Glasser and Yarock may sound like a law firm but both are enthusiastic amateur drivers and each won a division in the C.K.G. Billings Series at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night, August 8. Glasser won the first $12,000 split with Celebrity Stimulus in 2:04 while Yarock copped the second $12,000 trot with Mr. Invincible in a time of 2:04.4. Both trot were non-wagering affairs. In the first heat David "the Litigator" Glasser started from the pylon position and stayed along the poles throughout the mile. After trotting along I third position while there were multiple moves toward the front end Glasser stayed put and when the field headed for home he used the passing lane to rally Celebrity Stimulus to a one length victory over Tony "the Capo" Verruso and Sam's Honeybee. The pace-setter in that contest, Get Packin, with Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff aboard, finished third. The winner, a 4-year-old son of Cantab Hall-Slow Dance Hanover is owned by Joel Golub and Stuart Oppenheimer. Glasser, a president of a litigator support company, was always involved with the Standardbred sport. When he was a youngster his parents, Arthur and Evelyn, were enthralled in harness racing and not only owned many horses but they purchased a training farm in Orange County (NY) and raced much of their stock in the Metropolitan New York area and at Monticello Raceway. Young David also became enthralled with racing and earned a driver's license while a college student. He had driven some winners (21) in the 1980's but there was a hiatus to his driving beginning in 1993 and it was restarted until 2011 when he joined various local amateur driving clubs. But even then he only drove a few races a season and it wasn't until this year that he again visited the winners circle. Although he won a race at Yonkers Raceway earlier this year as a member of NAADA this was his first Billings victory and third in 14 seasonal starts. Yarock, on the other hand, marked his 7th seasonal victory and 50th of his career with his triumph behind Mr. invincible. In that contest Yarock, an account manager by profession, went down the road after taking command on the first turn and he never relinquished the lead although his trotter was headed momentarily in the lane but surged back to score a neck victory over Rodeo Red and driver "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo. Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry took home the show dough with Keystone Sadie. Mr invincible is an 8-year-old gelding by Angus Hall from Ms Vic and owned by Yarock. Both Billings winner are trained by Jimmy Doherty, Jr. John Manzi
Montreal, August 7 2014 – Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, Pierre Paradis, announced his intention to put forward a bill that would redefine animals in the Civil Code of Quebec and grant them the status of sentient beings. In order to proceed with this reform, Mr. Paradis reached an agreement with the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée. Mr. Paradis’ announcement comes in response to the Animals are not things manifesto, which was launched on January 22nd and has been signed by over 46 000 people. The manifesto, which is supported by theMontreal SPCA, calls for a reconsideration of the legal status of animals in the Civil Code of Quebec. Currently, our Civil Code considers animals to be moveable property, indistinguishable from a toaster or a chair. Under civil law, the act of hurting or abusing an animal is therefore tantamount to the destruction of property. The SPCA applauds Minister Paradis’ willingness to reform the legal status of animals. “Given the importance and complexity of this issue, as well as the fact that over 46 000 Quebec citizens have expressed their concern about it, it is crucial that public consultations take place before moving forward with a bill” said Me Sophie Gaillard, Lawyer and Campaigns Manager for the Montreal SPCA Animal Advocacy Department. “We feel that this is an opportunity to effect real change for animals in this province and for Quebec to become a leader in animal welfare instead of lagging behind.” Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514-226-3932, or email@example.com.
Fredericton NB– Horse Racing New Brunswick announced today that it has launched a lawsuit against the Province of New Brunswick for breach of contract. Horse Racing NB Inc. was created in 2009 under the direction of The Provincial Government and industry stakeholders. In order to incorporate HRNB into the gaming strategy of NB, a contract was formed in partnership with the province to allocate 150 video lottery terminals from the 2000 put in play by NB Lotteries and Gaming. The 150 VLTS were designed to be placed at the existing racetracks in New Brunswick. HRNB, working through Atlantic Lotto, renovated Winners Lounge in Fredericton and placed 25 VLTs in that facility. “The major hurdle in deploying the balance of the allotment of VLT’s was infrastructure”, said Dr. Mitchell Downey, President of Horse Racing New Brunswick, “but we were determined to make it work.” In 2010, the incoming government of David Alward was engaged to look at options for a racino facility at Exhibition Park in Saint John. HRNB was told to "find a partner". In 2012 that partner was found in the Woodstock First Nations Economic Development Corporation. In September of 2012, HRNB and WFNEDC entered into a memorandum of understanding that would see the construction of a state of the art gaming facility in Saint John and revitalize the harness racing industry. The very next day industry stakeholders were told that NB Gaming and the Province of NB would not recognize the MOU that HRNB had entered into, and further, had cancelled the contract, henceforth denying HRNB access to its allotment of VLTs. “In short” says Dr. Downey, “they breached a contract because they did not like the partner HRNB had found.” Brian Murphy, attorney for HRNB says “this is a clear case of breach of contract. The Province will defend on the basis of policy, yet it broke the terms of the agreement they drafted, they broke their word.” Dr. Mitchell Downey President Horse Racing New Brunswick
Cheating on your spouse is not very nice; and is still a crime in many places. While prosecutions for Adultery are admittedly rare, the Scarlet Letter crime is still on the books. In fact, at last count it's a criminal offense in 21 states. While liberalized divorce laws in all 50 states have eliminated the need to plead and prove civil grounds for divorce, such as Adultery, some spouses try to encourage prosecution of their wayward betrothed to extract an advantage with issues such as child custody and visitation. Public Intoxication is also a criminal offense in several states, and, unlike adultery, arrests and prosecutions occur with regularity. A related crime, Public Lewdness, occurs when too much beer leads to the need to relieve oneself in an open place. How prevalent are the types of activities described above? You don’t need to have a degree in the social sciences to conclude that everybody has, and everybody will, do regrettable things during their lifetimes. While not everyone sleeps around or drinks to excess in public, there are those who have shoplifted a candy bar; made graffiti; sold a bootleg recording; hosted a poker game; walked across railroad tracks when the gates were down; passed a joint to a friend (constitutes a drug sale); cheated on their taxes and committed hundreds of other criminal offenses. Imagine someone being permanently banned from participating in pari-mutuel harness racing because his spouse caught him carousing around her back, or because he screamed obscenities in a park at midnight in an inebriated state. Not nice; and possibly criminal activity… but do these actions truly speak to the appropriateness of participation in our industry? Moreover, if the activity occurred away from a racetrack, what possible business would a racetrack management, much less a racing commission, have in using it to judge the character and fitness of an individual who always acts as a professional while in the paddock? Finally, all other things considered, would the penalty of perpetual banishment truly fit the crimes referenced? The stakeholders in our industry have varied opinions when it comes to horse slaughter. Irrespective of my opinion or that of anyone else, the present legal status of horse slaughter in this country is what it is; like it or not. Against this backdrop, consider the lawsuit presently pending in a Federal District Court in Ohio entitled, Mumaw v. Ohio State Racing Commission. The plaintiffs are longstanding owners and trainers of Thoroughbreds at Thistledown Racetrack. They contend that in 2012 they retired one of their horses by giving it to a woman seeking a riding horse for her children. The plaintiffs did not transfer the Jockey Club registration papers, explaining that they didn’t want the horse to end up racing ever again. They allege that it wasn’t until 2013 that the Jockey Club permitted a “Sold as Retired from Racing” designation on registration papers. Thus, they remained the paper owners of the horse. Shortly thereafter, plaintiffs were contacted by somebody they describe as an animal rights’ advocate who indicated that the horse was purchased at a livestock auction house known as a conduit for horses destined for slaughter. It is alleged that this individual demanded money in exchange for her silence. Plaintiffs state that they balked at what they describe as blackmail, and the advocate then contacted both the stewards and track management. Purportedly based upon a racetrack boarding agreement provision prohibiting any horse from being transported from the track for the purpose of slaughter or to an auction house who sells horses for slaughter, the stewards and racetrack management permanently banned plaintiffs and their horses from participation in racing at the track. The question as to whether plaintiffs received a full, fair, constitutional hearing before the stewards is an open question in the litigation; as is the question of whether plaintiffs knew or should have known that the horse was going to a slaughter auction. The answers to these questions and many others are dependent upon what the court ultimately elicits as the true facts in the case. There are, however, questions that can be addressed without the need for much fact finding. The truth is that there is no jurisdiction, including Ohio, which makes it a crime to either buy or sell a horse for the purpose of eventual slaughter. In other words, while some may think selling a horse in a grade sale is horribly wrong, nobody has made it criminal. Yes, slaughter is illegal in certain states, but selling a horse with even nefarious intent doesn’t constitute slaughter. Moreover, not every horse at a grade sale necessarily goes to slaughter. In Ohio, some are purchased by Old Order Amish community members for transport or farm work. In fact, it appears from the complaint in the matter that the horse in question was actually purchased by a horse rescuer and never sent to slaughter. Plaintiffs deny that they transported a horse from the track for the purpose of slaughter. Even if they were found to have done so, what was violated was a track rule embodied in a stall application, not a state statute or regulation. While Thistledown management might be allowed to exclude plaintiffs’ from participation at their premises, what authority did the state’s stewards have to enforce a “house” rule? The question is important, because there are other Thoroughbred venues in Ohio where the actions of the stewards could have wide-ranging implications. What’s more, the very validly of house rules have always been a shaky issue. Decades ago, New York’s highest court voided a “policy” which was never promulgated according to state-mandated procedures that required jockeys suspended by the state during the Saratoga race meet to take their days at Saratoga. Years later, a federal judge refused to dismiss a complaint by New York jockey agents which challenged the legitimacy of a house rule limiting them from representing more than one journeyman jockey. In essence, if a house rule adversely affects a licensee, it impinges upon the vested property right granted to him or her via their state-issued occupational license. It’s for this reason that New York’s highest court also invalidated the state’s attempt to delegate licensing authority to the private, non-governmental Jockey Club. In sum, you could commit a crime and not serve a day’s suspension. You could also violate a racetrack’s house rule, not be in violation of a single law or regulation, and be banned for life not only by racetrack management, by the stewards in their official capacity as state commission agents. Don’t think slaughter is good? I don’t either, but that’s not the point. If Ohio doesn’t have a rule on the books, their officials shouldn’t be enforcing the rules of private organizations. Judges should fine and suspend the state licenses of individuals for regulatory violations, not because a private organization doesn’t like something. After all, aren’t the judges beholden to state law and regulation? When track managements persuade the judges to enforce track rules, it gives those non-governmental rules the impermissible imprimatur of the state. That’s just wrong, because while today the issue is slaughter, tomorrow it might be about free speech, driving style or perceived disloyalty. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network. Chris E. Wittstruck Courtesy of The USTA Web Newsroon
General Admission and Lindauer Lawn tickets are on sale from today, Friday 1 August, for Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day and Show Day Races at Addington, part of New Zealand Cup and Show Week. Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day is one of the most glamorous and highly anticipated social events on Canterbury’s calendar and last year attracted a crowd of over 22,000. This year will see total attendance capped at 25,000. Over the last two years there has been an increase in demand for tickets with facilities and infrastructure able to accommodate up to 25,000 patrons. To ensure customers do not miss out on securing a ticket, be it General Admission, Lindauer Lawn or Hospitality packages, it is recommended that tickets are purchased well in advance to Cup Day. The spectacular day is a festival of elite harness racing, fashion, food, fun and music. Anyone who is anyone will be at this highlight of New Zealand’s racing calendar. The very best harness horses from New Zealand and Australia will take centre stage in the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup, Australasia’s most prestigious two mile harness race. This year champion Canterbury pacer Terror To Love is aiming to make history and become the first horse ever to win four Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cups. On Tuesday 11 November, gates open at 9.30am. The first race of the day starts at 12.05pm and the feature race, the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup, will race at 5.15pm. Racing action will continue through to 6.30pm. Race goers have a number of options as to where they can enjoy their day at the track. The Lindauer Lawn (restricted to patrons aged 18 years or older) is the social hub of Cup Day action and is located on a grassed area close to the race track and the presentation area. There is also a range of great hospitality options if you want to enjoy Cup Day in style. The very popular Public Village which includes large marquees featuring bars, food stalls, totes, seating, toilets, a stage area for music and fashion, a big screen featuring the day’s action and a large Speights Bar trailer, will again be available to all. Ticket Prices for 2014 Tuesday 11 November - Featuring the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Gate entry / general admission - *$20 if purchased prior to race day $30 entry on the day, cash entry at the gate Lindauer Lawn package - *$70. Includes gate entry and Lindauer Lawn entry Reserved Seating in the Temporary Public Stand - $60. Includes gate entry. Please contact the Addington office – (03) 338 9094 Dining and Hospitality packages available - Please contact Joanne McMaster – (03) 339 7908, firstname.lastname@example.org Gates open 9.30am. Friday 14 November - Show Day Races at Addington, Feature races – Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All and Hellers Dominion Trot $10 if purchased prior to race day, no booking fee applies. $10 entry on the day, cash entry at the gate. Gates open 10.30am. For details and further information on how to purchase your tickets please visit www.addington.co.nz
Tabcorp Holdings Limited (“Tabcorp”) today announced that it has agreed with the ACT Government to acquire ACTTAB for $105.5 million. ACTTAB is a Territory-owned provider of totalisator and fixed odds wagering, Keno and Trackside products. The business offers its services and products through a distribution network comprised of 53 retail outlets located throughout the ACT as well as telephone and internet platforms. As part of the acquisition, the ACT Government will issue to Tabcorp a 50 year exclusive totalisator licence, a sports bookmaking licence for an initial term of 15 years with further rolling extensions to a total term of 50 years, and ongoing approvals to offer Keno and Trackside products for 50 years. The ACTTAB totalisator and sports bookmaking licences are highly attractive. Ongoing payments to be made by Tabcorp in respect of the totalisator are limited to an annual licence fee of $1 million and CPI increases. There is no wagering tax payable to the Territory on the totalisator licence. The wagering tax payable to the Territory on the sports bookmaking licence currently has an expected effective tax rate of less than 1% of turnover. Tabcorp's close proximity to the ACT market, as well as existing pooling and fixed odds management arrangements with ACTTAB, provide operational alignment and a deep understanding of ACTTAB's market. Tabcorp's Managing Director and CEO, David Attenborough, said: "The acquisition of ACTTAB presents a unique opportunity for Tabcorp to secure long-term licences on highly favourable terms in a jurisdiction that is complementary to our existing Wagering and Keno businesses in Victoria and New South Wales. We look forward to leveraging our capabilities to strengthen the product offering available to ACTTAB customers and to deliver the best outcome for the racing industry and other stakeholders including our venue and community partners." Tabcorp intends to fund the acquisition from existing bank facilities. Tabcorp expects the acquisition will generate EBITDA of approximately $14 million in the year following completion of integration of the business and will be EPS accretive. Integration is expected to take around 12 months. The ACT Government has agreed to certain protections which provide greater regulatory certainty in respect of the key terms of the licences. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, including ACCC clearance. Tabcorp expects to announce completion of the acquisition within the next few months. Tabcorp is recognised as a world leader in sustainability and in the responsible service of gambling. The 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability Index has ranked Tabcorp as the global gambling industry leader for eight of the past nine years. NICHOLAS TZAFERIS GENERAL MANAGER CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Montreal, July 30, 2014 – The Association of Progressive Jurists (AJP) and the Montreal SPCAare announcing the publication of AJP’s document which provides a critical analysis of traditional animal control by-laws and the publication of Montreal SPCA’s model animal by-law. The AJP and Montreal SPCA consider that the current legislation contains a number of problematic elements. The AJP points out that animal welfare provisions are often left out of animal related municipal by-law laws, but that they shouldn’t be. “General provisions that ensure the welfare of animals should be an integral part of all animal related municipal by-laws, in particular taking into consideration the scientifically recognized principle of animal sentience” says Me Marie-Claude St-Amant, who is responsible for the animal law committee at the AJP. “We drafted this text in order to explain, from a legal perspective, the issues inherent in most municipal by-laws that deal with animal control” she adds. In addition, the Montreal SPCA considers animal related municipal by-laws to be an integral part of a comprehensive solution to ensure the safety and welfare of animals and citizens. “Municipal by-laws should facilitate the reduction of companion animal overpopulation, ensure for responsible animal ownership and regulate the general way in which citizens and animals interact in the community” says Alanna Devine, jurist and Director of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. “We drafted this model by-law in order to provide Municipalities with an example of what they should be adopting in their communities. We are really pleased to have the support of the AJP for this important initiative” adds Devine. To consult the AJP’s text in its entirety, please visit the AJP’s website by clicking here(available in French only). To consult the Montreal SPCA’s model animal by-law please click here (available in French only). About the Association des juristes progressistes AJP is an association of lawyers, law students and workers dedicated to defending rights and determined to bring legal services to the struggle for social justice and to bring an end to inequality. About the Montreal SPCA Founded in Montreal in 1869, we were the first humane society in Canada and our mission is to: protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation; represent their interests and ensure their well-being; raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings. For many years, the Montreal SPCA has been working hard with the three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal) to improve laws on animal protection. For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com. Media contacts: Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514-226-3932, email@example.com. Me Marie-Claude St-Amant, AJP, 514-793-9448, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Addington is pleased to announce that one of the key lead up races to the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup has a new sponsor in 2014. Allied Security, who is a key business partner of Addington’s, will take naming rights of the Group 3 $25,000 Maurice Holmes Vase. The race is to be known as the Allied Security Maurice Holmes Vase. The winner of the race on 5 September will automatically gain qualification for theChristchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday 11 November along with thevwinner of the Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup on 26 September and the first three place getters in the Christian Cullen Canterbury Classic on 10 October. Allied Security is the largest New Zealand owned and operated security company specialising in the supply of friendly, professional and highly trained security staff, wherever and whenever you need them. They offer an efficient and economical but professional security service. Further information about Allied Security can be found at www.alliedsecurity.co.nz Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington
Addington is hosting an Open Day on 22 July at the Raceway for Canterbury licence holders which is believed to be a first for the harness racing industry. Licence holders will be able to view the new Drivers Lounge and Changing Rooms along with the refurbished rooms and facilities that will house the Racing Integrity Unit / Stipendiary Stewards, Racing Secretary and Trackside Television. These rooms are located above the stables at the rear of the Twiggers Stand and overlook the home straight of the track. The Open Day will run from 4pm to 7pm and also provide an opportunity for the Club to present an overview of their 2014-15 Racing and Stakes Initiatives and Promotions. A BBQ and refreshments will be provided and attendees are asked to meet at 4pm outside the entrance to the Garrard’s Horse and Hound shop before heading into the stables. All licence holders are welcome to attend and can confirm their attendance by phoning Brian, Richard or Colin at the Racing Department by Friday 18 July on (03) 338-9094 ext. 829. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington
*What do Remiss, Valhalla, and Mattjestic Rebeck all have in common? well, apart from all having tested over the allowable TCO2 level they are all very nervous horses which became particularly stressed on the day the day in which the tested high. NZ Trainers and Drivers Association Secretary Peter T Cook, who has had his own personal experience with Valhalla, tells more. As you have probably read among the Remits being submitted to this years’ HRNZ Annual Conference, the Board, after a prolonged period of consideration, has finally decided to bring the allowable level of TC02 in line with pretty much every other jurisdiction in the World, i.e.36mmol/L, with a “guard band” of 1.0mmol/L. At the same time, however, they have also recommended an astonishingly large increase in the penalties involved for trainers who are found guilty for a first time. From a previously recommended $2-4000 for a first offence, the Board is proposing an automatic 2 year disqualification. The change has been likened to an increase from a ten year prison sentence to the death penalty in the real world. In other words, this would potentially be a career ending penalty for most, if not all trainers. The understanding is that most Australian states have a six month penalty for a first offence which is more realistic. Not only is this proposal totally out of “kilter’ with penalties attached to other charges, it is likely encourage someone whose career is in jeopardy and who had the financial wherewithal, to contest the matter in the Countrys’ legal system. All has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it? Do we really want thousands of dollars more of Industry money keeping lawyers in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to? And while the Association is strongly supportive of measures against cheats, there is no guarantee that such legal proceedings against HRNZ would not be successful. Such a penalty offers no window for either the RIU or JCA for anyone to be found innocent. With a fine, even though it goes against natural justice, that may reluctantly be acceptable, but a two year ban is a different story. This decision has been made following long awaited, and somewhat controversial, advice from the HRNZ Veterinary Advisor Andrew Grierson. It is interesting to note that, in the press release from HRNZ, Chairman Gary Allen is quoting as saying “any positive will in almost all certainty be the result of an administration of prohibited substances.” The use of the word “almost” is interesting, considering that, in the past and currently, the RIU appear to have a policy of totally ignoring any evidence put before them suggesting a trainers’ innocence. This time last year, I had cause to have discussions with him concerning a horse in the stable I help out in, Valhalla. Andrew reeled off statistics (same as those accompanying the remit) stating categorically that the chances of a horse returning a level of 36mmol/L rises from around 15,000 to just over 2 million for a level of 37 without having TC02 administered. On the day that he was tested, Valhalla (normally a nervous horse at the races at the best of times) attempted to climb the walls of the float en route to the track, was bathed in sweat, was very agitated, and his eyes were out on storks as he was geared up. The RIU, as I could have told them, found no evidence of either Bicarbonate or anything to administer it with in the stables. The official reading was 38.2 which presumably makes him by far the rarest horse on the planet! While the requirement to present drug free horses is understandably paramount, this needs to be balanced with the rules of natural justice, and disqualifying a trainer for two years for a high level of a substance already present in every horse, doesn’t seem to match those requirements. It is quite possible that a Court of Law may take the same view, particularly when there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the trainer. Mark Jones is currently enduring the same nightmare of presenting compelling evidence that he did not administer bicarb, only to have it totally ignored by the authorities. As for performance enhancement, both Valhalla and Remiss, Marks’ horse that is currently under investigation, both finished last in their respective races! Peter T Cook (Courtesy of the Trainers and Drivers Association)
This is the third in a series of articles we are running with regards to the racing policies of the major political parties in New Zealand. This time it is the LABOUR PARTY: Our vision Racing is a skilled, vibrant industry with a high profile in New Zealand. It contributes significantly to the domestic economy in terms of primary production, as a gaming sport and in entertainment. It has an extremely high value in the export of bloodstock, particularly in new markets such as Hong Kong. Racing offers employment directly and indirectly to many people across a wide spectrum of society. Labour is committed to working in partnership with the industry to achieve better outcomes in all areas of the racing industry. When in government, we worked hard to build a good environment for the industry. The income tax liability was removed on offshore stake money, and the GST liability due on horses sold for export was addressed. The Racing Act 2003 better equipped the industry to address the challenges it faces. Labour delivered a reduction in taxation to align with other forms of gambling, enabling the industry to have increased funds for stakes, assets and other activities. Labour recognises the need for the industry to achieve sustainable growth through maximising strengths and opportunities, and will continue to work closely with the sector to facilitate this. Value to economy The racing industry makes a significant contribution to New Zealand‟s GDP, and creates employment and export opportunities. A study by the Melbourne-based economic consultancy IER Pty Ltd (IER) found that in 2008/09 the industry had a significant economic impact on New Zealand‟s GDP, employment and exports. They reported that, in 2008/09: 1) Racing made a direct contribution of $464 million to GDP, and generated more than $1,635 million (0.9 per cent of GDP) if the indirect impact of expenditure in the racing industry is taken into account. 2) Racing directly sustained 8,877 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, and when the indirect impact of racing is taken into account, the total employment increased to 16,934 FTE jobs. More than 52,000 people participated in the racing industry (this figure included volunteers and owners). 3) The racing industry generated more than $167 million in export sales of thoroughbred and standard bred horses. A prosperous and dynamic sector with huge potential The racing industry is currently in decline, primarily through having to compete with many other forms of gambling. So changes are needed. When in Government, Labour will be instrumental in allowing all parts of the industry to be involved in reviewing the current status of the industry, and to establish what is the best way forward. Labour is committed to building on the good partnership we had developed with the racing industry, and will continue to work closely with the industry to strengthen racing‟s contribution to economic growth. Labour will ensure that all additional funding to racing contributes to real economic growth to be enjoyed by all stakeholders, through appropriate industry strategies. Recognising that change must come from within, Labour will convene a round-table discussion of major stakeholders in the industry with a view to strengthening and enhancing the economic viability of racing in New Zealand. We will ensure that a strategic direction is developed and implemented. Labour is concerned that some racing clubs might use revenue from pokie machines for purposes other than for the social good. There are also proposals to establish pokie machines on racing club premises, and we are concerned this may be done without sufficiently-wide consultation. Labour will bring together industry stakeholders to develop policy on these issues. Labour will ensure the robustness of the Integrity Unit, meaning that those appointed to it are of the highest calibre, in order to maintain the integrity of the unit and the industry. Labour in government will assist in establishing a Code of Practice for the racing industry, which will be drawn up and agreed upon by all major stakeholders and will link with the current set-up of the Integrity Unit. We will also uphold the position of the New Zealand Racing Board to hold the exclusive rights to racing and sports betting in New Zealand, and for the net proceeds to be returned to sustain New Zealand racing. Labour will work with the New Zealand Racing Board, the racing code bodies, the Governments and International racing bodies to ensure that New Zealand is well placed to respond to any threats to racing's revenue and integrity. Racing is inherently a dangerous occupation. But with the right tools, the risks can be managed and mitigated. Labour is committed to working with the sector to ensure that jockeys ride in the safest environment possible. A reduction of injuries and safer practices will result in a reduction in ACC levies. Labour will work with the industry to reduce injuries, promote safe practices and provide safe amenities. Our thoroughbred stock is a precious resource, and in New Zealand we are lucky our industry is free from diseases such as Equine Influenza. But the scare in Australia reinforces the need for vigilance in biosecurity measures to protect the industry. Labour will ensure the racing sector and the government have the necessary measures and tools in place to identify and manage biosecurity risks to protect the industry. Labour will support appropriate biosecurity measures to protect the racing industry in all its activities. Skills development and training is as important in the racing sector as any other sector. We want to see the industry continue to move towards being a high-technology, high-skilled driver of growth. Labour will continue to work with the sector to identify areas for improvement in industry training and education. Labour will work with the racing sector to further its industry training and education goals. Labour recognises the difficulties faced by the racing industry in modernising itself for the 21st century. We will work with all major stakeholders to ensure the revitalisation of a strong economic performer which can do even better. The Labour Party
Racing in NZ directly and indirectly accounts for well over $1.6 billion dollars worth of GDP, employs tens of thousands of people, has the potential to rapidly expand its export earnings and is an integral part of the Kiwi lifestyle. 1. In 2006 NZ First recognised the export potential of the NZ breeding industry and the need for improved international marketing, and achieved a much improved taxation regime through a reduction in totalisator duty and an accelerated write-down regime for bloodstock. 2. The strongly supported decision to permit racehorses sold for export to remain in NZ for up to 24 months without attracting GST was a further fillip to the industry and to the NZ economy. 3. In addition NZ First implemented a policy of internationally competitive stakes for racing codes, and an industry safety plan. These achievements provided the industry with the momentum to bolster its economic contribution, creating more jobs, more exports, and more income for NZ. Sadly much of the impetus to revive the racing industry has been lost under the present Government’s neglect. Also of alarm are recent IRD and Treasury departmental attempts to re-interpret clearly established statutory provisions against the industry’s health and interests. PLANS New Zealand First will: 1. Return a greater proportion of industry taxation to the racing codes. 2. Introduce a new (below Premier Meeting) category of meeting where every race will be for $15,000 minimum, with relativity across the codes. 3. Enhance employment and export opportunities by working with the industry to improve the international status of New Zealand Group 1 races to attract greater international interest. 4. Restore marque racing plans and prize money initiatives in line with NZ First policy implementation 2005 –2008 5. Return NZ racing to what it was good at. Racing needs breeding programmes to re-establish NZ as a first tier country in racing. That means policies assisting importation of quality mares, and properly using the sire cost write down. 6. Urgently review the operations and costs of the NZ Racing Board 7. Continue to support projects and initiatives, e.g. the Racing Safety Development Fund (a contestable fund of $1.5 million per annum, matching dollar for dollar contributions from racing clubs) that enhances safety and improves the quality of facilities in the racing industry, including the safety of riders, handlers, spectators, officials and others involved in racing codes, as well as the health and safety of animals. 8. Direct IRD and Treasury to respect the spirit of the laws passed to assist racing so we do not have specious departmental interpretations of laws that are clear to the industry. 9. Further improve the appeal of the racing industry to a wider audience by encouraging the promotion of “family-friendly” activities in conjunction with race meetings in all codes. 10. Defend the historic, modest share of the racing industry, to lawful gambling proceeds, against unreasonable attacks. This is a Ten-Point Plan designed to maximise New Zealand's internationally recognised advantage in the development of race horses and to rebuild our country's reputation as a race horse breeding country of most interest to the world. This plan supports the industry's objectives to increase its economic contribution, creating more jobs, more exports and more income for New Zealand. Judith Hughey Communications Advisor New Zealand First
Training will become a game of Russian Roulette unless harness racing officials become more proactive investigating high bicarbonate levels and allow trainers to prove their innocence, says trainer Mark Jones. Jones, one of the country's most celebrated reinsmen and now a successful trainer at Burnham, is concerned at Harness Racing New Zealand's proposal to introduce strict new penalties for breaches of the TCO2 rule. A remit that will go before the annual general meeting of clubs in Christchurch next month would see the TCO2 threshold lifted from 35 to 36 (with a margin of error of one) to bring it into line with the thoroughbred code and overseas jurisdictions. But with it would come a dramatic rise in the penalties handed out, fines of only a few thousand dollars replaced by minimum disqualifications of two years for a first offence, five years for a second breach and 10 years for a third offence. The proposal came under immediate fire from Amberley trainer Jamie Keast yesterday when he was suspended for six months for his third high bicarb, after Westburn Creed tested 36.2 at Kaikoura last November. And while Jones says the lifting of the level is long overdue, he has good reason to oppose the draconian bans given he is facing a bicarb charge of his own after Remiss returned a level of 36.2 at Forbury Park on June 5 while Jones was away in Nelson. After the mare came close to testing high again on another trip to Dunedin three weeks later, returning 35.6, Jones was forced to sack the horse, not prepared to risk a second charge. Jones has no idea why Remiss tests high but says his attempts to prove his innocence have been rebutted by the Racing Integrity Unit. ''Under the rule, you can't beat them. It's one of strict liability and they say they don't have to do or prove anything. It's an easy kill for them.'' Jones said he had invited the RIU out to his property to show them the $100,000 CCT camera security system he had in place. But his assurances that he had taken all possible precautions were met by a blunt claim that the horse should not have been left unattended, albeit briefly, when strapper Kimberley Butt was out on the track driving. ''I told them I was prepared to pay for them to take the horse for a week then transport it down to Dunedin, test if before it leaves, then again on arrival to see if it its bicarb rises. ''They told me that even if the level went over 36, it would be no defence. Jones said all he was asking for was a measure of common sense and the chance to prove his innocence. And that would be an absolute necessity if HRNZ introduced two-year disqualifications for first offenders. ''I don't like being accused of things I haven't done and it's my livelihood on the line,'' said Jones, fearful that his lifeline of selling horses to Australia will be cut off if his reputation is dented. Jones said RIU investigator Kylie Williams told him if he wanted to race Remiss again she would give him permission to give her a warm-up on the track earlier in the night to lower her level by one to two points. ''But I refused. I shouldn't have to do that to be able to race a horse.'' Instead he passed Remiss on to his father Peter to train and, warmed up twice before she raced at Addington last week, she tested at 34.8. ''But if he hadn't warmed her up before the tests, the level could have been close to 36 or even over.'' Ironically, Peter Jones is also training Mattjestic Rebeck, who landed Rangiora hobby trainer Neville Gorrie in strife in June 2013 when it tested 36.3, resulting in his being fined $1800. Jones said it was simply outrageous to suggest that Gorrie, along with fellow respected Ladbrooks trainer Gavin Cook, whose horse Valhalla tested high at 37 and 38.3 last year, should be disqualified for two years. Jones, who has an earlier bicarb strike against his name, when Algeepee tested 38.2 at Addington in 2010, would be looking at five years out. ''You could never come back after that long. I'd have to sell my property.'' Jones said he's had other horses with unexplained bicarb variances, such as Fair Dinkum Bromac, whose resting paddock level of 30 routinely jumped four points when he went to the races. He had been the same when trained by John Hay. ''It's all very well for their vet to say high levels can only happen with administrations but so many things can affect them. ''I need to figure out why it's happening to me. Am I over-training them, is it in my feed? ''I know the pre-mix feed I use has preservatives in it. That wouldn't be enough to put the level over by itself but put that together with dehydration, stress, lung infections and you can come up with a lethal cocktail. That's scary.'' Courtesy of Barry Lichter Reprinted with permissin of Fairfax media
ALBANY- Companies involved in bidding for casino licenses in New York State spent nearly $11 million on lobbying and campaign donations in 2012 and 2013, and are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to campaign committees through holding companies, according to a new report from the New York Public Interest Research Group. Companies affiliated with KT Lim, the C.E.O. of Malaysian casino company Genting, spent $2.47 million on lobbying between 2012 and 2013. Lim is involved in bids for three separate casinos-two in Orange County and a third in Sullivan County. He is a part-owner of Empire Resorts, one of the companies bidding in Orange County to build a destination resort that would be called Montreign Resort Casino. Empire Resorts spent $665,977 on lobbying expenditures during the two-year period. Caesars, the Las-Vegas based casino giant proposing an $880 million casino in Woodbury, spent $319,123 on lobbying. Caesars is partnering with developer David Flaum on its bid, and Flaum, who is also the developer on a casino proposal in Rensselaer with Hard Rock and the Seneca Indian Tribe, spent $211,925 over the two-year time period. But the lobbying expenses represent only part of the casino companies' spending. Individuals and companies involved in the casino bids contributed $4.32 million to state and local political committees in 2012 and 2013, records show, with individual companies contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars each over the two-year period. The largest contributing entity was Genting, which gave a total of $984,244 during that time. The second-largest contributor was Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural's company, which gave $705,400. The New York Gaming Association isn't affiliated with any single bid, but it has been instrumental in pushing for casino expansion statewide-it has given $553,114 over the previous two years. Nevele, the company bidding to build a resort in Ellenville in Ulster County, has donated $427,404. The single largest recipient of casino companies' donations was the New York Jobs Now Committee, a casino-backed PAC which lobbied in support of the passage of the statewide ballot referendum that legalized casino gambling last fall. The committee received $1.9 million over the two-year period. The second biggest beneficiary was the Nevele Proposition 1 Committee, a PAC founded by Nevele C.E.O. Michael Treanor, which ran advertisements and conducted polling in support of the referendum. The committee took in $327,404. At least a half-dozen companies affiliated with casino bids are either lobbying or making campaign donations through vaguely named holding companies that are difficult to link to the publicly identified bidders. Developer David Flaum, Traditions Resort and Casino, the Galesi Group, developer Louis Cappelli, and Wilmorite all have either set up lobbying contracts or given political donations through dozens of obscure LLCs. Companies bidding for the casinos have retained 31 different lobbying firms since 2012, and recent filings with the state's ethics commission show that many of the bidders have retained lobbyists for the first time in New York State. EPR Properties, the developer of Adelaar,the proposed site for Empire Resorts' Montreign Casino, inked a $545 per hour contract with GCA Capital Group to lobby on its behalf. Howe Caverns signed a $12,000 per month deal with Park Strategies, Al D'Amato's lobbying firm, for April to July 2014. Wilmorite and Rush Street Gaming both signed $15,000 per month contracts with lobbyists-Brown & Weinraub and Bolton St. Johns, respectively- for their casino projects. But that figure likely obscures the total amount companies have spent on lobbying, in part because of a loophole in the state's lobbying laws that does not require companies to report lobbying in towns or municipalities with a population of less than 50,000 people. All but one of the 17 locations where companies are planning to site their casinos are in municipalities that don't meet the population requirements for disclosure.
There are few, if any, issues facing the harness racing industry where all segments are in complete agreement. Just mention of words like whipping, takeout or Lasix® evokes countless vocal opinions across a broad spectrum. If ever there was a matter on which the entire horseracing community could stand uniformly positioned, it is the obstinate insistence by the Internal Revenue Service to treat horseplayers differently from all other types of investors with regard to withholding of portions of their winning wagers. On June 6, the United States Trotting Association joined a chorus of prominent industry groups, publications and federal officeholders in calling on the I.R.S. to stop harming racing by failing to either understand or appreciate the unique nature of 21st century pari-mutuel betting. This lack of knowledge or concern results in the unfair calculation of the amount of tax withholdings assessed against handicappers who successfully prevail when playing super-exotics. Fortunately, much has recently been written about the withholding problem in industry publications. This article will identify the problem; summarize how the industry is attempting to formulate a solution, and how you can play a part in getting the solution implemented. In our grandfathers’ day, tracks offered only win, place and show wagering, later adding a revolutionary bet called the daily double. In essence, it was difficult to make an outrageous score on a $2 wager. Very few horses go off at 99-1 or better, and only an infinitesimal amount of them actually win. Only the rare daily double pays in the hundreds of dollars. Today, the superfecta, pick-six and other combination and parlay offerings constitute the lion’s share of wagers made on horse races. These dominant betting opportunities often produce payoffs in the tens of thousands of dollars for a single $2 wager. Of course, winning the big one is usually not simply an exercise of pure luck; professional players often invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in an attempt to cover as many potential outcomes as possible. By anticipating the probable value of a payoff, the bettor assesses the risk and intensively wagers accordingly. These plays constitute what is aptly called gambling, but arguably the gamble is little different than, for example, those involved in oil wildcatting or opening of a high-end restaurant. Of course, it’s the province and duty of the I.R.S. to assess and collect taxes. If a bettor hits a score over $600 and the odds are 299-1 or more, the track is required to report the winnings on I.R.S. Form W-2G. In applying this law, consider a bettor who cashes a $50 win ticket on a horse at 50-1 odds and receives $2,550. Since the odds were less than 299-1, there is no reporting requirement. Conversely, if a neophyte bets a single, straight $2 superfecta on his 4-digit street number and hits for $1,000, the lucky first-timer would go home with lots of cash, as well as a copy of Form W-2G which the track uses to report his gain to the I.R.S. While the reporting rules might appear to produce conflicting results, the true concern involves the area of mandatory withholding on certain winning wagers. Although the I.R.S. recognizes that legitimate expenses are to be subtracted from gross revenue in calculating taxable profit for a business venture, the problem is that the assessment of tax withholding from supposed “profit” in the racing realm is skewed, to say the least. The applicable section of the Internal Revenue Code requires racetracks to withhold 25% of purported profit when the bettor wins more than $5,000 from a wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool with respect to horse races, provided the amount of such proceeds is at least 300 times as large as the amount wagered. From the statutory language, it plainly appears that Congress intended that the total amount wagered into a particular pool be treated as the handicapper’s investment capital. Like in any other business, that capital investment should serve to reduce by equal amount his gross winnings when calculating his profit for withholding purposes. Unfortunately, congressional intent in the tax realm is solely determined by the I.R.S. In a 1976 private letter ruling, a vehicle by which the I.R.S. gives its guidance to taxpayers under a set of submitted facts, the Service determined that only the investment on the actual winning combination counts as the “wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool” for tax reporting and withholding purposes. How does the present application of this archaic Service interpretation of the Code create the problem? Assume a gambler invests $800 to cover 400 possible pick-six combinations at $2 a pop. He hits the parlay, and it pays $5,600. While the payout is over $5,000, the fortunate bettor really only received odds of about 6-1 in relation to his investment: or did he? The I.R.S. takes the position that only the wager on the winning combination, and not the other 399, constitutes the specific “wagering transaction” referenced in the Code. In other words, rather than credit his entire $800 outlay in the pick-six pool as congress unmistakably envisioned, the Service credits only the $2 spent on the cashed winning combo. Thus, while only receiving 6-1 on his total investment, his I.R.S. imputed odds are about 2,800-1. This triggers not just Form W-2G reporting, but also a 25% tax withholding on winnings. The racehorse gambler actually walks away from the mutual window with $1,399.50 less of the payoff. The overwhelming majority of horseplayers don’t invest thousands of dollars into super-exotic pools on a regular basis. Should we cry for the successful, high-end handicapping aficionados? Maybe not; but the concern is that some of these folks might place their investment capital elsewhere. Undoubtedly, some already have. This simply drains the already well-parched pari-mutuel pools. Moreover, by taking 25% of earnings out of the hands of the career players who are still around, the industry loses churn; meaning that instead of being able to wager this money again and again, the sum literally sits on account with the Service unless and until the big gambler can recoup it months later via her federal tax return filing. This decrease in handle, especially in racing states with no alternative gaming, is devastating. Racetrack managements, horsemen, breeders and the state all miss out on countless sums of takeout dollars. Luckily, it doesn’t take an act of congress to reverse this situation. While previous attempts at congressional clarification have failed, the problem isn’t really with the language of the law, but rather with how the I.R.S. inexcusably construes it against horseplayers. Consider a medium-sized retailer who embarks on a $1,000,000 marketing campaign. The endeavor actually yields a 6% increase in gross sales. Would the I.R.S. limit the deduction for the marketing expenditure to $60,000? Hardly. Yet, the I.R.S. withholds pari-mutuel earnings as if only that tiny fraction of the total investment made by the horseplayer allocated to the single winning combo was his cost of doing business. You can help change this surreal circumstance by adding your name to an online petition already supported by thousands of individuals and groups. The petition simply mirrors what at least 17 members of congress have already demanded: That the I.R.S change course and consider the total amount invested by a taxpayer in a pari-mutuel pool when determining whether tax withholding on winnings is warranted. A link to the Petition is here: Apparently, the Washington-based tax lawyers working for the Service don’t frequent Rosecroft Raceway or Laurel Park. If they did, they’d understand the business of pari-mutuel wagering from the big bettors’ prospective. We can only hope that they amend their tax guidance in this matter soon, while there are still some whales around that can benefit. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network. Chris E. Wittstruck Courtesy of the USTA web newsroom
The former banker who has just resigned as head of the Racing Board has proposed the Government introduce laws to help stem ‘‘leakage’’ to Australian bookmakers. New Zealand does not officially have a competitive bookmaking market with the TAB, owned by the NZRB, a statutory monopoly. But plenty of Kiwi punters place bets online with overseas bookies. How much is unknown but it’s estimated as high as $300 million to $400m a year. NZRB chief executive Chris Bayliss resigned last week after two years in the job but prior to his resignation Bayliss said the TAB had been working with the Government on amending legislation so that overseas bookmakers using New Zealand product, racing or sport, would have to be licensed here. Part of the licensing requirement would be to pay GST and also the levies that the TAB has to pay. The TAB’s overseas rivals can offer better odds because they don’t incur these costs. The State of Origin rugby league game on May 28 highlighted the differences. The TAB odds offered on Queensland to win were 2.70 (ie $2.70 back for every $1 bet), compared to 3.00 at Sportsbet, and 3.15 at Centrebet, both Australian betting websites. That’s unfair competition said Bayliss, especially as the TAB has a large retail store base to operate, versus online-only overseas bookmakers. Bayliss said around 80 per cent of the money is flowing into betting companies like Sportsbet and Centrebet, domiciled in Australia’s Northern Territories. He believed their chief executives would comply with new laws. ‘‘All we can do is have the legislation, and make the large corporates aware that it exists. I think the large corporates will embrace it.’’ Previously some had suggested following the Australian example of a 1.5 per cent ‘‘product fee’’ on bets taken on New Zealand sports by overseas bookmakers, assuming they could be forced to pay. But for an organisation that makes a profit of $140m, 1.5 per cent of $300m is a ‘‘rounding error’’. Bayliss wanted to level the playing field so Kiwis won’t get better odds overseas. ‘‘If Kiwis no longer want to bet with overseas bookmakers because the odds aren’t better.. . ’’ Bayliss mused. ‘‘My net profit is 10 per cent. $30m is a game-changer.’’ The racing industry misguidedly believed that Government should build a digital wall around New Zealand, and start blocking overseas web-betting services, as well as following the likes of Hong Kong, making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process payments to overseas bookmakers. Not all of the leakage is to do with the better odds. TAB has been slow to adapt. It has only just started streaming events online, and finally launched a functioning smartphone betting app to cash in on the football World Cup. ‘‘Licensed bookmakers’ betting patterns could be more easily scrutinised if they were licensed’’, Bayliss said. Bayliss said he had ‘‘ongoing dialogue’’ with Racing Minister Nathan Guy and he expected progress on the issue in the next 12 to 18 months. But the minister wouldn’t be drawn on whether Baylis’s proposal will get the nod. ‘‘Leakage is an important issue for the local racing industry and I’ve been discussing it with industry leaders,’’ Guy said. ‘‘It’s a complicated issue and will take some time to work up some options.’’ By Rob Stock Reprinted with permission of The Sunday Star Times