Determining the market for gambling services

Our experts played an integral role in the 2017 merger between gambling services giants, Tabcorp and Tatts. Greg Houston was engaged by merging parties’ rival, CrownBet, to prepare expert evidence in the merger authorisation review process undertaken by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

CrownBet opposed the merger on grounds that the combined entity would strengthen its market power in totalisator and related gambling services to the detriment of punters in one of the largest gambling nations in the world.

Our analysis focused on each of the gambling products supplied by the merging parties to identify those markets in which the merger would pose a hazard to consumers, particularly those involving thoroughbred race betting, sports betting and thoroughbred race vision broadcast rights.

Markets are rarely delineated by bright lines and require careful analysis to ensure that economic conclusions are based on robust reasoning and comparisons of products that are ‘like-for-like’. This principle was underlined in evidence that Greg provided to the Tribunal highlighting distinctions between different forms of bet on the same race, and role of broadcast vision in distinguishing punters’ online betting experience.

Prompted by this evidence, Tabcorp and Tatts made several concessions to their merger proposal, thereby ensuring Australian punters would enjoy an enhanced range of services able to be offered by rivals competing with a dominant firm.

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