After a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) feasibility study commissioned by the Australian Capital Territory government found a compelling argument for ACTTAB to be sold, it looks likely that the government will look to move the betting agency off its books.
Currently, ACTTAB operates an online sportsbook in the Australian Capital Territory as well as the land-based and telephone operations in the region. It has been estimated, however, that the agency would need considerable government investment to remain competitive, a move that the local government doesn’t look likely to take.
Australian gambling laws are far from simple, but the new national government could see some changes take place in the market. In their election manifesto, the new government pledged to defer gambling regulation to individual states, paving the way for online gambling much like the current roll out in America.
At the moment, Australian internet casinos are banned from taking on Australian gamers, but are free to operate outside the country. Meanwhile, Australian gamblers are able to use foreign online casinos. Should gambling regulation pass into the hands of the local governments, it is likely that they would look to bring in extra tax revenue through online gambling.
Back to ACTTAB, and the government has confirmed it is in talks with staff and unions representing the betting firm, with a final decision over its future due to be made by November. Whatever the decision, there is sure to be more movement on gambling in Australia in the near future.
ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr has suggested the betting institution will be sold, saying: “The Government’s not going to be making that capital investment. While no final decision has been made, the Government has agreed to further consider a sale.”
Meanwhile, ACTTAB’s CEO, Tony Curtis, admitted that the company needs private investment: “We’ve been encountering what you would call a fairly torrid time over the last couple of years with intense competition from corporate bookmakers and the betting exchanges in Australia.”