New Zealand’s mobile sports betting platform, TAB, is currently limited to supplying no more than 5,000 different wagers on any given day. Industry head John Allen wants to expand that figure by as much as 20x, allowing the service to compete on the same level as international online sportsbooks.
The TAB is operated by the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), which is expected to meet in April to discuss potential licencing of an automated, fixed-odds mobile sports betting platform. If approved, said platform would be provided by UK-based OpenBet, and would include a partnership between TAB and Irish online sportsbook, Paddy Power Betfair (PPB).
TAB and PPB would employ a revenue sharing framework, with the latter supplying its international sports betting odds to the NZ bookmaker. The Racing Board’s CEO, John Allen, said the new fixed-odds betting platform would take just over a year to set up and deploy.
20x More Mobile Sports Betting Odds
Allen pointed out that, under current regulations, the TAB is restricted to offering no more than 5,000 mobile sports betting odds on any given day. In deep contrast, Betfair regularly presents its punters with around 100,000 odds to choose from – 20x more than TAB can offer. An expansion would provide Kiwi punters with a wider variety of fixed-odds, including everything from more international events to political futures.
“I am not suggesting we are going to go from 5000 to 100,000,” the CEO amended, as such an enormous jump would surely raise concern among the region’s anti-gambling advocates. “But it gives you an idea of the order of change that’s available,” he explained.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money
There’s no question as to why the NZRB is seeking such a potentially vast expansion of its live and online sportsbook options. It’s all about the money.
Allen believes that delivering a more robust product – one that has the ability to compete with overseas online sportsbooks – will stymie the flow of Kiwi’s who turn to international sites to place bets, and attract them back to the home-grown TAB.
The NZRB has estimated that such an expanded mobile sports betting platform could double the number of Kiwi TAB accounts from 90,000 to 180,000 over the next few years.
More importantly, the TAB is facing a great loss of revenue to foreign bettors due to misspricing of odds. The intended partnership with PPB would likely see TAB’s fixed-odds mimicking those of Betfair. The combined result, according to the NZRB, would be anywhere from $12 million to $36 million in additional revenue each year.
Automation a Must for TAB
The TAB is currently calculating all of its odds manually, and that creates a challenge in which “you can’t move your odds as quickly as an automated operation,” said Allen.
“You risk being ‘arbitraged‘ by people around the world who are looking for value, because they know odds offered by some bookmakers will have moved but your prices haven’t,” he explained.
By automating the system, professional punters who constantly look for adjustments in the odds would be less likely to take advantage of TAB by offsetting their wagers with other online sportsbooks.
“We want punters to bet with us because we give them a fair price. But we don’t want to be taken for a ride, because every dollar we make in profit is a dollar that goes to the New Zealand [racing] industry,” he said.