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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 27 August 2009) . . Page.. 3838 ..

sportsbook agreement effective from 29 May 2009: It was subsequently proposed by ACTTAB, Tote Tasmania and Racing and Wagering Western Australia to establish an unincorporated joint venture in order to form another combined sports betting pool with each participant having equal voting rights.

ACTTAB’s sports betting turnover in 2007-08 was $8.62 million. This represents approximately 5.3 per cent of the combined pool with Tote Tasmania and Racing and Wagering Western Australia. Given ACTTAB’s relatively small turnover, the joint venture proposal was a sensible course for the company to take. Otherwise, ACTTAB faced the prospect of trying to enter into a sports bookmaking pool on far less favourable terms.

After considering several proposals, the joint venture partners chose Centrebet International to replace Tabcorp as their sportsbook provider. On 6 February, the Chairman of ACTTAB wrote to the voting shareholders seeking our approval to ACTTAB entering into an unincorporated joint venture with Centrebet, Tote Tasmania and Racing and Wagering Western Australia. The letter was in keeping with section 16(1) of the Territory-owned Corporations Act 1990, which stipulates that a territory-owned corporation must not enter into an unincorporated joint venture without the prior written consent of the voting shareholders.

The Chief Minister and I, in our capacity as voting shareholders, deferred our consideration of ACTTAB’s request to enable Treasury and the Government Solicitor’s Office to consider the merits of the proposal. After receiving sufficient advice in support of the joint venture, the Chief Minister and I agreed, on 16 April, to ACTTAB entering into the unincorporated joint venture for the purpose of executing a new sportsbook contract, subject to completion of satisfactory due diligence and the associated regulatory approvals.

Since then the Gambling and Racing Commission has completed a probity investigation to assess the suitability of Centrebet providing sports bookmaking services to ACTTAB. The commission has advised that Centrebet is considered a suitable licence holder to provide sports bookmaking services on behalf of ACTTAB.

The due diligence review of Centrebet has also been completed to the satisfaction of the three TABs. There were no adverse findings about the ability of Centrebet to meet the requirements of the sportsbook pooling agreement. The joint venture commenced on 29 May 2009 and extends until at least 28 November 2012. In the event that the parties cannot agree on the terms of a new agreement, ACTTAB has the option to extend the agreement on the same terms by an additional 18 months.

The joint venture has been granted interim authorisation by the ACCC to guard against legal action being taken under the Trade Practices Act 1974, while the ACCC considers the merits of the joint venture arrangements.

On 5 August 2009, the ACCC released a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to the joint venture arrangements until 28 November 2012. This provides the opportunity for any interested parties to make a submission on the draft determination before the ACCC issues its final determination. The period for public consultation on the draft determination is expected to extend until 30 September 2009

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