HARNESS Racing Victoria has endorsed Ballarat and District Trotting Club’s decision to cut its contribution to feature races next season to allow it to cover the cost of increased state government gaming tax.
The BDTC, which has 50 gaming machines, will have to pay an additional $200,000 in 2014-15.
To help meet this financial demand, the club has reduced its contribution to features races from $270,000 to $166,500 for next season.
This includes dropping Ballarat Pacing Cup stake money from $175,000 to $100,000.
HRV chief executive officer John Anderson said although disappointed that Ballarat had been forced to reduce its contribution to stakes, the HRV understood the club’s position.
“The (BDTC) committee is charged with managing the business responsibly and the imposition of the gaming tax hurts Ballarat, as it does several other regional clubs.
“HRV itself will incur an additional $400,000 in gaming taxes in 2014-15, which will require some restructuring of the business in order that there will be no impact on total stakes,” he said.
BDTC treasurer Dennis Foley said he was hopeful the state government would review the tax, although it was imperative that it engaged with community clubs as part of the process.
He believed the state government had been ill-advised in the operation of clubs such as the BDTC, in comparison with gaming outlets run by private interests.
BDTC chief executive Paul Rowse said he was confident that despite the dramatic stakes reduction and cut in capital works for the coming year, the Ballarat Pacing Cup on December 13 would retain its group 1 status.
The Cranbourne Pacing Cup, which is also worth $100,000 and run in December, is a group 1 race.