Australian Newsagency Blog

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Is Tabcorp unfair in its expansion of the retail lottery network?

Mark Fletcher
December 4th, 2020 · 2 Comments

Tabcorp has approved plenty of new lottery outlets recently, expanding the network of retailers selling its lottery products.

The speed of growth in outlets does not feel connected to an increase in demand for over the counter purchase of lottery tickets. It does not feel as if there is a justification for the expansion in sales. Retailers say it feels like something else is in play. Maybe it has something to do with talk of some or all of Tabcorp being up for sale. Who knows? Not me, that’s for sure.

A chunk of new outlets have been fuel and convenience focussed, often open 24 hours a day. If Tabcorp adjusting its preferred retail format focus?

If you ask Tabcorp about the new approvals, they will say they have a thoughtful process they follow in considering each new outlet application and that existing retailers can appeal and any appeal is thoroughly considered.

To that, I’d say prove it. Rarely is an appeal successful. Rarely does the company explain why it made the decision it did.

Adding an outlet in a town of 5,000 where the existing outlet is not under pressure, is gold standard and have considerably grown sales does not make sense.

Adding 2 outlets within 5 minutes of another existing gold standard outlet with an excellent track record does not make sense.

I get that Tabcorp thinks adding outlets can add to its sales. Retailers will tell you no evidence flows from the company showing this to be the case.

The big issue here is that while Tabcorp is actively expanding its retail network, while at the same time rapidly expanding its online sales, the company continues to lay heavy and expensive demands on retailers as to the premium space to be allocated in-store, the considerable capital investment in fixtures and fittings and the extraordinary demands on training.

To plenty of existing lottery retailers it feels like the same rules do not apply to some of the new outlets, such as fuel. They say it feels like the existing retailers are penalised without consideration by Tabcorp.

Given that Tabcorp wants to considerably expand its retail network: to be fair to existing retailers, the company should stop demanding premium in-store space, reduce the considerable shopfit requirements and be more flexible in overseeing the operational rules.

Talking with some lottery retailers, the moves by Tabcorp are upsetting them, distressing them. I hear in their voices the harm this is doing.

Shame on those at Tabcorp who are responsible. Shame for what feels like a lack of care for the existing retail network.

Expanding as Tabcorp is its retail lottery outlet network does not feel social responsible.

The mental health of existing lottery retailers is being impacted by the expansion. The stress some facing a new competition is considerable. It taken them closer to breaking point. Not only because of the decision but also because of the dreadful processes Tabcorp has that make the existing lottery retailer feel helpless.

This is a mental health issue Tabcorp! It demands urgent senior management attention.

Regulars will know this does not affect me personally. I’ve not had a retail lottery outlet since 2013. Newsagencies and other shops can and do thrive without lotteries.

The best move a lottery retailer can make in their business today is to do everything possible to reduce reliance in the business on lottery product traffic and revenue.


Category: Ethics · Social responsibility

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Steve // Dec 5, 2020 at 8:10 PM

    Absolutely agree with your comments and advice here Mark and like you I feel for those franchisees effected. Aiming for non lotteries revenue at least matching lotteries sales should be the goal. With all agency sales under pressure non traditional retail sales are the key.


  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Dec 6, 2020 at 9:03 AM

    Yes, Steve. My worry is that there are too many who will not realise this until it is too late.


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