Gambling giant Betfair has inked a deal with the National Rugby League (NRL), as part of which punters will be permitted to bet against each other for the restart of the season. The 11-hour deal was reached after the gambling company projected that its turnover is to experience a decline considering the fact that the NRL commission is four times higher than the one of the Australian Football League (AFL).
The announcement of the deal was made last night by Betfair, which has previously declined to ink an integrity agreement with the National Rugby League in protest at the growth registered in product fees.
Several other bookmakers were not very pleased to sign the deals in order to be given the chance to offer betting on matches from the NRL before the season starts. All NRL and other professional sports events were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. As Betfair explained, it will boost its market base rate from 6% registered in 2019 to 10% in 2020. The gambling company also emphasized on the fact that its take-out on matches from the AFL would be only 2.5% this year.
Tim Moore-Barton, the chief executive of Betfair’s Australian unit, also praised the NRL for the great work during the Covid-19 lockdown that was aimed at securing the League’s future and to resume the rugby season for its fans at the earliest time possible. What the company has found disappointing, was the product fee model of the NRL that rules out high volume, low margin operator such as companies that offer a betting exchange.
Gambling Revenue Would Be Extremely Important to the NRL Considering the Covid-19 Lockdown
Mr Moore-Barton explained that in Betfair kept the commission it charges customers flat on last year, now the company would have been forced to pay more than two-thirds of its revenue in product fees. And these costs would have hit Betfair apart from the other operating expenses and taxes, including so-called point-of-consumption tax. As he shared, this was what made the gambling operator increase its commission on the NRL to 10%.
Betfair Australia’s boss further revealed that the Betfair exchange is found particularly appealing by customers who are willing to get better odds, who are willing to trade, as well as to players who do not like the opportunities offered by regular fixed-odds bookmakers.
Other online sports betting operators have shared their concern that customers will become oriented to rival offshore markets to bet on rugby matches, as they considerably reduced the promotion of rugby league products because of a lack of financial benefit. Considering the fact that the NRL season was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, the importance of gambling revenue to the League would be in the spotlight, with an expected decline in renegotiated broadcast deals with Foxtel and Nine for the remaining part of the season.