Ladbrokes CEO Dean Shannon has signed a further three Queensland turf clubs in the north of the state.

Ladbrokes will enter long-term sponsorship agreements with Cairns, Townsville and Mackay jockey clubs, breaking away from the traditional TAB model, which had it as the sole on-track sponsor. Between them, the three north Queensland clubs host more than 75 meetings a year.

Ladbrokes Australia CEO Dean Shannon said the plan would put the three clubs back on the state racing map.

“We are thrilled to get a deal done with Townsville, Mackay and Cairns and excited about some of the initiatives they have in the pipeline.

“North Queensland has a rich racing heritage and a strong network of clubs and participants, but it has been somewhat neglected in recent times,” he said. “The Ladbrokes team is keen to really work with these clubs to help energise the racing offering in North Queensland, not just through their key carnivals but on an ongoing basis.”

Mackay Turf Club chairman John Philps said Ladbrokes would become its major sponsor from 1 July, with the Ladbrokes Mackay Cup Carnival to run three weeks later.

“A number of changes and improvements to our Winter Carnival are already in progress and the Club is looking forward to working closely with Ladbrokes to continually improve and develop the race day experience of our members and patrons,” Philps said.

Townsville Turf Club chairman Mal Petrofski added: “Their investment in not only our club, but neighbouring Cairns and Mackay clubs is set to take racing in North Queensland to the next level.”

Cairns Jockey Club GM Cameron Riches said: “It serves to sustain and improve the racing experience at what will become Ladbrokes Cannon Park and strengthens not only our respective brands individually but the entirety of racing as a whole in North Queensland.”

State legislation was changed last year ending TAB’s on-track exclusivity, allowing rival corporate bookmakers to secure new deals with race clubs.

Brisbane Racing Club was the first to join forces with Ladbrokes last year then Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba clubs formed an alliance to sign a five-year deal with TAB. Albion Park Harness Racing Club has also signed up.

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