In a stunning backflip, Racing Queensland and the Queensland government have announced their intention to introduce minimum bet limits on all thoroughbred racing in the state.
Just a couple of months after CEO Eliot Forbes announced that they were not pursuing MBL legislation, the RQ Board have voted to adopt the changes following consultations with government.
The new rules had been expected to be announced with new Race Information Fee schedules in January, with their omission drawing the ire of punters across the country.
At the time, RQ claimed that a change in legislation was required to implement the limits: a change they were not pursuing.
Yesterday’s announcement signals a significant shift in that position.
“The recommendation follows a period of consultation that was conducted as part of a wider review of race information fees, and ongoing monitoring of frameworks in place interstate,” Forbes said.
The new limits, which will hopefully be in place by July, are expected to largely mirror those already in place in New South Wales and Victoria: $2,000 on metro racing and $1,000 on non-metro events.
Bookmakers must accept all bets to win an amount up to these limits on any thoroughbred racing held in the state, from 9am on raceday. Refusal of bets and closure of accounts by bookmakers is prohibited.
“It will bring Queensland into line with the major southern racing jurisdictions, in a further sign of the stronger commercial focus we’re bringing to the local racing industry,” Queensland Racing Minister Grace Grace told the Courier Mail.
Richard Irvine of lobby group Fair Wagering Australia – the man credited by most for leading the charge on behalf of punters – applauded yesterday’s move.
“This is a very pleasing decision,” said Irvine. “Queensland horse racing will now become one of the most dynamic and vibrant gambling markets in the world. This will be to the industry’s great betterment. Onward and upward!”