One of the first Ladbrokes Lounge offerings installed in New South Wales, at Hudson Hotel.

Liquor & Gaming NSW has recently confirmed that the existing Ladbrokes operations in participating venues inspected, at this point in time, do not contravene NSW wagering legislation.

AHA NSW and Entain Australia – which owns the Ladbrokes and Ned’s digital wagering brands – first announced a partnership in October last year, to market digital wagering apps in AHA NSW member venues. Following a consumer shift to wagering apps, several venues immediately showed interest in the agreement, signing up to partner with Entain on Ladbrokes Lounges (pictured) as part of their sports bar and wagering offer.

However Tabcorp has contended since the outset that the partnership contravened its exclusive license for retail wagering, and commenced legal proceedings against Entain Australia and AHA NSW.

With the confirmation from Liquor and Gaming NSW, AHA NSW is pleased there is now a pathway for hotels in NSW to operate Entain wagering lounges.

“We’re extremely pleased there is now a pathway for NSW hotels to legally operate Ladbrokes or Neds wagering lounges.” AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said.

“The AHA NSW looks forward to working closely with Liquor & Gaming NSW in the future to ensure current and future Ladbrokes or Neds wagering lounges in NSW hotels comply with NSW law.”

An Entain spokesperson echoed the sentiment, saying the confirmation was a win for on-premise venues.

“Entain welcomes confirmation from the NSW regulator that current sponsored wagering lounges in NSW licenced venues do not contravene NSW wagering legislation. 

“For Entain and the NSW venues we have engaged with, this has always been about competition and choice and it is pleasing that this now provides a pathway for venues. It is a win for the venues, their patrons and ultimately the racing industry.

“We hope this clears the path for NSW venues seeking to further expand their promotion of racing in NSW.” 

Whelan said appropriately, Liquor & Gaming NSW assessment regarding compliance with relevant laws, including those which prohibit wagering inducements and hotels from being used as gambling premises, will be ongoing.

A Tabcorp spokesperson commented on the situation.

“Tabcorp is the only wagering company licenced to operate a retail wagering business in NSW. We place a high value on our exclusive licences and the contribution we make to the NSW industry,” the spokesperson said.

“In March, Tabcorp was successful in obtaining preliminary discovery of documents from Entain and AHA NSW because it appeared to the Supreme Court of NSW that Tabcorp may be entitled to make a claim for relief for, at least, misleading and deceptive conduct against Entain and AHA NSW,” they continued.

“We are actively considering the commencement of legal proceedings to uphold our rights under our licences,” the spokesperson concluded.

There are currently 15 venues in New South Wales operating Ladbroke Lounges, with several more in the build stage. Nationally, there are 18 live venues and 33 signed on across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

This article was first published by our sister publication, Australian Hotelier.

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