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ACCC Seeks Judicial Review OF $11 Billion Merger

by Glenn Baird - July 11, 2017

An attempt to merge two of Australia’s leading gaming companies could become a non-starter as the country’s competition watchdog (ACCC) is questioning one company gaining such a sizeable control of the market.

A decision was made during a tribunal in June to allow the merger to go ahead, despite fears that the $11 billion merger could have a negative impact on the gaming industry in Australia.

Justice John Middleton stated during the tribunal that:

“The tribunal is satisfied that the proposed merger is likely to result in substantial public benefits,” he said, “and the public detriments identified by the [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] and the interveners are unlikely to either arise or are not of significance.”

However, the ACCC are clearly not “satisfied” and must believe that “the public detriments” are “of significance” after the watchdog revealed on Monday that they have approached the Federal Court and asked for a “judicial review” of the conclusions made during the tribunal.

Chairman Rod Sims has said that, “The ACCC is alleging the tribunal made three reviewable errors,” and that the Commission are “seeking clarification of these three points of law, which are central to the tribunal’s assessment of Tabcorp’s proposed acquisition of Tatts.”

Tatts Group already have a near monopoly on lotteries in Australia, whilst Tabcorp are a huge gaming company who also have fingers in the media pie, owning 3 Sky Racing channels and Sky Sports Radio. Combining the two operators would create one of the largest gambling companies in the world and would, without question, see one company dominate the gaming industry in Australia.