4 Feb 2011

Melbourne Storm latest NRL club to go gambling

6:40 pm on 4 February 2011

Melbourne are expecting a backlash after becoming the latest National Rugby League club to link with a gambling establishment after confirming Crown casino as their new major sponsor.

Last year the club was stripped of all points and two premierships during the salary cap scandal, but have now announced the Crown as their front-of-jersey sponsor for the season.

Melbourne chief executive Ron Gauci admitted there would be criticism of the club's link with gambling however he's defending the arrangment saying Crown offers a home for Storm supporters, which the club hadn't had since it joined the competition in 1998.

All Storm after-match and mid-season functions for members will be held at Crown.

The Storm lost major sponsors Host Plus and ME Bank in the wake of last season's scandal.

The Storm joins South Sydney as the second NRL club to have a gambling establishment as their major sponsor, while Penrith have renamed their home ground Centrebet Stadium and Manly will also have the Centrebet logo on the back of their jumper.

Melbourne's announcement also comes in the same week as Ryan Tandy, who left the Storm midway through last season to join Canterbury, was arrested and charged as a result of an ongoing police investigation into irregular betting on a match between the Bulldogs and North Queensland last August.