Brendan Cormick from The Australian today reports that “A mystery punter known as Dr Nick, who is responsible for more than $100 million worth of bets each year, has been lost to the Australian racing industry”.
He claims “Dr Nick has blamed taxes and levies on bookmakers, which ultimately affect a punter’s bottom line by diminishing the prices they are offered”. “The percentages do not favour the punter any more. The bookmakers are saddled with a point of consumption tax and other charges, which vary from state to state, and punters, big or small, are finding fixed odds betting unprofitable”.
I can see where he is coming from but I suspect there is more to the reasoning than that. The clue is that Cormick finds that “any future wagering Dr Nick does in Australian may only involve tote pools”.
That has little logic as the takeout by the tote is far greater than any new taxes applied to corporate bookies (perhaps 16% v 7%). However any deals are fiddled, the bookies still have large leeways to permit them offering competitive pricing.
More likely is that there are now so many bookies stirring the pot that it is harder for any of them to turn a profit. The pie is sliced too many ways. Hence all the takeovers and mergers seen in recent years (Packer, Tripp, etc).
At the core is the ease and cheapness of entry to the business under lax NT regulations. Unlike the totes, the bookies themselves set the rules, limiting or denying bets and cancelling winning accounts.
Greyhounds do worse than others because its tote pools are so small in the first place. But more power to those jurisdictions pushing for a combined national betting pool. It won’t solve all the problems but it will help.