RACING and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) has approved a new racing season funding allocation of $145 million for 2016-17, an increase of 5.5 per cent from last year’s distribution of $137.4 million.
Despite challenging economic conditions in Western Australia and a highly competitive wagering market, RWWA announced it was committed to increasing racing industry funding by $7.6 million across the three racing codes.
In addition, RWWA has allocated a further $7.5 million funding for race club infrastructure, recognising the Government supported Race Club Infrastructure Grants Program (RIGP) and Royalties for Regions (R4R) funding programs have ended, resulting in overall racing industry funding for 2016/17 of $152.5 million.
Of the $7.6 million in distribution funding increase, $5.5 million will be directed towards supporting race clubs across thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds, with RWWA for the first time funding on course broadcast costs commencing from August 1 2016.
According to a statement from RWWA, the investment will ensure the production of race day vision for television, on-course broadcast and stewards requirements are maintained at the highest levels with high definition enabled technology in place.
A new vision provider has been appointed at the major thoroughbred and harness venues.
RWWA will assume responsibility for the full cost of this enhanced service as well as existing services at other race clubs.
Further funds will go towards new thoroughbred programming strategy implemented at metropolitan and provincial venues that began in February, a further $1.7 million has been allocated to support the required base stake increases for thoroughbreds.
This season will also see the first crop of Westspeed Platinum yearlings’ race, which is expected to increase Westspeed bonus payments to owners by a further $220,000.
Harness will have a reduction in the volume of race meetings (from 279 to 272) to reflect the horse population.
An increased unplaced starter subsidy to greyhounds will be allocated for greyhounds running fifth to eighth, improving the financial viability for participants.
The significant increase in distribution funding is necessary at this time due to the financial pressure on race clubs and the need to maintain racings participation base.