Cricket Aust refuses BBL gambling sponsor

Steve Larkin

Cricket Australia has turned down an offer from a betting company to sponsor the Big Bash League.

CA chief executive Kevin Roberts has revealed the rejected approach as his organisation comes under criticism for taking sponsorship from gambling companies.

He says the BBL sponsorship offer from an un-named gambling company didn't fit with the domestic Twenty20 competition.

"That is something we won't do because it's fun, family entertainment," Roberts told SEN radio on Saturday.

CA is heavily sponsored by Bet365, which has drawn the ire of Tim Costello, the chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, who has called on cricket to sever ties with the betting agency.

"There's two very separate points here," Roberts said.

"The integrity of the game, it's all about keeping the game clean.

"And, on the other hand, very separately, we have a commercial arrangement in the sports betting space in Australia.

"I would note that we're very conservative in that space ... we have an existing commercial arrangement in some other forms of the game and we need to honour that at this point in time.

"But in terms of our future commercial strategy ... we're going to be reflecting on the sponsorship categories and the markets where we want to do more, where we want to maintain our position, and in some cases where we want to do less."

Asked when CA would review its sponsorship with Bet365, Roberts said "when the time is right".

"I don't want to jump the gun, the worst thing we could do is react prematurely," he said.

Roberts said if CA didn't have betting sponsorship, television coverage wouldn't look any different because of the number of non-sponsor gambling companies that advertise during play.