The snails pace that key changes to New Zealand's racing act have moved could see big
losses following changes gambling laws across the Tasman.
Earlier this week the Australian Interactive Gambling Amendment Act became law - after it went through parliament at lightning pace - and made putting bets on in with an overseas betting agency, while in Australia, illegal.
The legislation was introduced to crack down on rogue offshore agencies, who do not give back to racing authorities for the privilege of offering bets on racing and sports in Australia.
The new laws have stopped the New Zealand TAB from doing business with Australian
punters despite it having close ties with Australian betting agencies.
As of this week, no computer with an Australian IP address can even open the New Zealand TAB's website, let alone let someone bet on it.
According to New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) chief executive John Allen said there are
approximately 800 Australians with accounts that bet with the New Zealand TAB.
Allen estimates that gross revenue from all betting with the TAB from within Australia, which primarily comes from that group of 800 account holders, to be $1million, he said.
Had the Racing Act amendment been finalised, rather than sitting dormant waiting for the
next parliamentary term and possibly a new government, some of the leakage from of that $1 million from NZRB's coffers could have been stopped.
Should those 800 TAB account holders bet on New Zealand racing and sports with an
Australian agency there is a big chance they will do so with one that does not pay the NZRB for the privilege of taking bets on those products.
Currently the TAB has agreements to collect such fees from the likes of TABCorp and
TattsBet, but not with a plethora of other betting operators that operate in Australia.
Had the the Racing Act Amendments been finalised then all of Australia's betting operators would have been bound to pay those fees, but right now, the NZRB must watch on as their customers bet elsewhere.
While that loss and the total gross revenue that the board estimates is $1million sits
uncomfortably with the NZRB, it is not a large amount of money in the scheme of money bet with the TAB, Allen said.
"While losing any customers is undesirable, the profit lost from Australians betting through the New Zealand TAB is relatively small amount in terms of total betting revenue,'' he said.
The TAB had gross betting revenue of $342 million in its last financial year from a total turnover of more than $2.2 billion.
Those figures show bets made in Australia total less that 0.3 per cent of the TAB's betting revenue, a loss that Allen says is not disastrous.
However rather than waiting for Parliament to patch up the Racing Act to get some of that
money back, Allen and his team are quickly moving to apply for a licence which the new
Australian laws allow for.
"We are going to work hard now to find solutions because we don't believe we are the
intended targets for this legislation.''
The process for that get that licence and the cost - which could will be a crucial factor in
whether its viable - is something the NZRB will investigate quickly, Allen said.