Tab NZ turnover holds firm despite Covid-19 pressures

| By Nosa Omoigui
Tab New Zealand (Tab NZ) reported a rise in betting turnover for October, despite Covid-19 lockdowns shuttering part of its retail estate during the month.

Turnover for the month came to NZ$226.9m (£116.6m/€138.6m), an 18.2% increase on the prior month, and beating the budgeted expectations by NZ$0.3m.

This included its highest ever turnover for a Saturday, after Group 1 racing at Hastings, Melbourne’s Caulfield Cup and Tab Everest in Sydney on 16 October saw 1.37 million bets placed and more than NZ$17m staked.

The Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup brought in turnover of NZ$1.0m, the biggest single event for betting on racing, followed by Cox Plate event at Moonee Valley with NZ$0.86m, and by the TAB Everest at Randwick with NZ$0.70m.

For sports betting, the National Rugby League grand final between Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs was the the most popular event, with turnover topping NZ$1.1m. The South Africa vs New Zealand Rugby Union fixture was next with NZ$0.84m staked, followed by USA vs New Zealand in Rugby Union with NZ$0.39m.

After winnings were paid out, Tab NZ was left with gross betting revenue of $36.6m, up 8.6% from September, with a slightly higher margin of 16.1%.

After operating expenses, profit for the month came to NZ$13.8m, flat month-over-month, and NZ$0.9m below budget. This was generated almost entirely from betting, which contributed NZ$13.6m of the total, with a further $0.2m from gaming.

Tab NZ was able to avoid more significant dips in staking and revenue in spite of the Alert Level 3 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions in place across New Zealand, which led to its Auckland and Waikato venues closing during October.

Operating expenses totaled NZ$9.5m, which came in NZ$0.3m below budget, while a total of NZ$16.4m was distributed to the Racing Codes over the month.

This broke down to $13.0m of Tab NZ’s profits, NZ$2.5m in fees from offshore bookmakers and NZ$0.9m in payments related to the repeal of New Zealand’s betting levy. In total, NZ$40.2m has been distributed to the racing industry over the first three months of the fiscal year.

Tab NZ warned that while it had managed to maintain distributions at budgeted levels, this could be affected by Covid-19 measures going forward.

“Although betting performance has continued to hold up well through early November, the varying restrictions for retail and gaming outlets in areas at various Alert Level 3 settings continue to be a challenge for the business,” it explained. “Tab NZ will continue to monitor and assess betting performance.”

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