Moonee Valley Racing Club boss Michael Browell. Picture: Racing Photos
Moonee Valley CEO Michael Browell believes Racing Victoria needs to look at the “ecosystem” of Victorian racing, including the number of race meetings held in the state and prizemoney.
He also said Victoria’s prizemoney pool needs to reflect wagering and revenue, noting wagering has softened on the back of the pandemic.
“I think there's a good opportunity now as we finish up this current long-term wagering partnership with Tabcorp through the joint venture, to have a look at the racing model here in Victoria,” he told racing.com
“The volume of race meetings, the number of races, the prizemoney model, how we distribute that, the relationships back with the clubs, the media landscape's different here than what it is in other states.
“There's a whole ecosystem that plays into the Victorian racing model. There's a lot of interested stakeholders there that want the right outcome. And I think now's a good opportunity to perhaps rebalance all of that as we move into the new arrangement in August 2024.”
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Browell said any future prizemoney commitments needs to reflect what experts believe will happen to a softening wagering market.
“I think it's important that the prizemoney model matches the revenue coming in. We've come off a peak of the COVID years where I think it might take us a little bit of time to get back there. We've had cost of living adjustments, interest rate rises,” he said.
“The wagering numbers have softened off the peak through that COVID period. I think we need to forecast what the wagering model looks like in future, what the industry revenue model looks like. It changes, of course with the higher point of consumption tax share in August next year.
“Once that's known, I think we need to recut what the prizemoney model looks like. And that may mean there could be less race meetings or less races across the season.”
Another crucial financial factor facing the industry is the renewal of the club funding deals.
Some clubs have privately expressed frustrations with the speed of negotiations on a new deal where RV pays clubs millions each year to host meetings. Clubs are concerned that the cost of racing has increased but club funding has remained the same since 2017.
“We're working on a two-year club funding deal that we signed in 2017. It's well overdue,” Browell said.
“[The future club funding deal] will be critically important. We're just keen to see how the club funding model works through that closure period.”