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NZ Racing signs HKJC commingling deal as turnover surpasses $2bn

22nd October 2014 6:52 am GMT

Horse racing punters in New Zealand will be able to bet into Hong Kong’s multi-million dollar betting pools following an agreement between the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) and the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC).

The NZRB, which operates more than 640 TAB outlets across the country, has become one of a select group of international agencies approved to commingle into the Hong Kong pools.

It follows a taxation law change by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council allowing commingling with overseas operators.

Webis Holdings’ WatchandWager.com also provides players with access to the pools via Tote provider AmTote, following an extension to its agreement in September.

“Our intention has always been to give our customers in New Zealand the opportunity to bet into ‘native’, or home field, pools and this allows us to do that,” said NZRB wagering consultant Martin Saunders. “We’ll be commingling into win, place and quinella pools initially, then into other pools including trifecta from next year and, in time, the huge dividend-bearing Triple Trio.

The TAB will be commingling directly into Hong Kong via a hub arrangement with international partner Tabcorp, benefiting TAB customers. In addition, the TAB will commingle First4 and Quaddie pools games on Hong Kong racing directly with Tabcorp.

“Most importantly, it will reduce the volatility that can occur in smaller pools, skewing win and place dividends,” said Saunders. “Longer term, the goal is to have Hong Kong customers betting into New Zealand, which will be a real boost to liquidity of our domestic pools.”

In related news, the NZRB last week reported its results for the year ended July 31st, posting a 7 per cent increase in turnover to NZ$2.1bn and a marginal rise in net profit to $137.0m.

NZRBs acting CEO Stewart McRobie said it had been a mixed year, but that the core business remained strong and was underpinned by solid year-on-year growth.

“The NZ Racing Board achieved record breaking turnover results surpassing the $2bn mark for the first time in the organisation’s history. This was on the back of a highly successful Football World Cup tournament that was the TAB’s biggest ever betting event with turnover of $32.3m.

McRobie said that the board achieved year-on-year growth in betting and gaming turnover of 6.8 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively.

“Turnover growth from domestic customers is running over three times higher than the compound average of the last four years– a long term negative trend that is beginning to reverse,” he said.

Rising operating expenses and other factors meant however that net profit did not meet budget, despite a marginally improvement on the previous year to a record $137.0m.

“Some very positive improvements have been offset by the significant appreciation of the New Zealand dollar against the Australian dollar,” continued McRobie. “Our key initiative projects – broadcasting and the mobile app have also cost more and taken longer to execute, but we expect to see benefits from these projects come through in future results.

The three racing codes – New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New Zealand and Greyhound Racing New Zealand– and the racing industry, received $137.4m from NZRB’s operations, while $5.0m was provided for distribution to National Sporting Organisations, and a record $2.3m to other sporting bodies from gaming activities.

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