Western Australia is in the final stages of selling the TAB sports betting office in the state, and many say that the sale will change the Australian betting scene. One glance at the companies interested in acquiring WA TAB tells you everything you need to know.
Entain Plc, the gambling giant behind Ladbrokes and NEDs in Australia, is really serious about acquiring WA TAB. The London-listed gambling giant sees the transaction as an excellent opportunity to solidify its betting presence in Australia. But so do other betting and gambling companies.
Tabcorp the Favourite But Don’t Write Entain Off
As much as Entain would want to see WA TAB added to the extensive list of brands it owns (Bwin, Coral, Sportingbet, etc.) that will be easier said than done. That’s because Tabcorp Holdings is currently considered the favourite to win the bidding war for WA TAB. If the ASX-listed company pulls that off, it will own all licensed betting offices in Australia. And that will be quite the coup.
Entain has had a long-standing desire to expand even further in Australia. Last year, it tried hard to acquire Tabcorp’s Media and Wagering arm, but the Tabcorp board rejected the A$3.65 billion offer, claiming it didn’t represent the real value of the media and wagering division.
Instead, Steven Gregg, Tabcorp’s Chairman, announced that the company decided to separate the media and wagering divisions, a process that is happening right now.
Matthew Tripp and Rupert Murdoch Are Interested Too
To make matters more interesting, Entain and Tabcorp Holdings are not the only companies interested in WA TAB. Reports claim that Matthew Tripp, one of the most influential bookmaking figures in Australia will also throw his hat in the ring.
The former owner of Sportsbet is reportedly considering making an outside offer for WA TAB as that would allow him to find “a major outlet” for his betting business. Reports say that Tripp has “a room full of oddsmakers and counters” and that he is “eager to get into pricing races” but that he doesn’t have an outlet for his business at the moment.
The same report claims that Tripp is in close communication with Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp International, who also have a long-standing interest in entering the Australian sports betting market.
The Western Australia government started the bidding process for WA TAB in November 2021. It is said that the government wants to complete the transaction by the middle of 2022. That means that the race for WA TAB is entering into the final, decisive lap, and we will soon find out who will win it.
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