Good to see that the TAB and the Codes have managed to reach a compromise over the use of manned tote services on course. As might be expected, things won’t be returning to the status quo of a few months ago, but at least common sense has prevailed, and people attending race meetings will still have the option of dealing with a human being instead of a machine.
Meetings have been split into three categories, Gold, Silver and Bronze. The Gold will include meetings that have, in the past, attracted large crowds and high on-course figures. The ones that have been identified as qualifying for this category are:
Kaikoura TC Mon, 2 Nov 2020
NZ Metro TC Tue, 10 Nov 2020
NZ Metro TC Fri, 13 Nov 2020
Westport TC Sat, 26 Dec 2020
Banks Peninsula TC Tue, 29 Dec 2020
Auckland TC Thu, 31 Dec 2020
Central Otago TC Sat, 2 Jan 2021
Nelson TC Sun, 10 Jan 2021
In terms of Silver meetings, it is proposed that the following general criteria apply:
Friday night, Saturday and Sunday race meetings (Winter meetings would be subject to review with HRNZ), statutory holidays, and midweek holiday period racing (Christmas/New Year). Also other midweek meetings identified by HRNZ as being of higher profile than a Bronze, or Industry day.
The last (Bronze) category covers days where there is minimal on-course patronage outside of industry participants. Patrons on these days will be encouraged to utilise self-service terminals (if available at the venue) and personal devices to bet via their phone accounts. There will be a small manned tote presence (2 to 4 terminals), preferably in a centralised betting area on-course.
For the Equine codes, this will mean all meetings not identified as Gold or Silver meetings, and include midweek meetings and some lower key Sunday meetings (in winter).
Other welcome news is that work is being done on developing a more user friendly self-service terminal than the one currently being offered.