The New Zealand government is planning to scrap the nation’s betting levy as part of an overhaul of the New Zealand racing industry, according to Racing Minister Winston Peters.
Under the current system, funds generated by the levy go into the New Zealand government’s coffers, but under the new plan, the levy is set to be phased out over a period of three years, with the funds instead diverted to the racing and sports sectors. The levy as it is currently applied amounts to four percent of betting industry profits, which totalled $13.9 million in 2018.
The proposal to redirect the levy, which Peters said would help to revitalise the New Zealand racing industry, was recommended in a recent review of the nation’s racing sector and has been given the endorsement of the Ministerial Advisory Committee.
Peters, who also serves as New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister says that under the reformed levy system, the money would be diverted to the Racing Codes and to Sport New Zealand, while a proportion will be used to fund projects designed to tackle gambling harm. He also said that it would help to sustain an industry that contributes over $1.5 billion to the New Zealand economy and provides employment for more than 14,000 people.
The decision to redirect the funds raised from the betting industry into racing was welcomed by New Zealand’s leading horse racing organisation, the New Zealand Racing Board . The Chief Executive of the NZRB, John Allen said that it would offer timely relief to an industry that has been struggling.
The levy changes are part of an overall attempt to support the racing industry on the part of the New Zealand government, which has also proposed a two percent levy on offshore betting companies and new fees for betting operators to access official racing data.