Online sports betting operator BetEasy has renewed its sponsorship deal with the Australian Football League (AFL), outraging local anti-gambling critics in the process.
This weekend, Australian media outlet The Age reported that the AFL had renewed its BetEasy sponsorship pact, which dates all the way back to 2014. The new deal will run through the end of 2025 and was reportedly renewed on similar terms as the original deal, roughly A$10m (US$6.7m) per year, although Sports Business reported the annual dues were closer to A$8m.
If the price has fallen, it’s because BetEasy will have to work harder for less benefit. AFL commercial operations manager Kylie Rogers said there would be “a reduction of in-stadium advertising at Marvel Stadium and the MCG, and greater collaboration on responsible wagering outcomes nationally” starting this season.
The AFL signalled its intention to renew its BetEasy deal back in December, which led numerous crusading types to publicly slam the AFL for allegedly promoting sports betting to children. Even sports broadcaster Tony Jones got in on the fun, accusing the AFL of “grooming kids in the art of gambling.”
It’s perhaps worth noting that the AFL’s other ‘major partners’ includes brewer Carlton Draught, Coca-Cola and McDonalds, so we guess the AFL is also grooming kids to become alcoholics, diabetics and clinically obese. But we digress…
The AFL’s official statement on the renewal said the league supports “a strongly-regulated Australian-based sports wagering sector and works closely with all agencies to uphold the integrity of our game, through shared intelligence and reporting.” BetEasy CEO Andrew Menz kept his comments brief, saying only that his company was “pleased” to extend its AFL ties.
Last month, AFL player Easton Wood lobbied the league to ditch its ties to gambling operators, going as far as to say he and other players might be willing to take a pay cut if it meant a league free of gambling links.
BetEasy was launched in 2013 as a project for gaming industry veteran Matthew Tripp, who previously founded online sportsbook Sportsbet before selling out to Paddy Power. In 2015, BetEasy inked a joint venture with Aussie casino operator Crown Resorts to become Crownbet, which was then sold to The Stars Group (TSG) in 2018, after which it reverted to its BetEasy brand. Tripp sold off his remaining stake in BetEasy last December.