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Volume 6 No. 193


The Brisbane Bombers entered the race for the Gold Coast Titans' National Rugby League license "armed" with a A$10M ($7.98M) bid to "stave off the North Sydney Bears and keep the club on the Gold Coast," according to Peter Badel of the Brisbane COURIER-MAIL. A Bombers consortium has reportedly "begun due diligence into the Titans after contacting the NRL to formally express interest in buying the financially-stricken club." The NRL last week officially placed the Titans up for sale, "prompting Rebecca Frizelle to resign" as club chair as she "ramps up plans to purchase the club" with former co-Owner Darryl Kelly. Frizelle and Kelly are "red-hot" favorites to clinch the Titans license, while North Sydney represents "a threat" with a A$7M ($5.6M) bid aimed at "reviving the famous Bears as an NRL identity." But the Brisbane consortium "has the financial muscle to blow rival bids out of the water." Bombers CEO Nick Livermore, whose late father, Ross, was formerly the CEO of the Queensland Rugby League and a board member at the Gold Coast Chargers, said, "We'll be making a bid for the Titans license. ... Our motivation is growing the game and bringing stability to the Titans on the Gold Coast." Livermore praised the work of Frizelle and Kelly and said that the Brisbane group "had no plans to relocate the Titans." He said, "Fans should not be concerned, we have no plans to move the Titans. It's important that the Titans stay on the Gold Coast full-time" (COURIER-MAIL, 9/13).

FIFA's report on activity during the recent transfer window found that 7,590 int'l transfers were completed from June 1-Sept. 1. Global spending reached $4.71B, meaning clubs spent almost as much during those three months as they did throughout '16 ($4.79B). Clubs from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain completed 21.2% of the total incoming transfers and accounted for 77.9% of the total global spend. The big five countries recorded a total of 1,608 incoming transfers (+6.2%) and spent $3.67B (+31.7%) this summer, representing record highs for the period. England spent the most with an outlay of $1.4B, more than double that of any other country. Spain was the country with the highest level of receipts ($752.3M), which also made it the only one of the Big 5 that ended the summer with a positive net balance. France recorded the largest increase worldwide in int'l transfer spending, with $604.1M. This was a 250% increase compared to last summer and 191% more than the annual total in '16 (FIFA).

A "shock law change" means Kiwis traveling to Australia "will find themselves struggling to have a bet on their TAB account or watch New Zealand racing," according to the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. In "a move that could cost the New Zealand TAB millions of dollars," all Australian-based punters "are now banned from betting" with New Zealand's TAB. The restrictions came into force on Wednesday as the recently-passed Australian Interactive Gambling Amendment Act became law in Australia. The law was effectively passed so that "undesirable betting agencies" and exchanges operating outside of Australia -- particularly the underground Asian-based sites -- could "no longer offer betting on sport and racing to Australia-based clients." But the New Zealand TAB, which has "close ties" to Australia's Tabcorp through its co-mingling and broadcasting agreements, has "been caught up in the law" (NZ HERALD, 9/13).

RIPPLE EFFECT: In London, Pickard & Ahmed reported the U.K.'s largest bookmakers "are set to lose" at least £150M ($197.9M) in annual revenues under "planned curbs on betting machines" denounced by campaigners as the "crack cocaine" of gambling. The government "is expected to recommend new limits on fixed-odds betting terminals." The government's ruling will have "huge ramifications for the gambling industry." In an analyst note, Barclays forecast that Ladbrokes Coral would lose £449M ($592.4M) in revenues from FOBTs in '18 if the maximum stake was reduced to £2 ($2.64). William Hill would lose £284M ($375M), while Paddy Power Betfair would lose £55M ($73M) (FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/12).