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Australia's Racing Victoria prepares to implement new race fields policy

Racing Victoria (RV), the body responsible for regulating horse racing in the Australian state of Victoria, has announced new terms under which bookmakers can offer odds on thoroughbred race fields which will begin from next month (July 1st).

The new controls, or race fields policy, are to be introduced following a detailed review of RV’s current policy, aided by extensive consultations with wagering service providers and other industry stakeholders.

RV says that its race fields policy will remain broadly similar to its previous incarnation, but with a number of changes that will come into force from July 1st, expiring on June 30th 2017.

The threshold at which operators must pay tax of 1 per cent of turnover will be reduced from AUD$15m to $5m, bringing Victoria into line with other Australian jurisdictions. Funds raised through this change will be reduced to bookmakers in the form of incentives and promotions to boost the state’s thoroughbred racing sector.

New compliance measures will also be implemented to help protect the sector’s integrity.

The tax rate for exchange betting will be changed from a scaled percentage of turnover to a flat 40 per cent gross revenue tax on all Victorian meets, with a minimum bet limit introduced “as soon as practically possible,” with a target date of October 1st set.

RV will hold a meeting later this month, at which it is to consider amending fees applied to pari-mutuel and fixed-odds bets, introducing a minimum bet limit as part of changes to the base terms of the race fields policy.

The body’s chief executive Bernard Saundry said RV will work directly with bookmakers to ensure details are finalised and the policy is ready to be implemented from July 1st.

“Racing Victoria values its relationships with wagering service providers and we will continue to work with them to provide the best sport and wagering product we can for our mutual customers, the punters,” Saundry explained.

Once the new policy is implemented RV will prioritise a process of further consultation with wagering operators and customers on the introduction of the minimum bet policy.

“The minimum bet policy must be effective and appropriate for all stakeholders to ensure that Victorian thoroughbred racing remains an attractive product for all,” Saundry said.

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