National Rugby League To Drop Bookmaker Partnerships For 2014 Season
The Australian Rugby League Commission "is almost certain" to go into the '14 season without a preferred wagering partner, "perhaps ending forever such a relationship between bookmakers and rugby league," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Negotiations between the National Rugby League and Tom Waterhouse -- on a deal reportedly worth A$20M ($19.25M) over five years -- "unravelled earlier this year." While several agencies -- including long-term partner TAB -- "expressed interest in taking up the vacant property, it is understood there have been no negotiations between the parties." The NRL "has reviewed the category in recent months and come to the conclusion the financial return isn't near enough to offset the adverse publicity around sports wagering." It pulled out of negotiations with Tom Waterhouse "following a backlash over his saturation coverage on the Nine Network early in the league season." Revelations the Australian Crime Commission "had identified links between sport and underworld figures" -- with the potential for match-fixing -- have clouded the code during the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigations of rugby league (SMH, 10/23).