High Court dismisses race fields appeal

By: Mark Mazzaglia
March 30th, 2012
Breaking News

The High Court of Australia today dismissed appeals by Sportsbet and Betfair against Racing New South Wales’s right to charge a turnover based fee on race fields.

High Court Justice French announced the decision this morning in Canberra which was made by seven High Court Judges.

The decision means that Racing New South Wales will now be able to charge corporate bookmakers and betting agencies a 1.5 per cent turnover based fee on New South Wales racing products.

The New South Wales racing industry has been anxiously awaiting the decision to be handed down and will now benefit the rewards with Racing New South Wales now able to inject a reportly $150m to $170m into the huge industry.

Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park Chief Executive Peter Stubbs who was in the nation’s capitol this morning said the decision would benefit all codes of racing in all states and in particular country and regional racing.

“This decision adds to the certainty of the future of racing in funding and prize money. It will benefit all racing codes in all states,” Stubbs said.

Sportsbets and Betfair naturally were disappointed with the High Court’s decision and will work with Racing New South Wales towards a workable model that will be the best for their customers.

“It’s disappointing but it’s not the end of the world and our focus now turns exactly in the direction it should and that’s protecting our customers,” said Barney Evans, Sportsbet’s marketing director.

“We won’t pass any costs onto them.”

“What we can do now is draw a line in the sand and everybody work together to focus back on the most important people in racing and that’s the punters,” he said.

Although Betfair Australasia’s CEO, Giles Thompson disagreed with the ruling, he said his company will continue to work in the future with a positive attitude.

“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,” Thompson said.

“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.”

The decision will also affect the other codes of racing and Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Graeme Campbell said that harness racing would benefit greatly.

“This decision provides longevity for our sport,” said Campbell.

“It is truly a great day for harness racing and its participants, as it will allow prize money increases and development across a number of areas.”

Top Sydney jockey Corey Brown said the decision would benefit everyone in racing and the injected funds from Racing New South Wales would raise the standard of racing from safety issues to infrastructure.



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