Greyhound trainers take action over TAB takings

Greyhound trainers in New South Wales are taking industrial action over a dispute about the share of betting money the racing code receives from the TAB.

The two-week boycott has already forced the cancellation of eight race meets, and the organiser says he has received threatening phone calls.

But Greyhound Racing NSW says the no-show is unlikely to change anything.

Bob Whitelaw, one of the trainers who organised the boycott, says a large number of trainers and owners are taking part.

He says it is beginning to have an effect on racing in the state.

"There's been a few meetings last night.

You had your Gosford postponed, well, abandoned.

Bulli on Monday.

Today you've got The Gardens which is racing with a very small fall," he said.

"Tomorrow's Maitland meeting has been abandoned.

Thursday's meeting has been abandoned and there's other meetings that have probably fell by the wayside." Greyhound Racing NSW has had to cancel eight out of 21 meetings since the beginning of the no show.

Mr Whitelaw says the dispute has become quite heated.

"They rang me and threatened me.

They're basically people, I don't know who they are to tell you the truth, but they're making threats that I'm actually destroying the racing industry in New South Wales," he said.

"And there's words that I sort of can't say over the air to you." In a letter to the sport's participants, Greyhound Racing NSW chief Brent Hogan says he has heard reports of threats being made against trainers who have gone against the no-show.

Mr Whitelaw says he does not believe that has happened, although he acknowledges that some discussions have become quite heated.

At issue is the intercode agreement signed in 1998 that distributes the TAB takings between Greyhound Racing, Horse Racing and Harness Racing.

Horse Racing gets 70 per cent, Harness Racing 17 per cent, and Greyhound Racing 13 per cent.

Mr Whitelaw says Greyhound Racing now generates more than 20 per cent of betting revenue, and the Minister George Souris should adopt a 2008 recommendation to make things more equitable.

"The minister can, with a stroke of a pen, change it, implement the recommendations in the Cameron report and then the part of the racing industry, the greyhound industry, we'll get our fair share," he said.

"That's simple.

Here's us greyhound people working 21 hours a day receiving 13 hours pay." Tricky position A spokesman for the Mr Souris says it is not that simple, because the intercode agreement is a binding private contract between the three racing codes.

The previous Labor government would not intervene, and the current Government does not want to either.

That puts Greyhound Racing in a tricky position.

Greyhound Racing NSW acknowledges the current split is not sustainable, but it is locked into a 99-year deal.

In a letter to participants, Mr Hogan says he sympathises with the cause, but disagrees with the methods.

"While I understand that participants are frustrated with the current funding arrangements and the lack of support from the New South Wales Government, the proposed no-show will do nothing to amend the current intercode," he said.

Still, Mr Whitelaw wants Mr Hogan to do more.

"Engage the barrister and a lawyer to look at the intercode agreement.

He said he'd get back to us with that," he said.

"He'd also arranged a meeting with the minister, we're still waiting to hear for when that meeting will take place.

Look, Brent's been just tinkering around the edges." Greyhound racing NSW says it is continuing to push the case and it is also working on new ways to ensure the future viability of the sport.

Tabcorp says that so far, the boycott has not had a noticeable impact on its takings.

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