Australian race betting losing market share – analysis

gb-racing-economic-impactSports and events betting is rapidly gaining market share from traditional race betting in Australia, analysis suggests.

Industry and market research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on the horse and sports betting industry in Australia.

It says the emergence of betting websites and the increasing popularity of sports and events betting are changing the face of the industry.

The horse and sports betting industry is undergoing major change as governments abandon their holdings in state-based TAB operations to effectively develop a national wagering market, the company says.

Private betting websites are also gaining a greater foothold in the market, due to changing consumer demand and preferences and improved access to betting websites.

“Sports and events betting, while still low in revenue terms compared with racing betting, is the fastest growing segment in the industry,” IBISWorld industry analyst Craig Shulman said.

The segment provides sports and events fans and professional punters the opportunity to wager on a wide range of sports and events, which has opened up a new market for these providers.

These heavily promoted activities are eating away at the declining share that the thoroughbred racing segment holds in the industry.

Over the five years through 2013-14, industry revenue (revenue retained by the industry after handing out winnings) is expected to grow at an annualised 2.4 percent. Revenue is forecast to total $A3.5 billion in 2013-14, which is down 1.5 percent on the previous year.

While betting activities are expected to continue to move online, the industry faces a series of challenges over the next five years, the firm suggests.

Traditional TAB retailers will struggle to remain relevant with the new-found conveniences of the internet.

Shulman continues: “The 2012 High Court decision to allow state racing authorities to take a share of revenue instead of gross profit is expected to make a dent in bookmakers’ profit margins.”

The high level of marketing is also attracting a lot of attention and led to a parliamentary inquiry, which resulted in a restriction on marketing activities.

However, the industry has attracted more international attention as betting juggernauts from Europe look to create growth in the Australian market, which is expected to lead to greater competition and innovation.

The top four operators account for the majority of industry revenue, meaning the horse and sports betting industry has a very high level of ownership concentration.

This high concentration is related to the wagering segment, which now effectively operates as a single, national market.

The high level of merger and acquisition activity from the public float or sale of former state-owned TAB operations has also contributed to the high concentration in the industry.

For the bookmakers segment, concentration is significantly lower and often these businesses can be small, sole-trading enterprises. However, online bookmakers tend to be larger operations, so concentration in this segment will increase as the online market grows.

The industry’s major players are Tabcorp Holdings, Tatts Group, Racing Victoria, Racing and Wagering Western Australia and Paddy Power Australia.

The report is available for purchase.

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