On Monday, multiple Australian media outlets reported that CrownBet, the online betting arm of casino operator Crown Resorts, had inked a 10-year deal to provide a bespoke online betting app for use in NSW venues, whose operators will earn commission on digital wagers made within their walls. The deal, which hasn’t been officially announced, could be confirmed as early as Tuesday.
While Clubs NSW’s 1,350 members won’t be forced to sign up with CrownBet, the majority are expected to accept the CrownBet service, as club operators have long expressed annoyance with the fees Tabcorp charged to host TAB outlets.
The deal will reportedly allow NSW venue operators the option of continuing to offer traditional TAB wagering services but CrownBet will be allowed to install cash redemption machines in the clubs that allow punters to claim betting winnings in cash. Previously, collecting online winnings required punters to transfer winnings to their personal bank accounts.
Clubs NSW patrons who use the new CrownBet app would earn reward points that would be redeemable at Clubs NSW venues. The points will also likely be redeemable at Crown Resorts’ in-development Crown Sydney casino, which is targeted to open in 2021.
CrownBet reportedly beat out TAB, Paddy Power Betfair’s local online betting brand Sportsbet and Betting.Club for the Clubs NSW deal by offering a higher commission structure for club operators.
CrownBet’s invasion of Tabcorp’s traditional stomping grounds also holds out the promise that CrownBet will get a leg up on its online rivals by being allowed to offer legal in-play sports wagering.
Australia’s proposed gambling law revisions would explicitly ban online in-play sports betting, while offering an exception for retail operators who provided such services via “electronic equipment made available to any customers.” CrownBet and other online-only bookies vigorously protested this carveout, which they claim would allow Tabcorp and Tatts Group to distribute tablet devices to retail punters for onsite in-play wagering.
The Clubs NSW deal will come with significant costs for CrownBet, including designing the new betting app and likely upgrades to the venues’ WiFi infrastructure. But Crown Resorts’ recent restructuring has placed additional emphasis on its domestic operations, with the wagering and online businesses identified as a particular growth opportunity.