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.

tom-waterhouse-_-2According to Heath Aston at 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: 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.

This must be why the $30 billion online gambling industry is targeting women – they’re trying to break our shopping addiction.

According to The Guardian, internet gambling is attracting more women than the traditionally male-dominated betting shops and casinos.


Online appeal: internet gambling is attracting more women than betting shops & casinos.


As cultural anthropologist Natasha Dow Schull says, “This isn’t like buying shoes. These are potent and powerful devices effective in shifting your inner mood and state”.

Her research found several incidents of women leaving their babies to die. Good to see gambling is an equal opportunity destroyer.

The Waterhouses must be so proud.

In the words of Tim Costello, “We are going to look back in some years and credit (Tom) Waterhouse with a whole new generation of gamblers.”

Or perhaps a whole new generation of losers.

One caller to Radio 2UE last week claimed online sites refuse to take bets from known ‘winners’.

So the only ones allowed to gamble are mug punters.

Tom Waterhouse (below) is certainly no mug. He spends half his week living at Crown Casino because of Victoria’s liberal gambling laws. With a baby on the way, he’ll soon spend more time in Sydney, as it ups the ante in the glamour stakes.


tom-waterhouseTom Waterhouse: Glamourising gambling. Photo via The Daily Telegraph.

No, I’m not talking about the Spring Racing Carnival, with its “fillies on and off the field”, but that pillar of polite society, James Packer, who has been given first-stage approval to build a Crown Casino in Sydney.

The Daily Telegraph featured a fit Packer on the front page under the headline Casino Royale, likening him to another James – Bond. He wouldn’t have liked that – Crown doesn’t like to use the word ‘Casino’. Its ads speak of ‘entertainment’, ‘accommodation’, and ‘six star service’.

No mention of kids being left in the car park or gamblers shooting themselves.

It’s all about the glitz and the glamour. Just don’t scratch the shiny surface.




Dying for a Metaphor

Dear Mr Sexist

Life’s Too Short To Be Busy

Time to Pull The Plug On Alan Jones


*Tracey Spicer is a respected journalist who has worked for many years in radio, print and television.
Channel Nine and 10 news presenter and reporter; 2UE and Vega broadcaster; News Ltd. columnist; Sky News anchor …it’s been a dream career for the Brisbane schoolgirl with a passion for news and current affairs.
Tracey is a passionate advocate for issues as diverse as voluntary euthanasia, childhood vaccinations, breastfeeding, better regulation of foreign investment in Australia’s farmland, and curtailed opening hours for pubs and clubs. She is an Ambassador for World Vision, ActionAid, WWF, the Royal Hospital for Women’s Newborn Care Centre and the Penguin Foundation, Patron of Cancer Council NSW and The National Premmie Foundation, and the face of the Garvan Institute’s research into pancreatic cancer, which killed her beloved mother Marcia 11 years ago. But Tracey’s favourite job, with her husband, is bringing up two beautiful children – six-year-old Taj and five-year-old Grace. Visit Tracey’s website at or follow her on Twitter @spicertracey.


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  • Reply March 27, 2013


    Innovation makes the world a better place, let’s not over react. My 10yr old son has a crush on the girl doing the odds on A-League soccer matches, I don’t even remember her name. I bet, often, and YES, some money goes to TW_Bet, there will be no apologies for that either. Tom Waterhouse is all about racing/sport by day, husband, father, son, by night..there are thousands like him. Wish there were thousands like him when it comes to giving back to the community, and for having the desire to make use of lessons learnt in his 30yrs. Many things are bad for us, thankfully we have the right to make choices, therefore, turn off the Fucking TV, people, and get on with doing what doesn’t upset you…

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    Get rid of him – it is an outrage on every level!

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    Aussieblonk, tell that to people who have lost loved ones who have committed suicide for owing money for gambling. Gambling, like drinking and smoking are addictions, and bottom feeders like the Waterhouses are profiting from this disease. Why it is allowed on TV, Radio or the Internet is curious. It is an insidious practice, and just contributes to encouraging minors to bet, and sports to corrupt. You will reap what you sow.

    • Reply March 27, 2013


      I completely agree with what Lucille said. Gambling is not harmless for many people…

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    Kerry Nth beaches

    Tom Waterhouse or not, I am sick of watching sport on TV with odds being shown on the screen continually. If people want to put a bet on, let the few of them who are interested go to the tab or something. It should not be shown popping up on everyone’s TV.

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    Right now we are getting weekly polls about the next election. So that question of commentators chatting betting odds does not just apply to sports, but other cultural and social elements of this society we live in.

    Gambling is a problem. Introducing kids to gambling via “sports” broadcasts should be stopped.

    When you have the weight of opinion and support with you, it is easier not to worry or bet. When you don’t, life as a chance and feeling lucky or belonging feels like a good option~ on a chance, which might, but probably won’t, make life different for you or yours..

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    Kerry Nth beaches

    Aussieblonk. Why should I turn off my TV. I enjoy watching sport. You go up the fucking track or game if uou want to gamble instead off subjecting 100% of viewers to crappy odds

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    Jack Dempsey

    no odds on tv is good

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    The lack of corporate and parental responsibility in this country is both appalling and extremely dangerous.
    Absolutely agree Kerry Nth beaches. I love watching sport and in the past couple of years my enjoyment has been totally destroyed by these idiots constantly pushing gambling odds. I have now turned off. So like newspapers who are losing thier readership as people vote with their feet, television is in danger of facing the same fate.

    I’m also a psychologist and am seeing a rapid increase in suicides as a direct result of gambling. It is addictive, and extremely dangerous.
    Fast food being pushed during televised sport by singers and ‘celebrities’ is just as bad.

    aussieblonk – your 10yr old son has a crush on the girl doing the odds on A-League soccer matches and presumably is learning to gamble at the same time. Will you clean up the mess you’re creating with him in the future, or will you leave that to his teachers and psychs like me?

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    How often do people use the argument that people “give back to the community” to justify their actions. Tom Waterhouse is probably giving back a tiny fraction of the amount he makes by feeding peoples addictive gambling habits…and you bet he’ll be claiming a tax deduction as well as enjoying the privilege and status of a “generous donor”

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    Commentators traditionally had some knowledge of the sport. Waterhouse is no commentator. He’s a pusher, no better than other addictive substance pushers- just better dressed

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    Stella Burnell

    Before this disease of sports betting took hold, commentators used to tell us how the team was playing. Now, all we hear is “what the odds are “. I have grave fears for sport in this country – when gambling becomes a big part of sport, corruption is likely to follow.

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    With all due respect Julie, my boy loves sport, something he ‘inherited’ from his dad & 25yr old brother. If I were to censor everything, there would be no computer time, no television, no playing sport, and because of bullying, no school. Each of us have an opinion, wouldn’t have it any other way, but as a society, best we focus on things we can control. But don’t get me wrong, because before days end, I will hear or read something that infuriates me, and my short fuse will be ignited…but a psych like you already knows that.

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    I think aussieblonk has missed the point. Waterhouse wants LOSERS – be clear about that, he does not want you to WIN and increasingly it would seem networks and major sporting organisations are giving him unlimited access to people who are soon going to be his LOSERS (or customers if you like). It changes the whole nature of thngs to bet on whether someone kicks first goal or who becomes Pope, can’t you see the vested interest changes the whole discussion … oh and maybe just a teeny bit of corruption can creep in? No, get betting off TV it’s just too sad.

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    When you have been given everything you want as a child and then adult and have a lot of money to throw around you think you can pay to do anything you want. He wouldn’t be thinking if anyone but himself. The whole family is an example of who benefits from gambling.

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    This supposedly innocent bombardment of betting odds during sport on TV etc. is a pox on normal family lifestyles. I don’t take my children to clubs where there are poker machines so why would I like my children being subliminally influenced into believing that gambling whether online of otherwise is a normal part of life.
    The are enough addictions out there to dissuade your children from partaking in while they are growing up – like smoking, drugs and alcohol. So why would I want to add gambling however innocent they make it out to be. He is just out there to make himself more richer he doesn’t care about the poor smuck (loser) who cannot control his or her addictions. He is just rubbing his hands together with glee every-time the add airs

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    It’s a disgrace at every level.I have been a lover of footie for 50 years, sadly being bombarded by this rubbish is trashing not only the coverage and the game but more importantly prompting values that are questionable! Come on Channel 9 and come on the commentary team being associated this this. One minute you are talking about someone being ill and what wonderful person they are,,,the next you are colluding with this less than human stuff!!!,

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    I have become more and more appalled by the insidious ‘creeping’ of sport betting into our TVs and into our lives. Now it is so “in my face” that I just turn if off. I am not into betting or other addictive pastimes but, like so many others, have seen up close the terrible results of gambling addition. It ruins lives, jobs, families and futures. I totally agree that this advertising should be banned on, in or near TV sporting events and broadcasts. In fact everywhere, if I had my way! As should cigarette and alcohol advertising, for that matter. People have free will, so let’s go back to the good ol’ days when gamblers had to seek out gambling opportunities, instead of having it thrust in their (and our!) faces.

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    ban advertising of gambling on TV and cinemas like cigaretts

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    Jack Richards

    I have written to my state and federal MPs voicing my displeasure and asking them what they are going to do about it. Here is a copy of the letter I have sent

    Dear Mr …..

    I am writing to you to voice my concern about the rampant advertising of gambling during televised sporting events – particularly NRL and AFL games.

    It seems that you cannot watch a game these days without that smarmy little spiv, Tom Waterhouse, calling the odds and commentating at every possible opportunity. Personally I can’t stand the bastard, just like I couldn’t stand his father Robbie “Fine Cotton” Waterhouse, or his grand-father Big Bill Waterhouse whose coterie of friends included Abe Saffron and Lennie McPherson.

    Isn’t there enough gambling ruining people’s lives without that cheap swindler advertising his corrupt wares during “G” rated sporting events? Pubs and clubs can’t put up signs advertising their poker-machine parlours but that sleaze can pop up every few minutes to tell us how to “gamble responsibly” over the internet and or by telephone. How does anyone know that a bet coming via a smartphone is not coming from a 14 year-old? Who checks the ID to make sure the “punter” is over 18? Any kid over 12 can get a “complete access MasterCard Debit Card” from any bank and thus can gamble without question.

    What are you doing about this giant tapeworm in the gut of society? What is the O’Farrell Government doing to reign in the sleazy, slick, spivs turning every sporting event into a gambling fiesta?

    If Pubs and Clubs can’t advertise their gambling opportunities in the streets or in the media, why does Waterhouse and others get to invade my lounge-room every time there’s an NRL or AFL match?

    Yours sincerely

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    Nel Matheson

    That’s it. I have now boycotted another commercial channel. Can’t believe that this is happening. My viewing options are narrowing by the day!

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    sue Bell

    My grandfather was an S.P. bookie. I learnt as a young child that the bookie always win. I have not and will not gamble and let’s face it, two up is the only gambling game which cannot be rigged and it’s the game that is banned.

  • Reply March 27, 2013


    Jack Richards very well written. I have the very odd flutter on porkies and the odd lotto. Pubs can’t advertise so why should he be ramming it down our throats.

  • Reply March 28, 2013


    He is indeed a most irritating individual. Also runs Bordellos I believe .Nice all round savoury guy.

  • Reply March 29, 2013

    Terry Frost

    What are the odds of any random article containing a mispelling of the word lightning?

  • Reply April 1, 2013


    I now know why Tim Wilson of i.p.a commentator/public policy fame likes Ms Waterhouse…

    They are in the same predicament but are still there spruiking for their i.p.a masters….?

    The line has been blurred with them as well!!

  • Reply April 1, 2013



    Enought of that fake pseudoanalysis by Tim on a.b.c breakfast…

  • […] Commentator or Bookmaker?  […]

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