Good article here from Bill Saunders, describing how South Australian racing is moving forward (granted, it was in rather poor shape) by rolling the sleeves up and dealing with the modern age, rather than trying to stick to believing in a Flat Earth like their counterparts in New South Wales.
South Australia Shows How It's Done
Long considered a basket case by the rest of Australian racing, South Australia is suddenly showing strong growth from a combination of embracing non-TAB wagering operators, government taxation reform and self help from rationalisation of resources and cost cutting.
The net result is a stunning year to year turnaround in performance by TRSA, from a loss of $2.1 million in 2007-08 to a profit of nearly $6.8 million in 2008-09.
By far the biggest factor in the improved performance was race field contributions from the bookmaking sector, which boosted gross revenue for TRSA by $9.2 million for the 9 months of the year that the contribution was paid.
After paying other racing jurisdictions for the use of their product, TRSA netted $5 million from the new levy. Giving the lie to suggestions that competition from the non-TAB sector would decimate TAB contributions, Unitab's funding also increased - up by more than $2 million.
Add in a further $2.7 million from wagering tax relief provided by the South Australian state government and its easy to see how gross revenue for TRSA increased by nearly 40% year on year from $29.1 million to $40.6 million.
Wow, the wonders of negotiation in business rather than tyrannical control....
Similarly, in the UK, the dispute over pitch positions for bookmakers has been resolved through negotiation at Towcester Racecourse, the only course which is not a member of the Racecourse Association. Towcester has moved to mostly free admission racedays, and thus needed to move to different funding models, and also to charge bookies (who usually pay a fee of five times the admission cost).
The pigheadedness of so many people in the racing industry is what holds it back from moving with the times. It could be worse, it could be a basket case with 50 different states and sets of rules like the US.