NRL Opens to Pre-Season Betting

Ben H / 15 November 2022

NRL betting enthusiasts will be happy to learn that a new NRL pre-season tournament kicks off this summer and, for the first time, they will be able to bet on it. However, the NRL continues to ignore calls for allowing bets on player prop markets such as runs, try assists, and tackles.

Last week, the NRL announced it will organize a two-week pre-season competition during the summer. Sources have now told the Sydney Morning Herald that the code will allow betting on all pre-season games and has already informed betting operators in Australia about its decision.

All 17 NRL Teams Will Take Part

Rugby bettors can wager on regular season NRL games and the All-Stars Game and Charity Shield. Starting this summer, the NRL betting offer is about to get bigger, with the NRL proposing that Australian bookmakers include its pre-season challenge tournament in their offering.

The trial competition will include all 17 teams and British Super League winners St Helens who will play a pre-season game against St George Illawarra and will then go head to head with NRL champions Penrith Panthers.

The pre-season challenge tournament will help teams to get ready for the regular season, but also comes with a cash prize for the winners. However, the NRL has not announced the format of the competition yet.

What we know for sure is that each pre-season match will be played in a separate timeslot, thus allowing Foxtel to broadcast each trial game live.

NRL Still Not Ready for Player Prop Bets and Same-Game Multis

Interestingly, despite the NRL announcing that it will open up wagering on pre-season games, it is still not ready to offer player prop markets, such as those AFL bettors can wager on.

Reports say that three Australian bookies proposed that wagering on the NRL is expanded to also include player prop markets such as runs, tackles, and try assists made by individual players. However, the NRL refused those proposals.

According to sources, the three bookies pitched these fantasy-inspired bet types as new revenue streams for the NRL, pointing to the success of AFL same-game multis that allow punters to compile accumulator bets from just one game by betting on stats-based markets like tackles, possessions, and try-scorers.

However, the NRL stood firm and said it wouldn’t follow in AFL’s footsteps, citing the integrity of those markets as the reason for refusing the pitch.

That doesn’t mean that the NRL will continue ignoring player prop markets in the future, though. Revenue that comes from betting is among the top NRL revenue streams and is the fastest-growing source of income for the league. So, it won’t be surprising if the NRL changes its stance on fantasy-inspired player bets in the future.

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and four children's books... [Read full bio]

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