Tabcorp Considers Legal Action Against Entain-owned Ladbrokes

Entain must release details of NSW pubs advertising deal

by - Thursday, March 16th, 2023 11:22


Australian gambling operator Tabcorp is considering legal action in relation to the Ladbrokes and Neds advertising deal with NSW pubs.

The deal between Ladbrokes owner Entain and Australian Hotels Association (AHA) NSW was agreed in 2022 and allows the company to promote its online betting brands in NSW pubs and clubs. This includes the creation of “VIP Ladbrokes activation zones” or “Neds Club lounges” inside pubs.

Tabcorp asserts that this is in violation of its own exclusivity deal with the NSW government that gives the company a monopoly on betting in pubs throughout the state.

On Wednesday, NSW supreme court justice James Stevenson issued an order that allowed Tabcorp access to the terms of the partnership deals so the company could determine whether it should take legal action to stop it.

The supreme court also released details of a letter that the AHA sent to Tabcorp in October:

In it the AHA stated:

“We are committed to supporting Tabcorp’s exclusive and long-term retail wagering licence in NSW hotels. It also remains our position that none of the arrangements as announced by AHA NSW and Entain do anything to undermine Tabcorp’s retail exclusivity, nor are they in contravention of any laws, including the Unlawful Gambling Act.”

Tabcorp has recently intimated in its latest financial report that the company, which is known for retail sports wagering, is now going to focus primarily on the online market. As such, Tabcorp alleges that the partnership deal between Entain and AHA NSW is in direct competition with its products and services.

In court proceedings, Tabcorp successfully argued that the details of the partnership deal should be made available.

In statement following the decision, the company said:

“The Court has determined that Entain and AHA NSW must produce documents setting out details for how potential Entain locations may be configured and operate in NSW pubs. The Court also determined that Entain and AHA NSW must give discovery of their legal advice regarding the legality of the agreement between them and arrangements with NSW venues. This is to determine whether they have been misleading in their dealings with venues.

Tabcorp is concerned the arrangement between Entain and AHA NSW, depending on all the facts, raises a risk that Entain and/or AHA NSW may engage in illegal activity under the Unlawful Gambling Act 1998 (NSW).

The Court accepted that whether the proposed arrangements will result in a breach of the Unlawful Gambling Act may well depend on the detail of those arrangements.

Tabcorp will review the documents disclosed in order to assess whether or not to commence legal proceedings against Entain or AHA NSW, or both, in the Supreme Court.”

Ciaran McEneaney

Based in Galway, Ireland, Ciaran has over a decade of experience writing for some of the biggest names in the sports-betting, gambling, poker & casino industries.

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