HARNESS racing prizemoney levels in NSW will return to normal levels next week.
Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) announced on Thursday that prizemoney levels will be restored as of July 1.
From Wednesday next week, races at category A meetings will be worth $6500, while category B meetings will offer $6000 races.
HRNSW will then undergo further consultation with industry participants about a greater split between the two categories that could see A class races increased.
HRNSW chairman Ken Brown AM informed participants that the reopening of TAB outlets throughout the state combined with revised wagering revenue forecasts paved the way for the return of prizemoney levels.
"From 1 July, 2020 base prizemoney for A and B category meeting races will be restored to $6500 and $6000 respectively," Brown wrote.
"The current review of prizemoney differentials is to continue and after a further period of Industry consultation, is expected to be completed in August, 2020.
"The NSW harness racing fraternity can be justifiably proud of its respect of and strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols that have been put in place and with a continuation of that responsible attitude I believe we can all be confident that the Industry will emerge from these challenging times in a better place."
HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny is pleased to be the first harness racing jurisdiction to return to base prizemoney.
"Since April the participants in our industry have had to endure the restrictions of regionalisation and then from mid-May reduced prizemoney due to the ramifications of the COID-19 pandemic," Dumesny said.
"Initial advices from our major wagering revenue provider, Tabcorp, in late March when their outlets were closed were alarming and drastic as we were told our revenue could be up to 50 per cent down on budget.
"Cuts to prizemoney were immediately adopted by other states in early April however at HRNSW a decision was taken to delay taking action in an effort to assess the dire situation and to support our participants as long as possible.
"When the announcement to reduce prizemoney was eventually made, effective from May 11, a firm commitment was given by the board members to restore base prizemoney as soon as possible and it is pleasing to now be able to act accordingly.
"However a raft of other austerity measures, including significant cuts to HRNSW operations have been adopted and these will remain in place until such time as wagering trends are proven to be improved.