Andrew Twaits, boss of the Betfair online gambling group in Australia has stripped away the often deliberately misleading and confusing rumours about Betfair's preparedness to pay its way in the competitive Australian horse racing industry.
Betfair has refused to be intimidated by longer established interests in the sector, and has been prepared to fight for equal treatment in the courts on occasion. In often tense exchanges with Racing New South Wales, Twaits has been outspoken on the need for a level playing field and consistency in arriving at fair fee structures.
Addressing a press conference in Sydney, Twaits said he intended to be absolutely clear on his company's position regarding what fees it believed should be paid to support the Australian horse racing industry and keep it viable and appealing.
“There’s been some heated debate around the issue of industry funding with stakeholders quite naturally expressing concern about the future viability of the racing industry,” the Betfair exec said. “In all the hysteria, some of the facts have been lost or distorted, including the basis on which Betfair believes it should contribute to the funding of the racing industry.
“Let me be very clear on this. We have offered to pay the industry on gross revenue. That is, on the same basis as the TABs in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Further, we think 20 percent is the right amount and we’ll pay at that rate if everyone else does the same.
“Racing New South Wales has set the fees for TABs at just 9.375 percent of their gross revenue.
"If Racing New South Wales sets its product fees at 20 percent of gross revenue for all wagering operators, we believe they would be likely to generate more than 10 million dollars a year in extra product fees for the industry. That is in addition to the undisputed element of the product fees Racing New South Wales is already charging interstate operators.
“While no one likes paying more tax, we’ve consistently said that 20 percent is the right amount for race fields.
"We’ll pay it if our competitors do the same.
"What we won’t do is pay tax at a rate that’s six times higher than our competitors. That’s a recipe for us going out of business.
“We’re determined to see the nation’s racing industry prosper and we’re prepared to pay our fair share to help achieve that result.”