Australian casino operator Crown Resorts is rumored to be close to launching a new online sports betting operation, potentially in partnership with Matthew Tripp’s online betting outfit BetEasy. The Canberra Times reported that Crown had registered a new Crown Bet trademark last month. Crown is not completely new to online betting, having assumed complete ownership of the unprofitable Betfair Australasia joint venture in August.
Earlier this week, the Australian Financial Review reported that Crown boss James Packer was having talks with Tripp regarding an online betting partnership. Neither party has so far commented on the scope of these talks. BetEasy, which had its official launch in September, has been making all sorts of waves since Tripp’s $10m acquisition of the Betezy brand in March. This week saw BetEasy beat out rivals Tabcorp, Sportsbet and William Hill Australia to win the coveted Australian Football League betting partnership.
Speaking of Tabcorp, the company has lost its appeal of this summer’s court ruling that denied Tabcorp compensation from the end of the video poker machine (pokies) duopoly it shared with Tatts Group in Victoria. In 2012, the state opted not to renew the 18-year licenses held by Tabcorp and Tatts and farmed out the pokies business to local pubs and clubs. Tabcorp had sought $687m in compensation for the loss of its lucrative pokies business but the courts declared that the language in Tabcorp’s contract didn’t allow for such compensation.
The Victorian Court of Appeal also upheld the $540m sum Victoria was ordered to pay Tatts as a result of the pokies changeup. The Court agreed that Victoria’s legislative rewrite was insufficient to override terminal payment provisions in Tatts’ contract. Tatts has already received the full payment from the Victorian government but had yet to record it as income until it knew the money wouldn’t be clawed back.