Australian media king, broadcaster, community entrepreneur and racehorse owner-breeder, Alan Jones AO addressed the 33rd Asian Racing Conference in down under in Sydney, Australia, this past Monday on Racing's Destiny; The Path to Success.
Media Man and Gambling911 saddle up and snap the whip with this galloping report...
Mr Jones emphasised the need for industry unity to meet the challenge of change. He stressed to the conference, booked up with 550 delegates from 36 countries, that the challenges facing Australia, and its individual states, were not particular to Australia.
"Many of these challenges face the industry worldwide," said Jones, a former Australian Rugby Union coach and former Deputy Chairman of the Australian Sports Commission. Readers will recall the Gambling911 and New York Times coverage of the likes of the Aqueduct Racecourse and the slots and development situation.
Aussie Jones says "In politics they say that disunity is death. So it is too in families and so it is in the family of racing. Our real competitors are external ones, other forms of sport and leisure and other gambling activities. In those circumstances, to prevail, unity is important if we are to offer the best programmes, the best racing experience and a consistency in the quality of the product throughout the whole of Australia,".
We think Jones is well aware of the James Packer - Betfair's of the world, and Betfair has made it no secret of their desire to soon offer Australia's a more complete service including online poker and online casino games. Gibraltar based gaming giant PartyGaming of course recently inked a deal with the PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbain) in France, and racing bodies and media bodies around the global have rightly taken note.
Jones commented to the conference on the expense of running racing's administration in NSW, in addition to the race field's legislation.
"We also have to be unapologetic in insisting that we get paid for the product that others are using for their financial benefit," he said.
"And I am referring to corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. "We welcome these mediums which offer punters a broader variety of opportunities for betting, but we are entitled to insist, as and industry, that we get paid," he stressed.
Jones compared the international transfer price for horse racing that is shown in Australia of 3% to the New South Wales "race fee" of 1 ½% with the challenge by corporate bookmakers to that figure and legislation. He commented on gross profit as a method of charging.
"People can run their business badly and not make a profit. In other words they can use our product for no benefit to us. It is ludicrous to link the use of our race fields with the profitability of the user. Surely as with any other product, you pay your fee for using it and you do your best with it, according to your model".
In the coming weeks the Media Man - Gambling911 connection is aiming to speak with Jones and the "stick and pick" club, including John and Jack Singleton and Gerry Harvey. The Singleton's and Radio 2GB have been very supportive to date, even helping Media Man through a rough patch about 5 years ago, and we anticipate a positive reception to our probe on Australian racing as the industry looks to return to top form, despite healthy competition from Betfair and other internet betting entities.
Giddy up punters, another race is about to start. No longer is geographic region such a restrictive element, but we understand the the state and federal government are looking for a fair shake, for its the Australian way, so here's to a Win-Win-Win. We'll keep you posted. Bet with your head, not over it, and keep it fun.
*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911
*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming being just one of a dozen industry verticals covered
*The writer both owns shares in Crown Limited and participates in the Betfair b2b affiliate program.
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