Sportsbet wins $60m NRL wagering deal

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 16 May 2016

Sportsbet has beaten off Crownbet to extend its contract as the NRL's official wagering partner. The $60 million deal will run until 2020 and becomes the most lucrative wagering sponsorship in Australian sport.

the NRL and AFL attract about half of all sports betting in Australia. Crownbet is the current wagering partner of the AFL in a deal believed to be worth $10 million per season.

James Packer's sports betting shop had hoped to take the NRL rights off Sportbet, previously indicating it would outbid the incumbent.

NRL head of commercial Andrew Abdo says the renewal includes a range of conditions around advertising and marketing, responsible gambling and data and privacy protocols.

"One of the crucial factors in this agreement is that there will be controls in place to restrict the promotion of wagering, especially to minors, and Sportsbet will fund and implement a market leading responsible gambling program," Abdo says.

Some of these requirements are outlined in a new Australia Association of National Advertisers wagering advertising code that is due to come into affect in July.

The code stipulates gambling ads cannot target minors, show people placing a bet while drinking or link gambling with "sexual success or enhanced attractiveness".

The key measure is to prevent sports betting exposure to teenage boys - a group considered vulnerable to the allure sports gambling. This includes prohibiting the use of visual techniques, young actors, cartoons, super heroes and other elements that would "engage and resonate with minors in way to bring about a response or action" that leads to gambling.

Breaches of the code will be determined by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB). While there are no finacial penalties in place for a breach, advertisers incur the associated costs of pulling ads. In the past, 99.5% of ASB rulings have been adhered to by advertisers. 

On Sunday, Sportsbet served a Facebook ad that could soon be in breach of the code. 

Sportsbet cartoon


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