Entain Set to Take Over New Zealand Tab as Final Approval Arrives

Posted on: May 23, 2023, 07:50h. 

Last updated on: May 23, 2023, 12:28h.

Entain is officially ready to receive the keys to New Zealand Tab (Tab NZ). The global gaming company needed one final approval to take over, which it received when Racing Minister Kieran McAnulty gave his thumbs up on Tuesday.

The entrance to a Tab NZ shop in New Zealand
The entrance to a Tab NZ shop in New Zealand. Entain is set to officially take over the betting monopoly as of June 1. (Image: stuff.co.nz)

Before giving his approval, McAnulty made it clear that Entain must make a number of commitments, including assuring that not a single job will be lost as a result of the takeover.

In turn, Entain agreed that the 460 full-time employees at Tab NZ would be guaranteed job security for a minimum of two years.

A New Face at the Races

New Zealand’s racing and sporting market has been granted an NZ$150 million (US$93.72 million) bonus that will be distributed among the 38 national sports organizations (NSOs) that have an agreement with Tab. The noteworthy winner in this deal is Game Code, which will receive NZ$15 million (US$9.37 million) over three years.

The deal is set to yield substantial rewards for New Zealand’s various sports segments, including soccer, basketball, and rugby. These three are seen as the front-runners to receive the most benefits, since they’re the most popular options with bettors.

Of the massive bonus for the sports organizations, NZ$100 million (US$62.48 million) will be dispersed over the next five years, with the possibility that the amount could increase to NZ$200 million (US$124.96 million), depending on the overall sports betting handle.

A percentage of the funds will go to harm reduction and problem gambling programs. In addition, some of the money will become reserve funds in case of emergency.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, competitions and games were postponed, which left Tab NZ with minimal funds. It served as a lesson for the organization on the importance of maintaining reserves, something it previously didn’t do.

Tab NZ has been facing challenges with the loss of New Zealand customers to foreign betting companies, costing the company as much as NZ$150 million in annual revenue, according to its figures. With high hopes for the influx of expertise and experience Entain should bring to the organization, the entity aims to reverse the poaching issue.

Entain, which will control Tab NZ for the next 25 years, will keep the Tab NZ brand. It’s going to have to move quickly to prepare, as it is supposed to take over the operations as of June 1.

Tab NZ Loses CEO

Entain agreed not to reduce the current workforce at Tab NZ. But this doesn’t mean that there will be zero personnel changes. CEO Mike Tod will resign as soon as Entain officially takes over on June 1.

Replacing him will be Nick Roberts, currently Tab NZ’s general counsel. In a statement about the change, Tab NZ board chairman Mark Stewart called Roberts the perfect option, as he was fundamental in negotiating the deal with Entain.

Tod said in a LinkedIn post that Cameron Rodger, the current chief commercial officer of Tab NZ and a former member of the New Zealand Racing Board, will take over as the head of Entain New Zealand. Tod didn’t specify what he plans on doing after his departure.