This replaced the "gross profit" model that had been working; Betfair had been paying 10% of bettors profits to racing.
Bettors responded by doing what they do when they have no shot to make money - they curtailed their handle on horse racing.
Without giving figures, my turnover with them dropped by 90% on the punting side, and I used the Fair for laying only which was NOT subject to the tax. RV got nothing, and the Fair lost out on the commission I was paying on the punting side, which was substantial even though I was on a low rate.Since that time, the racing commissions did some learning. In effect, Racing Victoria was not making more money, they were making less money, because fewer people were betting.
They did what's not often seen by horse racing. In 2013 - only one year later - they decided to take less money and let betfair revert to the old system. The customer got reduced fees, and handle went up in Victoria.
Since 2013, they did even more learning. At the Warnambool Carnival, with betfair having full access to the meet, pari-mutuel, non-exchange handle was up 17% and 15% year over year on the two days they were running. On the third day, Betfair had a power outage and could not offer their races. Total handle among the other operators was down 6%.
In response to this value-added proposition, Racing Victoria changed the fee structure again, and punters are receiving even more money back to bet. The fee charged by betfair on a bet dropped from 6.5% to 6%.
It should astound and amaze us - ok, maybe it should not - that here across the pond the exact opposite tactic is happily in practice.
A few examples:
i) Signal fees keep going up, taking money from resellers, who pass that on to customers. As handle falls, the response is not to correct things, but to raise them even more.
ii) ADW taxes on resellers, which were first implemented in Virginia (I think racing is defunct there now) were broadened to other states. This tax is passed on to customers.
iii) Takeout hikes.
iv) Resellers like Derby Wars are something to be sued and crushed, not worked with.
The above is all done with hundreds and hundreds of millions of slot subsidies, and in a jurisdiction that takes the most per bet for purses than any major one in the world.
In North America, if you asked Magna or the HBPA or the TOC or Chris Kay to raise signal fees on resellers to 100% of revenue, giving them and punters nothing back, they'll gladly take the money. If you ask someone to sue a website where there's evidence that it - like betfair at the carnival above - is driving eyeballs and helping your handle, they'll say sure, "they're stealing". Takeout hikes to "raise purses", sign me up, it's a great idea. Take that evil reseller Twinspires behind the woodshed, like they tried with betfair in 2013? Grand, can o' corn.
It's bad enough these policies are encouraged and happening, but when they don't work there is no one to say "whoa, we made a mistake, let's revert back" like they did in Victoria.
No one is saying racing has to give away their product; give everything to a reseller, or bettor. That's ridiculous. What I am saying is that racing here in North America has to work with their resellers, and through them take care of their customers, encouraging them to grow the bet, and in turn, to grow the sport. Resellers are your partners, not your enemy.