Sportsbet challenges discrimination by Harness Racing Victoria

Sportsbet, the internet bookmaker based in Darwin, has claimed that various State governments have allowed racing regulators to levy discriminatory charges against it in order to prevent leakage of wagering revenue out of the State. Section 92 of the Australian constitution prohibits discrimination that is protectionist. The Federal Court of Australia today found in favour of Sportsbet in its allegation that Harness Racing Victoria had imposed a fee on Sportsbet’s turnover of 1.5% compared with a fee imposed on the turnover of on-course bookmakers of only 1%, and that this constituted discrimination that was protectionist.

Philip Williams of Frontier (Australia) acted as an expert witness on behalf of Sportsbet and gave evidence at the trial on whether the fees were discriminatory and on whether the discrimination was protectionist.

For more information, please contact Marita O’Keeffe at m.okeeffe@frontier-economics.com or call on +61 (0)3 9620 4488.

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