Tabcorp Sues Aha And Entain Over Advertising Deal

In October, Entain signed a long-term advertising agreement with the Australian Hotels Association (AHA). Under the agreement, Entain can advertise for Ladbrokes and Neds in NSW pubs. Tabcorp has exclusive rights to retail sports betting in the state.

However, now Tabcorp is suing Entain and the AHA over the deal. The bookmaker claims that advertising for online venues will directly impact the rights deal and violate the Unlawful Gambling Act of 1998.

Tabcorp Starting Legal Proceedings Against Entain and AHA

Multiple sources are now reporting that Tabcorp is launching legal proceedings against Entain and the AHA over their recent advertising agreement. The company alleges that the parties did not disclose sufficient information regarding the advertising deal. Proceedings began on Monday in the Supreme Court of NSW. Tabcorp seeks to obtain preliminary discovery from NSW pubs and Entain.

The deal between Entain and the AHA will advertise online sportsbooks Neds and Ladbrokes. Tabcorp legally operates retail sports betting in pubs and hotels due to the licensing agreement with the state. That agreement will continue until 2033. The advertising deal does not appear to violate the agreement between Tabcorp and the state.

Tabcorp does not believe that the agreement is lawful. They are claiming that insufficient details were given regarding the deal. The company claims that if it knew the extent of the agreement, it would have objected to the deal, as it would violate its exclusivity agreement.

If Tabcorp is successful, it can claim financial damages from both parties. This would also likely result in a termination of the agreement.

Pubs Plan to Fully Support Retail Tabcorp

Part of the reason that the AHA signed its deal with Entain was Tabcorp. AHA NSW CEO John Whelan spoke on the matter back in October. He stated, “For decades now, many NSW hotels have operated PubTABs for Tabcorp at a significant loss – primarily due to high Sky Channel and EBT (betting terminal) fees. In country NSW it’s even worse, with the majority of country pubs currently running their PubTAB at a loss.”

He continued that the “partnership with a world leader in Entain will finally give NSW hotels competition and choice. Entain Australia CEO Dean Shannon also spoke on the deal. He said, “This partnership recognizes the evolution and is about choice for the benefit of AHA NSW members and their patrons. There is no reason why traditional cash wagering can’t co-exist in a hotel, alongside an advertising sponsorship arrangement with Entain that promotes the digital offering of one of our leading brands.”

At the time, the AHA stated they would continue supporting Tabcorp and its retail offerings. If anything, this move is more of a move to help make pubs profitable. The company has been accused of operating like a monopoly in the past, and the recent lawsuit will likely further cement those assumptions in the minds of some.

Do the CEO Admissions Give Tabcrop Grounds for Its Lawsuit?

While we are not legal experts, one could read the statements from the CEOs of Entain and the AHA and wonder if Tabcorp would have grounds for their complaint. Both men acknowledge giving punters “choice” while they are in hotels. The ads in the hotels would alert people that they could wager on another platform other than those readily available through Tabcorp.

If someone was in the pub and was unaware of Neds or Ladbrokes, they may be persuaded to hop on those platforms rather than use those available in the pubs. This is a reasonable assumption to make and likely what Tabcorp will argue.

It will be interesting to see whether the Supreme Court will side with Tabcorp or allow the deal between the AHA and Entain to stand.

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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