TAB New Zealand and Entain Australia’s strategic partnering arrangement will commence on 1 June 2023, after receiving Government approval today.
The 25-year strategic partnering arrangement will enable an immediate financial uplift to the three New Zealand Racing Codes and 38 National Sporting Organisations, while bringing world class products, services and gambling harm minimisation tools to TAB NZ’s 250,000 customers.
TAB NZ Chairman Mark Stewart MNZM says today’s Government approval marks an important step in the growth and prosperity of racing and sport in New Zealand.
“Entain is a world-class operator with the expertise and financial strength to transform our business and in turn boost the long-term fortunes of racing and sport as well as the communities that rely upon their success. Furthermore, Entain has guaranteed the jobs of our 460 staff for at least two years. This is a great vote of confidence in our people,” Mark Stewart says.
“Today’s approval delivers on a key recommendation from the Messara Report (2018) and we are thrilled that the Minister for Racing has approved the strategic partnering arrangement. TAB NZ is at a critical point in its history due to unprecedented competition from unregulated overseas operators and current global economic headwinds.”
The strategic partnering arrangement provides an upfront payment to TAB NZ, as well as a five-year period of annual minimum guaranteed payments. Supported by this new partnering deal, the TAB NZ Board has guaranteed an immediate and significant uplift in distributions to the Racing Codes for the next five years, to the following minimum levels:
“These are a significant uplift on the $125m distribution for the current financial year,” Mr Stewart says.
The strategic partnering arrangement will also provide increased funding to National Sporting Organisations and Sport NZ from business growth, as well as immediate funding boosts. National Sporting Organisations will share in a one-off funding uplift of $15m to be paid over the next three years, while a $500,000 payment will be made to Sport NZ, ring-fenced for investment in women’s sport.
TAB NZ is also delighted to confirm a $5 million upfront commitment to harm minimisation in the form of:
Facial recognition technology is considered to be one of the best tools available to reduce potential in-venue harm. This technology has not yet become industry standard, given the significant capital investment that is required. A 100-venue rollout will deliver a world leading approach to combating gambling harm.
Mr Stewart paid tribute to the TAB NZ Board, Chief Executive Officer Mike Tod and the Executive Leadership Team for delivering a transformational strategic partnering arrangement.
“I am incredibly proud of what management and the Board have delivered to transform this business and the fortunes of those who rely upon its success. We are a small company at the bottom of the world in a David v Goliath battle in New Zealand’s unregulated online gambling market. To have secured Entain as our partner to grow the returns to racing and sport is an awesome achievement.”
Chief Executive Officer Mike Tod will step away from leading TAB NZ, which will reduce to a smaller organisation focused on its remaining legislative functions – including monitoring the regulatory and commercial performance of Entain New Zealand. TAB NZ Chief Transition Officer Nick Roberts has been appointed to lead TAB NZ in its new form as CEO. Current TAB NZ Chief Commercial Officer Cameron Rodger will become the Managing Director – New Zealand for Entain.
“Mike has done an incredible job of transforming TAB NZ since he took over as CEO at the beginning of last year. He has implemented and executed a strategy that has delivered the partnering arrangement with Entain, grown customer numbers to record levels, implemented world-first new products, lifted customer satisfaction and staff engagement scores to their highest levels in over a decade and assembled one of the best leadership teams in the industry. Our racing and sporting stakeholders are set to benefit from an outstanding legacy that he leaves.”
Entain Australia CEO Dean Shannon welcomed the Government approval and said it was an important milestone in the transformation of the New Zealand wagering landscape.
“We are delighted and honoured to have received Ministerial approval to finalise the strategic partnering arrangement between TAB NZ and Entain Australia commencing from 1 June 2023,” Mr Shannon said.
“We believe this 25-year strategic partnering arrangement will be a gamechanger for sports betting in New Zealand and we are pleased that it will help provide significant financial benefits to the three New Zealand racing codes and the vast array of national sporting organisations.
“Entain is a business built on innovation and being customer focused and we look forward to connecting further with the great team at TAB NZ to introduce a range of new world class products, services and player safety tools to the loyal TAB NZ customer base.”
Entain plc (LSE: ENT) is a FTSE100 company and is one of the world’s largest sports-betting and gaming groups, operating both online and in the retail sector. The Group owns a comprehensive portfolio of established brands; Sports brands include BetCity, bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes, Neds, Sportingbet, Sports Interaction and SuperSport; Gaming brands include Foxy Bingo, Gala, GiocoDigitale, Ninja Casino, Optibet, Partypoker and PartyCasino. The Group owns proprietary technology across all its core product verticals and in addition to its B2C operations provides services to a number of third-party customers on a B2B basis.
The Group has a 50/50 joint venture, BetMGM, a leader in sports betting and iGaming in the US. Entain provides the technology and capabilities which power BetMGM as well as exclusive games and products, specially developed at its in-house gaming studios.
The Group is tax resident in the UK and is the only global operator to exclusively operate in domestically regulated or regulating markets operating in over 40 territories. Entain is a leader in ESG, a member of FTSE4Good, the DJSI and is AA rated by MSCI.
The Group has set a science-based target, committing to be carbon net zero by 2035 and through the Entain Foundation supports a variety of initiatives, focusing on safer gambling, grassroots sport, diversity in technology and community projects.
For more information see the Group’s website: www.entaingroup.com
Note for editors: TAB New Zealand and Entain will not be commenting further on the proposed strategic partnering arrangement until after completion on 1 June.
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