I had to laugh last Saturday when this horse won at Tuncurry - Hashtag Noidea. To me the name is brilliant and pretty much sums up many aspects of the racing industry across its three codes. (Photo courtesy Sky Channel)
If you are a punter who is domiciled in any of New South Wales, Victoria, or Western Australia we know that you probably don’t care about those of us who are punters and are unfortunate enough to live in any of Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory or Tasmania. But we plead for just a little compassion from our fellow punters of the other three aforesaid States, as put clearly, “Houston we have a problem” with our home TAB – Ubet. I’ll give you the drum as to why that is the case, so those website readers from New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia need to get the tissues out right now before continuing.
This old and tired Ubet sheila has been around the block a few times. She just keeps changing her name by deed poll and giving herself a makeover to try to give the impression that she’s a young and vibrant seductress. She started off as the Queensland TAB and she then changed her name to UNiTAB (had to have that little “i” for reasons best known to the experts at the top of the organization). Then she changed her name from UNiTAB to Tattsbet, and only in April this year, she decided that she wanted to be called Ubet. Personally I think it’s a silly name, as I can think of a million one-liners with Ubet in them, so I used one apt one in the headline of this article.
Anyway the original young and vibrant Queensland TAB that debuted on the catwalk in front of only racing punters way back in 1962 has today morphed into what I’d call an old, saggy, baggy and daggy cougar that is parading herself in front of not only racing punters but punters who can bet on all forms of gambling from not only racing, but a whole array of other sports - to who will be the next party to win government and so on and so forth. And the old cougar who turned 53 this year still gets the players in, but many of her former clients have noticed her wanton ways over many years and have picked up on the fact that she doesn’t leave them with a memorable experience and that she’s only interested in taking their money and giving very ordinary service in return, so many of her former devotees have divorced her to go and play with the new and vibrant whizz-bang corporate sheilas up in Darwin. Lose your dough with the Darwin glams and they know you’re an ordinary punter and will just keep donating, so they’ll regularly give you a free bet. They are smart enough to know that most punters are an undisciplined bunch, so those Darwin players seduce the punters that are domiciled in Ubet territory – and elsewhere - with all sorts of offers that most mere males simply find too tempting.
It’s hardly a State secret that before she changed her name to Ubet, Tattsbet was under the whip and going up and down on the one spot. Then a Racing Queensland Board headed by Kevin Dixon told the old cougar that they’d like to jump in the cot with the 53YO for 30 years, meaning Racing Queensland at the time expected her to be performing better as an 83YO than when she was 30, 40 or 50. That very notion is both frightening and mind boggling in itself. And Racing Queensland wanted no insurance via a honeymoon period or anything to see if everyone would get on harmoniously – they wanted a full on relationship for 30 years – nothing less. In hindsight one could say “there was method in their madness” as blokes like me will be dust in 30 years time and if Ubet is paying the Murdoch newspapers seven figure sums annually to get Form Guides in the papers, then it’s fair to assume that the newspapers aren’t going to say anything negative about Ubet. Go one step further and Ubet owns the racing station that is broadcast into Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania - RadioTAB - so there’s going to be no negativity regarding racing going to air on that channel - as obviously if you own the joint, you call the shots.
The problem is however that since Ubet was launched on 9 April this year and was supposedly going to take the racing industry forward in cumulatively the four States and/or Territories where it is the “home TAB,” - nothing could be further from the truth. In fact since the name change has happened from Tattsbet to Ubet the very minimal amount of change that has occurred in the eyes of the punter is in my opinion “absolutely and utterly pathetic”. In fairness it was stated that the roll-out to “1200” outlets would take three to five years, which I had to see the funny side of, as based on historical happenings, in five years time “they” will want to change her name again.
Perry Williams a “senior reporter” wrote the following in part in the Sydney Morning Herald on 20/8/15:
Earnings at its rebranded Ubet wagering division fell over 5.7 per cent to $135.9 million in 2014-2015, compared with Deutsche Bank's prediction of a 4.7 per cent increase to $150.9 million.
Ubet's sluggish performance contributed to Tatts missing its overall earnings forecast with its 2015 net profit up 25 per cent to $252 million, below a $259 million consensus figure from analysts.
Tatts largest shareholder, Perpetual, said while the company has endured upfront costs associated with effectively building a new business it remains supportive of its attempts to chase a greater share of the wagering market.
"I'm not surprised by the wagering result – they have highlighted that the environment is competitive but we'll have to see how the relaunch goes and whether the investment pays off," said Paul Skamvougeras, head of equities at Perpetual. "We would like to see them build some momentum in that business over the next 12 months."
Let me say that in the normal course of my life, I don’t get to visit South Australia, Northern Territory or Tasmania, but I surely wouldn’t have to, because one would logically conclude that if Ubet was going to roll out some visible changes to let the general public know they’ve changed their name, it would start in the biggest one of the four jurisdictions – Queensland. Yet as I drive the highways and byways of Queensland, I see no visible changes to announce the fact that an entity called Ubet has ever been launched – even though it’s officially been nearly five months since Ubet was launched on 9 April 2015. It’s simply a fact of life that every time I go past a club or pub that I know has a Ubet outlet inside, all I’m hit in the head with, is the obsolete Tattsbet sign at street frontage level. Long before the fitting out of these outlets with any new Ubet equipment, surely the old Tattsbet signs at the front of the clubs and pubs situated on major arterial roads that have huge traffic volumes going past them daily, could be replaced with a vibrant and new Ubet sign to help spread the message? Even the Tattsbet website still exists and doesn’t even have the new Ubet logo on it. Why as basic common sense would all logos on the Tattsbet website have already been changed to Ubet logos to help get that new logo out into the public domain? So at every turn, all I get are the old stale Tattsbet images.
Punters may well have wanted to look at a vibrant new attractive sort, but all we’ve been left with is the old Queensland TAB, UNiTAB, Tattsbet cougar, who has habitually just 1) taken our money, 2) didn’t make us feel important as a supposed valued client and instead provided generally poor quality service at pub and club outlets. Over four years ago I wrote exclusive stories on this very website highlighting the fact that the inmates were running the asylum as I could visit huge clubs like say Easts Leagues Club at Coorparoo in Brisbane, where they didn’t have Sky Channel 2 in the joint, even though there are about 300 pokies at the venue. As at yesterday all those years on nothing has changed – Easts Leagues Club still has no Sky Channel 2. And there are many other Ubet outlets where the same scenario is in existence. That’s all just more proof that you can change the name and you can change the logo then you can have huge launches of a new name and get all your mates in the media to write copious paragraphs of positive crap about all the “exciting” things that are happening going forward, but in reality nothing changes. As they say in the classics “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.
So what has happened at Ubet – the signs, the website, the service hasn’t, so what the hell has? Nothing I’d suggest. In racing parlance we have “the same horse with a different jockey”. And they wonder why punters bet in Darwin. It’s not exactly rocket science is it?
And in other exclusive news Justracing can reveal that I find the following totally unfathomable, but I understand that the Chief Steward (Greyhounds) at Racing Queensland, Jamie Dart, has been promoted to Wade Birch’s old job of Integrity boss. For his part Jamie Dart was Chief Steward of the greyhound code when the proverbial hit the fan in February this year in that code and whilst the new Labor government saw fit to sack the entire All Codes Board and all other members of the three Boards, Jamie Dart retained his job. I sincerely hope that this job was advertised nationally before Dart was given the job, so that the racing industry-at-large, which has been to hell and back lately with controversy upon controversy, can be assured that the best possible candidate is going to fill the extremely important position. As an outsider looking in, I would have reasonably thought that the Chief Steward of greyhounds at Racing Queensland would have been able to be held totally responsible or at least partly responsible for being in control of the code he or she is charged with overseeing when the Four Corners story was aired on the ABC, but obviously I have no idea what I’m talking about. The only conclusion I can draw is that the Chief Steward of the greyhound code at Racing Queensland wasn’t responsible for overseeing the code’s kennel inspections and/or trial tracks and other related aspects of that industry, prior to February 2015, which I must say I find “extraordinary”.
Today on my www.brisbaneracing.com.au website I show in photographic form - via a quick drive around Ipswich and surrounds yesterday afternoon - that there are no Ubet signs on their betting outlets at the front of their TAB outlets nearly five months since the name change happened?