The NRL is on the precipice of launching its product into a lucrative international market following advances towards the total legalisation of sports gambling within the United States.
In a report from The Sydney Morning Herald's Adrian Proszenko on Tuesday, it was stated that with more American states seeking to decriminalise wagering on sports events, the keepers of the code were keen to launch their product across land and sea.
According to ESPN in April, 28 of America's 50 states have already legalised some form of sports gambling following a ruling in New Jersey's Supreme Court in May of 2018 handing them the right to do so.
As the vast majority of bets placed on sporting events between California and Maine are made on the black market, it is impossible to truly know how much the average American spends on the market each year.
Still, with just shy of 60 per cent of the country's 330 million citizens claiming they were avid sports fans in 2020, the amount is certain to be in the billions.
Windfall from gambling has long been the financial foundation of rugby league in this country, but with punter's wagers seeing $40 million enter the competition's coffers across the past season, it is now the game's most gainful source of income alongside broadcasting deals.
While the concept of the code may be foreign to Americans, Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) director Gary Weiss has stated that the governing body is now in the process of tailoring products that will attract the plethora of greenbacks on offer.
Proszenko also reported that Melbourne Storm chairman and co-owner Matthew Tripp is likely to be a part of this procedure due to his sound knowledge of both markets in play.
Prior to commencing his role with the purple powerhouse, Tripp had founded bookmaking site BetEasy before then going on to lead the affairs of Sportsbet.
Given the nation's stereotypical propensity towards spending coupled with their love of sports, Tripp told The Sydney Morning Herald the market inclusion would likely be a boon for the game's bottom line.
“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,” he told Proszenko.
“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.
“They are all jostling to gain market share over the next few years, with huge marketing budgets. Some of them literally have $1 billion allocated for marketing alone over the course of the next few years.
“There is certainly going to be a play there to tap into that. I just hope they execute it well, because it’s in the best interests of the game.”
While stating that a move onto foreign territory was on the cards, Tripp also provided an estimate as to what the league's money moves could see them net.
“It wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest that, whatever they are generating from wagering now, they could add 50-60 per cent onto that over the course of the next five years," he said in finality.
As another powerbroker with knowledge of both markets given his role with CEO of Racing NSW, Peter V'landys also stated that the shift to include more eyes on their product had been in the pipeline for some time.
“I raised this when I first became chair, that we were going to look at the US market of sport,” the ARLC chairman said.
“We can see extraordinary potential in it. Sports betting has never been legalised in the US.
“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.”
Proszenko also stated that V'landys had explained his intentions to each of the league's 16 club heads last week, however, he was still keen to keep his cards close to his chest on the matter.
“We believe it could be one of the big revenue earners for the game,” V’landys said.
“That’s what we’re exploring. I don’t want to say much more than that.”