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Volume 10 No. 22
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National Rugby League Won't Pursue An Official Betting Partner, Fears Bad Publicity

The National Rugby League will not "pursue an official betting partner for the rest of the season," believing the income is not enough to "offset the bad publicity surrounding sports wagering," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Negotiations between the Australian Rugby League Commission and Tom Waterhouse -- on a deal reportedly worth A$20M ($19.2M) over five years -- "spectacularly unravelled earlier this year." As soon as the news became public, a number of betting agencies, including long-term partner TAB, "expressed interest in filling the breach this season." However, the ARLC "has opted not to find a replacement." An NRL spokesperson said, "We will always continue to monitor the situation, but as we've said, it's extremely unlikely that we will confirm a betting partner for the rest of the 2013 season." The value of any potential deal in the current climate "has also come under question." A parliamentary committee "raised the prospect of banning advertisements on sports grounds or on football jerseys due to concerns about the effect punting culture has on minors" (SMH, 6/14).