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Western Australia to Apply Retrospective Race Fields Levy

26th November 2009 8:19 am GMT

While Betfair continues its battle in the federal court against the turnover based race fields levy implemented by the New South Wales government, Western Australia's state parliament has introduced its own legislation requiring wagering operators to pay a levy for betting on racing, based on either a percentage of turnover or gross revenues.

The levy will be based on either 1.5% of turnover or the greater of 20% of gross revenues or 0.2% of turnover, which will be directed to the Western Australian racing industry. In addition the levy will be retrospectively applicable from September 1st 2008.

Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron said the Legislative Council had passed the legislation without amendment and that the industry would soon benefit from this important revenue flow.

"The Western Australian TAB is currently paying fees to interstate racing industries for the right to bet on their racing product and these fees amount to about $18million per year," said Waldron.

"This legislation will allow the Western Australian racing industry to charge similar fees to wagering operators across Australia and overseas for betting on WA racing and thereby claw back up to $15million of lost revenue."

Waldron said that regulations to set the fee and enable the process were currently being drafted and said that the in-flow of fees would hopefully start in the new year.

"Securing the financial benefit of our racing product for the local industry is crucial. Had we not acted, the industry faced the prospect of losing nearly AUD$18 million per year from the stakes base for metropolitan and country racing," he said.

The legislation allows all authorised Australian betting operators to use WA race fields as long as they continue paying the levy and comply with information requirements concerning the integrity and reputation of the racing industry.

Offshore betting operators are also required to apply to the Gaming and Wagering Commission for approval to use the race fields and will also be subject to the same conditions as those operators licensed in Australia.

The introduction of the race fields legislation is in line with similar moves in the Eastern States of Australia, with both Betfair and Sportsbet currently involved in a dispute against NSW over race fields legislation that collects 1.5% of any wager, which the companies say only benefits the TABs operated by Tabcorp and Tatts Group.

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