A weekend report in The Sydney Morning Herald claims News Corp Australia is in advanced negotiations to launch a new sports betting brand and reshuffle player positions in the local gaming market.
Talking on Two Fronts
Industry sources, which remained unnamed by the media due to the confidential nature of the talks, stated that the Murdoch-controlled US media business was also keen to acquire licensing rights for the FOX Bet brand to support the new gaming business.
Matthew Tripp, a high-profile bookmaker and advisor of sports betting technology company BetMakers, is believed to be involved with the talks looking to fulfill his part of the agreement he reached with BetMakers in February to help the company’s expansion into Australia and the US.
Last week, BetMakers joined the likes of Apollo Global Management and Entain by offering $3.09 billion (AU$4 billion) for the gaming assets of troubled Australian bookmaker Tabcorp, matching Apollo’s bid but offering a different payment structure.
According to one anonymous source, BetMakers would not be directly involved with the consortium backed by Tripp which is currently in negotiations with News Corp but would provide the back-end technology solution the media business would need to establish its betting operations in the country. In case BetMakers’ bid for Tabcorp’s TAB is successful, the source believes that Tripp will be operating both FOX Bet and BetMakers businesses side-by-side.
It is believed that News Corp is now looking to launch a standalone wagering brand, despite the request for expression of interest from sports betting operators with a presence in the local market last year.
According to the report, neither deal is close to finalizing but New Corp’s preferred option is to utilize Tripp’s expertise and experience in online gaming. Matthew Tripp was the former boss of Sportsbet and founder of the BetEasy brand.
A potential launch of the FOX Bet brand will definitely reshuffle the cards among major players in Australia, irrespective of the outcome for Tabcorp’s TAB division, and will expand News Corp’s presence in the local wagering industry.
Currently, News Corp owns the racing websites Punters and Racenet and is present in the local gambling market via its Foxtel streaming services by quoting live sports odds, and the opportunity to leverage Tripp’s partnership and solidify its position would be too good to turn down.
News Corp intends to buy FOX Bet via a non-cash agreement comprising of advertising credits from The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, and The Herald Sun, besides pay-TV operator Foxtel, the media report stated based on the information provided by the source.