Betfair disappointed in appeal decision
30 Mar 2012 | The full bench of the High Court of Australia on Friday rejected Betfair’s claim that the decision to impose a 1.5% wagering turnover fee for the right to publish NSW race fields was unconstitutional on the grounds that it is discriminatory and protectionist in its nature.
Betfair was given special leave to appeal to the High Court, seeking a declaration that the fee placed a discriminatory burden on Betfair’s ability, as an inter-state operator, to compete with TAB Limited, an intra-state operator in New South Wales.
Betfair’s claim did not challenge the race fields legislation itself, which gives racing bodies the right to impose fees on wagering operators. Betfair has always maintained that wagering operators should pay a fee to the racing industry.
Betfair Australasia’s CEO, Giles Thompson, said, “We’re obviously disappointed with the decision. We maintain our belief that a gross revenue model is the fairest basis on which to tax wagering operators.
However the High Court has made its decision and when the dust settles we hope to sit down with the NSW racing bodies and endeavour to reach a commercially viable arrangement for the future.
“This finding essentially means that it is six-times more expensive for Betfair to offer New South Wales racing to customers compared to offering racing from any other state in Australia.
“A turnover fee will place extreme pressure on our ability to continue to offer our customers what we believe is the best product in the market.
“It will directly and significantly reduce the competitiveness of wagering on racing in NSW. It is ultimately the punter who will pay for this lack of competition as it will impact on the variety, quality and value of betting on racing in NSW.
“Despite this setback in NSW, Betfair remains optimistic about its position in the Australasian marketplace – we will continue to approach the future with a great degree of confidence and enthusiasm.”