Launceston Pacing Club will break new ground next season when it offers free admission to all race meetings, including feature events.
Club chairman Joel Wallace said the move was designed to offset the disadvantage of racing in an unpopular Sunday night timeslot.
‘‘We can’t do much about our timeslot but we still want to give everyone the opportunity to see our great sport for free,’’ Wallace said.
‘‘Arguably, this should have happened long ago.’’
Wallace said the LPC would be the first harness or thoroughbred club in Tasmania to offer free entry to every meeting.
‘‘We could even be the first in Australia,’’ he said.
Free admission has long been touted as inevitable if race clubs are to combat falling attendances.
However, clubs have been reluctant to embrace the idea, arguing that it would leave them nothing to offer members.
Membership fees form an important part of club revenue.
However, the LPC has decided to offer other incentives for membership – which costs only $66 – that go beyond the normal free admission.
Wallace said LPC members would now receive 10 per cent discount on all food and drinks bought on course, preferred seating in the restaurant while eating or just viewing races (subject to availability) and an invitation to an annual members-only dinner free of charge.
‘‘We also intend to introduce other giveaways for members, which we will announce soon,’’ he said.
The LPC has previously expressed a desire to move to Friday night racing in a bid to boost attendances.
As a result, it has been allocated seven Friday night meetings in the new season, which starts next month. The club will host its final meeting of the 2013-14 season at Mowbray on Sunday night.
There are 11 races starting at 5.23pm and finishing at 9.27pm.