Entain Sets Sights on Australian Free-to-Air TV Channel

Entain, a leading name in the global gambling industry, is rumoured to step into the Australian free-to-air TV landscape. The company, known for its popular wagering brands such as Ladbrokes and Neds, is eyeing a move that could transform its market presence in Australia. By acquiring direct access to a TV channel dedicated to Australian viewers, Entain plans to showcase racing events, amplify its gambling products, and provide a robust alternative to Tabcorp’s Sky Racing dominance.

Reports from the Australian Financial Review suggest that Entain has approached major commercial networks like Seven, Nine, and Ten, proposing the idea of launching a new channel focused on greyhound, harness, and thoroughbred racing. Rumors indicate that Entain is willing to spend approximately $8 million annually to lease a channel, with Network Ten emerging as the most likely partner. Though no deal has been cemented, Entain’s ambition reflects a strategic pivot towards diversifying its broadcast offerings, mirroring the successful Racing.com model, a collaboration between Seven Network and Racing Victoria.

Entain’s venture into media isn’t a first; the company has previously engaged in broadcasting through a 25-year partnership with New Zealand TAB to boost the profile of NZ racing in Australia. This new endeavor aims to challenge Tabcorp’s tight grip on state-based racing broadcasts and could significantly enhance Entain’s footprint in the region.

The implications of securing a multichannel deal for racing are vast, especially as the industry braces for tighter regulations on online gambling advertisements. A parliamentary inquiry’s suggestion to ban all internet gambling ads poses a threat to media revenue streams, making Entain’s move a strategic hedge against potential advertising restrictions.

By entering the free-to-air TV domain, Entain is poised to disrupt the existing broadcasting landscape dominated by Tabcorp’s Sky Racing, which currently limits its content to Foxtel and Kayo streaming services. A successful bid by Entain could democratize access to racing content, reaching a wider audience and significantly boosting its engagement and customer acquisition in Australia.

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