Jenny - Clean


THE long-awaited and much anticipated merger of the two Totes, UBET and TABCORP, hit an unexpected speed bump last week when Racing Victoria surprisingly opposed the $11 billion deal.

RV is TABCORP’s joint venture partner that provides RV with a whopping $200 million annually.

It was a bomb no-one in racing was expecting and most believe (and hope) it will have the impact of a North Korean-made missile.

Nonetheless, it is seen as a controversial attempt by RV to derail the negotiations.

Acting Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson, a former Betfair executive by the way, said in his submission that RV would be hit hard by the merger.

“TABCORP and Tatts are the only certain Australian bidders for the next retail licence.

“The proposed merger would, therefore, result in only one certain bidder. It is also unlikely TABCORP would face competition from any other bidder.”

It poses the question: Does RV see itself as a wagering operator down the track?

Racing Victoria is being joined by Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhounds Victoria – and, not surprisingly, the Packer-owned corporate bookie CrownBet, all of which have registered their opposition to the Tribunal.

But there is general widespread support in Australian racing for the merger.

Paul Innes, Australian Jockeys’ Association CEO, said: “The prospect of increased funding creates the potential for better stakes, better quality races and more funding being available to racing participants, including jockeys.

“I believe that the whole Australian racing industry will benefit.”

Andrew Nichol, Australian Trainers’ Association chief, said: “I consider there to be extremely positive features of the proposed transaction.” 

And Andrew Harding, who is part of the highly successful Hong Kong Jockey Club and secretary general of the Asian Racing Federation, said: “I'm of the view the merger would result in a stronger combined tote entity. A stronger tote will flow through to the racing industry, unlocking a number of benefits.”



IMPORTANTLY, NSW racing powerbroker, Peter V’landys, supports the merger that Queensland so desperately needs.  

It would provide Australia with a National Tote and somewhat clip the wings of the corporate bookies who have virtually come and conquered this country – mind you, with powder-puff resistance.

It has been reported Racing Victoria has made big profits of between $30 million and $50 million in the past two financial years. TABCORP accounts for 48 per cent of its funding but its action in opposing the merger might also hint of a somewhat sinking relationship.

TABCORP’s submission included 32 statements of support from racing industry executives and interested parties. Missing are any submissions from the Victorian racing industry.

According to a report in the Australian Financial Review it is likely the overall merger will be approved, which will mean Racing Victoria will be pushing hard for some sort of agreement that keeps its funding levels from  TABCORP at “reasonable” levels at least until 2025.

In the meantime, another sore is festering between Victoria-based and SKY, which is part-owned by TABCORP.

Peter V’Landys had this to say at last week’s Tribunal: “I am aware of submissions seeking to oppose the merger on the basis of potential impact on broadcasting rights.

“I believe that the interested parties are raising this issue in an attempt to leverage their own commercial interests, which have no bearing on the issues currently being considered.”


Good one.

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