Irish horse racing review is published

Indecon Report is recommending reforms to support growth of the horse racing sector

Indecon Report is recommending reforms to support growth of the horse racing sector

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, recently published the detailed final report produced by Indecon, independent economic consultants, following the completion of their review of certain aspects of the Irish Irish Horse Racing Industry.

Speaking after its publication, the Minister said: “The Irish bloodstock industry is of enormous economic benefit to this country, providing 16,000 jobs, almost €1 billion in economic output with exports worth some €157 million to 35 countries in 2011 and my overall objective, which is shared by the Government, is to ensure that the sector’s world class standing and reputation is protected and maintained into the future”.

The Review included an in-depth analysis of the legislation and certain aspects of the governance structures and funding of the Irish Horse Racing Industry. The Minister said “The Report contains recommendations aimed at securing the viability and sustainability of the horse racing industry so that it can make the maximum contribution to the economy”. Minister Coveney noted the Report’s recommendations cover five broad areas:

Funding of the industry

Structure, size and nomination process of the Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI)

Opportunities for streamlining the functions of HRI the Racing Regulatory Authorities (Irish Turf Club/Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee)

Legislative changes regarding appropriate governance for the sector.

Strategies to optimise the marketing and competitiveness of the sector

The Minister said that the report recognised that the horse racing sector is an important indigenous sector which has the potential to increase Ireland’s export earnings and employment.

Indecon strongly supports sufficient and sustainable funding for the sector but this must be accompanied by an equal priority to maximise efficiency, effectiveness and value for money. In this regard the Minister pointed out that the Government had recently published the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012 to put into effect the extension of betting duty to remote and online betting operators.

Minister Coveney said he will have the Indecon recommendations on the manner in which the proposed taxation will be levied examined in this context.

The Minister indicated that he will consider the detailed recommendations in the report and take decisions in September on implementation.

“I believe it is important that action is taken on foot of the report without undue delay in order to ensure the continued development of the horse racing sector in terms of setting high standards internationally and in Ireland where in many respects it is a flagship industry for this country”, concluded Minister Coveney.

Term of Reference

Indecon International Economic Consultants were awarded the contract to conduct a review of certain aspects of the Irish Horse Racing Industry following a competitive tender process.

The terms of reference for the review were as follows:

1. Review the legislation governing the Irish horse racing industry, in particular the Irish Horseracing Industry Act 1994, the Horse and Greyhound Racing (Betting Charges and Levies) Act, 1999, Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001 and the Horse Racing Ireland (Membership) Act 2001, and assess whether they provide the most appropriate governance structures for the horseracing industry.

2. Evaluate whether the Horse Racing Ireland Board structure, size and nomination process is appropriate and effective. Make recommendations for change, if necessary.

3. Consider the scope for streamlining all of the functions assigned under the legislation having regard to efficiency, effectiveness, economy and independence of regulatory decisions and make recommendations accordingly.

4. Review the current funding arrangements for the industry having regard to funding systems in place in other major racing competitor countries and recommend an appropriate funding structure for the long term development of the sector.

For anyone who is interested in reading the report it is available on the Department’s website at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/publications/2012/IndeconFinalReport300712.pdf