This review was conducted with the realisation that the racing and wagering industries are undergoing significant change and are facing increasing competition and challenges. It is therefore imperative that the enabling legislation is framed in a manner which empowers the industries to meet those challenges and which protects and enhances the financial welfare and livelihoods of the many thousands of persons associated with the racing industry.
In accordance with the provisions of the Racing Act 2003 the former NZ TAB and the former NZRIB were abolished and the functions and responsibilities of those Boards (administration of racing and the provision of race and sports betting services) were consolidated and transferred to the newly established NZRB.
At that time, it was envisaged that this new structure would improve the efficiency of racing and betting in New Zealand and would deliver improved financial returns to the racing industry because of the cost savings from the consolidated administration together with the ability of the new organisation to produce a superior and better co-ordinated betting product.
Importantly, the then government’s action had the support of the TAB and the racing industry which had themselves recommended the merger. However, that support now appears to have dissipated with sections of the industry critical of the NZRB’s performance and becoming concerned at what they see as a loss of control of their respective codes. There is also concern that the independent nature of the NZRB does not lend itself to the establishment of an organisation with sufficient knowledge of or experience in the racing and wagering industries.