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CrownBet suspends plan to provide sports betting services to Australian clubs

Australian online bookmaker CrownBet has reportedly abandoned its ambitious 10-year plan to provide online sports betting services to 1,200 clubs across New South Wales, a move that threatened the dominance of the TAB and was fiercely opposed by Tabcorp.

The deal 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 elaborate plans also included a loyalty scheme through which club members betting with CrownBet would collect points that could be exchanged for food or drinks at the venues.

Explaining the withdrawal Thursday ClubsNSW chief executive Anthony Ball said the deal with CrownBet would not proceed due to “ongoing regulatory uncertainty”.

“The commercial reality is that the offer cannot proceed without a clear direction from the regulator that the offer is compliant with the law,” Ball said. The regulator apparently refused to give the green light, and an attempt to appeal through the Supreme Court failed when the court ruled that it was a matter for the regulator to decide.

Tabcorp claimed that it holds exclusive licenses to operate retail betting in clubs, and warned that the CrownBet-ClubsNSW project may be in contravention of the Unlawful Gambling Act.

The giant gambling corporation observed:

“Tabcorp's position is that it is the only entity that is authorised under NSW wagering legislation to provide wagering services off-course in NSW”.

InfoPowa readers may recall that late last year CrownBet parent Crown Resorts signed a deal selling its 62 percent interest in the online company for A$150 million to investors including the CrownBet CEO, Matt Tripp; the deal is scheduled to close at the end of February this year.

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