Queensland will not introduce a minimum bet rule, as had been widely anticipated, as Racing Minister Grace Grace announced a shock U-turn on the issue this week.
It’s a move that will anger punters in the state. Racing Queensland suggested late last year that minimum bet regulations would be implemented as part of the new Race Information Fees deal between corporate bookmakers and the industry, which has just been completed, but no such provision was forthcoming.
Queensland was expected to follow the lead of New South Wales and Victoria by introducing the scheme, which forces bookmakers to bet all punters to lose a minimum amount.
The rules are designed to offer punters a fair crack of the whip, especially winning punters, whose bets are often refused by off-course corporate bookmakers.
Currently, on-track bookmakers in Queensland are required to bet any customer to lose a minimum of $1,000; however, online companies licensed outside the state are not bound by these regulations.
New South Wales introduced the rule in 2014, followed in 2016 by Victoria. The minimum amount you need to bet to lose in those states is between $1000 and $2000, depending on the status of the race meeting.
Deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington criticized the U-turn, telling the Telegraph that it would place the state at a competitive disadvantage.
“We will be at a disadvantage to New South Wales and Victoria because Labor’s policy is to favour multinational corporate bookmakers who aren’t based here and don’t pay tax here,” he said. “This is a decision that will cost jobs, force punters interstate and funnel money out of the Queensland racing industry.”
RQ’s Small Gamble
Meanwhile, professional bettor and tipster Daniel O’ Sullivan called the decision “short-sighted.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there will come a time in the future where Racing Queensland look back and lament the decisions of the current Board to encourage a biased wagering landscape and allow market share to be lost to other jurisdictions,” he said.
Racing Queensland announced this week that the newly negotiated Racing Information Fee deal will be a boon for the industry. Under the terms of the deal, the charges for corporate bookies to publish Queensland thoroughbred, harness and greyhound race fields will actually decrease, but RQ believes the shortfall will be offset by extra revenue generated by increased wagering.
“We were keen to review the performance of the current race fields model as well as seek input to the type of model that would deliver increased customer engagement in Queensland racing product,” said RQ chief executive Eliot Forbes.
It’s a gamble, but as far as punters are concerned, it’s the minimum bet.