Former AFL boss Gillon McLachlan to take reins of betting company Tabcorp

By The Guardian (World News) | Created at 2024-06-17 01:20:17 | Updated at 2024-07-21 18:46:01 1 month ago
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Gillon McLachlan, the former long-serving AFL chief executive, has been appointed to the top role at the listed betting company Tabcorp.

The appointment, promoted as one that will accelerate growth due to McLachlan’s deep experience in wagering and sports, comes amid growing scrutiny from health professionals, players, gambling addicts and fans who want to break the tight link between professional sports and gambling.

McLachlan is expected to take over as Tabcorp’s chief executive in early August, pending necessary approvals. He will receive an annual salary of $1.5m, with a variety of bonuses that could lead to him earning many multiples of his base wage, according to details disclosed on the ASX.

“Gill has a deep understanding of sport, racing and wagering, combined with significant commercial acumen which was highlighted in the substantial growth of AFL revenues under his leadership,” Tabcorp’s executive chairman, Bruce Akhurst, said on Monday.

McLachlan stepped down as the AFL’s chief executive last year after a decade in the role. He was commended for guiding the game through the logistical and financial disruption of the pandemic, and for championing the growth of the women’s game.

But his tenure also coincided with a community push against gambling advertisements and promotions – an issue yet to be decisively resolved by the federal government.

The 51-year-old will join an Australian wagering company that has been facing public pressure from anti-gambling campaigners and commercial pressure from international bookmakers popular with younger customers, who use their mobile betting apps.

McLachlan said in a statement the challenge of growing the business was appealing.

“It’s about creating entertainment for our customers in a safe way and providing a unique customer omni-channel entertainment offering across digital, retail and the media business,” he said.

“There are enormous opportunities ahead and I’m looking forward to driving the sport category among other things.”

McLachlan was to act in an observer capacity before his anticipated appointment on 5 August. The former Tabcorp chief executive Adam Rytenskild resigned in March.

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