Australian betting company Tabcorp Holdings has unveiled a new ad campaign that seeks to stir up the patriotism of punters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tabcorp’s TAB betting brand recently launched a new marketing campaign urging local betters to ‘Join the Industry and Bet with TAB.’ It’s Video spots encourage bettors to ignore rival Aussie-licensed corporate bookmakers in favour of the TAB’s bid to help the local racing industry.
The spots say that TAB returns more than four times the sums to the racing industry than its online betting rivals – most of which are local offshoots of UK and European-focused firms – thus helping “the hundreds of thousands of local faces that keep racing going.” The Tabcorp-flattering arithmetic, focused on an industry ratio returns to turnover from the 2019 financial year, was undeniable. TAB also handles racing broadcasts, including live streaming footage, through its subsidiary Sky Racing.
Adam Rytenskild, executive director of the Wagering & Media division at Tabcorp, said the latest campaign was about “celebrating and backing those who are integral to our racing industry … keeping racing going, especially during these times of uncertainty.”
Tabcorp’s homage to it’s workers would hold more weight had the firm not just revealed that it had laid off 700 workers in areas of its market “where there is no work as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns.” Last month, Australia’s government ordered the closure of non-essential businesses that shut down the pubs and clubs where many TAB betting windows were located.
Tabcorp is also asking its landlords to help keep the business running by taking its retail betting outlets off some slack on rent payments. The Saturday Paper received a letter from Tabcorp, sent “respectfully” to its 374 commercial landlords requesting a six-month suspension of payments due to “unforeseen and extenuating circumstances that have arisen in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The planned rental pause would save Tabcorp about AU$20 m (US$ 12.8 m), lasting from April 1 to September 30. The company believes that this wiggle room will provide “much needed relief and capital to enable the business … to relaunch once consumer confidence has been restored.” Earlier this month, Tabcorp made a donation of AU$1 m to the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland, which is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Project director Dr. Trent Munro said that Tabcorp’s community was “incredibly grateful for the support.”
Except the money was’t really Tabcorp’s. The cash came from unclaimed prize money from Queensland lottery company at Tabcorp, which would be returned to players in normal circumstances through bonus drawings and promotions. And although the fine print of Tabcorp’s press material contained a shout out for their unwitting (and probably unwilling) kindness to its lottery players, it was the name of Tabcorp in the headline.