COMMENTATOR, OR BOOKMAKER?
UPDATE: Tom Waterhouse will have a reduced role during live football matches for the remainder of the season after NRL executives admitted he had blurred the lines between commentary and advertising.
The NRL’s general manager for strategic relations, Shane Mattiske, yesterday told a federal parliamentary inquiry that negative feedback had prompted the league to take action.
Here’s yesterday’s story.
Commentator, or bookmaker? And can a 10 year-old tell the difference?
Tom Waterhouse, who has long since reached saturation point in our living rooms, is to face a gambling inquiry in Canberra about his role of a “commentator” embedded with the Channel Nine NRL coverage team.
According to Heath Aston at smh.com.au Waterhouse will be asked questions at a specially convened parliamentary hearing about the spread of gambling into live broadcasts.
“The 30 year-old Waterhouse has a multimillion dollar deal with Channel Nine to exclusively spruik odd during football coverage but questions are being asked in Canberra as to whether he is sidestepping a new code of conduct designed to delineate the roles of commentator and bookmaker,” Aston writes.
Waterhouse paid Channel Nine $15 million for the privilege.
Senator Richard di Natale, a member of the gambling reform committee, said the bookmaker was pushing the boundaries.
“Young kids can’t tell the difference between a bookie and commentator when they’re all standing there together.
“Tom Waterhouse has been a lightening rod for the anger that’s brewing about the constant bombardment of betting odds on TV, often when kids are watching.”
Government committee member Stephen Jones told parliament last week “I think I am in union with most average football fans when I say: enough is enough.”
Jones said he had spoken to many people on the matter and “they just about explode when you raise the issue … they complain that their kids can now quote the odds on their team winning or losing.
And Senator Nick Xenophon said this: “The only way to stop the normalising of gambling and sport is to have federal legislation to stop the live odds being rammed down our throats. ”
Here’s what The Hoopla’s Tracey Spicer recently had to say on the matter of the murky infiltration of gambling into our lives:
Gambling has always been glamorous.
In the good old days, you’d turn up to a muddy track and give your money to a man in a rumpled suit to watch horses being whipped to within an inch of their lives.
If your horse won, you’d take the money. And put it on another horse. If your horse lost, you paid the strange man in the bag of fruit. And lost your house. If you didn’t pay, your toes would be cut off: the epitome of old world glamour.
Then the popularity of pokies almost killed this sport of kings.
The suburban set couldn’t resist the allure of the technicolour carpet, free peanuts, and the Queen of the Nile. Of course, cunning Cleopatra would steal our money but we always came back for more – until the purveyors of this fine art decided we should be free to gamble wherever we choose: on a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet.
Welcome to the world of online gambling, where too much glamour is barely enough.
Imagine yourself sitting on a stained suede lounge, decked out in tracksuit and ugg boots, feet on the coffee table, placing bets on your mobile phone? Tres chic.
Actually, we don’t use the word ‘bets’ anymore.
It’s not ‘gambling’; it’s a ‘lifestyle’. These are the odds on Tom Waterhouse looking clean-cut in a Savile Row suit: 2-1.
Offering odds on anything from horse racing to whether House Husbands will win a Logie: Even.
Admitting eight per cent of Australians are problem gamblers: 1000-1.
Laughing at a Chaser parody with the tagline, “As a Waterhouse, I was born to help people lose their money”: 100,000-1.
According to a gushing News Ltd. article, “Waterhouse is also single-handedly engineering a cultural shift in the way Australians perceive gambling by rebranding the once-seedy online wagering industry as a de rigueur hobby for the aspirational set.”
The aspirationals are mainly virgins: tomwaterhouse.com has attracted 100,000 punters in two years and despite being a regular visitor to the house of God, Tom says moral issues don’t trouble him.
He told Fairfax, “I always say to people who bet with me, anything in excess is bad for you: shopping, eating, gambling”.
He’s right. I’m always reading about people who’ve lost their life savings through shopping or eating.
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