Paddy Power Betfair pushes for reform in Victoria
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) has written to the Andrews government in Victoria, Australia, to make the case for reforming the gambling industry to allow multiple operators to run betting shops in the state.
Victoria allows a single company to run betting shops. That honour currently belongs to Tabcorp, who hold the state’s 12-year wagering licence. That means that Tabcorp, who recently merged with former competitor Tatts group, is the only licensed operator to run parimutuel and fixed-odds betting, as well as running off-course betting outlets.
However, through its Australian arm, Sportsbet, Paddy Power Betfair has made the case that more consumer choice will lead to a “better overall experience for wagering customers”. PPB has expressed interest in bidding for the Victoria wagering licence, and is thought to be one of three major international operators interested.
The move is a timely one by PPB, as plans to privatise the state-owned betting agency in Western Australia are currently being discussed. Arguing their case, PPB said in a letter addressed to the government:
It is logical that the same benefits could be enjoyed by retail wagering customers if there was a liberalisation in the retail licence structure.–Statement, Paddy Power Betfair
The operator also urged the government to consider ending the link between the licence holder and funding of the racing industry. Tabcorp currently shares a portion of revenue with Racing Victoria, who received $216m last year. Speaking about that link, PPB said:
The link creates a licence and funding framework that burdens the licensee with an additional cost burden in excess of competitors, though in return for several advantages on the licensee that are not available to online bookmakers… The option of de-coupling the licence from the racing industry funding should be considered.–Statement, Paddy Power Betfair
Anti-gambling campaigners are firmly against other operators establishing retail outlets. Sportsbet especially is seen as one of the main drivers of the increase in gambling advertising and losses in recent years. Instead, campaigners believe that some the more redundant betting shops should be closed.