Saturday, June 15, 2024

Govt gambles on TAB deal with UK betting group

Minister for Racing, Kieran McAnulty, has announced a new 25-year partnership between TAB NZ and UK betting company, Entain, that he says will deliver at least $900 million in guaranteed funding for the racing industry over the next five years.

Entain, which operates multiple sports betting providers globally, will use their economies of scale and significant technology and capital capabilities to deliver TAB NZ’s betting, wagering and broadcast operations, the Minister said.

“This is one of the most significant days in New Zealand racing history. This deal will reverse falling revenues for racing and provides certainty over the coming years,” he said.

“I’m confident this agreement will help secure a solid future for the racing industry and sports in New Zealand through increased financial distributions to national sports organisations.”

The Minister said TAB NZ had battled increasing financial challenges in recent years and was facing an uncertain future, largely due to competition from offshore gambling websites.

The Agreement provides an upfront payment of $150 million 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 $150 million per year for the first five years,” he said.

“This partnership will also allow TAB NZ to use Entain’s expertise and economies of scale to make necessary upgrades and invest extensively in infrastructure and technology. It will be an improved offering for customers.”

New Zealand’s racing industry is worth $1.6 billion to the economy and directly employs 14,000 New Zealanders.

“It’s reliant on TAB NZ distributions, and if they were allowed to fall that would hit the industry hard and jobs and revenue lost.”

“It’s important this deal assists in reducing gambling harm. As such I’ve received confirmation from TAB NZ of a $5 million allocation for harm minimisation measures upon approval of the agreement.

“Entain has better harm minimisation technologies, such as facial recognition tools that can be rolled out in TAB venues.

“The partnership between TAB NZ and Entain does not prevent the Government from putting in place further harm minimisation regulation, and I have been clear with TAB NZ that I intend to do so.”

Minister McAnulty also announced a Cabinet in-principle agreement to extend TAB NZ’s monopoly for sports and racing betting to the online environment, subject to further work being completed.

“The TAB was set up as a monopoly to fund New Zealand racing and sports. But the onset of unregulated online gambling changed the game and our racing and sports industry has been losing money ever since.”

“Regulating this environment offers a significant new revenue source for local racing and sport, while also addressing the inherent risks in unregulated online gambling.

“By prohibiting online gambling outside of the TAB the Government can place greater controls over the betting environment.”

He said the Government would also expect to see an even greater investment in harm minimisation, a fairer deal for Kiwi punters and sports codes and a greater focus on animal welfare.

Today also sees the public release of the Racing Integrity Board’s report into the future of the greyhound racing industry and proposed next steps.

“I originally intended to publicly release the report for stakeholder discussions early this year but this was delayed due to extreme weather events. I am pleased to now be in a position to share the report publicly and engage with key stakeholders to ensure the work can move forward,” said Mr McAnulty.

“It is clear to me that the status quo is no longer viable and we are faced with two options: continue under strict conditions or closure. I will continue to progress this issue over the coming months, but unfortunately the delay has meant I’ve likely run out time to bring a decision before Cabinet before the election.

“While I appreciate the frustration with the delay, I have instructed the Racing Integrity Board to continue working closely with Greyhound Racing New Zealand throughout the interim period to ensure animal welfare is prioritised and improvements made.

“I would like to thank the Racing Integrity Board, Greyhound Racing New Zealand, SPCA and SAFE for their continued work in this space. I look forward to their ongoing engagement during the remainder of this process,” he said.

Latest Articles