NRL waits on parliamentary inquiry before making call on gambling sponsorship
The NRL will await the findings of a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling before deciding whether to follow the lead of the English Premier League and ban wagering sponsorship on jerseys.
Premier League clubs on Thursday agreed to ban gambling sponsorship from the front of jerseys from the 2026-27 season, leaving Bournemouth, Everton, Leeds, Southampton, West Ham, Fulham, Newcastle and Brentford on the lookout for a new major partner. EPL clubs are still allowed to have sleeve betting partners.
While many NRL clubs have a betting sponsor positioned somewhere on their jerseys, the only rugby league team with a gambling sponsor on the front of their jersey is the Manly Sea Eagles.
The Sea Eagles recently secured a multi-million dollar deal with online sports betting company PointsBet as the club’s major partner until at least the end of the 2025 season. Manly chief executive Tony Mestrov declined to comment when contacted by the Herald on Friday.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said he was aware of the English Premier League’s new stance but would not contemplate following suit just yet.
“It’s all part of this federal government review,” V’landys told the Herald. “We’ll await the outcome of that. Both [NRL chief executive] Andrew Abdo and [AFL chief executive] Gill McLachlan appeared before a federal parliament inquiry into online wagering advertising.
NRL and club gambling partners
- National Rugby League: SportsBet
- Eels: BetM
- Bulldogs: N/A (Part of Reclaim the Game campaign)
- Broncos: The Star
- Cowboys: TAB
- Dolphins: BlueBet
- Dragons: N/A
- Knights: PalmerBet
- Panthers: BlueBet
- Raiders: PalmerBet
- Roosters: UniBet
- Sharks: PointsBet
- Storm: N/A
- Titans: Top Sport
- Warriors: TAB NZ
- Tigers: Play Up
“This issue was part of that. We will await the findings of that parliamentary review. It would be premature for us to do anything at the moment.”
The review was announced last September when the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs launched an inquiry into online gambling and its impacts on people with gambling problems.
The Canterbury Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohs are among 10 sporting teams in NSW to join the government’s Reclaim the Game campaign, united in turning down betting sponsorship within sporting clubs.
Other sporting teams include the Sydney Swans (AFL), Sydney Kings (NBL), Sydney Flames (WNBL), Sydney Thunder (Big Bash), Sydney Sixers (Big Bash), NSW men’s and women’s cricket teams, Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League) and Macarthur FC (A-League), while Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory (A-League) have similar deals with their respective state governments.
No AFL club has a gambling sponsor on the front of their guernsey. The only club in the A-League is Sydney FC, whose major partner is The Star.
“Our community plays such a big role in our club, and we felt that this is a campaign we can support to reduce community exposure to sports betting advertising,” South Sydney Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly said.
“Research shows that there are long-term effects on families when sports betting causes harm in the community, and we feel the Reclaim the Game message is a positive for the fans and families that support our club and our sport.
“We hope that we play a style of football that can entertain everyone in the family without feeling like they need to bet on the game to enjoy it.”
The Premier League’s decision received unanimous support from its 20 clubs, becoming the first sports league in the United Kingdom to take such action in a bid to reduce gambling advertising.
Cricket Australia, who have Bet365 as their betting partner, weren’t concerned with the EPL’s stance, with a spokesperson stating: “We don’t wear any betting logos on playing jerseys”.
Rugby Australia, who also have a betting partnership with Bet365, wouldn’t be drawn into hypotheticals given both the Wallabies and Wallaroos don’t have a gambling sponsor on their respective jerseys either.
No club in the A-Leagues has ever had a front-of-shirt sponsorship with a bookmaker, although the league itself has a deal in place with Neds.
The Australian Professional Leagues, which run the men’s and women’s competitions, holds complete veto rights over any club partnership arrangements and discourages club from entering into cheap stadium signage deals with bookies by imposing a minimum dollar-amount threshhold for sponsors.
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