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Tabcorp Deal Puts National TOTE On The Agenda

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It may only be a matter of time before steps are taken to create a national TOTE across Australia.

As it stands Super TAB controls Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania, Uni Tab controls Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory and NSW Tab runs independently.

This obviously creates drastic differences in pools held on each race with sometimes massive odds disparities as a result.

The idea is to combine all pools into one and the recent extension of Tabcorp’s contract in Victoria has paved the way for this to occur.

Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines says it’s something he want to examine.

“That’s an objective I would like to pursue,” he said

“Three pools in Australian racing is too many.”

The idea also has support from the chairman of the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association Jonathan Munz.

“This (national TOTE) is aided by Tabcorp now holding both the Victorian and NSW licences,” he said.

“The UNITAB pool needs to be incorporated and any competition objections would be completely misguided as bigger pool sizes are in the interest of everyone, including punters.”

Tabcorp’s 12 year extension in Victoria will also mean a substantial increase in prize money across the state.

Funds will be sent to country meets as a priority with metro levels to be looked at after.

“That doesn’t mean there won’t be city increases as well, but the board has agreed country is a priority,” Hines said.

He says however that exact levels of increases can’t be made right now given the exact deal with Tabcorp wouldn’t be finalised for another few months.

He says it probably won’t be until next year that figures are provided.

“The industry will definitely be better off,” he said.

“I would expect an initial increase in the first year and then another two years later, when we see how it all works.”

The last increase to minimum prize levels across Victoria was back in 2009.

One set of figures he can provide is the amount of funding which will be provided across the three codes next season.

Last year they were paid out $322 million with that number to reach at least $337 million.

“I expect to increase on that,” Hines said.

There will also be a reduced tax rate on betting to make up for a 25 percent loss in revenue from gaming profits next year.

The new Tabcorp agreement still needs the tick of approval from the three codes however that’s expected to be a matter of formality.

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