Un­cer­tainty hurts TAB’s ef­fi­ciency

Pilbara News - - News - Gareth Parker

The govern­ment body that man­ages the WA TAB has warned con­tin­u­ing in­de­ci­sion over whether it will be pri­va­tised is un­der­min­ing its abil­ity to op­er­ate com­mer­cially and harm­ing its abil­ity to sus­tain the racing in­dus­try.

Racing and Wager­ing WA’s an­nual report high­lighted the neg­a­tive im­pact of the un­cer­tainty.

“The mat­ter of whether the WA TAB will be pri­va­tised con­tin­ued to test the ef­fi­ciency and ef­fec­tive­ness of our wager­ing op­er­a­tions through­out the year,” RWWA chair­man Jeff Ovens and chief ex­ec­u­tive Richard Grant said in a report.

“From our board’s per­spec­tive, this un­cer­tainty can­not con­tinue if we are to pro­tect the value of the TAB and its abil­ity to make re­turns for the racing in­dus­try.”

The TAB’s mar­gin on bet­ting turnover fell slightly in the last fi­nan­cial year to $330.2 mil­lion, from $335.7 mil­lion in 2014-15.

The Govern­ment favours pri­vati­sa­tion and Premier Colin Bar­nett has said re­peat­edly he be­lieves the Govern­ment should sell the TAB, but mo­men­tum on the is­sue has stalled.

The Govern­ment has given $300,000 to the racing in­dus­try to fund a needs assess­ment but there is no progress ex­pected on a sale — which would re­quire leg­is­la­tion — un­til after the March State Elec­tion.

Racing and Gam­ing Minister Mr Grylls de­scribed the TAB as “a small-scale busi­ness in the wager­ing sec­tor”.

“RWWA’s busi­ness model is be­ing tested, largely by the growth of for­eign-owned cor­po­rate book­mak­ers, on­line gam­bling and the soft­en­ing WA econ­omy,” he said. “Pri­vati­sa­tion of the WA TAB needs to be se­ri­ously con­sid­ered by the racing in­dus­try to en­sure the on­go­ing sus­tain­abil­ity of WA racing.”

Shadow racing and gam­ing minister Paul Pa­palia said the Premier’s com­ments “clearly had a di­rect and very neg­a­tive im­pact” on the value of the TAB.

“It’s time the Premier stood up and pro­vided cer­tainty to the TAB, the racing in­dus­try and the tax­pay­ers of WA,” he said.

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