GRNSW Slash Costs, Increase Stake Money

GREYHOUND RACING NSW will increase stake money at three meetings a week as the gulf between interstate and NSW prize money begins to take grip.

Adam Dobbin

9 April 2020

GREYHOUND RACING NSW (GRNSW) will increase stake money at three meetings a week as the gulf between interstate and NSW prizemoney begins to take grip.

When GRNSW moved to zoned racing in a proactive measure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic – giving the industry a fighting chance to proceed through this unprecedented crisis – the decision to cease racing at Wentworth Park brought about a halt to metropolitan prize money.

Feature events were also parked given the inability for the races to be freely contested by trainers both interstate and in other regional racing zones.

But with other states maintaining their pre-COVID-19 prize money levels – with feature events also slated to be staged – frustration has been brewing among NSW participants as the reality of the situation set in.

Fully aware of the challenges facing NSW participants in these difficult times, GRNSW has announced that from April 17, three meetings a week will be funded at Wednesday metro prize money levels.

The meetings, conducted on a rotational basis across the state, will see $2,500 for first in graded events, while $3,000 will be paid for top grade races.

The increased stakes will be for races greater than 420m in distance.

When GRNSW announced that racing would continue through the coronavirus pandemic, it was met with much fanfare and appreciation.

And rightly so.

But with interstate trainers still going about their business with minimal change, owners with city class greyhounds in NSW have been maneuvering to ship dogs interstate where possible, causing understandable angst amongst the training ranks in NSW.

In the past week, GRNSW has begun cutting costs by reducing its head office staffing levels, while it’s understood further cost saving measures are being explored to best position the industry in navigating these uncertain times.

“The decision to create additional prizemoney for the regional zoning plan’s venues comes after GRNSW has slashed costs across its internal operating base, including senior staff redundancies, and other severe cutbacks due to the impacts of COVID-19 on our revenues,” said GRNSW CEO Tony Mestrov.

“GRNSW’s budgets have been greatly impacted due to the significant downturn in TAB turnover due to the closure of their retail outlets and pubs and clubs.

“These are incredibly difficult times for so many people and our industry is not immune, with initial staff redundancies and cutbacks to operational costs being an unfortunate but necessary action GRNSW has been forced to take to keep the business viable in the immediate future and with longer-term planning.

“We have continually been looking at ways to help participants through this situation, with an utmost focus on the importance of health and safety of people and greyhounds and adhering to the strict biosecurity regulations of the Government and health authorities. 

“I thank participants for being understanding throughout this unprecedented time, and for being patient as we work through all things relating to racing. 

“We fully understand this is the livelihood for many people in our industry, and this is why we have worked extremely hard to be able to make these prizemoney increases possible and attempt to create some security for them while we attempt to stabilise the business in extraordinary times.”

The volatile nature of the wagering market is making it difficult for the racing industry to crystallize what the ensuing months look like from a revenue viewpoint.

Just last week, Racing NSW announced that it was reducing metropolitan prize money in the wake of the global pandemic, following on from $10 million in stake money being ripped out of the Championships.

Yesterday, wagering giant Tabcorp, the industry’s prime revenue source, announced it was slashing costs right across its business to minimize the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

With pubs, clubs and retail outlets closed across the country, the significant downtown in TAB revenue will be felt across all facets of the racing industry.

GRNSW has been bracing for a 50 percent downturn in TAB revenue, a figure that is now being realised.