Influenza Hits Aussie Horse Racing, Sky Racing Revenues

By Phil
Sandberg

www.broadcastpapers.com

Equine influenza or ‘Horse Flu’ has been confirmed in multiple locations
in the Australian state of
New South Wales,
including the state capital,

Sydney.
Tabcorp Holdings Limited, owners of Australia’s Sky Channel racing network, say
losses in wagering turnover over the first weekend of the outbreak amount to
some AUD$65 million (US$52.65 million). The company expects that by the second
weekend the loss in turnover will be in the order of $150 million (US$121.5
million).

All horse
events and movements in NSW have been stopped in an effort to contain the
spread of the disease. The NSW Department of Primary Industries has launched a
major campaign to control the spread of the disease. Tracing of horse movements
is underway to find all horses that may have come into contact with the virus.

Equine
influenza (EI) is an acute, highly contagious, viral disease which can cause
rapidly spreading outbreaks of respiratory disease in horses and other equine
species. EI is exotic to

Australia
and will have a major impact on the Australian horse industry and televised
racing.

There is a
risk that the suspension of racing will be extended for a prolonged period. If
this were to occur, the weekly loss of turnover and earnings would increase as
spring racing is impacted from September.

Tabcorp
says it supports the actions of the racing industries and governments in each
State to control the outbreak and is working with its racing partners in

Australia and
overseas to provide alternative racing product on Sky Channel. Already, import
of

New Zealand
racing has been increased and several greyhound meetings have been rescheduled
to better suit wagering customers.

Tabcorp’s
Chief Executive Officer, Elmer Funke Kupper said that the company strongly
supports the measures taken to date.

Australia is
one of the leading racing countries in the world. The measures taken, while
painful in the short term, will protect the future of a great industry,” Mr
Funke Kupper said. “Tabcorp is a diversified business, with three operating
divisions in Wagering, Gaming and Casinos. This gives us the strength to
weather the impact.”

Tabcorp
has also set up an Equine Influenza mini-site on www.tabcorp.com.au that
is providing a daily update of the impact that the thoroughbred and harness
racing standstill is having on wagering turnover.