Tom Waterhouse.Credit:Louise Kennerley
Bans on credit betting and increased tax on horse racing punting is to blame for poor turnover figures, according to former bookmaker turned tipster Tom Waterhouse.
Caulfield Cup day turnover suffered a significant hit last Saturday, dropping 24.6 per cent from $127.7 million in 2018 to $96.3 million, continuing a decline in turnover across the spring.
Racing Victoria believes three key factors contributed to the poor figures, first, because just one favourite won on Caulfield's 10-race card, meaning there were less winnings for punters to reinvest, second, the new point of consumption tax means punters are being offered worse odds, and third, the meeting clashed with The Everest, attracting a share of their wallet to Sydney.
The average starting price of winners since Memsie Stakes day this spring has no doubt grown significantly this year, up from $7.25 in 2018 to $12.76 this year, made worse by multiple 100-1 winners in feature group 1 races.
The strike rate of favourites has also dropped spring on spring, down from 37.8 per cent last year to 29.3 per cent.
But the average starting price of winners on Caulfield Cup day year on year was insignificant. Last year, it was $5.28; this year, $5.73.
And while The Everest could have diverted punter interest away from Caulfield, it had the opposite effect to Guineas day in 2018, drawing a record $100.3 million for the day.
Instead, Waterhouse says additional taxes on bookmakers are having the greatest effect, as was the credit ban, which was introduced 18 months ago.
"We're getting into a fair way since the credit ban has been put in place, so you're seeing the impact of high roller turnover being significantly reduced," he said.
"On a Saturday, if you're having a good day or a bad day you might turn over a lot of money, but if you've got to deposit the day before, it's hard to deposit half a million dollars to bet up through the day."
Waterhouse agreed with Racing Victoria that increased taxes meant bookmakers were offering worse odds, something he believed could see punters turn to other sports.
"It was only four or five years ago that top fluc would average in Sydney 105 per cent, now the top fluc is 116 per cent. It's a big difference in percentage," he said.
"I know the highest grossed sport with waging operators is basketball, NBA, and they have all that vision that's free and they have no tax on that product.
"A punter can turn over their money a lot more times because they've only got a couple of per cent against them but in racing, you've got 120 per cent against you most of the time now.
"It's a big difference in terms of recycling money because you lose it a lot quicker with the higher takeout, as compared to a low takeout.
"I'm not saying the way they're taxing is wrong, it may be better for racing, but they're the two reasons why turnover has been impacted."
Ironically, Racing Victoria makes more money when turnover is down, because instead of taking a percentage of turnover it can chose to take a percentage of gross revenue from bookmakers.
With a bookmaker win rate three times the normal average on Saturday, the clip of gross revenue far outweighed the percentage of turnover Racing Victoria could have decided to levy.
TopSport, a small-margin operator catering for big punters who are often banned by other bookmakers, wrote to Racing Victoria in an open letter in July warning that punters would be worse off under the new point of consumption tax, which was introduced in January.
"The punter is already indirectly financing much of the additional and copious prizemoney being foisted on world racing's elite during the major carnivals – and what does the punter receive in return?" TopSport wrote.
"As a direct consequence of the continuous growth in fees and taxes, the punter is being presented with ever-rising market percentages and, as operators are squeezed out of the market, diminished competition.
"This can only lead to reducing returns."
Racing Victoria banked $364.2 million in wagering revenue last financial year, making up 78 per cent of total revenue.
Source: Read Full Article