It took some time for both sides to agree and after plenty of grumbling and guffawing finally the two racing clubs in Sydney reached a compromise for a merger. Racing Minister Kevin Green plans to introduce legislation to State Parliament next week that will pave the way for the merger between the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) and Sydney Turf Club (STC).
Green has projected that the regulatory framework should be in place to ensure the new Sydney super race club will be born on as early as January 1, just in time to start off 2011 on a positive note for the industry in Australia.
Though the Sydney Turf Club has yet to name its three representatives for the merged club, the Australian Jockey Club has announced that it will be represented by John Cornish, Alan Osburg and Bill Sweeney. In addition, there will be three independent appointees named to the new board and after a year, both the AJC and STC reps will be reduced to two a side.
This deal is a monumental and historic agreement New South Wales racing, and for while it looked like this merger wouldn’t happen when 277 members of STC shot it down last week. But reasonable heads have prevailed and is part of the deal merger deal reached between the Sydney Turf Club and the Australian Jockey Club, Tabcorp will buy the rights to the betting game Trackside. Concerns have been raised that this agreement could increase problem gambling as more gambling machines will appear in South Wales as a result of the Government agreeing to re-classify Trackside from a gaming product, to a wagering one. But the New South Wales Government has maintained that the merger won’t increase problem gambling and programs are already in place to combat the issue.
At the end of the day, it’s a much needed gold moment for struggling horse racing industry in Australia and it should lead to one hell of New Year’s Eve celebration.