Gillon McLachlan (R) Credit: LinkedIn

By Caoimhe Hanrahan-Lawrence and Molly Nicholas

Tabcorp has announced the appointment of Gillon McLachlan as its new managing director and CEO, assuming the role on August 5 following an observation period with executive chairman and former CEO Bruce Akhurst.

McLachlan has spent the past decade as CEO of the AFL, where he almost doubled revenues from $502 million in 2013 to $1.06 billion in 2023. Additionally, he oversaw the expansion of the AFL competition to include 18 teams, the launch of the AFLW competition, and secured a large sports broadcasting rights deal. During his time with the AFL, McLachlan has proven successful in working proactively with all levels of government. He also has extensive racing knowledge and is a thoroughbred owner and breeder.

Akhurst said that McLachlan’s appointment is a positive sign for Tabcorp’s future growth.

“Gill needs no introduction. He is recognised as one of Australia’s leading CEOs and securing Gill is a great vote of confidence for Tabcorp’s future. We’ve laid strong foundations and Gill brings a growth mindset and the capability to capitalise on the opportunities ahead of us.

“Gill has a deep understanding of sport, racing, and wagering, combined with significant commercial acumen which was highlighted in the substantial growth of AFL revenues under his leadership. Importantly for us, Gill brings an added dimension of having been responsible for some of the most significant media rights deals in Australian sports history and we’re excited about the potential growth opportunities for our wagering and media business under his leadership,” he said.

In his new role, McLachlan looks forward to the challenge of growing Tabcorp’s revenue across all segments of the business.

“Tabcorp is a wagering, broadcast and integrity services business and the challenges of growing it are quite appealing. It’s about creating entertainment for our customers in a safe way and providing a unique customer omni-channel entertainment offering across digital, retail and the media business.

“Tabcorp is a proudly Australian company that contributed $1.1b to the racing industry last year and continues to be one of the racing industry’s biggest partners, as well as the wagering licensee in all opportunities ahead and I’m looking forward to driving the sport category, among other things. Tabcorp is part way through its transformation journey and I’m looking forward to working with the leadership team to accelerate and deliver on the growth opportunities,” he said.

With McLachlan at the helm, Akhurst is confident that Tabcorp is well placed to continue its transformation journey following its demerger.

“In the two years since demerger we have significantly improved our customer offering and delivered key structural reforms in Queensland and Victoria. The transformation of Tabcorp is not complete and I am delighted that Gill is joining us to continue to drive change and growth,” he said.

“We’re pleased that Gill will commence shortly, and until then, along with the executive team, we’re focused on executing on our key strategic goals and adding value for our shareholders.”

Tabcorp fined $370k for allowing a minor to gamble

In other Tabcorp news, the company has been ordered to pay a fine of $370,417 due to its failure to prevent a minor from gambling at multiple Victorian venues, and for failing to reasonably supervise its electronic betting terminals.

The outcome was handed down by the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 6 June and refers to charges that were issued against Tabcorp by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Comission (VGCCC) in May 2023.

Between May 2022 and October 2023, a 17-year-old was found to have gambled on multiple occasions across multiple venues in Victoria.

The venues are the Albion Charles Hotel, Brunswick Club, Coburg TAB Agency, Cramers Hotel, Doncaster Hotel, Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, Edwardes Lake Hotel, Excelsior Hotel, Northcote TAB Agency, Olympic Hotel, Parkview Hotel, Preston Hotel, and Rose Shamrock & Thistle Hotel.

“The breaches committed by Tabcorp are incredibly serious, reflecting a fundamental failure to protect minors from the risks associated with gambling, as well as a lack of vigilance on their part,” VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt said.

“These failures undermine the integrity and safety of the industry.”

The investigation was launched by the VGCCC after receiving a complaint from a member of the public. Facing a total of 54 charges, including 27 counts of allowing a minor to gamble and failing to supervise its electronic betting terminals, Tabcorp pleaded guilty to 43 charges.

“Gambling providers and their staff are on the frontline of our efforts to prevent underage gambling,” added Kimmitt.

“It is their duty to rigorously check IDs and supervise gambling activities to ensure minors are not able to access these services. Their vigilance is crucial in safeguarding young people from the harms of gambling.

“It is imperative that all stakeholders in the gambling industry understand the gravity of this issue and take their responsibilities seriously to prevent such harm,” she added.

“The VGCCC is committed to protecting the community and ensuring that all gambling operations adhere to the highest standards of conduct. We will continue to take decisive action in upholding the safety and wellbeing of our community, particularly when it comes to children.”

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