Increased prizemoney and a longer-term strategic approach to announcing stakes across all three codes of racing will deliver exciting racing for Western Australian participants in the years ahead.
Acknowledging the unique economic conditions currently being experienced in Western Australia, Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) will evolve its stakes strategy to provide a three-year view of racing industry funding, which will provide additional financial certainty for racing participants.
Stronger financial results than anticipated for FY2021 have encouraged RWWA to implement:
- an annualised increase in stakes of $7 million across thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing from 1 February 2022, six months earlier than would otherwise have been the case; and
- a three-year funding commitment to be finalised and announced mid-2022 with ‘locked-in’ minimum baseline annual stakes increases for the three years beginning 1 August 2022.
Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards said the stakes increases were among the new funding initiatives being fast-tracked to benefit racing participants, thanks to RWWA’s robust financial position.
“We are fully aware that our own financial situation and the general economic conditions in Western Australia are unprecedented. While the threat of impacts on our industry from the pandemic remains relevant, we must balance prudent management of the business with opportunities to deliver benefits for participants to ensure the ongoing sustainability of racing in WA,” Ian said.
“We recognise and appreciate the hard work of the racing industry that enabled us to be among the few sports that kept operating throughout the worst of the pandemic period.
“We also know that, like most other sectors of the Western Australian economy, our participants now face a range of new challenges related to the State’s strongly performing economy, including uncertainties around costs for at least the next year or two.
“For this reason, we have made a strategic decision to leverage our strong financial position into delivering greater certainty about future stakes increases in order to assist participants in all codes with their longer-term investment decisions and business planning.”
The stakes increases to take place from 1 February 2022 will include:
- Thoroughbreds – $10,000 increase in metropolitan Saturday base stakes;
- Harness – increase in the average metropolitan prime stakes of $2,965 and reinstatement of funding to allow both 10 races at Gloucester Park on a Friday night and 9 races on a Tuesday.
- Greyhounds – 10 per cent increase to base stakes across all race meeting types.
The three-year minimum baseline increases will be announced in May 2022.
In addition to the increases in prizemoney, RWWA announced earlier in the year that it would commit a further $10 million in annual funding as well as $30.7 million in infrastructure spending for FY2022. Major infrastructure projects include the redevelopment of the Bunbury racecourse, as well as upgrades to WA’s greyhound tracks to elevate existing welfare standards.
RWWA recently released a report examining the size and scope of the WA racing industry, which revealed it contributes almost $1 billion to the State’s economy each year and supports more than 8,400 full-time equivalent jobs.