Analysis: Should the WA TAB be pulled off the market for a third time in the coming months, it would be no great surprise. Buyer enthusiasm for Australia’s last state-owned TAB has taken a major hit thanks to the various headwinds impacting the wagering industry both locally and globally.

WA TAB agency.
Buying the state-owned WA TAB would require a leap of faith from rival wagering operators. (Photo:

After Tabcorp walked away last month, saying the terms of the deal didn’t add up, the other most likely suitors, Entain and Sportsbet, look increasingly unlikely to chance their hand given their circumstances, plus the broader sentiment of the Australian market.

Entain’s global challenges, which include a 2023 financial result featuring a £842 million ($AU1.6 billion) pre-tax loss, are likely to prove an impediment to any further major investment in Australia.

That result included a £190 million ($AU368 million) impairment on its Australian business as increased taxes and declining wagering turnover clipped the wings of growth which has marked the pandemic era for the parent company of Ladbrokes and Neds.

It was even reported in the aftermath of those results that Entain had commissioned consultancy firm Moelis to look at which of its international operations may be best placed to be sold off.

The Australian business has been mentioned in dispatches, but leaving that aside, it shows Entain in selling rather than acquiring mindset as the global business still searches for a new chief executive.

The last one, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, was heavily criticised for being too focussed on mergers and acquisitions.

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