New Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger says the the old board has left racing in Victoria in a strong financial state with a strong platform to build on, but noted there were challenges ahead.
Speaking after the RV annual general meeting which delivered positive financial results for the Victorian racing industry, Kruger, who took over as chairman of a new board on October 9, said there were a number of areas on which his board would focus.
He said there were challenges around infrastructure investment as well as how the industry would be funded into the future.
But the board’s No.1 focus is integrity.
“I think there has been some challenges there,” Kruger said.
“Not so much with the department itself. I think in terms of integrity outcomes, we’re seeing too many issues.
“The question from my perspective is looking at what exactly caused these issues (and) what we need to do differently.
“I think we’re investing significantly in integrity and I think our ream has done a great job in the last 12 months.
“I would like to see less issues from an integrity point of view so it’s getting understanding of the root cause of those issues and what do we need to do differently to minimise or prevent them in the future.”
Kruger said 14,140 equine samples were collected through the 2016/17 season, with only nine returning positive results to prohibited substances.
He said an additional nine per cent had been invested on the previous year in drug testing as well as more resources for the Compliance Assurance Team and Control Room.
The AGM heard total surplus for the last financial year was down from $28 million to $9.2 million because of increased investment in prize money, media rights aggregation through to 2030 and club funding.
Total revenue was $408.28 million, up 1.8 per cent on the previous year.
Total domestic wagering turnover of $6.23 billion was up 9.4 per cent while total wagering and race fields revenue of $351.58 million was up 3.5 per cent despite a decrease in returns from Tabcorp with a shift away from tote betting to fixed odds betting.
Kruger said that was another challenge for the board.
“The wagering landscape is changing very rapidly,” he said.
“We have to put strategies in place to make sure of the long term financial sustainability of the industry.”