TAB focuses on online gambling; Australian millionaire’s plans for Jupiters casino

TAGs: Australia, Echo Entertainment, Jupiters, Kirby Garlitos, TAB

State-owned Australian racing and sports betting TAB is shifting its focus in an effort to address the growing popularity of online gambling.

TAB paying increased focus to online gambling; Australian millionaire has big plans for recently purchased Jupiters casinoA report from Racing and Wagering Western Australia points to an increasing shift in popularity among Australians on the medium they choose in making their bets. The RWWA annual report indicated that sports betting revenue shot up 35.9% to $160 million in the 12 months to July 31 on the strength of the World Cup in Brazil. However, revenue from the state-owned firm’s physical stores remained relatively flat while Western Australia racetracks have been experiencing declining revenues.

RWWA CEO Richard Burt insisted that the growing popularity of online sports betting doesn’t necessarily mean that retail stores are struggling. They’re just not as popular as mobile betting. “The majority of the growth is coming via mobile and retail is flat,” Burt said. “But that’s customers’ choice – they want mobility as opposed to what people do when they go into a TAB or a pub TAB when they’re with friends looking for that recreational experience.”

Growing demand means that something needs to be done to accommodate it and TAB’s answer is TABtouch, a new wagering system that can be accessed on tablets and mobile phones.

Millionaire Chris Morris’ recent purchase of the Jupiters casino from Echo Entertainment was largely seen as a losing bet by gaming analysts. But Morris has big plans for his new purchase, one that involves removing the “worst casino in Australia” label from the facility.

Miller’s Colonial Leisure Group signed an agreement to buy the casino from Echo Entertainment for $70 million in January 2014. But it was only last month that the deal was settled after Colonial received its probity clearance.

“We are excited about the opportunities and synergies this acquisition represents,” Colonial Leisure Group said in a statement. “Combining our extensive expertise in hospitality management and ability to further invest, we will develop Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino into a leading regional resort, improving the operational and financial performance of the property.”

A big part of the company’s plan to revitalize the Townsville casino is to invest at least $20 million for the establishment’s renovation. It’s also tapped former SkyCity Darwin General Manager Brad Morgan to run the Townsville casino, making up for Miller’s own lack of experience in the industry.


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