The battle commenced when Paddy Power’s Aussie offshoot Sportsbet claimed that its online betting turnover topped A$1.9b in the six months ending June 30. Since the digital operations of corporate bookies Tabcorp recorded turnover of A$1.65b over the same period, Sportsbet felt comfortable wagging its little finger in Tabcorp’s direction.
Clearly terrified that some women might have overheard Sportsbet’s boasting, Tabcorp felt the need to refute this claim, lest people starting swiping Tabcorp’s Tinder profile in the wrong direction. Craig Nugent, Tabcorp’s head of wagering, told the Sydney Morning Herald that Tabcorp is “the number one digital operator and anyone who is telling you otherwise is wrong.”
Nugent went on to argue that “the last time we looked at the data,” Tabcorp was the Ron Jeremy of Australian wagering, controlling 50% of the market. Nugent said Tabcorp’s digital offering was swelling at an annual rate of 20% and that “the quantum of our digital sales are, as we understand it, higher than [Sportsbet’s].”
Perhaps sensing that he was injecting one too many qualifiers into his defense, Nugent pimped Tabcorp’s combined retail and digital operations, which he said made the company “far and away the largest operator in Australia and in fact we’re one of the largest operators in the world.” The interview apparently concluded before a frustrated Nugent began bellowing: “I was in the pool!”
Given Sportsbet is a Paddy Power company and has been known to engage in the parent company’s particular brand of mischief, it’s entirely possible that Sportsbet was simply trying to get a rise out of Tabcorp, which has occasionally taken umbrage when its rivals get ideas above their station. If so, well played.