The Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX: TAH) share price is on the rise. That’s after The Saturday Paper revealed the federal government approached the ASX-listed betting giant about “designing a lottery open only to those vaccinated against COVID-19.”
As of writing, shares in the company are selling for $5.01 – up 0.3%. The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is 0.34% higher.
Let’s take a closer look.
Tabcorp share price rises on vaccine lottery idea
To hit the Prime Minister’s target of 70% of eligible Australian’s vaccinated to enter Phase B of the transition to living with COVID, the government is reportedly seeking incentives to encourage Australians to get the vaccine.
Government isn’t alone in wanting to boost inoculations. The opposition Australian Labor Party has proposed a $300 payment for every fully vaccinated person. At the same time, the New South Wales government is allowing construction workers from hotspot areas to return to work. To do so, they must be partially or fully vaccinated.
The Morrison government seemingly believes a lottery may be the way forward. As Australia’s largest lottery operator, Tabcorp would have the expertise and systems to implement such a scheme if it were to happen.
It is somewhat ironic considering Tabcorp plans to demerge its lotteries business from its other operations. The Tabcorp share price fell on the day of the announcement.
In a statement to News Corp, which Tabcorp still stands by, the company said such a scheme would require jumping through several hurdles.
Introducing a dedicated lottery for those vaccinated would require, among other things, navigating the requirements of our state lottery licences and responsible gambling practices, the approval of state government regulators, gaining clarification from the Therapeutic Goods Administration around incentivising vaccinations, and maintaining customer privacy.
Is this happening elsewhere?
If the Australian government and Tabcorp were to implement a vaccine lottery, it would not be the only government to do so.
The New York Times reports several states in the United States are offering cash prizes of up to $1 million. The cash prizes are to encourage residents to get the vaccine. Ohio, the first state to offer such a lottery, abandoned its plans when an initial bump in vaccination rates dissipated.
Dr Stephen Duckett, a healthcare policy expert, endorsed the idea of a vaccine lottery previously.
“The path out of lockdowns and back to freedom requires almost all of us to be vaccinated. Let’s get there quicker by launching Vaxlotto,” Dr Duckett said.
This may help to explain the rise in the Tabcorp share price.
Tabcorp share price snapshot
Over the past 12 months, the Tabcorp share price has increased 42.6%. Year to date it is up 28.6%.
Tabcorp Holdings has a market capitalisation of $11.1 billion.