Tabcorp eyes joining the National Lottery’s hot pursuit

Australia ASX-listed Tabcorp Holdings will renew an ambition to establish its presence within UK gambling, as it prepares to bid for the 2023 National Lottery operating contract.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Tabcorp governance has held discussions with investment bank Rothschild, one of four strategic advisors forming the UKGC’s tender evaluation body.

A turbulent 2019 saw Tabcorp governance criticized by investors for failing to deliver value on the firm’s AUS $11 billion merger with main market rival Tatts Group.

Furthermore, an embattled Tabcorp was forced to fend off rumours that the firm’s biggest investors had demanded for the ASX firm to split its lucrative keno and wagering assets into a separate business entity.

Countering criticism, Tabcorp has underlined that 2020 will be the year in which its Tatts enlargement showcases its true capacity – a National Lottery tender win would, therefore, act as the panacea for its investor anxieties.

To date, Tabcorp carries a blighted record within the UK, having co-founded the Sun Bets joint-venture in 2017 alongside News UK.

A costly and embarrassing chapter for Tabcorp governance, the ASX operator would terminate the Sun Bets property in 2018, absorbing £50 million losses and having to further reward News UK £40 million in compensation for exiting its JV contract.

Tabcorp joins a stable of high-profile firms seeking to dislodge Camelot UK as the operating firm the UK National Lottery. Confirmed suitors include Sir Richard Branson’s ‘Peoples Lottery’ and billionaire publisher Richard Desmond’s Northern-&-Shell Group.

The UKGC’s 2020 tender also carries an international appeal with Czech gambling conglomerate SAZKA Group and French lottery operator FDJ confirming in December that they had approached Rothschild with regards to launching bids.

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