As betting takes on a bigger role in the NRL in light of the Bunnies Star City sponsorship and the Panthers new stadium name, NRL Chief Executive David Gallop has ruled out any part-ownership of the supposed new Brisbane team.
There had been many talks going on, held by the consortium to discuss the possibility of Centrebet coming on board as a major partner, an idea that is expected to be blocked by Gallop and the NRL.
”At first glance it’s hard to see us approving that kind of arrangement,” Gallop said.
”The steps we’ve taken in recent years have all been geared at getting greater control over gambling on the game. It’s hard to imagine how you could separate the two interests.”
Gallop’s comments are a kick in the shins for Centrebet, as they seek to become more actively involved in securing sponsorship status with a new Brisbane team, just as they secured the rights for Panthers new stadium.
”The second Brisbane bid and our potential involvement is all to do with what may potentially happen if and when the team arrives in a new competition,” Centrebet spokesman Neil Evans said in response to Gallop’s comments.
‘We’ve been talking it up and we want to see rugby league expand in a sensational marketplace like Brisbane but it’s [contingent on whether] this team is successful and if and when the NRL decides to expand.”
“Who knows how the landscape will look in two years’ time in terms of commercial relationships and partnerships. We’re just planning and talking about something several hills in the future.”
“There’s a mixing-up of the potential for rugby league and the current hot potato that the whole thing is at the moment.”
One of the reasons seen as a possible sticking point for Gallop, is the strained relationship between the NRL and betting agencies, particularly in light of Ryan Tandy’s involvement in the betting scandal.
Other new sponsorships with betting agencies on board are the South Sydney Rabbitohs signing a 3-year deal corporate partnership deal with Star City, whilst the Melbourne Storm named the Crown Casino as their major sponsor.
Craig Davidson, the bid chief for the new Brisbane team says that even if the proposed Centrebet deal was to fall through, his team will be financially viable and be able to stay afloat.
”With regards to Centrebet owning the club, that didn’t come from us in terms of the directions we’re heading,” said Davison
”We’ve got a number of investors who are going to invest in the club and Centrebet are obviously keen to do that, ” Davison said.
”We’d seek NRL approval if that was to happen, but our direction has been [from] other private investors in Brisbane who are telling us they are keen to be involved.
”From Centrebet’s [ownership] perspective you never say never and we were keen to get Centrebet as a sponsor, as well as others.”
Barry O’Farrell, the NSW Opposition Leader, has concerns about the proposed Centrebet-club relationship, but acknowledges that the NRL are the ones who will make the final decision.
”I’m happy to be guided by David Gallop and his board, but the concern that we should have is to make sure that the advent of greater connections between any sport and gambling doesn’t start to have an impact upon fair play and fair outcomes,” O’Farrell said.