History New Zealand and Australia
course TAB betting system that we know today did not start in Australia
but rather in New Zealand where a Royal Commission in 1947 recommended
a referendum be held to determine the New Zealand public's attitude
towards such a
referendum was held in 1949 and returned a two thirds positive majority
and so the Government of the day moved towards actually doing it -
which proved a bit harder in practice than in all the theory - as
do most things of course! The idea was to set up a series of sub agencies
around the country which reported to agencies which reported to regional
branches which in turn reported to the head office in Wellington in
HQ they transmitted the data to race tracks around the country which
added the amounts to the automatic "totes" that already
operated on track, also invented by a New Zealander called George
this had to be trialled of course and this was done in two small towns
north of Wellington called Fielding (ironic!) and Dannevirke
- which, coincidentally, was the birth place of long time Queensland
Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen. At the time, these two towns had a population
of between 5000 and 10000 people which was considered by the experts
to be the optimal size population to support a local agency.
staff were trained for Dannevirke and 24 for Fielding. These staff
were mostly retired post office and bank workers and they officially
opened the doors at 10 am on March 28, 1951. Any punter walking in
on the first few days was confronted with a "cage like"
counter (like a post office), no radio, no seats, no anything in fact,
where they could deposit their money and depart. Sounds like a great
was by cash over the counter only, then later by telephone account
and by post, with the initial services offered being win and place
only and, wait for it, a Daily Double!
staff used desk top adding machines (yes, the ones with the paper
total rolls attached) and betting on each race was ruled off 90 minutes
before they jumped.
you won, pay out day was Monday!!!!
Government of the day's intention was to operate only on Saturdays
and public holidays as they feared "gambling would clog up
the New Zealand telephone service" if it was offered on
in Christchurch and Manawatu in Palmerston North were the first meetings
covered on the first day. The manager of the Dannevirke agency reported:
"We started briskly at 10am and there has been a steady stream
of customers ever since. In fact, there are 20 to 25 in the office
right now." By the close of business on the first day the
combined turnover of the first two agencies was over 1500 pounds -
far in excess of what the NZ Government thought would happen.
Friday of the first week he reported: "there's great interest
in the doubles betting facilities" which was made up of
an adding machine operator and another plotting a wall bar chart.
Australia, Victoria was the first State to introduce the "giddy
goat" and its first 12 agencies opened on March 10, 1961 followed
a few days later by WA, Queensland in 1962, New South Wales after
another Royal Commission in 1964, South Australia in 1967
and Tasmania in 1975 (Tasmania of course had legalised off course
bookmaker betting until then).
world wide have followed New Zealand's lead - Hong Kong, Malaysia,
Japan, South Africa, Singapore, Canada, Sweden and some states in
it all started in Dannevirke and Fielding!
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