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Volume 7 No. 108

Finance

AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh says federal tax cuts will take "millions" from players.
Photo: getty images

The Australian Football League Players’ Association will "tackle" Treasurer Scott Morrison over his decision to "rip tax breaks worth millions of dollars from the game’s biggest names," according to Tom Minear of the HERALD SUN. Players such as Dustin Martin, Lance Franklin and Patrick Dangerfield "face a significant financial hit after the government quietly ended the tax-free kick" in last week’s federal budget. Players will be banned from claiming a discounted tax rate "when profiting from their fame and image rights in lucrative sponsorship and corporate deals," which can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The AFLPA is demanding to meet Morrison, arguing the change has not been "thought through and should be overturned." It could also pressure the AFL to increase the salary cap and "hand big pay rises to players to make up for their lost income." Morrison said that celebrities and athletes "needed to pay their fair share of tax." He said, "Taxes need to be lower, simpler and fairer, but they also need to be paid." AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh said players "would collectively lose millions of dollars each year," and top players "would be hit hardest." March: “This includes AFLW players, some of which are generating more income through partnerships and endorsements built on the use of their image than through their football contracts” (HERALD SUN, 5/16).

FanDuel offers millions of DFS players primed for conversion to sports betting
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair "confirmed it is in talks to buy or merge" with daily fantasy sports company FanDuel as U.K. betting firms "prepare to cash in on the end" of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on sports gambling, according to Jack Torrance of the London TELEGRAPH. PPB said that discussions with FanDuel were "ongoing and that there was no certainty any deal would go ahead." PPB bought FanDuel rival Draft for $48M last year and also has an "online casino and horse betting exchange in New Jersey" (TELEGRAPH, 5/16). In London, Murad Ahmed reported sources said that PPB has been "talking to American gambling groups for weeks over potential deals and partnerships" in anticipation of the court's decision (FT, 5/16). LEGAL SPORTS REPORT's Dustin Gouker reported details of the acquisition and the price PPB is offering are "unknown, but it appears likely to be below" the $1B valuation that FanDuel once had. FanDuel would "offer a database of millions of DFS players -- some active, some not -- that would seemingly be primed for conversion to a sports betting platform." PPB already has users from horse racing network TVG and Draft, but FanDuel "offers a different demographic than the former and a larger base than the latter." FanDuel is a brand with "more recognition" in the U.S. than PPB, "a largely European-facing company, currently enjoys with any of its current brands" (LEGAL SPORTS REPORT, 5/15). FOX BUSINESS' Thomas Barrabi reported FanDuel said that it has a "base of more than 6 million registered users" (FOX BUSINESS, 5/15).

AHEAD OF THE GAME: FanDuel CEO Matt King said of the ruling, "We're working with the regulators on what that regulation is going to look like and that will drive a lot of what the product is. But suffice it to say we actually have our product designed, we have the tech team working on it and we're going to be ready to go." King said that FanDuel sees a "massive opportunity in terms of expanding the number of people" using FanDuel products and placing wagers and the "fact that it's going to be online in a lot of states actually makes it a lot easier for people to do" ("Squawk Alley," CNBC, 5/15).

'ESTABLISHING A FOOTHOLD': BLOOMBERG's Phil Serafino reported shares of U.S. casino companies and bookmakers such as William Hill "rallied on the court decision." Sports gambling "could begin in a matter of weeks in casinos and racetracks in New Jersey," which instigated the legal fight by repealing its gambling ban. Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note to clients that an acquisition of FanDuel "would improve the chances of Paddy Power Betfair establishing a foothold in the U.S. sports betting market" (BLOOMBERG, 5/16).

Sri Lanka’s cricket board on Wednesday announced a profit of $14M for last year, "far above all previous records despite one of the worst on-field performances by the islanders in years," according to the AFP. Sri Lanka Cricket said that it earned a "staggering 33 times what it made the year before." SLC said in a statement that revenues, at 6 billion rupees, were "roughly double" '16's figures. The statement said, "This was a result of SLC’s strategic growth plans and prudent financial management." Sources attributed the "sharp rise in profits" to a "packed" '17 calendar which featured home series against Bangladesh, India and Zimbabwe (AFP, 5/16).