New Zealand repeals betting levy

23 May 2019

The New Zealand government has confirmed it is to repeal the current betting levy on the country’s racing industry, with plans in place to phase this out over the next three years.

As announced by Racing Minister Winston Peters, freed-up funds as a result of the move will be redirected to the racing and sports sectors. Funds collected via the levy are currently paid to the Crown.

In 2018, income from the levy amounted to NZ$13.9m (£7.2m/€8.1m/US$9.0m), representing 4% of overall betting profit in the country.

Peters, who is also New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister, said the decision to repeal the levy is a step towards revitalising the country's racing industry.

“This change will provide an important source of revenue for industry investment decisions,” he said. “The funds will be redistributed to the racing Codes and Sport New Zealand, with a proportion set aside to support the reduction of gambling harm.

“The racing industry plays a vital role in the New Zealand economy, having contributed NZ$1.6bn to the economy in 2016/17 whilst employing tens of thousands of New Zealanders, many of them young, and boosting New Zealand’s exports.

“It is important that the industry is revitalised and placed on a sustainable footing for the future. Redirecting the betting levy funds is only one of a number of steps the government is undertaking.”

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has welcomed the move, with CEO John Allen saying that it will provide “some much needed relief to an industry where many are struggling to make ends meet and help support them”.

Allen added: “The New Zealand racing industry is responsible for generating NZ$1.6bn in value-added contribution to the New Zealand economy and over 14,000 full time equivalent jobs.

“This announcement is an important element towards safeguarding the future.”

The move comes after the New Zealand government last month also announced a series of measures to revitalise the country’s horse racing sector, with a point of consumption tax to be levied on offshore bookmakers for the first time.

Peters is to introduce two pieces of legislation in response to a review of the New Zealand racing industry by Australian racing expert John Messara.

The first will see the NZRB replaced by Racing Industry Transitional Authority, which will take responsibility for developing a new governance structure for the sector. The second piece of legislation is due to be published later this year, and will finalise a new governance structure for the market.

Image: Max Pixel