Betfair denies political donation influenced favorable Aussie tax ruling

betfair-donation-aussie-tax-rulingOn March 11, Betfair will be sitting in Australia’s High Court, waiting on tenterhooks to learn whether its appeal of an Australian Federal Court ruling will be successful. Betfair is keen to reverse that ruling, which stated that Racing NSW could charge the betting exchange a levy of 1.5% on turnover rather than the gross revenue option favored by Betfair. Betfair feels that the turnover model unfairly favors their TabCorp competition, but Betfair also fears that if the High Court upholds the ruling, other sports might seek to renegotiate their betting rights along similar lines.

But it’s another deal in another down under state that has Betfair making Aussie headlines. Back in August 2010, Tasmania’s governing Labor Party (ALP) announced a deal that would reduce Betfair’s state taxes from approx. $8m to $2m. Recently published info by the Australian Electoral Commission reveals that Betfair donated almost $11k to Labor in 2010 (an election year). This might have gone unnoticed, as donations under $11k are not legally required to be identified, but a bank charge applied to the donation pushed it over the limit by $20, compelling the ALP to make it public. Bloody bankers….

ALP State Secretary John Dowling denies that this donation played a role in the tax deal negotiations. “Those negotiations were concluded prior to the election and announced and some months later the ALP received a small donation from Betfair.” Betfair claims it donated a similar amount to the opposition Liberal party, but this appeared to be news to Liberal leader Will Hodgman, who said “Not to my knowledge.”