IN WHAT deserves a round of applause, Harness Racing SA staff have sent a message of solidarity to participants…“we’re in this together”.
As restrictions begin to affect the industry, HRSA made the difficult decision of announcing a cut to stakes just moments ago.
Citing the closure of TAB agencies, hotels and clubs during this Coronavirus pandemic as catalyst for the move, HRSA revealed turnover has declined as a result.
In fact, the governing body referred to the drop in wagering as “nosediving”.
Income from wagering outlets is racing’s lifeblood, with a blockage causing severe pain throughout the sport.
“The lockdown of all TAB agencies, hotels and clubs, together with the general uncertainty caused by COVID-19, has resulted in betting turnover nosediving,” chief executive Ross Neal said.
“While, as an industry, racing has continued, we nonetheless have been severely impacted financially, as a consequence of the pandemic.
“Consequently the monies available for stakes distribution have decreased, with the downturn in wagering extending to the corporate bookmakers, who similarly are reporting a fall in turnover.
“To protect harness racing in South Australia, Harness Racing SA has been compelled to reduce expenditures to sustain and provide for the industry in the longer term.
“Therefore the prizemoney budget has been amended with stakes being reduced by 20 per cent, effective Monday 13th April 2020.
“Details of the changes will be announced shortly, however, the decreases will be primarily restricted to those races at the upper end of our weekly racing program.
“There will be no decrease to the minimum $3000 Monday/Tuesday stake money.”
As mentioned earlier, HRSA staff – which includes managers and Directors – have voluntarily agreed to a pay reduction.
Keeping in line with the stake reduction, staff will adopt a 20 per cent cut in their salary.
“In adopting these measures, the HRSA Board has applied the principle of balanced sharing of expenditure reductions across all aspects of its operations and business,” Neal explained.
“This including HRSA Directors, management and staff voluntarily agreeing to a pay reduction of 20 per cent in line with the reduction applied to stake monies.
“In making these changes we believe that we can sustain the industry through these very challenging times.”