Friday November 22 ,2013 : AUSSIE GOVERNMENT TO SELL OFF GAMBLING ENTERPRISE
Australia Capital Territory government to sell off ACTTAB
The Australia Capital Territory government on Friday announced that it intends to sell off betting agency ACTTAB, possibly as early as next year.
Treasurer Andrew Barr said a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers outlined a compelling case for the sale, and the government hopes to conduct a competitive bid process to achieve a fair and reasonable sale price, although he was unable to give a likely value.
ACTTAB continues to turn a profit but has posted declining revenues in recent years, and has stressed the need for an injection of more capital if it is to survive .
The government will seek approval for the sale from the ACT Legislative Assembly next week.
Barr said that technology has fundamentally changed the gambling business, as had the competitive activities in Australia of aggressive corporate bookmakers such as Tom Waterhouse, William Hill and other large betting firms.
The most active punters were now males aged 25-35 who did most of their betting on smartphones rather than in retail shops, he said.
"The smallest TAB in the country is simply not in a financial position to compete with businesses on an international scale," Barr told reporters in Canberra.
ACTTAB reported a meagre $1 million profit last year, down as the organisation turnover has progressively sunk to around $100 million.
The profit partly offsets the government's $7 million support for the ACT racing industry, and it is likely that a condition of sale of the enterprise would require the buyer to include support for the local racing industry.
Barr warned there would probably be job losses among ACTTAB's staff of just over 100, two-thirds in administration and the rest in the retail outlets.