Dean McKenzie … the TAB has lost more than 35% of its punters.

230 TAB staff given their marching orders but leadership team still being reviewed

The Racing Industry Transition Agency today confirmed it has shed 230 staff, but none of its top managers has yet been removed.

Staff were yesterday told of their job losses, among them 150 full time workers across all areas of the TAB.

In announcing what he described as a “very difficult decision” RITA executive chair Dean McKenzie said the cuts would save more than $11 million a year.

None of the executive leadership team is included but McKenzie said an independent review of the structure of the team is underway.

Consultation on any proposed changes was expected to start next week.

The top six earners at RITA took home $2.5 million between them last season, and include chief operating officer Stephen Henry, GM Media and International Andy Kydd, GM betting Glen Saville, GM Customer and Channels Gary Woodham and GM Technology Simon Mackay. RITA’s chief financial officer Shaun Brooks was quietly farewelled earlier in the year.

McKenzie said RITA was left with no alternative with TAB monthly revenue almost 50 percent below forecast and customer numbers down more than 35 percent.

“There are incredibly talented, experienced and committed people at the TAB who have delivered so much to our customers and the wider racing industry over many years. We will be very sorry to see them go.

“We have had to make some tough decisions as we focus on the essential parts of our business that generate the funding required to keep the racing industry and many national sporting organisations running.”

McKenzie confirmed all the changes previously reported here including no more Trackside Radio, substituting self service terminals for manual betting facilities on course, reduced Trackside TV coverage, fewer presenters fronting only in the studio with the exception of marquee events, no dedicated racing shows, phone betting only on Touchtone and the closure of four retail branches.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Awapuni

Race 5: Lincoln’s Kruz

“He has trained on well since his trial. The track is going to be very testing (heavy 11) on Saturday and he is untried in these conditions but there’s not a lot of exposed form in the field and, if he handles the track, I’d expect him to be right in the thick of it.”

Race 8: Platinum Rapper

“We’ve decided to go with the 3kg claim of Temyia Taiaroa in what is a strong field. She will come down to 52kg which will really help her on the heavy track. She has had a jumpout and a trial to prepare for this so, with the right run, should be right in the mix.”

Race 9: Lincoln Dreamer

“He has Kozzi Asano up so will claim 1kg which will be a help. He handles wet tracks and has won on a heavy track before. This may be a bit short of his best distance but I expect him to get back in the running and be doing his best work late. He has been working well and I’m looking forward to seeing him back at the races on a wet track.”

Race 10: Benny Lincoln

“The field isn’t very strong but he has had only one jumpout so I am expecting he will improve a lot from the run. He handled the track well at the jumpouts so I think he will handle wet ground, but he may be one run away. Kozzi Asano will claim 1kg.”