Racing Victoria AGM Report

The Racing Victoria Annual General Meeting was held on October 24 with RV announcing a strong surplus that further secures a platform for future growth and investment in Victorian thoroughbred racing.

Racing Victoria AGM Report

The Racing Victoria Annual General Meeting was held on October 24 with RV announcing a strong surplus that further secures a platform for future growth and investment in Victorian thoroughbred racing.

The financial results for the year ending 30 June 2016 (FY16) are summarized as follows:

• Total Comprehensive Income – $27.9 million (down from $50.0 million in FY15)

• Total Revenue – $402.7 million (up from $361.2 million in FY15)

• Cash Reserves – $74.7 million (up from $53.8 million in FY15)

Speaking at the AGM, Acting Chairman Mike Hirst said the result capped off a successful year for the state’s principal racing authority and the wider racing industry.

“The financial strategy we have developed and followed has again delivered an incredibly robust balance sheet in a challenging environment.

“As demonstrated by the extent of our investments in the year past, we are committed to adopting a responsible and balanced approach to investing wisely in growth opportunities and encouraging industry participation whilst maintaining the industry’s financial security,” Mr Hirst said.

“The surplus of $27.9 million follows last year’s surplus of $50 million which was off the back of a four-year debt elimination program that had peaked at a debt of almost $40 million in FY12.

“The reduced surplus in FY16 is due to our investment of $19.7 million of additional prizemoney and VOBIS bonuses, and in supporting the new Racing.com businesses.

“Looking ahead, we have good reason as an industry to be excited by the future, but we have some challenges to work through such as an evolving wagering environment and the optimization of a long-term media model that continues to encourage more fans and a higher level of engagement.

“We will also continue work on our infrastructure planning, and I thank the clubs for their collaboration and vision in working through the future state of racing in Victoria to ensure we invest strategically in both metropolitan and country facilities that guarantee the ongoing health and development of our sport.”

Mr Hirst said the strong result is due not only to sound financial management by RV in maximising returns from wagering and media rights, but the contribution of all within the industry to whom he paid tribute.

“I want to acknowledge the passion and commitment of every owner, trainer, jockey, breeder, stable employee and of course the fans of Victorian racing.

“I also wish to commend the clubs, industry associations and business partners for their support and collaboration throughout the year in helping to build a stronger industry,” Mr Hirst said.

“The continuing support of the Andrews Labor Government and the Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, is also greatly appreciated by Racing Victoria and the industry more broadly.”

Mr Hirst said the highlight of FY16 was the launch, in partnership with Seven West Media, of Racing.com – the only 24/7 free-to-air television channel devoted to a single sporting jurisdiction within Australia.

“By securing a dedicated channel, the sport has been granted a unique and unprecedented opportunity to attract new audiences in homes across Australia. The broadcast coverage is world class and is proving to be highly sought after by wagering service providers and our customers,” Mr Hirst said.

“The digital streaming reach of our broadcasts has rapidly expanded to seven leading wagering service providers, in addition to Racing.com, and places the sport on a sound footing to meet the demands of racing fans and engage with them at all levels.

“The widespread availability of Victorian racing vision and the overall consistency and quality of our racing program have been significant factors in the popularity of Victorian wagering product with annual turnover increasing by 6.4 per cent in FY16 and returns from our Race Fields Policy reaching record levels.”

Major projects throughout FY16 included the commencement of night and synthetic racing at Racing.com Park (Pakenham); the building of on-course stabling at Cranbourne and Ballarat; the commencement of a major track reconstruction at Seymour and a partnership with the University of Melbourne and Government in a $5.25 million research program into the early detection and prevention of bone injury to racehorses.

Mr Hirst identified strategic reviews of the industry’s long-term wagering strategy, metropolitan infrastructure and Club funding model among RV’s FY17 priorities, together with a cost review and on-going discussions with Government on the Bittar Review into Victorian racing’s integrity structures.

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