Entain to take over TAB NZ operations

TAB NZ and Entain have signed a 25-year strategic arrangement.
TAB NZ and Entain have signed a 25-year strategic arrangement.

The UK-listed gambling operator has secured a deal to run TAB NZ operations for 25 years.

New Zealand.- TAB NZ has announced that it has selected Entain as its preferred partner to run its day-to-day operations for 25 years. It says the deal, which requires ministerial approval, “enhances the viability of New Zealand racing and sport, will materially boost the fortunes of both and has the support of key stakeholders, including the three racing codes and Sport NZ.”

TAB NZ said the deal will provide guaranteed funding of more than NZ$1bn for TAB NZ over the next five years to support the revitalisation of the racing industry. It will improve TAB NZ’s financial position by providing an upfront payment and increasing future payments over time. An additional upfront payment will be made if legislation is enacted to prevent unlicensed offshore operators from providing wagering in New Zealand.

There will be investment in harm minimisation and responsible gambling efforts, and a 24-month employment guarantee will be provided for TAB NZ’s employees. There is also a commitment to retain and refresh the TAB NZ brand. Additional support will be given to the racing industry, including a NZ$10.0m sponsorship of an enhanced racing carnival and the establishment of other community-linked initiatives.

TAB NZ chief executive officer Mike Tod said: “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. 

“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.”

TAB NZ chairman Mark Stewart added: “Management and the Board ran a world-class and robust process that attracted the interest of some of the best wagering operators in the world and have delivered a result that will benefit all our stakeholders for a generation. 

“It’s a credit to our chief executive officer and his team for the result they have delivered and to our stakeholders in Racing and Sport for the way in which they have supported this process.”

Entain’s chief executive officer – Australia, Dean Shannon, said: “This is a unique opportunity to shape the future wagering experience for customers and to support New Zealand’s racing and sporting industries. We have a compelling vision for the future of TAB NZ, which includes a renewed focus on innovation and technology, and a long-term commitment to all racing, sport and industry stakeholders.”

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