Tuesday August 2,2016 : CONTROVERSIAL SPORTS MEDIA COMPANY TO RELAUNCH
This time around PlayUP will include online sports gambling licensed by Australias Norfolk Island Gaming Authority.
A failed sports media company that became a source of political contention in Australia is soon to be re-launched, this time offering online sports betting licensed by the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority.
The name PlayUP may be familiar to readers following allegations that in 2012 the current Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull – then shadow minister of communications – was accused of a conflict of interest in his investment of A$1.3 million in the venture.
Turnbull contended that the media company was not involved in online gambling and there was no conflict, a position contradicted by others associated with the company.
The company, along with the firm behind it, Revo Pty Ltd, failed after losing around A$100 million, sparking renewed controversy when it transpired that Turnbull, who was by then the governments communications minister, had sold his interest in PlayUP before it got into difficulties, taking advantage of an "unusual" arrangement in which the company converted his investment into a loan that allowed him to ultimately recover hundreds of thousands of dollars while other investors and employees went unpaid, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Media reports are that the remainder of the loan was ceded to Turnbulls son Alex – a hedge fund manager in Singapore – soon after Turnbull became prime minister of Australia last year. Alex then sold the debt to Wiser Capital, a company backing PlayUPs new owner, Fantasy Sports Global.
The soon-to-be resurrected PlayUP makes no pretensions regarding its intention to offer online gambling, with Sydney-based owner Fantasy Sports Global confirming it has bought the failed enterprise from the receivers.
FSG founder Daniel Simic says he plans to launch a mobile app offering exclusive sports content and betting on Australian and international sports, including AFL and NRL. A Chinese arm of the business will be led by the Ho family, a billionaire gaming dynasty in the region.
Simic expects to build PlayUP into a multi-billion business, especially in the Asian market subject to legal approvals.
Interestingly, the Sydney Morning Herald reminds readers that in an unrelated move, the Turnbull government this year barred the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority from granting or renewing gaming licences after it was found to have effectively opened the Australian racing and betting industry to one of worlds biggest illegal bookmakers.