Broken Hill Racecourse has received a connectivity boost just in time for the 58th annual St Pats Race Day.
Last year’s meeting was dogged by mobile phone and internet issues that ruined the race day experience for some vendors, bookies and punters alike.
St Pats, Broken Hill City Council and Telstra have worked together to provide a so-called Cell on Wheels, similar to the one used at last year’s AgFair.
Improved connectivity was essential to the ongoing future of the popular race meet with technology crucial in almost every facet of the race day experience, as St Pats president Andrew Schmidt explains.
“In 2023 you have got to have connectivity. You’ve got to have phone and internet services, no matter what type of event you’re running.
“A lot of people who come to the races these days like to have a punt on their phones. Our booking is online, so people will be showing up with QR codes that will need to be scanned. We need cashless sites for food outlets, bars, and even some of the bookmakers as well. So it was absolutely vital we got this piece of infrastructure.”
The race club has gone a step further by purchasing five Starlink satellite dishes to act as back-up for all race day outlets.
Ultimately, a permanent cell tower is what the out-of-town location needs, but Mr Schmidt said the Cell on Wheels was the best short term option and thanked Council for their assistance, along with Telstra.
“Without the support of Council we would be struggling. What they have negotiated on our behalf is amazing,” said Mr Schmidt.
Mayor Tom Kennedy said at the announcement, “St Pats brings in thousands of ex-locals and tourists, providing a huge boost to the local economy so we were happy to help in any way we could.”
Planning and preparation for St Pats is full steam ahead for race day on March 11 at Broken Hill Racecourse.