The National Rugby League (NRL) is understood to be exploring ways in which to cash in on the ever-growing, increasingly lucrative US online sports betting market, with the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) director Gary Weiss having drafted a strategy to gain a foothold in the US.
Indeed, the chairman of the ARLC, Peter V’Landys has been particularly vocal about his intentions to grow the sport’s competition (which takes place in Australia and New Zealand), in the US, in a bid to target even more people and has had conversations with representatives of all 16 clubs.
“I raised this when I first became chair, that we were going to look at the US market of sport,” V’Landys stated. “We can see extraordinary potential in it.
“There was a $500 billion-plus illegal market. Well, each state is now starting to legalise sports betting and all the wagering operators are frantic, casinos are buying wagering companies because it’s going to be the big play in America.
“We want to get in there and there are various ways of doing it.”
A way in has already been pinpointed
It is understood that the ARLC has identified a potential route to market, with one of the clubs set to (indirectly at least) believed to be the most realistic link. Co-owner and Chairman of Melbourne Storm, Matt Tripp is also the founder of the BetEasy brand; the online sportsbook that is licensed to the Australian Northern Territory, and preliminary conversations are said to be underway.
Tripp was particularly optimistic when asked whether this idea had the potential to be successful stating: “Most definitely, if they handle it right they could tap into a very large and growing market that would see them generate incremental revenues from wagering that they didn’t expect to get at this time two or three years ago.
“Given everyone sees the US as a wagering gold rush, there is certainly an opportunity for the NRL to leverage their assets, package them up and distribute them to US wagering operators.”
Definite appeal for the US market
Traditionally, the most popular US sports are fast-paced and exciting and the NRL is one of the best rugby league competitions in the world; streets ahead of the UK’s equivalent the – Super League, which also includes French club the Catalan Dragons.
Bringing the NRL to the US betting market certainly has the potential to raise interest, especially if the marketing strategy is right, and Tripp certainly sees the value that is to be had.
It remains to be seen what the eventual route to entry would be, though Bet Easy is likely to be a prominent catalyst in bringing this to reality.
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