Western Australia (WA) has selected the shortlist for the second and binding bid phase of its TAB auction. The field is led by ASX-listed Tabcorp and Entain, which runs bookmakers Ladbrokes and Neds. WA expects the provider of online and retail outlet wagering services in the state to have a formal data room open by the end of the month.
Tabcorp Has Slight Advantage
Tabcorp is the auction’s leader. It holds every other retail betting license in the country. However, Entain is an established name in local racing, as well, and has backing from a large offshore parent. This is something Tabcorp, unstable over the past two years, can’t match. Although Entain has been featured in the WA press for the past week, it will be back for round two.
Matthew Tripp is also in the running. Tripp is well-known in Australian bookmaking circles. He has a room full of oddsmakers and counters, as well as VIP sales staffers, eager to get into pricing races and win customers. The only thing missing is a major outlet.
Tripp has been in contact with News Corp., which has been searching for an experienced hand to launch FOX Bet’s Australian wagering venture. News will likely arrive in the coming weeks.
A Lot of Moving Parts
It is believed that the government would like to lock in a deal by the middle of this year. The government received expressions of interest on November 16 and then shortlisted the final names for the second stage in the summer.
The last step will likely be to hold exclusive talks with the preferred party to finalize the agreement.
This contract could be very lucrative for all involved. Tabcorp will, as usual, be determined to retain sole control over retail venues and, of course, wagering while Entain has been trying for years to enter the market. It would be stronger if it got WA. Victoria is up for renewal in 2024.
Tabcorp is somewhat confused by the timing. Tabcorp is involved in a demerger plan for its lotteries unit. This means that both entities will have capital structures.