Tabcorp, Sportsbet Intensify Race for Gaming Control in Australia

The fight for control over Australia’s online sports betting market is going to heat up. Tabcorp, Sportsbet and Ladbrokes hold significant positions, but things could look a lot different a year from now.

Tabcorp booth
The Tabcorp booth at a trade show. The Australian gaming operator is optimistic that it will control a larger percentage of the market within two years. (Image: Tabcorp)

Regulatory changes and market conditions are going to force a shift in leadership. Notably, Tabcorp, which has had a significant presence in retail betting, has its sights on the digital space and plans on attacking it this year.

The Australia-based gaming operator has the financial strength to carry out its plans. In a recent update on its financial health, it reported strong results, which it will leverage to expand its position in online betting.

Tabcorp On A Mission

Tabcorp introduced a mobile betting app last September, which it then heavily promoted during the FIFA World Cup. It was a strategy that produced big results, with the company reporting AUD52 million (US$35.76 million) in profit over the first half of its latest fiscal year.

Overall, the company’s revenue reached AUD1.27 billion (US$873.38 million), an increase of 11%. Now, looking at cost-cutting measures worth AUD20 million (US$13.75 million) through 2026, it will have even more money with which to fulfill its online expansion goals.

That includes challenging Sportsbet and Ladbrokes. Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild commented, when releasing the financial results, that the company wants to have 30% of the digital market by 2025. That would be a 5% increase from its current position.

To get there, Tabcorp plans in introducing a “transformation of [its] entire wagering ecosystem.” Rytenskild explained that this means offering new products, revamping its existing offerings and extending its marketing strategy.

It also comes after Tabcorp, like many land-based operators, tried to fight the advance of online gaming. However, after seeing the positive results the segment can offer, the company realized it had to join, not fight, the shift.

The results have also brought good news for investors. Tabcorp announced that it would offer a dividend of AUD0.013 (US$0.009) per share, payable on March 21.

Sportsbet’s Dominance Under Attack

Sportsbet, a Flutter-owned company, currently has control over more than 50% of the online betting market in Australia. If Tabcorp gets its way, that slice will get a little smaller.

Sportsbet became the unwanted center of attention this week for politically-tied activity. It donated money to Australia’s current Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, during her campaign to become part of the federal government last year.

The Brisbane Times reported that the company gave her around AUD19,000 (US$13,094) before the election as she was on the campaign trail. During that time, she played a leading role in gambling policy in Australia as part of the government’s shadow cabinet.

Sportsbet also donated to other political figures and parties, which is perfectly legal and common across the globe. Even Tabcorp has given contributions.

However, given the current environment encompassing the gambling industry in Australia, direct donations to someone in charge of gambling policies could receive unwanted blowback. This could impact Sportsbet’s position.

Tabcorp could also gain ground through strengthened activity in Western Australia. There, Betr recently backed out of a bidding war for control of the state’s TAB operations, leaving Tabcorp the odds-on favorite.

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