Sunday April 20,2014 : SKEWING THE ODDS?
"Expanded risk" management instruction could prove embarrassing.
A gambling row that has been simmering for the past week in Australia is set to heat up after the holidays with Tabcorp at the centre after an activist body dubbed Fair Wagering Australia published a leaked internal document that on the face of it suggests a strategy to winnow out successful punters to reduce exposure to risk.
Members of Tabcorp’s 2,600-strong retail betting shop empire that did not take heed of the message from headquarters could look forward to being managed from higher up the management ladder, the advisory warned.
See the full FWA expose here: http://fairwageringaustralia.com/.
Fair Wagering Australia says it intends to forward the internal document to the New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, which is apparently investigating Tabcorp’s new fixed odds management procedure.
Widening the spread of the allegations, the Sydney Morning Herald waded in with an article that conflated the betting shop directive with the growing influence of online gambling – and British operators – in the Aussie market.
The article highlights the thrust of the Tabcorp "Fixed Odds Liability" directive, which uses flowery language to impart a straightforward message – thin out the repeated winners (”individual customers who are not commercially viable”) and keep the "Genuine Betters" (the losers).
Tabcorp's advice to outlets seems to be to get rid of fixed-odds winners as customers by embracing ”liability management” and focusing business efforts on the losers.
”By helping to identify the individual customers who are not commercially viable you can prevent your whole venue from being managed [by head office],” the document says.
The Sydney Morning Herald claims that online wagering companies "…tend to take bets only from losers. Fixed-odds punters who win, even those who bet in small amounts, either have their bet sizes curtailed or their accounts frozen altogether."
TAB runs online operations like tab.com.au, Luxbet and Sky Racing in addition to its land gambling outlets.
The company's ”expanded risk management” policy has allegedly come about as a result of "commercially viable" punters (read repeat winners) gravitating to land betting shops from online sites that have been discouraging them for being too successful.
According to Fair Wagering Australia, bookmakers licensed by the Northern Territory government are turning over close to $6 billion annually with conservative profit estimates of A$400 million. Last financial they reportedly paid just A$2.4 million in tax to the Northern Territory government through a levy on gross wagering profits, capped at A$250,000 per bookmaker.