With this emergency support package, the government aims to provide the industry a major boost
New Zealands’ horse racing, like the rest of the country, had come to a crashing halt in April when the Covid-19 alert level 4 came into effect. New Zealand's decision to pursue an elimination approach was a vastly different approach to usual pandemic planning and they introduced some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world at the end of March.
Now that the virus is controlled, businesses are opening up again. Although, one of the worse hit industries is horse racing. New Zealand has thousands of racehorses and horses in training to become racehorses that needed to be looked after daily. Unlike domestic pets, they can't live in people's homes. They have strict diets, exercise regimes and need controlled and safe living environments. They also need their stables cleaned, medical needs taken care of and shoes replaced, all of which are essential to preserve their health.
The loss of revenue from international online gaming, which is estimated to be worth $400 million a year, has hit many racing clubs so hard that they are on the edge of bankruptcy.
Thankfully the industry is getting now a major boost from the government with a $72.5 million emergency support package, including $20 million to build two new race tracks and a further $50 million to the Racing Industry Transition Authority. This support will help to keep racing clubs solvent while they recover from the effects of Covid-19.
Racing Minister Winston Peters said: “We can’t gild the lily. The racing industry has been hit by the perfect storm of Covid-19 while in a weak financial state and in the midst of a reform program.” Peters added the Government intended to regulate the offshore gambling sector and could introduce onshore online gambling in New Zealand.
As we have recently reported New Zealand’s gaming taverns are also already preparing to welcome players back to their gaming rooms.
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