Thursday, 15 November 2018 11:03

Competition watchdog greenlights Punters’ acquisition of Racenet

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Australia’s competition watchdog, the ACCC, is not opposing the proposed acquisition of Racing Internet Services (Racenet) by Punters Paradise, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia Investments.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says its investigations found that there are numerous alternative sources of online racing news and information for consumers other than Punters and Racenet.

Punters and Racenet are digital platforms that provide racing news and information to consumers through their websites, mobile apps and social media channels – and they also earn revenue for referring new customers to corporate bookmakers, by acting as betting affiliates.

ACCC commissioner Roger Featherston said it also found betting-affiliate services were just one of a number of channels used by corporate bookmakers to acquire new customers.

As a result, the ACCC said in a statement issued on Thursday it had concluded that it was unlikely that the proposed acquisition would result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market.

In its decision outlined on its website, the ACCC says:

“The ACCC considered whether the merged entity would have the ability to raise prices for betting affiliate services supplied to corporate bookmakers. The ACCC understands that betting affiliate services are utilised by corporate bookmakers to obtain new customers.

“The ACCC considered that corporate bookmakers have the capability to access a variety of other channels and advertising opportunities to acquire new customers, including through TV, radio, digital, social media and billboards. The ACCC concluded that there would remain a variety of advertising opportunities that would competitively constrain the merged entity.

“The ACCC also noted that many corporate bookmakers are large, sophisticated market participants that would likely have a degree of countervailing power when dealing with the merged entity.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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