The purpose of the Terms of Reference is to set out the high level framework for the conduct of the Wagering and Betting Licence Review (review). It will be used as a basis for the commencement of the regulatory review stage.
In July 2011, Tabcorp Wagering (Vic) Pty Ltd (Tabcorp) was awarded the Wagering and Betting Licence (licence) for 12 years commencing in August 2012 and expiring on 15 August 2024.
The licence allows Tabcorp to conduct pari-mutuel and fixed odds betting, operate the only off-course retail network in Victoria, establish and operate a betting exchange and conduct approved simulated racing events.
The licence required the licensee to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the Victorian racing industry (VRI) for the duration of the licence. Under the JVA, a share of the revenue from wagering and betting conducted under the licence is paid to the VRI to support thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing.
The VRI is a significant contributor to the Victorian economy, providing almost $2.8 billion in economic contribution and supporting over 26,000 full time equivalent jobs. The licence is a critical source of funding for the VRI and ensures the ongoing viability of racing in Victoria.
The Victorian Government will undertake a review of the current licensing arrangements to enable it to make decisions on future licensing arrangements well before the licence expires in 2024. This will give government, the wagering industry, the VRI and the community certainty about future wagering and betting arrangements in Victoria.
The review will consider:
- trends and developments in the wagering market since the licence was issued, including the digitisation of the wagering industry
- whether and how the licensing arrangements could be changed to create better economic and social outcomes for the Victorian community, including minimising gambling-related harm
- how the value to the State of the licence can be maximised
- the appropriateness of the financial arrangements under the licence, including the wagering tax structure and the funding arrangements for the VRI
- the appropriateness of the product and distribution arrangements under the licence.
How the review will be conducted
The review will be conducted by the Gambling Licensing Program in the Department of Justice and Community Safety, in consultation with the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Treasury and Finance.
The review will incorporate consultation with industry, community and government stakeholders. The Gambling Licensing Program will determine the nature of that consultation having regard to the need to ensure fairness and integrity throughout the licensing process. The Independent Review Panel established under the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 will oversee and publicly report on the integrity of the review and any subsequent licensing processes. The review will be conducted in two stages:
Stage one: will consist of an assessment of the performance of the current licence, a review of the current regulatory settings and an analysis of the market design principles employed. The assessment will be informed by:
- a market sounding
- an inter-jurisdictional analysis
- a public discussion paper
- an economic analysis of market conditions.
Stage two: will implement any reforms arising from Stage one of the review, including through legislative amendment where required.
Reporting and timing
Stage one of the review commenced in early 2018 and is expected to conclude with a report and recommendations delivered to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation in 2019.
The timelines for Stage two will be determined after the completion of Stage one.