International gaming giant Entain is on the brink of a major victory. Following a fierce contest for control of the exclusive sports betting monopoly of New Zealand, the company emerged triumphant, provided the transaction is cleared by the relevant authorities.
An NZ Tab sports betting shop in New Zealand. Entain is inching closer to acquiring the monopoly. (Image: NZ Herald )
In a landmark agreement that runs for 25 years, Entain, which owns wagering platforms such as Ladbrokes, Neds and others, is expected to take over NZ Tab. According to media outlet Australian Financial Review , the firm was named the preferred applicant in comparison to Sportsbet and Tabcorp.
The license is pending a stamp of approval from the minister, which is expected to happen in the coming days. NZ Tab and Entain signed the new agreement today and are now just waiting for the signature of Racing Minister Kieran McAnulty to finalize the deal.
Kiwi Betting Gets A Boost
NZ Tab, which oversees betting on sports, horses and greyhounds, has seen declining revenues over the past few years. This has forced the company to look for outside help in order to counter the rising popularity of offshore sportsbooks in the country.
The battle for control then ensued among some of the most influential players in the industry, with Entain emerging as the top contender. Entain has made a series of considerable commitments in order to get to this point and must now live up to its promises.
The New Zealand racing industry is set to benefit significantly as Entain is offering NZD1 billion (US$619.8 million) in funding over the next five years. The full value of the deal has not been disclosed, with the only details being provided by NZ Tab.
This will be a huge development for the racing industry in the country. Both Entain and NZ Tab have emphasized that the partnership has the potential to bring even more financial rewards over the course of the arrangement.
In addition, Entain has pledged to provide NZD10 million (US$6.2 million) in sponsorship for racing events and local community initiatives. Dean Shannon, the CEO of Entain in Australia, referred to this decision as a “unique opportunity to shape the future wagering experience for customers and to support New Zealand’s racing and sporting industries.”
NZ Tab had no choice but to seek outside help due to its failing profitability. The company expects that the challenges it faces, such as increased competition, rising costs and financial restrictions, could worsen without further assistance. The partnership with Entain is thus seen as a way to guarantee sufficient funding for both racing and sports.
All Eyes On Entain
The days of gaming companies making promises and then avoiding responsibility are long gone. Now, operators are closely monitored by gaming regulators, who ensure that firms stay true to their word.
If McAnulty signs off on Entain’s takeover, he will make sure that the company fulfills its pledges. This includes investing the promised capital and retaining TAB’s 450 staff members for the next two years.
Furthermore, Entain will have to meet all responsible gambling requirements. The government is presently looking into the possibility of adding geolocation blocking. If approved, Entain would be obligated to support the effort and help to keep offshore sportsbooks out of the country. This won’t likely happen until 2024.