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Tabcorp declares war as NSW venues consider Crownbet machines

Tabcorp writes to NSW clubs

Tabcorp has waged war on Crownbet following the deal between the online betting operator and ClubsNSW.

Tabcorp, which signed a 20-year exclusivity deal with NSW government in 2013, has pointed out clubs in NSW could be breaching the law if they go ahead with the deal for Crownbet to install ATM-style withdrawal machines.

The move is part of a 10-year deal between ClubsNSW and Crownbet, where the clubs will earn commissions on all bets members make via the online betting operator in the venues, as confirmed last week.

Tabcorp – which offers TAB betting facilities in clubs and pubs all around NSW – has subsequently written to the hundreds of ClubsNSW venues detailing a potential breach of the law if they go ahead with the machine installation.

The letter, written by Tabcorp Chief Executive, David Attenborough, detailed his company was the “sole wagering provider that is entitled to provide gambling services (including digital wagering) off-course in New South Wales, by virtue of its wagering licence and New South Wales wagering legislation.”

Attenborough said it was reviewing the machines and outlined the service could cause Crownbet or a club operator to be breaching sections of the Unlawful Gambling Act.

“We note that s31 of that Act prohibits an owner or occupier of a premises from knowingly allowing the premises to be used for, or in connection with, bookmaking carried on by or on behalf of a person who is not a licensed bookmaker,” Attenborough wrote.

“Tabcorp’s strong understanding is that CrownBet is not a licensed bookmaker for the purposes of the Unlawful Gambling Act.

“We encourage you to evaluate the CrownBet proposal in light of the legal risks as well as Tabcorp’s commercial offering.”

The deal got the green light after it was revealed ClubsNSW’s venues have been unhappy with the fees incurred from the TAB facilities, and from broadcasting the Tabcorp-owned Sky Racing service.

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said over 90 per cent of the clubs in the state have lost money on TAB outlets as more and more people choose to gamble online.

“Our arrangement with CrownBet will ensure all NSW clubs get their fair share from digital bets and will help ensure the industry’s long-term viability,” he said.

The 20-year deal between Tabcorp and NSW clubs and pubs was agreed to by the state’s government and cost Tabcorp $75 million, but it will lose its monopoly if the machines are rolled out.

“Liquor and Gaming NSW will examine the (CrownBet/Clubs) arrangements to ensure they are consistent with regulatory requirements,” A spokesman for Gaming and Racing Minister, Paul Toole said.

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