Racing industry taking steps in the face of COVID-19 threat

20 March 2020

Leaders of New Zealand’s racing industry are working closely together to combat the threat
posed to the sector from COVID-19.

The TAB, which provided $162m of funding to sustain racing and sport in New Zealand in
2019, continues to provide a variety of racing and sport options, however it has seen a
significant reduction in content available to customers following the cancellation and
postponement of racing and sporting events and fixtures around the world.

The Chairs and Chief Executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New
Zealand and Greyhound Racing New Zealand met yesterday with the TAB to discuss a
coordinated approach to tackle the impact of COVID-19.

Dean McKenzie, Racing Industry Transition Agency Executive Chair said the TAB, and the
wider racing and sport community, was facing similar unprecedented challenges being
experienced by many businesses throughout New Zealand and was preparing for all

“As a business we are planning for every possible scenario and taking steps to mitigate the
impact of a significant reduction in income from wagering. We are working closely with the
three racing codes and actively talking with the Government about steps we can take to
maintain distributions to racing and sport in the face of this crisis.

The industry knows this is a time for planning and not panic. We continue to provide quality
New Zealand and international racing to our customers and we are taking steps to introduce
new sporting content to our customers. At the same time, across the industry, we’re taking
steps to minimise our costs as much as possible.”

Glenda Hughes, CEO of Greyhound Racing New Zealand, said the racing community had
demonstrated it could work together with a common focus to benefit everyone involved in
the industry.

“We’ve got to be resolute in our commitment to look at the long term future of all sectors
of the industry and we’re committed to work together in response to COVID-19.” Bernard Saundry of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing said the TAB sustained an industry
that supported the livelihoods of more than 17,000 New Zealanders and it was critical
industry leaders worked together in the face of the threats posed by COVID-19.

“Like everyone around New Zealand, the racing community is worried about the potential
impact of COVID-19 on their livelihoods. Right now we’re still racing but it’s prudent to take
steps now to ensure the sustainability of our industry.”

Peter Jensen of Harness Racing New Zealand said the racing code was working closely with
the TAB to understand the various scenarios which the industry could face over the coming
months and taking steps to confront the challenge.

“While the New Zealand racing industry is taking several proactive steps to reduce the
impact of COVID-19, we are working with the TAB on the possibility of a reduction or total
drop in New Zealand and Australian racing products available. Clearly this scenario would
have a major impact on revenue and the ability of RITA to maintain distributions to the
racing industry and we’re taking collective responsibility as to how we would manage the
impact of a reduction in distributions for the second half of the year, should that

The Chairs and CEOs of the racing codes and the TAB will meet early next week to continue
discussions and will provide a further update then.