NRL Club Fights to Keep Poker Site Deal

Published April 13, 2010

NRL Club Fights to Keep Poker Site Deal

Sydney Roosters seek legal advice after government warning over offshore poker sites.

National Rugby League club the Sydney Roosters are seeking legal advice in a big to ensure they maintain their sponsorship with online poker company Full Tilt.

The move came after the National Rugby League said Monday it would not be pursuing an agreement with the same poker site, following advice from the Australian government.

The Roosters' deal is with FullTiltPoker.net, which is an educational site on which customers cannot gamble.

Local newspapers reported in late March that the NRL was considering a deal with Full Tilt Poker that would allow each of the league's 16 clubs - including the Roosters - share in a A$100,000 intake by advertising the site on their club websites.

But the federal government aired its concerns over the possible deal, which could be in breach of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, which prohibits unregulated offshore gambling companies from entering the Australian market.

This does not necessarily mean the Roosters' relationship with Full Tilt is over; CEO Steve Noyce said Sunday that the government suggested the club consider legal advice before choosing whether to continue its relationship with the website.

Several rugby league clubs have sponsorship deals with online bookmakers, but those deals have come under less scrutiny because they are with Australian companies.

The Brisbane Broncos signed last year with Sportingbet Australia, while the Gold Coast Titans, West Tigers, Newcastle Knights, Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles are other clubs to enjoy sponsorship deals with betting agencies.

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