It’s not unusual for gambling operators to cut their losses when a deal turns sour. So, the fact that Tabcorp is looking for a way out from Sun Bets comes as no surprise. The Aussie operator is apparently in talks to leave their deal with News UK. Their Sun Bets agreement is meant to last until 2019. However, they may be leaving a year early.
Added to that is a public scandal now referred to as ‘pie gate’. ‘Pie gate’ refers to a publicity stunt at a Sutton United game. The goalkeeper, Wayne Shaw, was spotted eating a pie during the match. According to reports, Sun Bets was offering 8-1 odds that Shaw would finish it. It was later revealed that Shaw knew about the odds and finished the pie on screen.
As a result, the UK Gambling Commission branded ‘pie gate’ as ‘intentional influencing of a betting market’. This scandal earned Tabcorp and News UK a hefty £84 000 (AU$148 000) fine in April.
Added to the scandal is the reported operating loss of AU$23.5 million, as mentioned above. According to reports, this figure was taken from the six months leading up to December of 2017. What’s more, Tabcorp lost AU$45 million throughout last year. In comparison to the AU$14.4 million they spent to enter the partnership, this is a big loss.
To make matters worse, Tabcorp will have to pay up to £30 million (AU$53 million) to get out of their 2016 Sun Bets deal. To be fair, this is their first attempt at entering the UK market, but it might also be their last. After all, the UK Gambling Commission is cracking down on all suspect business practices, including match-fixing or influencing.
With or without Tabcorp, News UK believes that they could make Sun bets work. What’s more, they believe that The Sun brand could turn things around for the gambling service. This, however, remains to be seen. Many operators have tried and failed, and Sun Bets appears to be failing.