Australian online bookmaker CrownBet has shelved plans to provide its online sports-betting services in 1,200 clubs across New South Wales. This Thursday, ClubsNSW Chief Executive Anthony Ball announced that James Packer’s CrownBet deal with ClubsNSW drops off the agenda due to the confusing regulatory regime. Tabcorp, the leading company on the Australian betting market, warned that the deal would violate the Unlawful Gambling Act.
The 10-year deal was announced in February last year and it aimed at promoting CrownBet’s sports betting services through a loyalty scheme. Under this loyalty program, club members betting with CrownBet would collect points that could be exchanged for food or drinks at the venues. Clubs would also have interest in encouraging players to use Packer’s betting services. Under the deal, clubs would earn a commission on each bet made with CrownBet by their customers.
Earlier today, the local media the Sydney Morning Herald reported that CrownBet has scrapped its plans to offer its sports betting services across clubs in New South Wales. The deal would directly challenge the market positions of Tabcorp. It is interesting to note that most of the gambling clubs in New South West host TAB terminals. Following the announcement of the deal, Tabcorp wrote a letter to remind its exclusive rights to provide off-course betting services across the Australian state.
The Two-Front Legal Battle Reaches Resolution
Speaking of the latest announcement, Mr. Ball explained that the ClubsNSW is currently looking for a legal advice on the matter, as the gambling regulator refused to give the go-ahead to CrownBet. The online betting company went even further seeking a declaration in the state’s Supreme Court to approve that Packer’s CrownBet was legally able to provide its betting services in up to 1200 licensed clubs. However, the Supreme Court explained that such a decision is within the gambling regulator’s jurisdiction.
It is important to note that the deal triggered a wave of discontent. Senator Nick Xenophon was among the vocal opponents of the deal. He explained that such a deal would provide more betting opportunities to the compulsive gamblers. In November last year, CrownBet announced that it will not oppose the merger of Australia’s leading gambling companies Tabcorp and Tatts.
Shortly after that, the Australian Competition Tribunal thumbed up the $11 billion Tabcorp-Tatts merger. The merger between the two online betting conglomerates will drastically change the online sports-betting landscape in Australia. However, to make sure that CrownBet will not oppose the merger anymore, the company needed to agree on allowing CrownBet customers to stream Tabcorp’s Sky Racing.