News Corp’s Triple Betting Game
Tabcorp muscles the Victorian and NSW governments to raise their ‘point of consumption’ taxes that catch online bookmakers.
Fair Play ads are running on social media, but it takes some nerve for News to run online ads complaining about foreign tax cheats when for years the tax office has categorized News in its own right. – the most risky Australian taxpayer in the country (he fell out of this category several years ago).
Not only that, on May 27, Nationwide News paid $2.9 million for a 33% stake in an online betting company called NTD, along with Las Vegas’ Tekkorp Holdings and Matt Tripp’s TGW.
The move coincides with a $220 million offer that News and Tripp are reported having done for PointsBet’s Australian betting operations.
In the 1990s, Rupert Murdoch castigated Kerry Packer for wanting a Sydney casino license, suggesting it was inappropriate for media companies to be involved in gambling. Admittedly, it probably had more to do with his mother. Dame Elisabeth Murdochethical priorities.
News is now picking up ads attacking foreign-owned betting companies for not paying much tax, days after setting up such an operation (and luckily Nationwide News has a lot of losses to bear against betting profits).
Not only that, News got a cash rebate for its one-third share from NTD. Tripp and Tekkorp each paid $1.875 million more than News for their 33% shares.
Why would News pay less? One possible answer is that in such deals, the news often provides positive editorial coverage.
So, aside from the small thrill News may encounter running ads against foreign tax-evading betting companies, consider the sentiments of its new partners as they likely expect News newspapers to be filled with the quite opposite message.
Tripp’s other venture, BetMakers Technology Group, wasted no time closing the 10-year service contract it struck with NTD, with “potential revenue in excess of $300 million.”
For Tripp, it’s a quinella, which could help him exercise his options and performance rights agreements, which depend on him to negotiate a strategic or transformational deal.
The BetMakers raised their eyebrows when Rebecca Giles joined the board on February 8. While it’s not uncommon for corporate lawyers to join a board, choosing a defamation lawyer could send its own message about how directors see the future.
Talk about unlucky timing. BetMakers’ share price has since fallen 51%, Tripp lost half of the $25 million he invested last year and Giles lost $90,000 on his stock and service rights.