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Advertising Ban Gives NRL the Chance to Diversify its Revenue Streams



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National Rugby League (NRL) club Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks recently announced that the exclusive naming rights to their stadium will be up for grabs at the end of the year.

The stadium is currently named after PointsBet, but the sports betting company has confirmed they will not be extending their sponsorship when it expires in December.

PointsBet and the Sharks shook hands on a six-year naming rights deal in 2019, but the government’s ban on gambling advertising has thrown a spanner into the works.

The Shark Stadium will need a new naming rights sponsor to replace PointsBet next year and the club have flung their doors wide open for interested parties to swoop in.

The federal government has been looking for ways to clamp down on gambling ads, not just in the NRL but throughout the Australian sports industry.

There are widespread concerns that most people believe betting is a natural part of sports and the excessive flaunting of gambling ads in stadiums fuels that argument.

Those concerns led the New South Wales (NSW) government to launch a ‘Reclaim the Game’ initiative designed to challenge the way sports are used to promote gambling.
The parliamentary committee has also joined the fight against gambling ads and previously called for a phased ban, especially during sporting events.

Those restrictions will affect almost all of the NRL as just three out of the 17 clubs are not sponsored by betting companies.
PointsBet Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Catterall expressed his disappointment at not being able to extend what has been a ‘fantastic partnership’ with the Sharks.

He has called on the government to implement fresh gambling advertisement regulations that allow for a safe and responsible approach, but he may not get his wish anytime soon.

The Sharks’ fierce rivals, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, will also be affected by the new regulations. They have a relationship with PointsBet as their major jersey sponsor.

PointsBet is not the only top gambling company that will take a huge hit from the advertising ban. Some of the best online betting sites in Australia also have partnerships with NRL clubs.

However, they will now be forced to pull the plug on their sponsorship, although they’re bound to retain their loyal customer base among sports bettors.


Excessive Stadium Ads Spark Government Action

Gambling is a natural phenomenon across the sports industry in Australia and every part of the world. However, the stadium ads have become overbearing.

For instance, during an Australian Football League (AFL) game in March, fans in the stadium and those watching on free-to-air television were exposed to more than 70 gambling ads before 8.00 pm.

That is a ridiculous number of ads exposed to families tuning in to enjoy their favourite sport, especially considering children are most likely to be part of the broadcast audience.

The overwhelming presence of gambling ads not only detracts from the experience of watching the game but also normalises gambling for young viewers.

The newly implemented ban aims to tackle such a needless barrage of betting ads, which also doesn’t help anyone grappling with problem gambling.

However, while the ban tackles the overwhelming gambling ads, revenues are likely to take a considerable hit. The gambling industry has been a significant financial pillar of Australian sports, showering the industry with lucrative sponsorship deals.

The NRL has benefited from their partnership with the gambling industry. Numerous clubs rely on sponsorships from betting companies to bolster their revenue.

However, with gambling ads now silenced, the immediate financial impact will be felt by many clubs that are left with a gaping hole in their budgets.

Replacing the lost income from gambling ads won’t be easy. Finding new sponsors who can match the sheer financial muscle of gambling giants will also be a major challenge.


NRL Can Forge Strong Links with Other Sectors

Australia’s gambling ads ban is an opportunity for NRL clubs to explore new revenue streams and diversify their sponsorships into other industries.

There are several routes that the NRL clubs can explore. The thriving technology sector is a lucrative option, with companies eager to tap into the passionate NRL fanbase.

Partnering with tech companies could open the door for the NRL to access a younger, tech-savvy audience.
Such an alliance may have several other benefits, including co-branded events and digital content creation. They could also leverage innovations from the tech company to improve fan engagement.

Traditional partnerships with established brands such as car manufacturers, airlines and beverage companies shouldn’t be overlooked either, as they still hold enormous value.

These sectors understand the value of sports sponsorship and the brand awareness it generates. NRL clubs can strengthen these existing relationships and explore new opportunities within the sector.

The financial services sector is another potential route the NRL can follow as it offers robust sponsorship opportunities.

Banks, insurance companies and investment firms are always looking for ways to increase their visibility, especially within the sports industry.

Aligning with these institutions could provide the NRL and its clubs with stable, long-term sponsorships and open avenues for other important benefits.


Australian eSports Star Joins Team Liquid



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Excitement in the global Counter-Strike community is reaching fever pitch as fans gear up for the BLAST Premier Fall Groups 2024.
Sixteen teams will compete in groups of four to claim six spots in the Fall Final. Those who fail to qualify will be entered into the 2024 BLAST Premier Fall Showdown in August.
There have been plenty of changes in the build-up as teams finalise their rosters. One move that stands out as a potential game-changer is Justin ‘jks’ Savage’s addition to Team Liquid.
Roster changes can easily be the difference between glory and despair, and Savage’s move to Team Liquid is undeniably a statement of intent.


Savage Ready to Make an Impact

Savage is widely regarded as one of the best players on the Counter-Strike scene. He brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of performing at the highest level.
The Australian eSports star is renowned for his exceptional aim, versatility, tactical brilliance and clutch potential.
His addition to a team already boasting the firepower of Keith ‘NAF’ Markovic, Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken, and Mareks ‘YEKINDAR’ Gaļinskis is an exciting prospect for Team Liquid.
Savage has been a key player for several top-tier teams, including Renegades, 100 Thieves, FaZe Clan, and Complexities.
His experience, ability to adapt to different roles and composure under pressure make him a valuable asset for Team Liquid, bolstering their lofty ambitions ahead of the tournament.
The 28-year-old finished in the top three in six of his last nine S-Tier Counter-Strike Global Offensive tournaments. He claimed the top spot in four of those six podium finishes, emphasising his exceptional skill and consistency at the highest level of competition.
While it remains to be seen if he can translate those performances into Counter-Strike 2, all eyes will be on the Australian as he bids to cement his position as a powerhouse in the gaming scene.
Savage’s addition to Team Liquid will attract the attention of the gambling community in his homeland, with eSports enthusiasts keen to see if he will live up to expectations at the Fall Groups.
With betting agencies in Australia expanding their offerings to encompass eSports competitions, Savage will likely be a popular option for punters over the next few months.
Team Liquid could also be the perfect platform for Savage to remind the eSports scene of his remarkable abilities as a Counter-Strike star.
The world-renowned gaming organisation has won five LCS titles, and their Counter-Strike Global Offensive team was awarded the Intel Grand Slam prize in 2019 after winning four tournaments in just 63 days.
Team Liquid will fancy their chances of claiming glory at the Fall Group 2024, and Savage is poised to play a key role in their lofty ambitions.


Roster Changes Galore as Teams Prepare for Fall Groups

There has been a whirlwind of activity during the off-season, with teams making changes in preparation for the upcoming BLAST Premier Fall Groups.
Liquid were one of the biggest movers in the off-season as they were forced to make two changes after benching ‘cadiaN’ and ‘skullz’.
The latter subsequently joined FURIA, with Liquid recruiting Polish gamer Roland ‘ultimate’ Tomkowiak as a replacement. Danish Counter Strike 2 coach Torbjorn ‘mithR’ Nyborg has also joined.
It will be interesting to see how Liquid performs on the big stage, especially Tomkowiak, who was a relatively unknown quantity before joining the team.
While Liquid’s shake-up was a major talking point, German organisation G2 eSports made a move poised to send shivers down the spines of old-school Counter-Strike fans.
G2 has brought back the legendary duo of ‘Snax’ and ‘TaZ’. Both players haven’t played together since ‘TaZ’ left in 2018, making their reunion a major headline for the upcoming season.
Cloud9 made the most changes during the off-season. After a disappointing run, they have recruited three new players in a massive rebuild for the organisation.
After a one-year hiatus, ‘Interz’ returns to the team and will be joined by fresh firepower in ‘ICY’ and ‘HeavyGod’. Cloud9 will hope their revamped roster can halt their recent barren streak.
Continuing their recent trend of utilising international talent, BIG has recruited ‘rigoN’ to strengthen their line-up. The organisation traditionally favours an all-German line-up, but their recent move suggests a commitment to building a roster capable of landing the championship this season.
The departure of ‘HeavyGod’ left a big hole in OG’s line-up. Instead of replacing him directly, they freed up ‘k1to’ for fragging duties.
With ‘Snax’ departing for G2, GamerLegion wasted no time naming a new leader with the addition of highly-rated Swedish player ‘ztr’.
The final off-season reshuffle saw HEROIC replace ‘nicoodoz’ with ‘degster’ after an extended break. He could provide the firepower needed to propel the team to the top of the charts.

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ACMA Blocks More Illegal Gambling Websites



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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested the Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block more illegal gambling websites, after investigations found these services to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The latest sites blocked include Richard Casino and Wanted Win.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal gambling services. This action can be taken if a service is:

  • providing prohibited interactive gambling services to customers in Australia (such as online casinos, online slot machines and services that allow in-play online sports betting)
  • providing an unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service to customers in Australia (such as online betting services that don’t have a valid Australian licence)
  • publishing ads for prohibited interactive gambling services or unlicensed regulated interactive gambling services in Australia.

Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 1,011 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked. Over 220 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing illegal offshore gambling rules.

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The Star Shuts Down EGMs and ETGs at All Three Australian Casinos Due to “System Performance Issues”



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Electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and electronic table games (ETGs) at all three of Star Entertainment Group’s Australian casinos remained offline on Monday following what it describes as “system performance issues” related to the introduction of cashless gaming technology. The machines had gone dark on Saturday evening.

According to information released by the company via an ASX announcement, the issue relates to planned upgrades to The Star’s systems in readiness for the introduction of cashless gaming.

“Certain of The Star’s systems have been disrupted due to system performance issues identified in post-upgrade testing which resulted in the decision to switch off all Electronic Gaming Machines and Electronic Table Games in each of The Star’s three properties from 10:00 pm onwards on 13 July 2024 until the issue is resolved,” Star said.

“The decision was taken by The Star to ensure compliance with relevant regulations, and to maintain the company’s commitment to safer gambling procedures.”

Star explained that it is working with its systems provider Konami to address the issues but said its properties – Treasury Brisbane, The Star Gold Coast and The Star Sydney – remain open with table games still operational.

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