Size and Scope report demonstrates the economic and social impact of the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry

The Victorian thoroughbred racing industry generates nearly $2.1 billion for the Victorian economy and engages close to 72,000 people as an employee, volunteer or participant, according to a report released today by the State Government of Victoria.

Unveiled by Premier and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine, the Size and Scope of the Victorian Racing Industry incorporates the three codes of racing – thoroughbred, harness and greyhound – and was developed by leading strategic consulting business IER.

A thoroughbred-specific version of the report demonstrates the impact the state’s 71 racing clubs and more than 500 annual race meetings has on the economy and social fabric of metropolitan, regional and country Victoria.

It reveals, as an economic contributor, the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry:

  • Generates nearly $2.1 billion in value for the Victorian economy (up 31% from 2006)
  • Sustains the employment of 19,600 full time equivalent jobs for Victorians (up 32% from 2006)
  • Generates more than $1.5 billion in spending – this incorporates both breeding and preparation of racehorses as well as on-and off-course customer expenditure. Nearly half of this spending occurs in regional parts of the state.
  • Generates more than $483 million in total customer expenditure (incorporating both on-course and non-raceday expenditure).

Racing Victoria Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said the Size and Scope report reiterated that racing continues to play an important role in the state’s sporting and social calendar and is an industry that is a significant asset for Victoria.

“This report provides a detailed analysis of the thoroughbred racing industry in Victoria and it demonstrates that the impact of the industry extends well beyond that seen on the racetrack,” Saundry said.

“Racing continues to be an exciting and strongly supported sport. It is an integral part of the sporting life and cultural traditions of people across metropolitan, regional and country Victoria.

“Importantly, thoroughbred racing continues to be a major employer in Victoria and is an industry which makes a significant contribution to the state’s economy.

The Size and Scope study, the first of its kind conducted since 2006, also displays the integral role thoroughbred racing plays in local communities throughout Victoria:

  • It engages close to 72,000 people as an employee, volunteer or participant (up almost 22,000 since 2006). Almost 63% of these participants reside in regional Victoria.
  • There are more than 50,000 owners connected with thoroughbred racing, and almost 10,000 horses being trained by more than 1,000 trainers.
  • 1,748 breeders and 3,769 breeders’ staff are involved in the production of 3,336 foals each year.
  • There are more than 1600 racing club volunteers across the state and close to 500 community organisations are financially supported by thoroughbred racing.

“There are now thousands of people across the state employed in the sport across a range of vocations such as riders, trainers, strappers, farriers, vets, owners, breeders and administrators, as well as associated industries such as fashion, equine and transport,” Saundry said.

“Industry-related activities – both raceday and non-raceday – are playing an important role in the economic health of Victoria’s communities.

“Metropolitan events, such as our world-renowned Spring Racing Carnival, continue to attract large numbers of overseas and interstate visitors who make an important and significant contribution to the state’s economy.

“What’s more, particularly in regional and country areas, racing events and facilities promote social cohesion and provide benefits for a wide range of individuals and community organisations.”

Saundry explained that work was underway on a number of key projects identified in Racing Victoria’s recently released Strategic Plan which would ensure growth and further success can be achieved.

This includes working in conjunction with clubs to develop a joint digital platform for the industry, the restructuring of the raceday calendar and the development of more innovative programming, strengthening the industry’s core revenue by growing thoroughbred wagering turnover, and building stronger fan development and engagement programs, with a particular emphasis on improving diversity.

“While this report demonstrates the positive impact of the industry, we also face a number of challenges and Racing Victoria is constantly striving to innovate and increase engagement,” Saundry said.

“Our Strategic Plan has identified a number of priority areas which the industry as a whole is working towards to continue to drive growth and ensure the sport prospers into the next decade.”

Premier and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said the study shows how vital racing is to Victoria, the state’s economy and the many people who work in or enjoy the industry.

“This ranges from the once-a-year punter to the owners and breeders who invest in the dream of breeding or owning a champion racehorse,” Dr Napthine said. “The Coalition Government is a strong support of growing the racing industry particularly through its $80 million Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF).”

A full copy of the Size and Scope of the Victorian Racing Industry report is available here