New Zealand's struggling racing codes will be $30 million better off next season as the TAB returns to them skyrockets.
Sporting organisations around the country will also benefit, with an estimated $19.7m to be paid out to sports the TAB take bets on.
The TAB, now known as TAB NZ, has undergone a radical change sparked by the Messara report three years ago after racing was struggling to pay its bills.
The betting agency's bottom line has been boosted by increases in turnover, a repeal of Government betting levies, more money coming in from overseas bookmakers betting on New Zealand racing and an overall improved performance by the TAB, helped by a captive audience courtesy of Covid restrictions.
They are now projecting payouts to the three racing codes of $170m for the next year, $30m more than what was budgeted for this racing season.
While that figure could change should Covid or other factors negatively affect turnover by halting racing or major sports, TAB NZ has tended to be conservative in its budgets, so the $170m figure is realistic.
That $170m will be made up of $140.2m in fixed distribution, $20m from Betting Information Use Charges (fees paid by overseas bookmakers to bet on New Zealand racing) and $10m from the repeal of Government betting levy.
TAB NZ boss Dean McKenzie said the organisation was thrilled with the projected increase in distributions to racing and returns to sport. "It's great we're in a position to increase our returns to the community in the next financial year," he said.
"Last year was a challenge for all of us, and like many, our organisation went through a lot of change, but we're now seeing the positive returns from the investment made by the Government and the industry in the TAB.
"We're excited with where we are heading and incredibly proud that significant tangible benefits from all the hard work over the last two or three years are now starting to flow to both racing and sport in New Zealand."
While the extra money will be a significant boost to the three racing codes, attention will now turn to how they spend it.
Increasing stakes is the most obvious and popular way but there is also investment needed in infrastructure, education of participants, attracting new staff into the industry, marketing and the looming issue of horse welfare after retirement.
Even when stakes are increased, the three codes may have different attitudes to whether those increases should be smaller numbers across the board, a bigger boost to minimum stakes or whether more money goes into Saturday racing and carnivals to increase the profile of the industry and give owners bigger targets to aim at with better horses.
The biggest of the three codes, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, is expected to announce its stakes plans in coming days.