12/10/2021 - 15:51

TAB sale restarted

12/10/2021 - 15:51

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Racing Minister Reece Whitby has restarted the long running campaign to privatise the state government's betting agency.

The TAB is owned by the state government. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Racing Minister Reece Whitby has restarted the long running campaign to privatise the state government’s betting agency.

A fresh expression of interest process will be run, closing 16 November, with a new operator to be in place by late 2022 if terms are suitable.

In a release today, the government said Racing and Wagering Western Australia, which controls the TAB, had requested the sales process be restarted.

The sale of the TAB was first floated in May 2014, with a valuation of $1 billion reported in 2016.

But it had to overcome hurdles, including securing industry support, and disagreement from the then Labor opposition and the Nationals.

In government, Labor reactivated the sale process, and through an expressions of interest process had selected a preferred bidder.

The process was disengaged in August 2020, following COVID-19.

Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s annual report for the 2020 financial year showed the TAB had 320 agencies and PubTabs across the state, with a $310 million margin on turnover.

It was reported last week that SportsBet founder Matthew Tripp was considering buying the TAB, while ASX-listed TABCorp had previously been the frontrunner.

Ad Astra Corporate Advisory is understood to be the adviser for the new sale process.

Mr Whitby said the government wanted to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of racing into the future.

"The underlying rationale for a sale still exists, with the Western Australian TAB operating in a highly competitive and rapidly changing environment,” Mr Whitby said.

"A new market process provides the opportunity for the State and RWWA to adjust our approach in response to changes to market conditions since the onset of COVID-19.

"We will continue to engage with all stakeholders and build upon the considerable work undertaken to date to provide certainty to all parties towards the end of 2022."

RWWA said market conditions had evolved since when the sale was first put on the drawing board.

"The process announced today is an opportunity to test the market with the aim of establishing whether a sale would be in the best interests of the racing industry," the RWWA board said in a statement.

"RWWA’s purpose is to provide a sustainable future for the WA racing industry.

"All bids will be measured against this outcome.

"The sale will not proceed unless it is in the long-term interests of the racing industry and the state.

"RWWA will continue to engage and consult the racing industry as the process develops.

"It is expected that an outcome will be known by late 2022."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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