Australia — Weekly Round-up for April 22, 2017

Proposal To Ban Gambling Adverts During Australian Live Sports Events

Anti-gambling crusader’s bill, rejected by the federal Senate, finds a new champion

Australian betting companies are anxiously awaiting the outcome of a Cabinet proposal by federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield that a federal ban be imposed on all gambling advertising on live sports events from the start of the games to the end.

The Australian publication B&T Mag quotes The Australian newspaper on the proposal, reporting that Fifield has already met with sports body chiefs to assess the impact of such a ban.

The government is mulling some sort of compensation for the lost advertising, which may take the form of a trade-off with free-to-air TV networks, which is likely to see them use the deal as leverage to have their licensing fees reduced. It is not yet clear whether a similar deal will be struck to compensate subscription television.

Fifield’s plan has already attracted flak from Malcolm Speed, executive director of the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which represents all of the major local sporting codes.

He has concerns that such a ban would adversely impact on media rights deals or the value of media rights.

“We operate in a highly-regulated system, where there are limits on placement of sports betting advertising,” he told The Australian. “The sports have co-operated with broadcasters and the government to ban live odds during matches. So, any restriction or prohibition will inevitably result in lowering investment in community and participation programs, and grassroots development.”

In some ways, Fifield’s proposal echoes that of anti-gambling independent Senator Nick Xenophon, whose ideas for similar restrictions were rejected recently by the federal Senate (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Will Revised Offer From Pacific Consortium Pique Tatts Interest? (Update)

Eleventh hour bid challenges TABCorp merger plans

A revised offer from The Pacific Consortium (TPC), led by private equity firm KKR, for Australian gaming and lottery giant Tatts has been placed on the table.

TPC is making what has been described as “an eleventh hour bid” challenging Tatts’ previously planned merger with Tabcorp with a revised multi-billion dollar takeover offer.

InfoPowa readers will recall TPC offered a cash and scrip offer late last year which Tatts subsequently rejected.

TPC’s new proposal comprises an A$ 7.2 billion cash offer which, being an all-cash bid, would not require regulatory approvals, Associated Press Sydney points out.

In a regulatory announcement, Tatts said it is assessing and will undertake a full analysis on the offer compared to the Tabcorp proposal and will provide an update once the review is complete.

The company, however, reiterated that its Board continue to believe the Tabcorp proposal is in the best interests of Tatts shareholders.

The Tatts Tabcorp merger is currently being assessed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is expected to deliver its verdict in early May.

Betreels Online Casino To Exit Australia

Accounts will be closed May 4

The Betreels online casino is to join other operators planning to exit Australia in the face of proposed new legislation effectively banning online gambling (see previous InfoPowa reports).

In a communication this week, management advised affiliate marketers:

“In anticipation of changes in the gaming regulations in Australia, the Gibraltar Gaming regulator has requested that we stop accepting players from Australia.

“These changes will come into effect at the beginning of May. We will communicate with our customers, but from May 4 2017 our accepted markets will be: UK, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland

“Betreels Casino is licensed by the Government of Gibraltar (RGL. No. 54) and by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (License 000-039 107-R-319400-005)​”

In an earlier email to affiliates, Casino Jefe advised that it would be leaving the Australian market.

UPDATE:

Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner Phil Brear has confirmed that Gibraltar licensed online gambling operators have been advised to seek independent legal advice on their continued presence in the Australian market.