The Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) greenlighted the long-expected merger by the local bookmakers Tabcorp and Tatts Group. Australian watchdog’s consent will provide the two gambling giants to form a gambling behemoth that is expected to hold a significant portion of the local sports betting market.
ACT’s Justice John Middleton handed down the official decision of the Tribunal at the Melbourne-based Federal Court. The Tribunal has made it clear that it was satisfied in all circumstances that the proposed deal would result or would be likely to result and shared that the merger is considered to result in a major benefit to the public.
However, the ruling of the Australian Competition Tribunal comes with one condition for Tabcorp to meet in order for the two gambling giants to be given the chance to proceed with the merger. Tabcorp is required to first proceed with the sale of its Odyssey Gaming Services business in order for the merger to be finalised.
The two rival Australian companies officially revealed their merger plans in October 2016, but the proposed deal faced a lot of difficulties on its way. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has previously shared its concerns with the deal, raising some questions on the eventual impact that the merger would have on local competition. According to the ACCC, the merger would possibly give a major boost to the market share of the formed gambling giant and seriously hurt local competition.
Sky Racing, Tabcorp’s racing broadcast division, has provoked what is considered to be a major concern of the deal’s opponents, according to whom the formed company would be using its increased market power in terms of other gaming and betting operators in the local market which could create disbalance in the forces in the Australian gaming and sports betting market.
The two companies planned merger is estimated to $6.4 billion. The ACT was the body that was responsible to make a final ruling on the deal. At the beginning of June, it extended the deadline to make its ruling on the merger. At first, the Tribunal had until June 13rd, but instead, it preferred to put off the decision, prolonging the deadline with the maximum possible period of three months, until September 10th.
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the Australian Competition Tribunal had the right to deliver a decision before the prolonged deadline’s date, which is exactly what happened. The Tribunal has been holding a number of hearings in terms of the merger proposal, but it finally made a ruling in favour of Tabcorp and Tatts Group, despite the objections made from rival betting operators.
According to the Tribunal, the merger would be substantially beneficial for local community.
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the two Australian companies were aimed at joining forces so that they become more competitive in the market, especially considering the fact that online betting has been becoming more and more popular by the day.