James Packer looks to be partnering up with an unlikely ally

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
James Packer fronts government inquiry 

The next big change in the gaming market is certainly not one that many saw coming. It looks increasingly likely that James Packer’s Crown Resorts and ClubsNSW will be entering a partnership.

The deal is the talk of the industry but it’s not all positive with many industry players said to be uneasy with the news.

ClubsNSW has announced that it is actively looking for a digital partner but as the a deal has not been signed, that’s where the details end.

It’s not saying that it will be Crown – but everyone else in the industry is saying it.

With 1200 member clubs, from your local bowling club to big rugby league clubs, ClubsNSW has plenty of members that play pokies and love to gamble – a veritable big data gaming paradise.

But it hasn’t really joined the new millennium and recognises it needs a partner to do so.

It has partnered with Tabcorp in the physical clubs which has a presence in many of the venues and offers TABs and Keno.

Clubs and casinos are not natural allies so the propsed tie-up with Crown’s online operations, CrownBet, is unnerving for others in the industry.

The reason for this is that the clubs blame the success of casinos for eating much of their market share.

Pokies are the mainstay of the clubs’ gambling offer and the difference in NSW is that Crown’s proposed new casino at Barangaroo won’t have be able to offer them.

However casinos are particularly expert at marketing loyalty offers, which in NSW are offered only by some individual clubs rather than through an integrated network.

ClubsNSW has recognised that the clubs’ share of the gambling dollar is falling and its member organisations are victims of disruption.

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