Shane Anderson – @Globalgallop – www.racing.com

Racing Victoria is satisfied with wagering figures on Victorian thoroughbred racing despite the continued vision blackout by Sky Racing and Tabcorp.

For the period between June 16 and 25, when vision of Victorian thoroughbred racing was only available via Racing.com, Sportsbet or Crownbet digital, there was 2 per cent growth year on year.

Since the launch of Channel 78 on June 26 through June 30, there has been 4 per cent growth year on year.

These figures outperformed Racing Victoria’s forecast. While there has been an impact, this has decreased since the launch of Channel 78, highlighting the importance of television coverage to wagering.

Further analysis continues as figures from the wagering service providers come to hand, including Caulfield’s meeting on July 4.

In a further show of support for Racing Victoria, Betfair has announced that it will lower commission rates on Victorian thoroughbred racing.

It will now be cheaper for customers to bet on Victorian racing than in New South Wales or Queensland, which is expected to increase the level of activity on the Victorian product.

Racing Victoria recently amended the race fields’ fees that it charges betting exchange operators. On a standard meeting, Betfair will now be charged 1.0 per cent of net customer winnings. This increases to 1.5 per cent for Group and Listed meetings, and 2.0 per cent for Premier meetings such as Melbourne Cup Day.

Betfair had been charging its customers a blanket rate of 6.5 per cent commission across the three Australian racing codes. This will now change reflecting on the fees that each racing body charges Betfair, with a variable market base rate ranging from 6 per cent to 8 per cent.

A market base rate of 6 per cent will now apply on every thoroughbred race in Victoria and South Australia, as well as harness racing in Victoria and greyhound racing in New South Wales.

Customers of thoroughbred racing in NSW and Queensland will be charged a commission fee of 8 per cent.

Industry sources believe that this is a significant result for Victorian thoroughbred racing, leading to more Betfair customers that are price sensitive to bet solely on the Victorian product.

Tim Moore-Barton, CEO of Betfair Australia, believes that more racing administrators are becoming aware of the importance of having a viable onshore betting exchange.

“The technology outage that we had during the Warrnambool Carnival in May is a pretty interesting case study,” said Moore-Barton on Racing.com’s Racing Aheadon RSN.

“I think that led to Racing Victoria understanding the importance of the product.

“The first two days of Warrnambool had industry turnover across all operators being up 17 per cent (Tuesday) and 15 per cent (Wednesday).

“Unfortunately on the third day (Thursday), we had a full day outage and that actually led to industry turnover being down 6 per cent.

“When Betfair was down, the industry as a whole suffered.

“When you chat to the on-course bookmakers, you understand the importance of the exchange to them; it gives confidence in prices to them, customers and the ability to lay off unwanted risk.”

On-course bookmakers get a 50 per cent discount rate by using Betfair, which means that Victorian bookmakers would be charged 3 per cent commission rather than 6 per cent.

“I think that it is a really exciting time to be involved in the racing industry in Victoria,” said Moore-Barton.

“A lot of the credit has to go to Racing Victoria and the clubs in getting vision on to Channel 78, punters now have access to high-quality coverage and they have got the funding model right.

“We are really excited to be a part of that, our customers are very sophisticated and price sensitive, and we expect them to move from the more expensive jurisdictions into Victoria.

“More importantly, any customer activity that may have leaked offshore to unregulated, illegal betting exchanges will hopefully shift back to Betfair and into Victoria.”

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