COLOUR-CODED scannable wristbands will be worn by all race-goers for December’s Christmas at the Races at the Ascot Park Racecourse, a first for the New Zealand racing industry and for event management in Southland.
“The system will revolutionise racing in New Zealand and change event management in Southland,” Southland Racing Club president Sean Bellew said.
AWOP (Another Way of Paying) scannable wristbands will be compulsory for all race-goers. The wristbands contain a chip which can be loaded with currency. The wristbands are scanned by staff when customers purchase food and beverage at the event.
Mr Bellew said the system would make it faster and easier for customers to enter the raceway and purchase food and beverage, meaning queuing times would be significantly reduced.
The chip could be blocked if race-goers became inebriated or troublesome, which would make it easier for staff to monitor and manage the crowd, he said.
“It was an independent system not reliant on the Internet, so there is no risk of the system crashing on race day.”
The wristbands could be topped up with additional credit on site and any credit remaining on the wristbands at the end of the meet could be refunded on site or transferred back into customers’ bank accounts after the event.
Customers also had the opportunity to use the wristbands at the Ascot tavern, which had come on board with the new technology.
“It’s really exciting to have the Ascot tavern support us in this way as well as give our race-goers a great place to head to after the event,” Mr Bellew said.
In another change this year, general admission ticket holders will have more access to the track.
Event co-ordinator Ana Corkery said as well as the racing action and fashion in the field, there would be a lot of other entertainment and activities for race-goers to get involved in this year.
“We are building the atmosphere. Making it the place to be and something to be remembered,” she said.
“Wherever people go there will be something for them to enjoy.”
All Black rugby player Damian McKenzie and his brother Marty will be in attendance, interacting with the crowd.
There will also be numerous promotions for punters to get involved in, as well as music from DJs Hayden Dennis and Matt Turnbull and Southland bands The Yardmen, Old School and D&M Duo.
Miss Corkery said although the marquees were sold out, Speight’s Garden Party tickets along with NZME Grandstand tickets were available to purchase both now and on race day. For those looking for a first-rate experience, limited tickets for the Ultimate Racing Experience were still available until the end of next week.