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BlueBet Appoints Tony Thomas as Australian CMO



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BlueBet Holdings has appointed Tony Thomas as Australian chief marketing officer.

Thomas brings more than 20 years’ experience as a marketing & digital executive in industries including media, tech, entertainment, food & beverage and retail. For the past three years, Thomas has been consulting to Australian businesses developing and implementing brand and acquisition strategies, delivering strong growth across multiple tech sectors.

Prior to this, he spent nine years as the chief marketing and digital officer at Nova Entertainment where he was responsible for digital marketing and brand strategy. During his time at Nova, Tony led the marketing and digital teams through significant growth to become the number one radio network in Australia and was instrumental in supporting the business in tripling its earnings.

Before joining Nova Entertainment, Tony held several senior marketing roles, including marketing director at Pepsico International and head of media and advertising at Coles where he oversaw many iconic campaigns, including the “Down Down” campaign.

BlueBet CEO Bill Richmond said: “Tony is a world-class marketer that thinks differently, and we’re delighted to be bringing his expertise, drive and track record of supporting growth to BlueBet.

“Tony has developed and executed some of the most recognisable campaigns in this market over the past 20 years and importantly built teams and cultures that align with BlueBet’s values and disruptor mentality. Tony is bringing a strong strategic mind to the Company and has some exciting ideas about how we can take our brand and proposition to the next level.

“Tony understands that BlueBet is a challenger brand with a unique proposition and appeal to Australian punters and we think his expertise and vision will make a real impact to our business. As BlueBet continue to grow, we are very confident Tony will add to the strength of our great team.”

Thomas said: “It’s such an exciting time for BlueBet, as it experiences strong growth in the market, and I’m looking forward to helping it accelerate its growth agenda, disrupt the market, and continue to take market share.

“There is a real challenger brand mentality at BlueBet, filled with smart and passionate people, and this is exactly the sort of business I love being part of. As a challenger brand, we need to work faster and smarter and create big, impactful ideas that cut through in a competitive market.

“Australians have lots of choice when it comes to punting so creating an Australian brand that Aussie punters love is important. The BlueBet team has done an outstanding job and have a ton of industry knowledge and I’m excited to be joining such a high performing and passionate team.”


Tabcorp Appoints Gillon McLachlan as MD & CEO



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Australian gambling services firm Tabcorp Holdings has appointed former Australian Football League (AFL) boss Gillon McLachlan as its chief executive and managing director.

The appointment comes months after former chief Adam Rytenskild resigned over allegedly using “offensive” and “inappropriate” language at the workplace and as the firm navigates a strategic transformation amid heightened competition pressures.

McLachlan was the AFL chief executive for a decade during which he contributed to significant revenue growth and oversaw its expansion.

He will join Tabcorp on Aug. 5 and assume the roles of CEO and MD upon receiving regulatory approvals, the company said. He will receive an annual fixed remuneration of AU$ 1.5 million.

“In the two years since demerger, we have significantly improved our customer offering and delivered key structural reforms in Queensland and Victoria,” Tabcorp Executive Chairman Bruce Akhurst said.

“Gill brings an added dimension of having been responsible for some of the most significant media rights deals in Australian sports history and we’re excited about the potential growth opportunities for our wagering and media business under his leadership,” Bruce Akhurst added.

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BetMakers Appoints Carl Henschke as its New Chief Financial Officer



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BetMakers Technology Group Ltd, the leading global B2B provider of technologies and services that simplify betting at critical points in wagering, announced the appointment of Mr Carl Henschke as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective 1 July 2024.

Mr Henschke brings over 17 years of experience in financial services, capital markets and legal sectors to BetMakers. He began his career as a solicitor in the corporate team at Herbert Smith Freehills, and for the past decade, he has worked as an investment banker. Most recently he served as Managing Director at Canaccord Genuity, focusing on software and digital businesses, including those in the wagering and betting sector. Mr Henschke’s expertise encompasses financial planning and analysis, strategy, capital management and M&A.

BetMakers CEO Jake Henson said: “We are delighted to welcome Carl as the company’s new CFO. His extensive financial expertise and deep understanding of high growth technology companies make him an ideal fit for BetMakers. Carl’s experience will be important as we continue to refine our operational efficiencies, expand our global presence, and enhance shareholder value.”

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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.

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