Yesterday, the sports betting company TAB notified its staff of job losses due to the negative effect that the coronavirus outbreak has been having on the firm’s performance.
Over the last two weeks, TAB had held consultations on cutting a total of 220 jobs, which represent 30% of its workforce. A spokesperson has refused to confirm the final number of the jobs that are to be laid off or any other details of the redundancies but explained that staff were being informed about the fate of their jobs prior to the official statement that is set to be made by the gambling operator.
The former Racing Board, now the Racing Industry Transition Agency, which is the parent entity of the betting company, revealed that the revenue fell by half in April, because of the massive cancellation and postponement of live sports and racing events over the last few months.
Dean McKenzie, executive chairman of the company has revealed that the parenting company of the TAB already made some efforts to reduce costs, including reducing all non-essential costs, reducing staff salaries, as well as staff taking leave. As Mr McKenzie explained, these measures have not been enough to minimise the hard blow which the Covid-19 outbreak had inflicted on the industry.
The Coronavirus Outbreak Has Hit New Zealand’s Gaming and Racing Industry Hard
The executive chair of the Racing Industry Transition Agency reminded that the effect that the pandemic extended beyond the immediate impact to the TAB, and sports and racing events were still looking very unpredictable in the near future. As Mr McKenzie further noted, the TAB will have to take measures to shrink its business and make it more efficient, with fewer roles and focused on developing its major gaming and betting business.
Earlier in May, there were rumours regarding possible redundancies of 30% of the TAB’s workforce as a result of the financial difficulties that have been faced by the company because of Covid-19. The new coronavirus outbreak not only stopped all racing activities in New Zealand for a period of six weeks, but the TAB is also facing possible two more months before the restart of thoroughbred racing. As mentioned above, the company also lost its betting turnover due to the cancellation and postponement of almost all sports events not only in the country but also on a global scale.
The recent difficulties diminishing the company’s financial state has already fuelled calls for a significant reduction of the operator’s costs. Many contractors have already been dismissed but the beginning of May saw the company inform its remaining staff members of salaries that at least 160 more jobs are set to be dismissed, with voluntary redundancies also offered.
Now, the news about the company’s dismissing 30% of its workforce has come only days before the racing industry in New Zealand is restarting. Greyhound racing is set to resume on May 26th, while harness racing is scheduled for an official return on May 29th. For the time being, the thoroughbred industry has not provided an exact date for potentially resuming racing earlier than the initially scheduled July 3rd date.