BETTING on AFL and league is set to double over the next five years, driven by strong growth in online gambling, a new Deloitte report says.
The report, commissioned by bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au, found annual betting on the AFL is $900 million, with $750 million wagered on the NRL. This is forecast to rise to $1.8 billion (AFL) and $1.5 billion (NRL) in five years.
Deloitte found total turnover on sports betting grew more than 13 per cent a year, driven by strong growth in online sports wagering of 28 per cent.
But sports betting, $3.3 billion a year across all sports, is small compared to racing, which has an annual turnover of $20 billion.
The findings, particularly the continued proliferation, have raised concerns about moves to liberalise online gambling.
A final review of online gambling laws is now with the government and is being considered after a May interim report recommended liberalising internet gambling, along with the introduction of harm minimisation measures.
Its recommendations were largely welcomed by sports and betting agencies. The opposition and the Greens both raised concerns about a further liberalisation of online betting.
Individual bookies have product fee agreements with sporting bodies, with most based on a gross win model where a percentage of profit is paid to the code.
Earlier this year, the High Court ruled NSW Racing could charge betting companies 1.5 per cent of overall turnover as their product fee. There have been reports the NRL is now considering a similar switch, which Deloitte says will drive down the value of bookies profits and revenue to the code.
If this model was adopted, Deloitte said, it would significantly reduce the profitability of NRL bets. Sportsbet's chief financial officer, Ben Sleep, said switching to a turnover-based product fee would cost the NRL $11 million but benefit the coffers of the AFL, with it potentially making an extra $29 million if it maintained the current system.
with Henrietta Cook