The Lions have a chequered recent history with sponsors, with former major partner Camperdown Dairy International collapsing in 2017, only months after apparel provided BLK folded.
The debt-ridden Lions are one of a host of AFL clubs who remain heavily reliant on AFL funding, having received a $23.6 million distribution from the league last year.
The club was however recently boosted by an announcement that the Federal Government would provide $15 million funding for the Lions long-awaited training and administration facility in Springfield, about 33 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD.
Should the Lions sign with Neds, it would come despite the AFL’s partnership with BetEasy, which previously traded as Crownbet.
Sports betting sponsorships had been relatively in vogue in the AFL during the early part of the decade but have been on the nose in recent years as a host of Victorian clubs turned their backs on partnerships with corporate bookmakers, instead joining forces with the Victorian Responsible Gaming Foundation.
Melbourne, Geelong, Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs have also either exited or announced planned exits from poker machine revenue, while North Melbourne divested themselves of pokies money a decade ago.
Richmond wore a Luxbet logo on their jumper around a decade ago, while St Kilda’s jumper had a Centrebet badge between 2011 and 2013.
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett, whose club reap millions from pokies annually, last year slammed the AFL for their stance on pokies.
“I hold the AFL not responsible, partly responsible, I think sports betting is the biggest scourge in our community at the moment,” Kennett said.
“It’s not restricted in terms of its promotion and advertising in the same way casinos or gaming machines are.
“So you’re now not only getting players but you’re getting children who are being indoctrinated from an early age to believe their future or future success and future wealth will come from gaming. The AFL is a major beneficiary from the money paid from sports betting.”
The Federal Government last year announced a ban on sports betting advertisements during telecasts of live sporting events between 5am and 8:30pm.
Greater Western Sydney chairman Tony Shepherd has also previously raised his concerns about sports betting.
“This gambling issue could impact the integrity of the game in future. I see it as a significant issue that has to be dealt with,” Shepherd said.
“I’m an anti-regulation person but I think regulation is probably the only answer.”
Daniel is an Age sports reporter.