Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Free Ride for Some Bookmakers

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Free Ride for Some Bookmakers

Article excerpt

Byline: Turf topics with Barry Fitzhenry

A REVENUE loss of over $120 million to the Australian racing industry could result unless the "free ride" currently given to corporate bookmakers comes to an end, according to a Australian Racing Board chairman, Bob Bentley. In a submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry, the Australian Racing Board describes the threat posed by the increasing wagering with corporate bookmakers and points out the necessity that the federal government mandate that operators who bet on racing be required to pay a product fee to the state body which operates that racing.

Also that the racing industry be enabled to set the fees payable rather than the current "pay what we like" approach.

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ONE of the major betting operators in the world, Paddy Power, has recently purchased a 51% stake in Sportsbet and the ARB maintains that Paddy Power is set to exploit the current Australian set-up. In 2006/2007, $9.342 billion was wagered with Australian TABs returning an income of $560 million to Australian racing.

If corporate bookmakers were to take 30% of this TAB wagering and continue to pay minimum fees, the loss of income to the racing industry would be around $126 million which is more than the total revenue received by Queensland Racing.

The ARB maintains that any increase in turnover generated by the corporates would not cover this loss of revenue.

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BENTLEY points out that the highly successful racing in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan has only been made possible by all parties involved paying their fair share.

With 200 000 Australians involved in thoroughbred racing as participants, employees or suppliers and 47 000 full-time jobs, the racing industry contributes $1.2 billion in taxes to federal and state governments. As a significant industry, it is most important that racing receives all possible support from governments. …

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