Entain has made efforts to reach free-to-air TV audiences through Nine, Seven and 10 in a bid to work-around the incoming ban on advertising in the wagering sector.
The Australian Financial Review reported Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes and Neds, was in talks with each of the commercial networks on whether they would sell space for a new place to watch the races.
The move would give Entain the opportunity to break up Sky Racing’s monopoly on racing, as well as broadcast to a bigger audience and promote gambling products.
Wagering and media industry insiders told the publication that the wagering giant offered $8 million to the networks to rent a channel, 10 was reportedly the closest to making a deal.
Although no agreement was made, insiders told AFR the betting giant was still keen on the deal. An Entain-operated racing channel would feature on TV alongside 9GO, 7mate or 10 Peach and would be based on the Racing.com channel model.
The Racing.com channel began as a partnership between the Seven Network and Racing Victoria in 2015. Seven ended its ownership of the channel in 2020 but struck a long-term commercial deal to show Australian thoroughbred racing live and free every Saturday.
Last year, the Albanese Labor Government received the final report of the inquiry into online gambling and its impacts on those experiencing gambling harm by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.
Australians spend the most in the world, per capita, on legal forms of gambling, losing $25 billion every year. Australians also lose the most money to online gambling, per capita, in the world.
The inquiry recommended a total ban on internet gambling ads, in media companies profit $300.5 million and $179 million of which goes to TV networks.
In response, Free TV called for a measured response to the recommendations of the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs in their inquiry into online gambling, and warned that gambling advertising bans will undermine the sustainability of commercial television services.
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