It’s been a full seven days since Australia’s Federal Court handed down a ruling that meant the heavyweight title fight between Betfair and Sportsbet, and the Racing NSW would continue to roll on. The court ruled in favour of Racing NSW so that they could charge a levy of 1.5% on turnover, rather than the gross revenue option favoured by the two companies. If either company wanted to appeal they now had a 28-day window to file one, and Betfair only really needed 28 seconds of that to decide.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that in a board meeting in Melbourne on Monday, the company, part-owned by James Packer’s Crown Ltd, intends to make good on their 28 day opportunity.
“I doubt very much that we will need the full 28 days to make up our minds,” said Betfair chief executive Andrew Twaites. “It’s an important decision, and something we won’t take lightly. I expect in the next week or so we will be in a position to let people know what we are doing.”
Betfair primary claim is that the “race fields fee” is being enforced to protect the TAB Corp monopoly that exists and therefore it shouldn’t be enforced on companies such as themselves and Sportbet.
“Our gripe is that we are being asked to pay a fee that is six times higher than the TAB is paying,” Twaites continued. “Racing NSW are charging the TAB 9 per cent of their gross revenues, and they are charging us 60 per cent. This is about a low-margin business challenging the monopoly of a high-margin business, and we intend to keep fighting.”
This is all before Betfair start spiking the high court judges with some of their newly launched coffee. No sleep will be had in those houses.