Western Australia has scrapped its plan to sell WA TAB after searching for a buyer for more than three years.
Australia.- The government of Western Australia has scrapped plans to sell WA TAB, Australia’s last state-owned betting agency, after a three-year search for a buyer. The government said it had progressed negotiations with a preferred buyer that had been unable to confirm financial commitments. Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) will continue to operate the agency.
Premier Mark McGowan said: “Significant time and effort have been committed in an attempt to deliver an outcome that balances the long-term interests of both the state and local racing industry.”
Legislation was passed in 2019 to allow WA TAB. To make the acquisition more attractive, legislators also allowed the future buyer to offer electronic simulated racing games in TAB outlets, excluding the operator from the state-wide ban on poker machines and simulated racing games, which can only be played at Crown Perth.
“RWWA will continue to run the WA TAB for the benefit of the WA racing industry”
The initial process was halted in August 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but resumed at the request of RWWA. The RWWA says it’s disappointed a sale could not be concluded.
RWWA chief executive officer Ian Edwards said: “The racing industry acknowledged that the time was right for the sale and was willing to embrace the new funding arrangements that flowed from it.”
The company said: “RWWA will continue to run the WA TAB for the benefit of the WA racing industry and will maintain its strong financial, regulatory, and animal welfare oversight across all codes.
“The RWWA board believes the Government’s decision officially concludes a multi-year process to sell the WA TAB and it will now re-focus its efforts on investing in and operating, the WA TAB for the long-term sustainability of local racing.”
The board said RWWA had demonstrated its capability to successfully operate the WA TAB in a highly competitive environment over the past decade, while increasing prize money, supporting clubs and investing in infrastructure.