Betfair Australia were none too pleased by their recent Federal Court setback, which compels them to pay Racing NSW a 1.5% tax on turnover, rather than the tax on gross revenue advocated by Betfair and fellow litigant Sportsbet. While Betfair has signaled their intention to appeal the ruling to the High Court, they aren’t the only ones who feel hard done by the Federal Court’s decision.
Back in October, Racing Queensland followed what seemed to be the sensible ‘bird in the hand’ strategy adopted by Racing Victoria, i.e. settling for a fee structure based on 10% of gross revenue, rising to 15% during the race-heavy two month spring carnival. Now, with Racing NSW’s ‘two in the bush’ strategy appearing to have paid off handsomely, angry voices are being raised in Queensland and Victoria as to why their negotiators didn’t have the stones to take a more resolute stance.
Some of these aggrieved voices are suggesting some kind of appeal might be launched to undo the gross revenue deals, but the chances of success appear slim. Some observers are saying Betfair’s High Court appeal is also destined to be a kamikaze mission, given that the Federal Court’s ruling was a unanimous one.
Meanwhile, back in England, Sportingbet’s Andy McIver took time out of basking in the glow of his company’s latest financial reports to remind UK horse bettors that they’ve never had it so good. In no way attempting to sway the government’s mind on whether to compel the bookmakers to ante up more dough for next year’s horse racing Levy, McIvor said a horse racing price war had created a ‘bloodbath’ of the bookies. “It’s cut-throat,” said McIver. “Margins are down from 15% to below 6.” Speaking of down, has anyone else noticed that the otherwise profitable company’s shares have lost a quarter of their value in the past month? Ah, the perks of the public company model…