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how does WA racing justify a higher rate than Victoria?

Western Australia, after copping a caning from the courts over trying to ban Betfair, has now reluctantly agreed to include a gross revenue deal in their racefield fees legislation. Every state now has to introduce some form of fee legislation, as they get charged by every other state for it, with the breakdown of the old gentleman's agreement which let the TABs bet on each other's product in a free contra deal. WA are in the position if being a net importer of racing product, so they are going to have to cover the shortfall somehow.

Racing NSW are currently in court doing battle with Betfair and Sportsbet over their attempts at imposing a turnover-based fee, while Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania all went with fees on gross revenue. Victoria, the premier racing state in Australia, set their fee at 10% for the year rising to 15% during the prestige spring carnival. Sounds justified to me. South Aus went with 10% as well.

Western Australia to apply retrospective race field levy


The levy will be based on either 1.5% of turnover or the greater of 20% of gross revenues or 0.2% of turnover, which will be directed to the Western Australian racing industry. In addition the levy will be retrospectively applicable from September 1st 2008.


The Minister attempted to justify it with this:

Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron said the Legislative Council had passed the legislation without amendment and that the industry would soon benefit from this important revenue flow.

"The Western Australian TAB is currently paying fees to interstate racing industries for the right to bet on their racing product and these fees amount to about $18million per year," said Waldron.

"This legislation will allow the Western Australian racing industry to charge similar fees to wagering operators across Australia and overseas for betting on WA racing and thereby claw back up to $15million of lost revenue."


(Note the WA TAB is one of the few still owned by the government and not by shareholders).

Just because you've got heavy debts because the other states supply most of the 'product' doesn't mean you can charge twice as much as Victoria for weaker quality racing. This screams 'we only want the TAB but we will at least make it look like we considered non-govt owned/protected wagering businesses'.

Expect the lawyers to get involved in this one too....

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