Australian Gambling Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for November 24, 2017

Tatts – Tabcorp Merger To Go Ahead (Update)

Australian Competition Tribunal authorises proposed combination of Tabcorp and Tatts

In a company statement Friday Australian gambling giant Tabcorp advised that the Australian Competition Tribunal has for the second time given its authorisation for the merger with Tatts to take place.

InfoPowa readers will recall that the full Federal Court of Australia ordered the original Tribunal approval to be reviewed after opposition to the merger surfaced.

The Tabcorp statement notes that the Tribunal acknowledged that the merger is likely to result in substantial public benefits and that the detriments identified by other parties are unlikely to either arise or are not otherwise material.

“The Tribunal was satisfied in all the circumstances that the proposed Transaction would result or would be likely to result in such a benefit to the public that the acquisition should be allowed to occur,” the statement advises.

However there is one condition – Tabcorp must divest its Odyssey Gaming Services business in Queensland. The group has agreed to do this, and is to sell the asset to Australian National Hotels Pty Limited, a subsidiary of Federal Group.

The Tribunal will publish the reasons for its decision on 22 November 2017, and this will be followed by a scheme meeting at which Tatts shareholders will be asked to vote on the merger.

Australian Academic Survey Claims That Offshore Punters Are More Likely To Become Problem Gamblers

Collaborative research by several Australian universities produces some interesting results

High profile Australian academic Dr. Sally Gainsbury at the University of Sydney has published the results of a 3,199 respondent study in collaboration with other Australian universities which claims that almost 26 percent of Australian online gamblers use illegal offshore gambling sites, and are more likely to be problem gamblers.

Online casino and poker activity is banned in Australia, although online sports betting at licensed sites in permitted.

Gainsbury’s study examined online gamblers and their behaviour vs. Australians who use only local licensed (sports betting) sites. It looked at site selection, awareness of gambling legislation and experience of gambling-related problems among online punters.

The study concluded that:

* 74.2 percent of respondents were domestic gamblers, and 25.8 percent gambled on offshore sites;

* Typically, offshore punters are male; younger; never married; living in a household with one parent;

* They tend to be less educated; more likely to be unemployed or a full-time student; likely to speak a language other than English at home; and significantly more likely to have only a mobile phone than domestic gamblers;

* Offshore gamblers are significantly more likely to engage in multiple forms of gambling compared to those who gamble domestically;

* They also tend to gamble for significantly longer in a session when betting on sports;

* Offshore gamblers are significantly more likely to be at moderate risk or problem gamblers;

* There is evidence that gambling through domestically licensed sites is associated with lower levels of gambling-related problems.

“Understanding consumers’ use of offshore sites may enable design of strategies and policies to reduce demand and access, and provide greater levels of consumer protection,” the survey notes, adding that demand for locally banned forms of online gambling (ie casino and poker) will continue as new generations of tech savvy punters choose the online environment.

Gainsbury concludes that regulators need to reduce the availability and use of offshore gambling facilities in order to minimise “unfair” competition for licensed providers, retain gambling taxes, enforce regulations and protect consumers.

Aussie Consultation On Banning Gambling Ads In Live Sport Launched

Provisions apply to multiple channels, including online

Free TV Australia, an industry body representing Australia’s commercial free-to-air television broadcasters, has announced the launch of a consultation period on new draft provisions that propose a curb in gambling advertising during live sporting events at times that children are likely to be watching.

The restrictions would apply across multiple channels including online.

Pamela Longstaff, acting chief executive officer of Free TV Australia, said: “Free TV is committed to ensuring that the Code meets community expectations, including in relation to gambling advertising.”

The draft gambling provisions of the Code are open for public comment until December 15 2017.

Following the consultation and subsequent approval from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the provisions would come into effect from March 2018.