Betr, Matthew Tripp’s new sportsbook venture, is reportedly the front-runner for the coveted WA TAB operating licence, granted by the government of Western Australia.
Australian media reports that Betr is the ‘preferred suitor’ of the WA Gaming and Wagering Commission (DLGSC) to take charge of operating the WA TAB betting offices, ahead of Tabcorp and Entain.
The Commission is reported to have granted Betr two weeks’ notice to secure AUS $1bn (€640m) to guarantee the financing of its exclusive contract.
Backed by the Murdoch Family’s News Corp media business, Betr’s takeover of the WA TAB licence would result in a transformative shake-up of Australia’s sports betting market, in which Tabcorp’s TAB has dominated the retail domain.
The Sydney Morning Herald cited that the private equity funds of Apollo Global, Washington H Soul Pattinson and Blackstone “have offered to finance the play for the licence” – “according to sources” close to dealmakers.
Betr is the third sports betting venture of Tripp, following on from the multi-million M&A successes of SportsBet and BetEasy brands that Tripp built and sold to Paddy Power (2011) and Crown Results (2015).
In April, Tripp announced his return to betting markets, backed by News Corp to launch a best-in-class multi-channel operator for retail and online wagering that will establish Betr as Australia’s next mass-market sportsbook brand.
Betr’s ambitions are further backed by Tekkorp Capital, a gambling-specific private equity and innovation fund led by former NYX Gaming Founder & CEO Matt Davey and Robin Chhabra the former Group CSO of The Stars Group and William Hill.
Early power plays have seen Tekkorp invest in the development of BetMakers, a wagering platform customised for Australian sports and racing, which will be used to build and scale Betr as a proprietary sportsbook brand.
Venture backers seek to develop a sportsbook tailored for Australian sports audiences that can leverage the high coverage of News Corp assets, which include Fox Sports, The Australian and Australian Telegraph.
Betr has made no secret that it targets taking market share from Tabcorp, smelling blood in the water following the heritage gambling group’s wagering and lottery break-up.
Following the divestment, Tabcorp’s new leadership duo of Chairman Bruce Akhurst and CEO Adam Rytenskild ordered an immediate technical overhaul to upgrade TAB wagering capacities.
Rytenskild acknowledged to investors that TAB had fallen behind in its digital and omnichannel offering, as the development of the wagering unit had been interrupted by two years of Tabcorp prioritising the integration of the Tatts lottery business.
Further market developments have seen Betr reportedly enter separate talks with the Victorian government about its retail wagering licence, due to commence in August 2024.