The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) will end its manned TAB Phonebet service with the implementation of a fully automated system from August 1, 2016.
The implementation of the automated system will provide financial savings for the organisation but will leave 43 jobs defunct.
A consolidated site will remain in Wellington to provide a smaller, manned service for those who are medically exempt, the NZRB explained in a press statement.
“Our profits go back to funding sport and racing, ultimately this is about ensuring we’re delivering the best return for an industry that is a significant contributor to New Zealand,” John Allen, chief executive officer of the NZRB said. “It will also enable NZRB to focus investment in its growing digital channels to give its customers a better experience”.
NZRB revealed 63 percent of customers over 65 years of age are using online channels, while only 3 percent of new customers use the Phonebet service.
At its peak in 2001, Phonebet handled more than 30 million calls a year; today there are 27.5 million fewer betting calls a year with only 4 percent of existing customers using the service.
While the Phonebet service will go, customers who prefer to use the phone will still have the ability to place their bets, check race results and get scratchings information via TAB Touch Tone, and will also be able to use NZRB’s other channels, including online, in a retail store or on-course at the races, or through the TAB Mobile App.