The major part of racing’s income still comes from the TAB distribution, which depends on turnover. Photo: Paul RovereANALYSIS
Racing gets its annual moment in the sporting spotlight for the next month and all will seem well in the industry. But where does racing fit in the broader landscape and what does the future hold?
The push towards making the industry-owned racing channel TVN available on free-to-air television would certainly give racing more exposure, leading to an increase in betting turnover and, therefore, funding for the industry.
That is important. The spring carnival is the reason racing resonates in the public psyche and provides one of the main revenue streams from the big crowds at tracks around the country. But spectator numbers are not increasing.
Even on a perfect sunny day and with spanking new facilities, Randwick managed to attract just over 21,000 punters on Saturday.
Clubs these days focus on different revenue streams rather than depending solely on racing. Concerts, conventions and functions contribute more than ever to a club’s income.
The Melbourne Racing Club has expanded its business into pubs, which helps to fund the racing.
The major part of racing’s income still comes from the TAB distribution, which depends on turnover. But this form of revenue, while consistent, is under pressure from other operators – sports betting in particular. Betting is what drives and funds the sport. It always has and always will.
Opportunities are opening up around the world to increase the return from betting. Vision of Australian racing is beamed into 51 countries, while Australia imports racing footage from 11 nations.
The return from this international exposure is more than $20 million a year through betting in other jurisdictions. It continues to grow. Betting across international borders is now more accepted and events such as Royal Ascot and the Hong Kong International races draw a lot of attention from punters.
The vision and betting rights have to be sold together to make the most of their value, so TVN and Tabcorp need to work as partners to sell NSW and Victorian racing to the lucrative Asian markets.
Races will again be beamed into Hong Kong on Caulfield Cup day from Melbourne and Randwick. Hong Kong will bet into its own pool for the races but a co-mingling of pools is not too far away.
The particular beneficiaries of Hong Kong money coming into the market will be in quinella and exacta pools, which are the favoured forms of betting in Asia.
Once Australia co-mingles into the Hong Kong pool, it will allow punters to bet bigger with more confidence as the tote pools are massive for races at Sha Tin and Happy Valley.
It is a win-win situation because it will drive bigger returns.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.