Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Russell Crowe defends Star City’s Rabbitohs sponsorship

Russell Crowe defends Star City’s Rabbitohs sponsorship
January 31, 2011

South Sydney owner Russell Crowe has defended his club's multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with Sydney's Star City casino, as the debate rages over the NRL's association with gambling.

The NRL club last week announced the sponsorship deal with the Sydney casino that will lead to the Star City logo appearing on the front of Rabbitohs' home jerseys for the next three seasons.

The deal comes just days after Penrith announced the renaming of their home ground as Centrebet Stadium, while Manly will also have the Centrebet logo on the back of their jumper this season.

The announcement of the sponsorships come amid an investigation into betting irregularities during a clash between Canterbury and North Queensland last year.

Souths' new commercial arrangements represent a huge change by Crowe and co-owner Peter Holmes a Court, who in 2007 tried to remove poker machines from Souths Leagues Club, saying that taking profit from poker machines was at odds with the club's program.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Crowe as saying "the football club is a completely different organisation from the leagues club.

"We don't have any control over what the leagues club does; they run their own game."
Crowe then defended the move by defining Star City as primarily an entertainment precinct and suggested society benefits from gambling revenue, adding "this is an entertainment venue in general; it's not just about gambling.

"Let's get real about this situation; we're living in a state where they're telling us that the revenue from poker machines is paying for our hospitals.

"What we're talking about here is about a connection between two organisations that are all about entertainment, that are all about the future of Sydney."

Souths Chief Executive Shane Richardson echoed the views expressed by NRL Chief Executive David Gallop that the association between sport and gambling "is as old as sport itself".

Richardson added "let's be honest no sport in the world could ignore it, we're not holier than thou, the NFL, the English Premier League, wherever it is, there's gambling.

"As David Gallop said all along, it's going to be there, it's a major part of what sport is whether we like it or not and we've got to be part of it to have some sort of control over it."

Crowe admitted that his own personal opinions were at loggerheads with the deal and recognised that problem gamblers, who account for 40% of gambling revenue, were an issue of concern.

"I don't like them (poker machines), I'm not a fan of them; I've made that clear in the past, but in life I am a gambler. The fact that I took on South Sydney underlines that."

Image: Russell Crowe.

Related Articles

24th June 2009 - NRL to review club Corporate Governance

19th June 2009 - Rugby League Crowds on the Rise

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Rhinoplay offers playground equipment in Australia that is safe, durable, and most importantly fun! We specialise in creating unique indoor playgrounds for play centres and outdoor playgrounds for…

read more

Parks / Play / Surfaces


TJS Services

TJS Services is a leading national facility services provider. We deliver quality cleaning, maintenance, construction and facility management services to over 1,500 sites Australia wide.  Our…

read more

Hospitality / Retail / Venues


SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp)

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp) is an expert retail and marketing services team specialising in sports, leisure, aquatics, fitness, health, wellness & recreation industry. Using proven…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Fitness / Marketing / Retail


Otium Planning Group

Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues



Humanforce is a global provider of workforce management solutions for companies who need flexibility to manage complex workforces. Companies use Humanforce to manage everything from time and…

read more

Hospitality / Retail / Technology / Venues


The Retention People Australia

TRP help health clubs, leisure centres and gyms across the globe create happy, loyal members through our user-friendly software which enables effective engagement and the delivery exceptional customer…

read more

Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology / Wellness


Neptune Benson

Neptune Benson is a manufacturer of high quality water filtration and disinfection products for the recreational, industrial, and municipal water markets. With more than 20,000 installations…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation



Ecoline is a highly experienced and skilled company that offers world-first technology in safety, protects the environment and provides a unique and challenging custom-made adventure and educational…

read more

Attractions / Environment / Safety / Tourism


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business