Queensland racing injects funds to assist bookmakers

Queensland Racing Limited has come to the aid of the struggling on course bookmakers with the introduction of the Oncourse Fielding Incentive Scheme.

The scheme will look to cutting fielding costs and give the bookmakers a better chance to compete with off course betting organisations and hopefully prolong the life of the long-time racetrack institution.

The Oncourse Fielding Incentive Scheme will commence on July 1 and an estimated $1.8 million will be invested through the scheme in this current year.

Queensland Racing Limited chairman Kevin Dixon is hoping the OFIS initiative will revitalise the bookies ring enhancing the race day experience and excitement, not only in the city but across all the country meetings.

“Bookmakers are a fundamental element of the race day atmosphere and it is imperative Racing Queensland does everything in its power to protect their future, especially in the country,” Dixon said.

“Country racing is particularly dependant on bookmakers to provide their essential and invaluable services to the race clubs and their communities.”

“It has been well documented that on course bookmaking has become strained by regulation and cost and requires an immediate reprieve.”

“We are pleased to have developed a scheme for the bookies that will ensure their survival and hopefully allow them to prosper.”

On course bookmakers to date have been required to pay fielding fees to the race club where they are operating and the scheme will see Queensland Racing take up these costs.

Also the Bookmakers Association Club Inc. will be able to make bulk application on behalf of similar groups of Bookmakers for payments to assist in the offset of costs involved with fielding on course.

And RQL will make grants from the Scheme toward specific initiatives aimed at encouraging and enhancing the service and entertainment provided by oncourse bookmakers.

Bookmakers Association Club Inc. president Bob McHarg is excited about the introduction of the scheme and is anxiously waiting to see the positive outcomes in the immediate future.

“The Bookmakers Association and I are excited about the attention RQL is providing the Queensland bookies and especially how this scheme will guarantee our future,” McHarg said.

On course bookmakers have been struggling to make ends meet over recent years especially since 2006 with bookmaking wagering in Queensland on the decline by 43.8 per cent.

The OFIS is one of many initiatives that the new Board of Queensland Racing are set to implement in accordance with the LNP policies that were announced in the lead up to the Queensland elections which saw the previous Labour government loose power in the March.

And this announcement coincides with the completion of the Brisbane Winter Carnival which is still a great attraction for interstate and overseas owners and trainers, and this year saw the emergence of new sprinting sensation Sea Siren and local two year old Sizzling.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.