has buried and put the hurt on critics of its media
and public heat seeker naming-rights stadium deal
with Penrith Panthers, stating on the record that
the the anti-gambling lobby were "like cracked
records" in opposing it's newest deal. Off the
the record it called them a host of unspeakables!
The clubs' name change to Centrebet Stadium Penrith
was announced by the Panthers just yesterday after
the sponsorship rumours were first announced by Fairfax
Media, creating a title wave of coverage across the
globe. It's a 5-year deal, worth more than $1.5 million
bucks, making the western Sydney sports ground the
first down under to adopt the name of a bookie. Anti-gambling
campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon last week was pissed
at the NRL for permitting the Panthers to make the
name change, criticism that bit 'Mr X' (satire nick
name from MM) back from Centrebet when confirmation
came yesterday. Get
ready for this punters. You might like the 2 cents
directed at the gaming and casino haters... the thought
police. "The 'anti brigade' are becoming like
cracked records," Centrebet boss Neil Evans said.
"Why don't they survey the blokes walking into
the ground, down at the shopping mall, on the building
sites, and in the pubs and see what they think? My
attitude is...reality is reality. And business is
business. I congratulate the Panthers board and the
Penrith City Council on their forthrightness and strong-minded
stance. Most clubs, especially those hardly flushed
with cash, would dream about a 5-year ground deal
worth around $1.5 million, and that's before we start
talking about the spin-off effects for the community
and all the hard-working people in and around the
club." Media Man did a spot survey around the
eastern suburbs of Sydney and a spokesperson said
"About 90% of people in the community are fine
with gambling, gaming and sports betting. They know
a small percentage can get into trouble, but for many
Aussies is a strong tradition and a way of live. You
know, the Melbourne Cup, Two-Up, having a game of
poker with your mates, or throwing a couple of bucks
down the throat of a pokie just to try your luck.
Most level headed people, the non extremists, see
the merit in the Centrebet deal, and we understand
that now the likes of PartyGaming, Betfair and others
will be exploring possibilities for their firms, which
might just help save the NRL for massive financial
stress. It looks like a win - win win". The Federal
Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib, is working diligently
with reps of Australia's 7 major sporting codes on
ways to wipe out match-fixing but said the Panthers'
stadium deal was not a concern. A report compiled
by a working party commissioned by the the Coalition
of Major Professional Sports is set to be out by next
month. "Sponsorship of sporting codes and stadiums
is a matter for the individual stadium owners and
sporting organisations. The NRL have advised the government
that the sponsorship agreement between the Panthers
and Centrebet meets its own gambling and sponsorship
guidelines. The select council on gambling reform
led by Minister (Jenny) Macklin has put the regulation
of online gambling in their forward work agenda. And
as sports minister I'm working with the sporting codes,
including the NRL, on the issue of match-fixing and
integrity in sport." Centrebet currently has
sponsorships with 4 other clubs in the National Rugby
League, which forces all betting agencies associated
with the game to sign integrity agreements. The stadium
sponsorship was called as a great boon for Penrith
by the football club's chief executive, Michael Leary.
"Centrebet has been a responsible corporate partner
of the Panthers since coming on board with the club
in 2010. Our stadium has become a centre of excellence
by not only hosting high-level rugby league in the
national competition but through its ability to be
community-centric in accommodating several community
organisations. Centbet, The Footy Show sponsored corner
on Network Nine's 'The Footy show', now Centrebet
Stadium, next The World. Spies continue to tell us
that PartyGaming, Betfair and others are circling
the wagons and won't be taking it lying down. Punters,
get ready for another round of Australian gambling
wars. This week: Gambling lovers and punters 1 - haters
To Get Sports Stadiums Branded By Gambling and Gaming
Companies, by Greg Tingle - 15th January 2011
punters, journos, high rollers, sports news, entertainment
news junkies, politicians, insiders, outsiders...
one and all. Today we probe the situation where a
number of Australian sports grounds could soon be
named after gaming and gambling companies. How do
like the sound of Betfair Stadium, Centrebet Park
and PartyGaming Cricket Ground? Don't laugh, this
type of scenario is on the cards, with local gaming
brands likely the first to pounce, followed by international
powerhouses. Media Man http://www.AustralianSportsEntertainment.com
and Gambling911 with another ground breaking news
report from the land of world class casino, media
companies and sports arenas...
Will Get Gambling Arenas; Aussie Aussie Aussie; Oi
Australia being in the world's top 10 gambling nations,
it shouldn't shock or surprise that we're tipped to
soon have a number of sporting arenas and grounds
named after gambling and gaming companies, both national
and international brands. Yep, money will talk where
B.S sometimes walks.
Packer's Betfair is understood to build upon their
Betfair Park branding, Europe's PartyGaming is keen,
and currently Centrebet looks to be leading the charge,
with many insiders saying its a case of when, not
if, for the household name brand.
already has significant branding, thanks in part to
a swag of TV and online adverts, plus who can forget
the Centrebet branded part of Network Nine's 'The
gambling companies already have a number of key targets,
and many cash strapped and / or cash handy NRL team
and home grounds are near the top of the hit list.
instance NRL team, The Penrith Panthers, are seriously
considering having their home stadium named Centrebet
Stadium. We kid you not punters.
the deal goes through, they will make history becoming
the first major Australian sporting team to snatch
a betting firm as the naming-rights partner for a
Racing already has some naming rights deals with tracks
and in the mix such as Betfair Park and then you have
races named after gambling brands such as the Lasseters
Cup, Lasseters known for its hotel - casino up in
Australia's top end.
forecast Betfair deal comes as a police continue to
probe the NRL gambling scandal that from last season
following a number of "irregular" wagers
was picked up in the Canterbury Bulldogs VS North
Queensland Cowboys match up.
Panthers, Centrebet and a swag of gambling companies,
have rather pissed off the gambling and gaming haters,
who continues to get organised into lobby groups.
spokesperson such "Many people in and out of
news media and gaming, the general public, are starting
to get really pissed off at the gaming, gambling and
sports betting haters. The bible bashers. Who do they
think they are trying to push their beliefs onto others.
Many Australians just love a punt, and that's the
way it is. Some of the gaming haters have strong ties
to church groups and there appears to be some sort
of brainwashing system going on. They keep discussing
the 'evils of gambling'. I mean, seriously, come on.
People know not to over-do it on on the slots, sports
events, poker and the like, but the haters keep trying
to be the thought police. Gambling companies in Australia
have a very high focus on responsible gambling with
warnings everywhere. It's great to see the gambling
and gaming industry place so much focus on safe better.
The sports stadiums will be great for business, ,
but no one is forcing anyone to have a bet. It's a
personal decision, as it always has been. 2011 is
going to be a very exciting year for punters, especially
those who like to have a bet of sports matches, and
television and online website portals and brands will
bring it all together nicely".
to the first prime target #1...The modest 22,500-capacity
sports ground, owned by Penrith City Council, was
in a past life known as CUA Stadium. What's up is
that the club's contract with the Brisbane financial
services company has expired, and negotiations between
Panthers, the footy club and Centrebet have been taking
place, even prior to Christmas about renaming the
stadium. Other clubs and stadiums have also caught
the buzz and are opening chequebooks and crunching
first of its kind business agreement between the club
and Centrebet is just about a done deal, and ink is
expecting to try on contracts sooner rather than later,
possibly within a fortnight. An exciting, if not controversial
type of announcement is fully expected by the Panthers
in the coming week. Sports and gambling commentators
are quick to point out that Penrith already has ties
to Centrebet, the gambling brand being lit up across
the top of the video screen at the stadium. This kind
of exposure has also been very good for their mobile
- hand held device sector.
campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon is especially unhappy
with the development of the gambling branded sports
stadiums in Australia. He went on recent with:
can a footy code currently embroiled in a betting
scandal possibly allow a stadium to be named after
a betting agency? There was a time when rugby league
was all about the game. Now it's all about the odds,
and that is ruining the game".
the last couple of years the NRL (and AFL) has watered
down its laws and regulations relating to clubs' deals
and partnerships with gambling - sports betting firms,
allowing them to be branded on footy jerseys for a
virgin time. Cronulla Sharks have sponsor PokerStars
(.net) on their jersey sleeves while cashed up Manly
Sea Eagles are tipped to have Centrebet's signage
on the back of their jerseys this season after a widely
reported $1 million plus deal with the Northern Territory
based betting outfit announced just before Christmas.
Yep, it looks like a few clubs and stadiums will be
getting their Christmas presents and will have lots
to celebrate, while the gambling haters will be spewing
in Grinch like fashion.
National Rugby League of course also has corporate
ties with TAB Sportsbet, and is understood to snatch
a 5% "product fee" via the company's rugby
league betting profit.
spokesman John Brady advised he would not comment
on individual clubs' sponsorship agreements but maintained
there was no concern about the prospect of gambling
agencies assuming naming rights for the game's venues,
at least from his take on the situation.
an area that was relaxed last year. As such there
are a number of betting sponsorships that are available
to clubs in terms of jerseys and other opportunities,"
advised any and all betting firms involved with the
NRL via sponsorship of clubs were made to sign "integrity
agreements" to ensure transparency.
majority of NRL clubs now have corporate deals with
betting agencies. Centrebet sponsors five teams: Penrith,
Manly, Parramatta, St George Illawarra and North Queensland.
"Comon' Betfair and PartyGaming, pull you're
finger out", a Media Man sports journalist was
overheard shouting when he found out the news of Centrebet's
ongoing infiltration of the sport.
stadium pending name change has been intertwined we
understand by some to the financial problems that
have hit the football club's parent body, Panthers
licensed club is no longer quite the licence to print
money as it was in the 90s Some audited figures about
to do public by the conclusion of the month are expected
to show black and white confirmation of a Murdoch
- News Limited news story of last February that said
Panthers were due to report a rather embarrassing
net loss of $11 million bucks.
are not afraid to speak on the record about their
on and off field performance, which has seen better
Simpson, Panthers Group chief exec since last July,
said a culture change and "renewal of process"
across Panthers clubs had improved their situation.
Analysts question that was a PR line or absolute truth.
Mind you, we don't blame club for trying to focus
on positives. "We're probably looking at reducing
that loss by somewhere in the order of $8-$9 million,"
spokesperson said "At this stage of the gaming
the overseas trend of seeing sports groups and football
teams pick up sponsorship and strong branding for
gambling, gaming... sports betting companies looks
to be moving full speed ahead down under in Australia.
Centrebet might become the Bwin of Australia. PartyGaming
is said to be currently crunching numbers to see if
an Australian sports ground deal is viable. They already
have a Aussie Millions former champion sponsored by
their poker brand and a couple of Aussie poker players
signed up, so anything is possible. James Packer's
Betfair, a direct competitor of Centrebet is not likely
to take the situation lying down either. Betfair is
50% Packer owned and wants to keep building their
sports betting brand, as well as opening up many online
casino games in Australia, poker and more. Could an
Australian sports stadium ever be known as PartyGaming
stadium or WPT Stadium? Not overnight, but never say
never, stranger things have happened. It's all going
to add a lot of money into the game and business of
sport and entertainment, and already our firm is starting
to experience some positive spin off benefits. It's
all very exciting and profitable".
is an Australian bookmaker licensed in the Northern
originated from Alice Springs, Northern Territory
and was the first bookmaker to be licensed in Australia
in 1993 and the first bookmaker to go online in the
Southern Hemisphere. Centrebet was acquired by its
biggest domestic rival, the SportOdds Group in 2003
for the sum of AUD$46.55 million. In 2005, SportOdds
merged its Centrebet, SportOdds.com and SuperOdds.co.uk
businesses into one entity, known as Centrebet.
Kafataris is the CEO of the company while Peter Foot
acts as chief bookmaker.
is the second largest private bookmaking company in
Australia (Sportsbet is the largest) and one of the
biggest bookmakers in the world, with betting across
all sports (both within and outside of Australia),
horse racing and other events, including Australian
elections and television shows. The Centrebet Group
offers over 4000 individual betting options every
Centrebet Group has recently commenced expansion of
its core operations to include online gaming, including
poker and casino. However, due to Australia's Interactive
Gambling Act 2001, the Group are not permitted to
offer gaming products to Australians. In 2006, the
company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
has flagged strong profit growth next year, as it
takes a bigger share of the country's online wagering
is well positioned to deliver strong profit growth
in the 2010 financial year, supported by continued
growth in the Australian market, a rationalised cost
base and marketing investment adjusted to reflect
the change in industry dynamics," deputy managing
director Michael McRitchie said.
company also confirmed full-year profit guidance for
2008-09 at the upper end of its April forecast of
between $10 million and $11 million.
February, Centrebet said it was on track to deliver
a full-year profit of $14.3m, but two months later
it downgraded this forecast by 30 per cent.
company was stung by an $800,000 bad debt from one
of its customers, former Billabong chief executive
Matthew Perrin, who filed for bankruptcy in March.
McRitchie said deregulation had forced Centrebet to
spend more on marketing, reducing profits.
has now completed an extensive cost rationalisation
process to mitigate the cost impact of industry changes
and refocus on key priority markets -- total annualised
saving of over $2m is expected on a pre-tax basis,"
company has trimmed costs and cut staff numbers by
15 per cent, resulting in 34 job losses.
director Con Kafataris said: "While deregulation
of the industry has presented some short-term cost
challenges, it has created an attractive outlook for
Centrebet to grow market share.
expect the overall industry to show strong growth
over the medium term and Centrebet is well positioned
to maximise our share of the growth through customer-focused
product offerings, targeted marketing investment and
disciplined risk and cost management."
February, Centrebet made a $22m offer for International
All Sports but was rebuffed. Darwin-based Sportsbet
and its parent, Irish betting group Paddy Power, have
since made a takeover bid for IAS.
on unaudited accounts, Centrebet said its total revenue
had risen 6 per cent to $66.2m, driven by growth in
the Australian online wagering market.
online revenue rose 23 per cent to $32.9m -- 50 per
cent of total revenue. Its on-course revenue fell
31 per cent to $3.3 million, which only made up 5
per cent of revenue.
revenue, excluding poker, remained flat at $26.1m.
European poker revenue decreased 17 per cent to $3.8m.
successful launch of its fixed odds management contracts
with West Australian, ACT and Tasmanian TABs was a
company would manage more than $200m a year in fixed
costs betting turnover on behalf of the TABs.
share price rose 3c yesterday to close at 93c.
all economists would punt on Australia falling into
recession, but betting agency Centrebet is offering
good odds on the economy bottoming out.
bookmaker has Australia a $1.12 favourite to fall
into recession in the next 12 months and $5.50 if
it is avoided.
media chief Neil Evans said the effects of the production
meltdown in industries such as car manufacturing had
yet to hit Australia's economy.
global financial downturn has not even gone close
to bottoming out through Australia's economy,"
Mr Evans said in a statement on Tuesday.
for fearful retail and wholesale forecasts through
the Christmas-New Year period, it will be a miracle
if Australia avoids recession."
forecasts from JP Morgan and Citigroup both predict
Australia will suffer a technical recession - face
two quarters of negative economic growth in early
economists predict the economy will be flat, avoiding
recession through measures like the federal government's
economic stimulus package and cuts in interest rates.
this month, the Australian Business Economists executive
committee, including economists from Westpac, nabCapital
and Reserve Bank of Australia, placed the chance of
recession at 40 per cent.
has also released its latest market for the Reserve
Bank's next interest rates decision, with a 75 basis
point rate cut the favourite at $2.35, ahead of a
50 basis point cut at $2.40, and 100 basis point drop
Northern Territory betting outlet was yesterday asked
to withdraw a market framed on the return to race
riding of convicted jockey Chris Munce because it
threatened to inflame the strained relationship between
Hong Kong and Racing NSW further.
bookmaker Centrebet prepared to bet $5.50 about the
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey riding a winner and making
a fairytale return to the racetrack at Randwick's
Kensington course today. Punters could take $1.15
about Munce going winless on his first day back at
(Northern Territory) Government stepped in and put
an end to the market before it had a chance to see
the light of day," said the source, who did not
wish to be identified. "The authorities felt
it was too sensitive, given all the tension between
NSW and Hong Kong."
considered Sheezvalue, in the fifth race, the best
of Munce's rides. His book of mounts was reduced to
two yesterday when trainer David Hayes withdrew Swoop
And Destroy from the opening event on the twilight
clearance by Racing NSW will be a topic of discussion
at the Australian Racing Board's monthly meeting this
morning in Sydney.
NSW elected not to acknowledge a 30-month disqualification,
handed down by the Hong Kong Jockey Club this month.
Backdated to March 1, 2007 and still with 10 months
to run, the disqualification would normally have been
routinely endorsed in Australia.