enabling it to offer betting on a wider range of sports (clause 19 inserting new section 55A).

Part 1, ss 26, 27(1), 28 (1) and (4), and (29) come into force on 1 July 2019.

Section 28(2) comes into force on 1 July 2020.

Section 28(3) comes into force on 1 July 2021.

Sections 27(2) and 30 to 32 come into force on 21 September 2021.