Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) will embark on a targeted spending program across all three codes after delivering strong financial results for FY2021 as wagering on thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound racing reached record levels.

In its annual report, RWWA reported revenue was up by $101.5 million — to $551.7 million from $450.2 million last year.

RWWA Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards said the strong result would enable the organisation to invest further to support the long-term sustainability of racing throughout the State.

“We are fully aware that our current financial situation is unprecedented, and that prudent management of the business is required as the economy moves towards a normalised post COVID-19 environment,” Ian said.

“However, as a result of our strong revenue and profit there are now opportunities to accelerate some much-needed investments in infrastructure and other strategic priority areas across all three codes.

“We were delighted to be able to announce recently that we are committing a further $10 million in annual funding to the racing industry in WA as well as $30.7 million in infrastructure spending for FY2022.

“If racing continues to operate without significant interruption and our local economy remains robust, there will be opportunities for further investment in the near future. RWWA is now reviewing its strategic plans to identify initiatives that can be responsibly fast-tracked due to the organisation’s strong financial position.

“Working in the racing industry is more than a job for thousands of people; it is a way of life.

“RWWA’s investment and its focus on delivering a sustainable racing industry will help to support participants state-wide, provide a source of continued enjoyment for volunteers and strengthen racing’s ongoing relationship with hundreds of community organisations.”

In FY2021, RWWA received $373.7 million from WA TAB wagering, $118.9 million from the WA Racing Bets Levy, $35 million from Point of Consumption Tax, and $24 million from other items.

The WA TAB produced a profit of $135 million, up from $109 million last year.

“RWWA and the entire racing community should be congratulated on their success in keeping racing going throughout the pandemic,” Ian said.

“It was only due to the adherence to strict biosecurity protocols and strong collaboration between all parties that we were able to continue racing safely, which has underpinned the strong financial performance in the last financial year.

“Wagering on all three codes was at record levels, with strong interest in the WA racing product throughout COVID-19.

“Overall national wagering on WA racing increased by 17 per cent to $3.8 billion.”

Funding of $175 million was distributed to racing participants, an increase of $12 million from the previous year, as well as additional funding for animal welfare and marketing initiatives to further benefit the industry.

The increase included a significant investment in grants to support the infrastructure needs of the industry, which saw a number of projects critical to the continuation of racing completed and the start of the redevelopment project for the Bunbury Racecourse towards the end of FY2021.

A mid-year review to determine the impact of COVID-19 on race clubs resulted in $1.7 million in payments to race clubs across the three codes.

Outer provincial and country stakes increases were brought forward to support clubs that had lost entire race seasons because of COVID-19 in FY2020.

Welfare of racing animals continued to be a focus for RWWA. During FY2021, 335 greyhounds were adopted through the Greyhounds as Pets program, 24 greyhounds were adopted through the Greyhound Injury Full Recovery Scheme, 2180 horses were registered for an Off the Track WA Passport, and 70 horses were accepted into the OTTWA Retraining Program.

Increased funding towards the care of greyhounds and racehorses will continue in the current financial year, with RWWA recently announcing one per cent of total advertised prizemoney on all WA races to be allocated to animal welfare initiatives from 1 August 2021.

A total of $1.3 million in funding was once again invested toward prohibited substance control. In total, 8897 horse and greyhound swabs were collected, with 99.8 per cent testing negative.

The RWWA annual report can be viewed here.