Despite only just securing a $40 million betting partnership with the AFL, BetEasy boss Matthew Tripp has already begun pursuing a similar deal with the NRL. The National Rugby League has remained without a betting partnership since the controversial breakdown of its proposed multimillion dollar contract with online sports betting website Tom Waterhouse.
A Growing Industry
Whilst the global gambling industry, which encompasses both casino play and sports betting, has always been a lucrative enterprise, it is with the emergence of the online sector that its revenue has truly skyrocketed. With Australian online casinos being able to reach a client group way beyond its offline counterpart, whilst still offering authentic casino games such as online blackjack, this former sideline has quickly become the main focus of the industry. With thousands of Australians deciding to try these casinos each week, it is unsurprising that sports betting quickly followed suit and went online. Millions of people now bet online, with users enjoying live streaming of sporting events and constantly updated statistics and odds.
The NRL has had a complicated relationship with online betting in recent times. The Waterhouse deal eventually collapsed before it was even completed due to a backlash against the brand’s saturation coverage on Nine Network’s rugby league telecasts. The fact that five NRL players, including star David Williams, were also suspended over accusations of them betting on matches caused further controversy. Even Tripp, who is also the owner of Melbourne Storm, pointed out a loophole within NRL betting which allowed owners with access to inside knowledge, such as himself, to place bets without consequences.
A Fresh Start
Therefore, the optimists out there could argue that Tripp’s desire to sign a deal with the NRL is a sign of a fresh start in regards to online sports betting and Australian rugby. Tripp, who has an estimated wealth of $115 million dollars, according to the latest BRW Young Rich list, announced his intentions recently in an interview. In regards to a potential deal, the 38-year-old acknowledged that: “It’s certainly a consideration for us. It’s our objective to become the biggest operator in the land, so the NRL would be a good fit for us, as we thought the AFL would be.” Furthermore, despite the recent controversies, Tripp did not hesitate in declaring that: “As soon as the NRL put their hand up and say, ‘we’ll accept submissions for the tender’, we’ll have our hand up and put our best case forward.” With Tripp certainly not playing hard to get, it is undeniable that the ball is completely in the NRL’s court.