Government should rethink privatizing WA TAB says Labor MP

The government of Western Australia should think twice about privatizing the WA TAB, said Labor MP Paul Papalia based on the strength of the organization.

Following a presentation by Racing and Wagering WA chief Richard Burt at a racing symposium discussing the TAB’s achievements, Papalia said “the strengths of the TAB were extraordinary,” The West Australian newspaper reported.

Burt said the WA TAB was Australia’s best for turnover per capita and returns to the industry. Despite no growth in recent years, betting turnover was also steady and a projected increase in TAB turnover this financial year has led to a record distribution of $136 million to racing, according to the West Australian.

“I don’t think anyone in that room would walk out thinking the Government should sell it.”

“(Premier) Colin Barnett has said many times in Parliament that the reason for selling the TAB is because it’s not healthy,” Papalia was quoted as saying.

“How can you sell it when it’s going so well? I don’t think there’s any way they can guarantee the same disbursements to the industry and future growth if privatisation goes ahead,” Papalia said.

Racing and Gaming Minister Colin Holt confirmed yesterday no offer had been received for the WA TAB. 

Holt forecast distribution to the industry to increase to $150 million by 2018-19, despite the uncertainty surrounding the potential sale of the TAB.