The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board has determined that standing start races will cease to be programmed for pacers from September 1, 2016.
An alarming decline in wagering turnover on standing start races in recent seasons has now become detrimental to the future of the Victorian industry.
Feedback from wagering operators states punters are switching off standing start races – especially younger punters – and that standing start races are damaging harness racing’s brand.
Analysis of wagering trends shows that for the six months ending 31 December there has been a 27% gap in wagering between mobile and standing start races. That gap is increasing each year.
The number of standing start races has progressively declined over the years.
In season 2010-11 there were 190 standing start races for pacers, compared to just 86 – or 2.25% of the total number of races run – in season 2014-15.
Quotes from HRV CEO John Anderson
“The Board has been reviewing standing start races for some time, both from a wagering and an image perspective. On both counts the Board has viewed standing start races as harmful to the viability of the industry.
“It is imperative that HRV acts in the best interests of the industry and at times that means decisions such as this have to be made for that purpose.
“I do understand that there will be some who are disappointed with this announcement.”
Quotes from Sky Racing’s Adam Hamilton
“Standing starts have served the sport well through history, but have passed their use-by dates in a rapidly evolving sporting landscape where people want everything quicker, shorter and more reliable.”
“While the traditionalists will struggle with this move, it’s the new-age punter the sport desperately needs to attract and this move will help.”
“The HRV board should be congratulated on making this courageous and absolutely necessary move.”
COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER