Bettors At The Governments Beck and Call

A couple of interesting items for the horse bettor hit the wires yesterday.

First, Betfair announced some news. This headline seemed to cause some confusion, though. The Daily Racing Form reported that "Betfair is pulling out of a dozen countries". This is not quite accurate, as they are pulling their marketing and promotions from 12 countries; they are still accepting customers, as they have been.

This is not shocking, I would surmise. It's like Twinspires putting $10M or more in marketing to South American countries, and having the governments come along and say they can't operate. Capturing a customer for online gambling (or anything on and offline) has a "CPA" or "cost per acquisition" and it forms a target. Government uncertainty is a component of it (risk), and it seems that number is becoming higher and higher. It makes little sense to spend like a drunken sailor on landing a new customer, when it can all be taken away at a stroke of a pen.

This is not unlike slots really. The government can come in, like they did in Ontario and Iowa, and say "no more". Poof, it's gone.

Meanwhile, The NTRA reported that tax changes for US bettors might be enacted, as that government strives to gain more and more revenue. These changes are so penal, that if passed, handle would get killed and you'd probably find several big bettors set up shop in Mexico or Canada.  Fortunately, it looks like it may be averted. Alex Waldrop tweeted that they expect the hole to be plugged. Let's hope it is.

As governments realize the fiscal problems are huge, and there aren't enough rich people to tax to pay for their largesse, they come for everyone else. Whether it be with taking slots money, adding more taxes to bettors, or shutting out overseas companies as a form of protectionism, it's what's done. We should probably expect more, not less of it.

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