Australian operators divided on calls to ban sponsorship of match-day jerseys

Not everyone in the industry agrees with the proposed ban.
Not everyone in the industry agrees with the proposed ban.

Some companies have already abandoned the practice in anticipation of a ban.

Australia.- The Australian gambling industry appears to be divided over calls for a ban on gambling sponsorship on sports match-day jerseys. Those in favour of dropping sponsorship want the ban to be binding, while those opposed argue that sponsorship generates important revenue for sports.

The federal government and the National Rugby League are evaluating the English Premier League’s (EPL) decision to voluntarily phase out sponsorships on the front of match-day shirts from the end of the 2025-26 season.

Kai Cantwell, the new chief executive of Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), which represents Sportsbet, PointsBet, bet365, and other companies, said such a move in Australia is inevitable and that the industry was considering adopting a voluntary ban. Sources at companies not represented by RWA have also confirmed they would support a ban.

Tabcorp stated it would support a ban on jersey sponsorship if all companies comply. The company has voluntarily committed to restricting television ads even if the government doesn’t require the same standard from other companies.

Last year, Entain announced that it would no longer sponsor the jerseys of professional sports teams in Australia, citing community concern. Entain runs the Ladbrokes and Neds brands, which were previously featured on jerseys worn by the Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

However, not everyone in the industry agrees with the proposed ban. Mitch Reid, the head of regulation and compliance at Palmerbet, which sponsors the Newcastle Knights jersey, said the gambling industry was being unfairly criticised and that it provides a significant source of revenue to sporting teams.

Reid said: “I don’t believe that other industries who offer products that have the potential to cause harm, notably fast food and alcohol, receive the same level of condemnation when they have engaged in sponsorship of sporting teams and leagues.

“It would be remiss if it was not noted the amount of revenue the commonwealth and state governments in Australia are raising from the gambling industry and its importance to the funding of government infrastructure, grants and other initiatives.”

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