February 12, 2024 3 min read


Entain Explores Bid for Free-to-Air TV in Australia

Success with such an endeavor should significantly bolster the operator’s presence in the country, bolstering engagement and helping onboard new customers

Global gambling giant Entain is reportedly exploring a bid to secure direct access to a free-to-air TV channel targeting Australian audiences. The move aims to broadcast racing events, explore synergies, promote gambling products, and challenge the monopoly of Tabcorp-owned Sky Racing. Entertain’s previous broadcasting experience should provide substantial benefits, helping leverage a potential agreement.

Entain Is Not New to the Media Game

A recent Australian Financial Review report revealed that Entain, which owns prominent wagering brands like Ladbrokes and Neds, approached leading commercial networks, including Seven, Nine, and Ten, a few months ago. The proposal involved inquiring about the potential creation of a new platform for broadcasting greyhound, harness, and thoroughbred racing. 

Industry insiders claim Entain offered around $8 million per year to rent a channel, with Network Ten reportedly being the closest to a deal. While Entain has not finalized any agreement, the move signals an attempt to diversify broadcasting options. If successful, the model would be based on the Racing.com channel, initially a joint venture between Seven Network and Racing Victoria.

However, managing a dedicated free-to-air channel requires securing racing rights. Entain has previously struck a 25-year deal with New Zealand TAB, aiming to expand the audience and provide NZ racing with a more substantial presence in Australia. Success with the company’s newest media venture in the region would break Tabcorp’s control over the broadcast of state-based racing and hopefully bring significant dividends.

A Successful Deal Could Bring Long-Term Benefits

The multichannel deal for racing could be a strategic move for betting companies and TV networks to navigate an anticipated crackdown on online gambling advertising. A parliamentary inquiry recommended a complete ban on internet gambling ads, contributing significantly to media companies’ revenues. Diversified marketing options should shield Entain from such a crackdown, improving marketing opportunities.

Entering the free-to-air TV space should give Entain a significant edge in the Australian market. Tabcorp’s Sky Racing Channel, which offers content similar to Entain’s preferred offerings, is only available via Foxtel and the Kayo streaming service. A free-to-air entry by the gaming giant would significantly disrupt the current status quo, reaching broader audiences.

Exploring a multichannel deal is part of Entain’s broader reorganization initiatives. The company is undergoing a significant strategic realignment, accompanied by ongoing high-level management reshuffles. This newest expansion into broadcasting aligns with Entain’s ongoing efforts to diversify its operations and strengthen its position in the evolving wagering and broadcasting landscape.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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