A bill has been introduced to the Australian parliament that could see the end of gambling sponsorships in sports across the country.
The bill, introduced by independent Member of Parliament Zoe Daniel yesterday (October 30) and supported by members of the country's Labor party, which currently controls the government, would outlaw all gambling adverts on pay-TV, free-to-air and streaming services, as well as radio.
The outright ban, if passed, would also likely see the end of gambling sponsors adorning kits and advertising placements for Australian sports teams, many of which rely on the income such sponsorships generate.
In the country’s top-tier National Rugby League (NRL), 12 of the 17 constituent sides have gambling partners, whilst two have naming rights partnerships for their stadiums signed with gambling firms.
It is reported that some of these deals fetch sides as much as AU$1 million (US$636,420) per season.
As many of these clubs will have made long-term multi-year commitments to these gambling sponsors, the legislation poses questions about how the rule will be applied in a league where gambling is so embedded.
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Support for a ban has been mounting for months.
In March 2023, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that he found gambling advertisements at Australian rules football matches “annoying”, stressing that the sport is for families to enjoy.
Any ban that affects the NRL may copy the institution of the gambling sponsors ban in England’s top-tier soccer league, the Premier League.
In April 2023, Premier League clubs voted to voluntarily ban shirt sponsorship deals with betting companies from the start of the 2026-27 campaign.
The collective agreement will come into effect after the 2025-26 season to “assist” clubs and allow for a transition period wherein they may find new sponsors.
It must, however, be noted that the income teams in the Premier League make from the league’s media rights deals and other commercial avenues is far higher than what sports teams in Australia will have available to them, meaning most will find it much harder to do without the lost revenue of gambling partnerships.