03/30/2012 : SPORTSBET AND BETFAIR LOSE OUT IN NEW SOUTH WALES COURT RULING
High Court appeal on racing fees fails
Horseracing officials in New South Wales were jubilant Thursday when an appeal against the imposition of racing fees by internet bookies Sportsbet and Betfair failed.
The internet companies had objected to being taxed on the amount of money they turned over in New South Wales, arguing that instead they should be paying a percentage of their gross profits.
Racing New South Wales' chairman John Messara told media that the fee dispute had been a frustrating time for his industry.
"This High Court decision establishes that our sport is entitled to set and be paid a fee by those who use its product; a decision that will reverberate well beyond New South Wales," he said.
"After four years of uncertainty, the High Court's dismissal of the appeals by Sportsbet and Betfair unlocks the immediate and future funding that will flow directly to the people who work and invest in New South Wales racing, those that put on the show."
Matthew Tripp, the executive chairman of Sportsbet took a different view, telling reporters following the case: "For every dollar staked, the TAB takes more than twice as much from the punters as we do. Today's decision hands the TAB a competitive advantage but we're not daunted. We will continue to put the punter first."
The Minister for Racing in New South Wales, George Souris, said on ABC television: "I think this template legalization now, which has taken some eight years to finally come out through the High Court as a binding decision, is a template for the other states in the racing world but also other sporting codes and any other product that is used by corporate bookmakers, interstate bookmakers and betting exchanges that provide racing product or gambling product."
Betfair's regional chief, Giles Thompson, said that Betfair has arrangements with various sporting bodies for which it is happy to pay fees, but that the racing fee reduces the wagering competition in New South Wales.
"Long term, reduced competition is bad for punters no matter which way you look at it," he said.