The Tabcorp Birdcage Marquee at the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival. Image: LinkedIn.

Tabcorp has today announced that it has been awarded a new exclusive Wagering and Betting License by the Victorian Government for a period of 20 years.

The new license commences from August 2024, and runs until 2044, with the Victorian Government ensuring exclusivity prior to the new licence commencing.

Changes under the new licence include the cessation of the current joint venture arrangement with the Victorian Racing Industry (VRI), and the termination of the current industry funding obligations. These amendmenys will result in Tabcorp paying wagering taxes and racing and sports product fees on the same basis as other wagering operators in the state.

Tabcorp will pay a license fee to the Victorian Government of $600m on 28 June 2024 and 19 annual payments of $30m commencing 16 August 2025. Tabcorp intends to fully fund the June 2024 payment from existing debt facilities.

Tabcorp also expects to agree transition arrangements with the VRI shortly. These arrangements, once finalised, are expected to provide the industry near-term funding certainty. This would include Tabcorp paying fixed distributions until the commencement of the new licence, as well as $15m of additional funding for each of the first three years of the new licence.

“Today is momentous in the journey of our company post demerger. This is a positive outcome for our shareholders, the Victorian Government and industry stakeholders. I am particularly pleased with the terms we have secured under this new licence which directly addresses the structural reform required in the modern wagering environment. It’s a licence that will allow us to ignite our total Victorian wagering business,” stated Tabcorp managing director and CEO Adam Rytenskild.

“This announcement continues the strong momentum of our transformation. We are a faster, simpler and more nimble company. We’re delivering on what we promise and offering our customers a better experience with faster speed to market and an attractive product offer.

“We are pleased to have worked with the Victorian Government on a retail and tote licence that appropriately takes into account the structural changes created by the proliferation of online bookmakers licensed in the Northern Territory. This is a strong licence for the modern era and is the prototype moving forward – it ensures a safe wagering ecosystem for the community and incorporates stronger protections to ensure genuine retail exclusivity.

“Significantly, the terms of this agreement will place Tabcorp on a level playing field with our competitors for the first time in Victoria. The structure of payments represent value for shareholders, and will enable us to invest more in our products, offerings and customer experience.”

On-premise industry stakeholders in the state have welcomed the news, including long-term partners AHA (Vic) and Community Clubs Victoria (CCV).

“As a long-standing industry partner, AHA (Vic) welcomes this announcement as it paves the way for continued constructive dialogue with Tabcorp to advance greater benefits for our Victorian member,” stated Kimberley Malcolm, general manager – member experience & compliance.

“The news is a positive shot in the arm for all levels of the industry and for licensed clubs provides certainty for venues big and small into the future. Tabcorp has long been a great supporter of the licensed club industry,” stated CEO Andrew Lloyd.

“As a local company Tabcorp has a long and vibrant history in Victoria. Club TAB venues look forward to partnering with Tabcorp with new and exciting projects into the future, focusing on the customer experience and hospitality that clubs are renowned for as community hubs.”

Harm minimisation a key commitment

The Government acknowledged Tabcorp’s commitment to gambling harm minimisation and expects Tabcorp will continue to work with the VGCCC to enhance its systems to allow for more harm minimisation measures to be implemented.

This includes changes to its self-service terminals to ensure that minors do not gamble and real-time reporting of player activity.

“The Allan Labor Government is dedicated to reducing the impacts of gambling-related harm, and the new wagering and betting licence sets strong mechanisms for harm minimisation and consumer protection,” stated Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne.

“We support sustainable growth in the Victorian wagering and betting market that has harm minimisation at its core.”

Rytenskild said Tabcorp was committed to working with the government and industry partners to reduce gambling harm.

The Government acknowledges Tabcorp’s commitment to gambling harm minimisation and expects Tabcorp will continue to work with the VGCCC to enhance its systems to allow for more harm minimisation measures to be implemented.s“We are excited to partner with the Victorian Government over the next two decades under a modern wagering licence to continue to create a safe, enjoyable and innovative entertainment offering and retail wagering ecosystem for Victorians, while ensuring long term sustainability for the state’s racing industry. As a proudly Australian company, we are absolutely committed to continue working closely with the Victorian Government and Regulator to provide a safe experience for customers and continue to evolve our capability to prevent the impact of gambling harm on Victorians.”

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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