Wednesday 31. August, 2016

Australia and New Zealand Commingle Betting Pools

The New Zealand Commerce Commission has granted authorisation to the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) and Australian Tabcorp Wagering Manager to commingle totaliser horse and greyhound racing betting pools. The authorisation comes with certain restrictions attached.

The public was invited to submit objections to the draft last month; however Dr Mark Berry, NZCC chairman, reported that no objections had been filed. The Commission has the ability to grant authorisation for specific agreements that could breach the Commerce Act. The authorisation may be granted under section 58 only when the Commission has determined that the public benefit of the agreement outweighs any disadvantage that may exist or come about due to a reduction in competition.

Dr Berry announced that the commission found that while the proposal may reduce competition, it did not lessen it enough to negate the public benefits that the agreement would bring. The Commission’s final determination was that the authorisation could be granted for the benefit of the horse and greyhound racing industry.

“In researching our decision, we found that there are public benefits to combining the respective betting pools such as the NZRB being able to offer New Zealand residents more Australian races,” announced Berry. “Customers can also benefit from having higher value pools.”

“We found the detriment is limited and only confined to a small number of customers engaged in high volume betting.”

The restrictions that the agreement is subjected to include the NZRB and Tabcorp’s take-out rates from commingled pools, as well as the rebates or commissions that the two companies pay to high volume customers.

By granting the authorisation for a restrictive trade practice, the companies will be protected under the Commerce Act from court action by the Commission and private parties.

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