Australian racing and wagering giant Tabcorp says it will assess whether to launch legal proceedings after being granted preliminary discovery to access documents detailing a commercial arrangement between local sports betting rival Entain and the NSW Australian Hotels Association.
The case relates to an agreement signed in October 2022 in which Entain and the AHA claimed they were “joining forces to bring digital wagering competition to New South Wales for the first time” by providing “an opportunity for Entain Australia to promote its digital wagering brands – Ladbrokes and Neds – in the state’s pubs through a new advertising and sponsorship arrangement.”
Tabcorp is seeking to determine whether the deal undermines an exclusivity agreement it holds with the NSW government to offer wagering in the state’s pubs and hotels.
In a decision handed down on Wednesday, the NSW Supreme Court ruled that Entain and the AHA should give preliminary discovery of certain documents showing any legal advice they had received around the lawfulness of the agreement, the layouts of planned Labdrokes and Neds-branded lounges to be set up in hotels and any documents supporting a public claim by Entain Australia CEO Dean Shannon that the new partnership “not offend the current NSW retail wagering exclusivity arrangements.”
In a statement, Tabcorp said it “welcomes today’s judgment of the NSW Supreme Court to grant preliminary discovery of documents from Entain and the NSW Australian Hotels Association (AHA NSW).
“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.”