CrownBet has dropped plans to provide online sports-betting services to clubs across New South Wales.
In correspondence circulated to clubs last week, ClubsNSW chief executive Anthony Ball said the deal with CrownBet would not proceed due to “ongoing regulatory uncertainty”.
CrownBet was set to become ClubsNSW’s “digital wagering partner” under a 10-year deal that included advertising and new technology for club patrons to gamble on the CrownBet phone app while in venues, instead of TAB terminals, and for clubs to be paid commissions.
The announcement comes just weeks after Crown Resorts sold its 62 percent stake in CrownBet to founder and CrownBet Chief Executive Matthew Tripp in a deal worth $150 million.
“The commercial reality is that the offer cannot proceed without a clear direction from the regulator that the offer is compliant with the law,” Mr Ball said.
“In February 2017, ClubsNSW announced CrownBet as its Official Digital Wagering Advertising Partner.”
“Clubs will recall that ClubsNSW conducted a tender in relation to digital wagering as part of our overall strategy to assist clubs in building a stronger digital footprint. The tender was designed to inject competition into the club wagering market due to the perceived poor service and lack of profitability of the existing offer. In addition, the tender sought to allow clubs to benefit from the rapidly growing digital wagering market, which they had previously been excluded from.
“ClubsNSW obtained the best possible legal advice that is strongly of the view that the offer is legal.
“On 13 February 2017, Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&G NSW) issued a letter to clubs stating that the Department was considering whether the arrangements ‘are consistent with regulatory requirements’ and would ‘write to you again when L&G has further considered the matter’.”
“The parties have sought to obtain clear advice from L&G NSW and the Supreme Court that the proposed digital wagering advertising offering to clubs was legal, going as far as seeking a determination by the Supreme Court.
“In November, the Supreme Court determined not to issue a decision on the legality of the offering, instead ruling that it was the responsibility of L&G NSW to provide guidance on the legality of the offer. Late last week, L&G NSW conveyed its final position to CrownBet and ClubsNSW and disappointingly, 12 months after it first assessed the offer, continues to refuse to provide any meaningful guidance.
“ClubsNSW has always advised clubs that, even though it considered the offering to be legal, clubs should wait for the regulator’s position before proceeding, to remove any risk for directors and managers.”
“The commercial reality is that the offer cannot proceed without a clear direction from the regulator that the offer is compliant with the law. Therefore, the parties have agreed not to proceed with the offer and CrownBet will not roll out its advertising solution to clubs in NSW.”
He said that while ClubsNSW is disappointed that the deal will no longer go ahead ClubsNSW remain committed to “improving outcomes for clubs in the areas of wagering and digital commerce.”
ClubsNSW said they had a number of options they would explore to ensure clubs receive the maximum possible benefits from integration into the digital economy, including wagering.
Sources: CLUBSNSW / SMH / AUSTRALIAN / THE SHOUT