The changing of the guard in government circles could not have come at a worse moment for the Jockey Club as it urgently seeks tax reform in order to rescue its competitiveness. Despite the slowdown in decline of turnover, most likely due to an improved economy, the numbers when the season concludes in just over three months will again show betting down by a magnitude that would have been considered a terrible result a few years ago before everyone became numb to the pain. The club has been lobbying hard for a taxation restructure to enable it to compete more effectively with rivals legal and illegal, at home and abroad - including its own soccer betting, which was born of the desire to combat illegal bookmakers and has now been extended to the Japanese soccer league where there was never any suggestion an illegal market previously existed. Of course, it's a good bet that an illegal J-league market might now take root, since the demand will be created by legal betting in that theatre. But, even as its rivals expand and grow, unfettered in their plans, the Jockey Club's horseracing wagering remains hog-tied by laws that contain its ability to respond to changes in its marketplace without first going through the molasses-slow flow of processing through government. Unable to make headway with the administration before, the club is now faced with the very realpolitik situation that any change of the face at the top of the government order is only likely to stall the process further. Politicians ensure their own survival first - public icons come later, if ever.