Fischer bets on Tattersall win - Sunday 12th of June 2005

TATTERSALL'S chief executive Duncan Fischer says the lottery and poker machines operator is very confident it will keep its licences despite an increasingly competitive sector.

The Victorian-based company is listing on the Australian Stock Exchange next month in a $2.03 billion float.

Tattersall's holds Victoria's sole licence for lotteries and, along with Tabcorp, is one of two operators of gaming machines outside of Melbourne's Crown Casino.

But the Victorian Government is reviewing the lottery licence structure, which is set to expire in June 2007.

The Government may allow up to three lotteries licences after that time.



It will also review gaming licences, which will expire in 2012.

Mr Fischer said Tattersall's had operated in a regulated market for more than 100 years.

"We have a sound business, we have competencies that add value and we are one of the most cost efficient lottery operators in the world today," he said on the ABC's Inside Business program.

"We deliver more for government and more for our customers than any other lottery operator in the world, so we are very confident that those licence processes will result in us (getting the licences)."

The company also operates lotteries in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT and holds a 10 per cent share in the national lottery of South Africa.

Mr Fischer said there was room for the company to "spread out" into other ventures like wagering and casinos and overseas through expansion and acquisitions.

He said at present Tattersall's did not have the experience to run a wagering business or casino.

But he would not rule out any move in the future.

"When wagering licences finally come up for review ... we would look very carefully at those applications and see what they mean and determine whether we think its an appropriate thing to do," Mr Fischer said.

Mr Fischer said takeovers were also a "clear option" for the company.

Tattersall's expects to raise about $290 million from the public offer, although the final share price will not be set until after an institutional bookbuild process.

The retail share offer is expected to open on June 10 and close on June 29.

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