Victoria state authorities are being encouraged to consider making massive changes in the local betting industry by giving permission to more companies to start operating retail betting shops.
The British bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair that currently owns the local betting operator Sportsbet, claims that the stiff rivalry in the quite popular online betting sector has provided customers with a large choice of services, and guarantees not only regular upgrades of the offering but also better wagering experience for punters.
According to the Sportsbet brand, the same benefits could logically be provided to the customers who prefer betting in brick-and-mortar outlets, and this could happen only in case that the retail license structure is liberalised.
Tabcorp Is the Only Retail Betting License Holder in Victoria
Online betting has gained vast popularity among Australian residents over the past few years, with annual growth of about 15% being registered. For the time being, a number of the largest and most popular betting brands on a global scale such as bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power Betfair already operate their gambling websites in the country.
However, things are different when it comes to retail betting in the state of Victoria. Currently, a 12-year betting operating license is being held by Tabcorp, with the company receiving permission from the Victorian government to run parimutuel and fixed-odds betting. The operator is also allowed to operate retail betting services in TAB betting outlets and pub terminals across the state.
After Tabcorp’s merger with Tatts Group, the combined entity now has an exclusive license to offer retail betting services in all Australian states except for Western Australia.
Paddy Power Betfair, which currently is one of the largest bookmakers on a global scale and owns a massive number of brick-and-mortar betting outlets in the UK and Ireland, has previously expressed an interest in getting a betting license in the state of Victoria. The one that is currently held by Tabcorp is set to be available for renewal in 2024.
Tim Costello Opposes the Possible Changes in Local Betting Industry
All this has made betting operators who are willing to get betting licenses in the state of Victoria, call the government for certain changes in order to make that possible. The opponents of such an expansion, however, say there is already too large of a chance for gambling operators to reach local customers.
For the time being, the retail betting license holder Tabcorp operates in a joint venture with the Victorian racing industry.
According to the national pokies reform advocate Tim Costello from the Alliance for Gambling Reforms, allowing other bookmaker brands to set up retail outlets would not be a good idea. When it comes to Sportsbet in particular, Mr Costello also reminded that the betting operator was one of the major contributors in the gambling advertising growth and players’ losses over the past ten years.
In Mr Costello’s opinion, the next wagering license in the state of Victoria should encourage its holder to close down the network of traditional TAB betting shops, which could finally lead to the closure of some excessive gambling opportunities offered to the local customers.