Britain’s Entain Receives Green Light to Take Over TAB’s Betting Operations

May 25, 2023 | Government

NEW ZEALAND (May 23, 2023) — The TAB has got the green light from Minister for Racing Kieran McAnulty to outsource its operations to British gambling giant Entain, in spite of concerns voiced by the Problem Gambling Foundation.

New Zealand news media website ‘Stuff’ reports the deal will see Entain, whose brands include Ladbrokes, take over the TAB’s betting and broadcast operations for the next 25 years and guarantee the racing industry pay-outs of $900 million over five years.

Minister McAnulty said the Cabinet had also agreed in principle to extend TAB NZ’s “monopoly over sports and race betting to the online environment” which he suggested might be achieved by geoblocking overseas gambling websites.

Entain had lobbied for such a monopoly by offering to make an “additional and significant upfront payment if legislation was enacted that prevented unlicenced offshore operators from providing wagering services in New Zealand”.

Entain previously promised to guarantee the jobs of TAB’s 450 staff, excluding its executive team, for two years, to get the deal over the line.

McAnulty said he was confident the agreement would help secure a solid future for the racing industry and sports in New Zealand “through increased financial distributions to national sports organisations”.

“TAB NZ has been facing increasing financial challenges over recent years and was facing an uncertain future, largely due to competition from offshore gambling websites”, he said.

“The agreement provides an upfront payment of $150m upon approval of the agreement. In addition to this, there will be a 50% revenue share from ‘day one’ with guaranteed payments of at least $150m per year for the first five years.”

The Minister indicated he expected the outsourcing agreement would reduce problem gambling, saying Entain had “better harm minimisation technologies such as facial recognition tools that can be rolled out in TAB venues”.

“I’ve received confirmation from TAB NZ of a $5m allocation for harm minimisation measures upon approval of the agreement,” he said.

“We would expect to … see much more money allocated to harm minimisation, a fairer deal for Kiwi punters and sports codes and a greater focus on animal welfare.”

McAnulty said the arrangement would see Entain provide “most of the TAB NZ’s functions through a newly established, New Zealand-based subsidiary of Entain”.

However, TAB NZ would remain “as the entity responsible for all statutory functions and for managing the contract with the operator”, he said.

The Overseas Investment Office said it did not appear to have received an application from either En or the TAB for the partnership agreement.

It was unable to clarify whether it might need to approve the transaction late last week saying that, as of then, there was “insufficient publicly available information available to make an assessment of whether or not consent is required”.


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