NRL clubs anticipate significant financial impact due to new gambling ad bans

Government Crackdown on Gambling Advertising Threatens Rugby League Clubs

Rugby league clubs are bracing for a multimillion-dollar hit as the government pushes ahead with plans to crack down on gambling advertising, including banning front-of-jersey sponsorships.

This masthead revealed on Monday Communications Minister Michelle Rowland was about to announce curbs on TV, online and outdoor betting promotions after talks with gambling, TV and sporting code executives.

One of those measures will be to outlaw front-of-jersey sponsors, deals which normally fetch around $1m a season for NRL clubs.

The Manly Sea Eagles have a deal in place with Pointsbet until the end of 2025, which includes a $500,000 bonus for any year they win the NRL title.

Manly boss Tony Mestrov hopes the new government measures include a “grandfather clause”, which will allow them to honour their arrangement with Pointsbet and give them time to find a new sponsor.

Twelve of the 17 NRL clubs have betting companies listed as partners, including premiers Penrith and Cronulla, whose stadiums are named after corporate bookies BlueBet and Pointsbet.

The government is about to announce plans to outlaw front-of-jersey sponsorships from betting companies like Pointsbet.Credit: Getty Images

It remains unclear if the government plans to ban betting companies from being the naming-rights sponsors of stadiums.

In England, Premier League clubs agreed earlier this year to abandon gambling companies and front-of-jersey match-day sponsorships from the summer of 2026.


Manly Sea Eagles Hope for “Grandfather Clause” in Government Crackdown on Gambling Advertising

Mestrov said he met with officials from Pointsbet and the NRL earlier this year, and was aware of the ramifications for the Northern Beaches club.

“We met with Pointsbet and the NRL a couple of months ago to talk through what changes would be made; we’ve been prepared for it, so it’s not new news to us,” Mestrov told this masthead.

“There have been suggestions that in three years time there will be no advertising [on the front of jerseys].

“We’re up in 2025. We’ve had an open and forthright conversation about it. And we’ll go from there. There’s been no talk about banning advertising tomorrow. There would have to be a grandfather clause.

“Pointsbet want to be a long-term sponsor of ours, even if it’s not on the front of the jersey. At this stage they will remain on the front until 2025, but we have to wait.

Which NRL clubs are backed by gambling companies

Cronulla Sharks: The Shire club’s ground is named PointsBet Stadium

Penrith Panthers: The premiers added BlueBet as their stadium naming rights sponsor in 2021

Manly: The Sea Eagles have a front-of-jersey sponsorship with Pointnsbet until the end of 2025

Sydney Roosters: Unibet have been a short sponsor for the Bondi club

Parramatta Eels: BetM came on board this year and is included on game-day LED advertising

Gold Coast Titans: The  Titans have Topsport listed as one of their executive sponsors

Wests Tigers: They are linked with PlayUp until the end of 2025

New Zealand Warriors: Started a partnership with TAB NZ last year

Newcastle Knights: PalmerBet are the official wagering sponsor until the end of 2024

Redcliffe Dolphins: BlueBet were the back-of-jersey sponsors for their inaugural season

Canberra Raiders: PalmerBet are the back-of-jersey sponsor until the end of 2024

North Queensland Cowboys: TAB features on the sternum of the Cowboys’ jerseys

“It’s a moving feast, and we need to move with it. If they had to cut it off tomorrow, we’d have to understand. But our understanding is the government won’t do that and will give sporting clubs plenty of time to find [new sponsors].”

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo and his AFL counterpart Gill McLachlan sat in on an online wagering senate inquiry in April.

The NRL’s stance was to help pour resources into helping problem gamblers rather than introduce a blanket ban on all match-day advertising.

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About the Article: Government Crackdown on Gambling Advertising Threatens Rugby League Clubs

“Rugby league clubs are facing significant financial losses as the government moves forward with its plans to restrict gambling advertising, including the prohibition of front-of-jersey sponsorships. This decision will have a substantial impact on NRL clubs, as these sponsorships typically generate around $1 million per season. The Manly Sea Eagles, for instance, have a sponsorship deal with Pointsbet until 2025, which includes a $500,000 bonus for winning the NRL title. It is crucial that the government includes a ‘grandfather clause’ in these new measures to allow clubs to honor existing agreements while they search for new sponsors.”

Conclusion: Manly Sea Eagles Hope for “Grandfather Clause” in Government Crackdown on Gambling Advertising

“Manly Sea Eagles’ CEO, Tony Mestrov, expressed his hope that the government’s new measures will include a ‘grandfather clause’ to protect their sponsorship arrangement with Pointsbet until 2025. While there is uncertainty regarding the banning of betting companies as naming-rights sponsors for stadiums, it is clear that NRL clubs heavily rely on these partnerships. The government’s approach should provide sufficient time for clubs to find alternative sponsors. It is essential to strike a balance between addressing concerns about gambling advertising and supporting the financial stability of sporting clubs.”

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