Must admit this one caught me by surprise. Initially Betfair had won the case alleging Racing NSW had discriminated against them and in favour of their bed partners Tabcorp in charging a 1.5% turnover fee for the use and publication of NSW race fields. Racing NSW appealed the verdict and were today awarded an unanimous verdict in their favour, despite clear evidence that Racing NSW do everything possible in their power to support Tabcorp.
Racing NSW wins Federal Court decision
The financial future of racing in NSW is secure following a decisive legal victory for Racing NSW over corporate betting agencies in the Federal Court today.
Racing NSW executives were elated when three Federal Court handed down a unanimous ruling upholding the right of the NSW racing authority to impose a 1.5 per cent tax on turnover from all wagering operators covering NSW racing.
Naturally Peter V'Landys is claiming victory and that his judgment as supreme ruler of NSW racing should never have been questioned..... Time will tell. Betfair have one port of call left in the judicial system, plus one with the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) before this case is over. If Betfair fail to have this ruling overturned, then other state racing authorities will no doubt swiftly change their legislation to fall into line with the greater rewards of this controversial policy.
On the flipside though, long-term I doubt this actually benefits the industry. If higher fees are imposed on corporate bookmakers and Betfair, that simply forces more punters away from racing and onto sports betting. The majority of corporate bookmaker turnover these days goes through their best tote options, and is then bet back into the various TAB pools - which the TABs incentivise by giving VIP customers (including corporate bookies) chunky rebates. Imposing extra fees will only reduce product range and thus reduce the flow-on turnover back to the totes. There are various reasons why these customers of corporate bookies avoid using the totes directly, and to blindly believe that all money bet on tote products away from the TABs will move back to the TAB pools is incredibly naive.
Racing NSW will land a huge lump sum of cash if the ruling holds up - but they'd better invest it wisely rather than putting all their money on that golden goose continuing forever. British racing is a prime example of a body that should have banked a grand sum in a golden year, now they are almost begging for funding....