Racing Victoria responds to bookmaker's decision to change its wagering on Victorian racing

Racing Victoria on Monday responded to Australian bookmaker TopSport's decision to cut product offerings on Victorian and West Australian racing announced on Friday.

“Racing Victoria's basis for the application of race fields fees has been in place for several years and remains unchanged for the 2019-20 financial year,” Racing Victoria's statement read.

“Victoria produces the premier thoroughbred racing product in Australia and we collect fees through our race fields model which are in keeping with the quality of the product produced. 

"These fees support ongoing investment in the growth and sustainability of Victorian thoroughbred racing and the 25,000 jobs it delivers, while underpinning a significant annual contribution to the Victorian state economy.

“Our race fields framework is applicable to all operators who accept wagers on Victorian thoroughbred racing on the same terms.

"This may present challenges for some wagering operators with specific business models and it is unfortunate that this has resulted in the need for some changes to TopSport’s product offering.

“We continue to monitor the wagering landscape closely in order to remain abreast of market dynamics and emerging issues so as to make decisions in the best overall interests of Victorian thoroughbred racing.

"We are continually striving to strike a balance between the needs and wishes of multiple stakeholders in the racing ecosystem, ensuring that value is split equitably between customers, wagering operators, racing authorities and government.”

On Friday TopSport said in a statement: "We reluctantly inform you, our valued clients, of a number of impending changes to our product offerings and pricing on Victorian thoroughbred, and Western Australian thoroughbred, greyhound and harness, racing, on and from 1 July 2019.”

TopSport stated it will offer higher market percentages, lower minimum bet limits and reduced product offerings to Victoria and Western Australian customers. Victorian fixed odds provincial markets will not be released until 9.30am on raceday instead of earlier.

“During the past two years, TopSport has paid Racing Victoria 150 per cent of its gross revenue from Victorian racing in the form of product fees,” the statement read.

"In most jurisdictions, bookmakers are obliged to pay a percentage of their revenue when they win, and a comparatively smaller percentage of their turnover when they lose.

“The fundamental distinction between the Victorian and Western Australian taxation regimes and those that operate in other jurisdictions, and the reason the Victorian and Western Australian models are significantly more burdensome, is the basis on which they calculate a bookmaker's revenue.”