Bookie says one per cent fee is fairest

Sydney betting ring leader Wayne McDonald says a one per cent fee is a fair amount for all bookmakers to pay for the use of NSW race fields.

Federal Court Justice Nye Perram on Wednesday ruled that the NSW Race Fields legislation is valid, but the method used to collect the 1.5 per cent fee on turnover was discriminatory against interstate bookmakers.

NSW on-course bookmakers are not required to pay the fee until they reached a $5 million threshold.

“I’ve said all along I think one per cent is the fair fee for everyone to pay,” McDonald said while fielding at Canterbury races on Wednesday.

“I think one per cent across the board is fair.”


With the ruling that the $5 million threshold is discriminatory, smaller on-course bookmakers in NSW could be hardest hit if the threshold is removed.

“If there is no threshold, the smaller bookmakers would be the worst-affected proportionately,” veteran fielder Bill Murphy said.

Meanwhile, Sportsbet chief executive Matthew Tripp said Justice Perram’s judgment was a fair result for the wagering industry.

“It is also an important outcome for punters, who were facing a potentially sharp increase in pricing and therefore poorer returns had the 1.5 per cent levy scheme been upheld,” Tripp said.

“We have said many times, and I say it again, our industry supports the racing industry and wants to help racing remain strong and healthy.

“We are willing to pay our way and contribute a fair price to the racing industry, as long as it is paid equally by all.”

Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan has refuted Racing NSW claims that the decision gives the ruling body a licence to charge corporate bookmakers a fee of 1.5 per cent of turnover.

“The right of Racing NSW to charge a fee of 1.5 per cent of turnover was not before the court in relation to corporate bookmakers,” Sullivan said.

“What was before the court was whether Racing NSW’s actions in granting an approval with a fee of 1.5 per cent of turnover was invalid.

“And that was a resounding `yes’ it was. The money that has been paid to Racing NSW has been ordered to be paid back.

Sullivan said his company would be prepared for a legal challenge against Racing NSW.

“If Racing NSW thinks that this decision means that they can now charge corporate bookmakers 1.5 per cent of turnover, then I guess (Racing NSW) has another fight on its hands,” he said.