Published: November 23, 2022

Tabcorp takes legal action against Entain and the Australian Hotel Association over NSW advertising deal

Tabcorp has launched legal action against Entain and the Australian Hotel Association’s New South Wales division on the grounds of their alleged failure to disclose "sufficient" information about their recent advertising deal in the Australian state. 

The company commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW on Monday, seeking preliminary discovery from Entain and NSE pubs. Tabcorp further wrote to both groups with concerns the deal may “raise a risk of contravening" the Unlawful Gambling Act of 1998, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

It should be noted the state’s pubs and clubs are exclusively allowed to operate Tabcorp’s retail wagering in their venues thanks to a long-standing state license the group extended in 2013 to 2033. 

However, Entain signed a deal with NSW hotels last month that will enable pubs to advertise digital betting platforms Ladbrokes and Neds without breaching their exclusivity arrangement.

Tabcorp alleges Entain and the NSW Hotels Association have not provided sufficient information to the company on the advertising deal in order for the firm to decide whether to commence substantive proceedings. Should it do so, the proceedings would involve making a claim for damages or an injunction against the two parties. 

At the time the deal was signed, a source close to Racing NSW accused Tabcorp of “getting what they deserved after behaving like monopolistic arseholes,” as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, adding the state’s racing body will be paying close attention to how Entain’s move will play out. 

Racing NSW recently settled an ongoing dispute with Tabcorp over the AUD 11 billion split of its wagering and lotteries division. Tabcorp would waive up to AUD 50 million in revenue by giving pubs and clubs across Australia free access to Sky Racing by 2024, as part of a push to recover market share from rivals, including Entain.  

The company charges about 4875 pubs and clubs across the country about AUD 12,000 a year to stream the Sky Racing channel, which shows thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing. However, some venues have questioned the value of the subscription with many high-profile races available on free-to-air.

It has decided to remove the fees for Sky Racing for pubs in Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT by December after the governments in those jurisdictions committed to changing the way gambling is taxed.

The remaining states will have their fee removed on a staggered system before it is waived entirely in July 2024. Tabcorp has long been lobbying state governments to introduce a point of consumption tax to “level the playing field."

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