The Australian Federal Court has slammed a proposed Tabcorp-Tatts merger that would have seriously shaken up the massive Aussie gambling industry. It’s a move that’s left stakeholders on both sides stunned and shareholders wondering if it’s not time to move on from the ambitious plan.

Word of the court’s decision broke on Wednesday when the Federal Court overturned a lower court’s decision to approve the merger. The original ruling approving the merger was, by the Australian Competition Tribunal, was met with protest by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACC), which took the case to the higher court.

The Federal Court’s specific reasons for sending the case back the Tribunal are not currently known. Under Australian law, the Court’s decisions are not made public for five days. All the Court would say regarding the matter, according to the Sydney Morning Herald was, “The court orders that the decision of the tribunal be set aside and the matter be referred back to the [Australian Competition Tribunal] for consideration.

Taking another shot at approval from the Australian Competition Tribunal could be a risky move for the Tabcorp-Tatts interests. In its original ruling, the Tribunal approved the mega-merger by just one vote.

It’s somewhat safe to say that the Court’s decision was definitely music to the ears of every other gambling operator in Australia. Crownbet Chief, Matt Trip explained his opposition to the deal to the Herald saying, “The merger is bad for competition, bad for punters and not in the public interest.”

Officials from the Tabcorp-Tatts end of the deal say they’ll continue fighting to make the merger happen.


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