Tabcorp has announced it will increase its online wagering profile in direct competition with Sportsbet and Ladbrokes after recording a $52m profit in six months.
Tabcorp, which is traditionally associated with in-store betting, launched its digital gambling app in September with advertisements airing during the Fifa World Cup broadcast. The company will now prioritise this online service and attempt to lure customers away from foreign-owned sports bookies.
After releasing the company’s financial results, its chief executive, Adam Rytenskild, said Tabcorp plans to increase its digital market share from 25% to 30% within the next two years.
“We’ll do this with a transformation of our entire wagering ecosystem, including new products for punters, a reinvigoration of Sky Racing that will include a greater integration with TAB and the implementation of our new marketing strategy,” Rytenskild said.
“The successful launch of the new TAB app, which helped us retain digital market share despite the introduction of a new competitor, has provided a strong launchpad to reach our 30% target.”
Rytenskild said Tabcorp held its digital market share in the last half of 2022, despite increasing competition and the arrival of News Corp-backed wagering company Betr.
The change of strategy comes after Tabcorp strongly criticised online sports gambling companies and called for an overhaul of regulation to limit advertising and strengthen oversight. The company has also called for policies that favour in-store gambling, rather than betting on mobile phones.
Tabcorp has lobbied for a new national body – perhaps run by the federal government – to boost oversight of online gambling. Most digital wagering companies are licensed in the Northern Territory and are subject to oversight from the NT Racing Commission, despite operating nationally. Tabcorp is licensed in other states.
“Only a single national betting regulator could enable all states and territories to act in harmony to bring their regulations into line with the modern economy,” said a Tabcorp submission to an ongoing parliamentary inquiry into online gambling.
Tabcorp, which has flagged a new marketing campaign to increase its digital share, has also criticised Sportsbet’s partnership with TikTok. Gambling promotions are banned on the app but Sportsbet has been given a strictly controlled trial.
“Regulating and restricting this type of gambling advertising is complex, and the current laws and regulations have not kept pace with emerging technologies and social media platforms like TikTok,” the Tabcorp submission said.
Despite significantly boosting revenue from gambling, Rytenskild said Tabcorp had a “genuine aim to do the right thing” and meet high expectations for compliance and transparency.
“We respect the role of our regulators and value their position in our industry, with an aim to work with them to shape a safe gambling environment for everyone who participates in it and is affected by it,” Rytenskild said.
Tabcorp recorded a 58% increase in cash wagering revenue as punters returned to retail venues after pandemic lockdowns. Overall revenue increased by 11% to $1.27bn.
The company has also announced plans to cut spending by $20m over the next three years.