Australian betting industry awaits ACT’s Tabcorp-Tatts merger decision

Australia betting/gambling industry stakeholders await the official Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) decision with regards to the AUS $11 billion Tabcorp Holdings and Tatts Group merger (deal first announced October 2016).

Throughout May, the ACT has examined heated debate and opinion with regards to the Tabcorp-Tatts combination to create the Australian gambling market’s outright leader.

As the merger review enters its final stretch, ACT officials have heard a number of competitor testaments and industry concerns against the combination and how it may impact market conditions and pricing.

The Australian competition review process has proved an arduous endeavour for Tabcorp governance, who have acted as the merger’s lead party.

Last March, Tabcorp governance decided to change merger review body from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to the ACT. At the time Tabcorp leadership stated that it preferred the review terms of the ACT which were labelled as ‘more stakeholder-friendly’.

Nevertheless, the ACCC has presented its concerns regarding the merger. Last week the commission detailed to the Tribunal hearing, that it had notable concerns regarding Tabcorp’s plans for weekend racing pools pricing, under a post-merger initiative named ‘Project Alfred’.

Other stakeholders opposed to the deal include James Packer’s online bookmaker CrownBet and Racing Victoria, who have stated that if approved the deal would create a monopoly with significant influence on all levels of Australian gambling’s value chain (retail, venues, sponsorship, media, licensing).

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