UK gaming giant Entain has beaten out competition from gaming operators around the world, including Australia’s Tabcorp, to secure a 25-year license with TAB New Zealand.
The strategic partnering agreement, announced by TAB NZ on Monday, will see Entain deliver the organization’s wagering and broadcast functions while providing guaranteed funding to TAB NZ of more than NZ$1 billion (US$620 million) in the first five years. The deal is subject to ministerial approval.
TAB NZ explained that it has faced “increasing competition, rising costs, capital constraints as well as other challenges” in recent years which have impacted its ability to deliver adequate funding to racing and sports. As such, it sought a “world-class” gaming operator to help regain its competitive edge, citing Entain’s operational expertise, cultural alignment with TAB NZ and its commitment to uplifting TAB NZ’s harm minimization and responsible gambling efforts.
“TAB NZ faced an uncertain future in a David and Goliath battle with international wagering operators and a lack of capital to both compete and meet its potential,” said TAB NZ Chief Executive Officer Mike Tod.
“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone toward the transformation of TAB NZ and those who rely upon its growth and long-term success. In the absence of a strategic partnering arrangement, TAB NZ would be further cutting distributions in the next financial year.
“This proposed strategic arrangement with Entain provides a certain, material and immediate uplift in the funding TAB NZ can provide New Zealand racing and sports ensuring that these industries not only survive, but thrive. It will allow us to greatly improve our harm minimisation and responsible gambling efforts, and provides immediate job security and long-term job creation in New Zealand to the advancement of our nation at large.
“Entain is a global and world-class operator who will deliver industry best practice and an elevated and safe experience for New Zealand punters, as well as racing and sports fans. We are deeply excited by their commitment to New Zealand and this opportunity.”