RITA Reports Promising Profits & Projections

Tia Winter | 28 November 2019

The Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) of New Zealand has revealed that its profits and turnover for 2019 to date have both exceeded its initial expectations. The organisation says that it is remaining cautiously optimistic that a second Racing Bill will be approved and implemented by June of 2020.

In a general industry update, chair of RITA Dean McKenzie has said that he expects the bill to be introduced at New Zealand’s parliament in December this year. A Select Committee process will allow racing industry shareholders to offer their opinions and suggestions on the proposed market reforms.

Some of the key measures featured in the new bill include a clause that would allow RITA to charge foreign bookmakers for offering odds on New Zealand-based sports and racing. The bill would also introduce a point of consumption tax that would be levied on all operators who accept bets from local Kiwi bettors.

Bill Set to Be Enacted in Mid-2020

Dean McKenzie has noted that the bill is set to be passed into law before the end of June next year. If all goes according to plan, the legislation will be enacted from 1 July onwards.

Speaking further about the developments, the chairman noted that his organisation has 2 major focuses for the charges. The first is to do whatever they can to support the Parliamentary Council Office and the Department of Internal Affairs to draft and enact them as soon as they can. The second is to register as many offshore bookies as possible to voluntary agreements in the interim.

RITA Signs Voluntary Agreements

McKenzie added that RITA has already inked voluntary deals with Betfair, Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and Tabcorp, and there are more negotiations underway. He noted that this means his organisation will have around 80% of the Aussie online bookmaking market contributing to the New Zealand gambling industry soon.

Some other proposed regulations include the payment of betting duty savings, which are currently held by RITA separately. There is also a suggested formula for payments to racing codes, and another formula to be used for calculating minimum payments to national sports organisations.

McKenzie says that RITA expects the Racing Minister to outline the Cabinet’s decisions on Bill 2 soon, which will provide additional contexts to the legal changes ahead. Meanwhile, the chair says that turnover, customer numbers and gross betting margins were all ahead of expectations in the year-to-date period starting on August 1. Profits for the year are also ahead of budget, standing at NZD 2.9m and prompting optimism among board members.