Tabcorp sees TAB comeback jinxed by NSW venue restrictions 

Tabcorp Holdings has underlined that its business recovery continues to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions applied across Australia’s five-state provinces. 

Publishing its half-year 2021/2022 results for the six-month period ending 31 December, the ASX gambling group recorded a 2% increase in corporate revenues to AUS $2.93 billion (€1.52 bn).

Topline growth was attributed to Tabcorp’s Lotteries-&-Keno unit registering an 11% increase in revenues to AUS $1.78 billion (H12021: AUS $1.61bn).

The unit performed above expectations as Tabcorp’s Keno retail network was severely impacted by enforced venue closures across the state of Victoria.

Mitigating Keno retail impacts, the Tatts Lottery division registered a 5% increase in active customers to 3.8 million, as consumers engaged with significant PowerBall and OZ Lotto jackpot draws.

Of significance, Tatts lottery registered a 28% increase in online sales, helping the Lottery and Keno unit achieve a period EBITDA of AUS $358 million up 15% on corresponding H12021 results of AUS $311 million.

“The record result from the Lotteries & Keno business again showcased the broad appeal of the business’ much-loved products and brands, and the success of its omni-channel strategy,” said Tabcorp Managing Director and CEO David Attenborough.

Whilst lottery maintained its performance, COVID-19 impacts were deeply felt by Tabcorp’s recovering wagering and media unit that registered a 10% decline in revenues to AUS $1.07 billion (H12021: AUS $1.18 bn).

Period results were heavily impacted by TAB betting shop closures in New South Wales (NSW)– the unit’s biggest operating region. 

NSW closures saw retail wagering turnover decrease by 38%, as Tabcorp absorbed unit operating costs of AUS 246 million. As a result, TAB’s H12022 EBITDA outcome declined by 35% to AUS $148 million (H12021: AUS $227m).

“The Wagering & Media business, and its digital performance, is much stronger when venues are open and customers can participate fully in the omni-channel experience, which is a key strategic point of difference.”

“As we have throughout the pandemic, our focus was on managing the operational and financial impacts on our businesses, as well as prioritising our people’s wellbeing and supporting the recovery of our business partners.”

Though marred by COVID-19 impacts, Tabcorp continued to underline the development of the TAB, which executed significant technical upgrades to its online platform, improving product personalisation and expanding its racing content with Sky Media.

Further operational highlights saw Tabcorp maintain that the business was on course to deliver on its target of AUS $25 million in yearly EBIT savings.

Closing a tough H1 trading period, Tabcorp declared statutory net profits (after tax) of AUS $175 million, down 5% on corresponding H12021 results of AUS $185 million.

Meanwhile, ASX investors await for Tabcorp governance to publish the prospectus of its planned divestment of Tatts lottery-&-keno business as announced last summer.

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