Bookie blurs commentary lines
Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse will be called to front a parliamentary hearing into the spread of gambling into live sporting broadcasts.PT1M10S http://www.dailylife.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2gt5p 620 349 March 27, 2013
Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse will be called to attend a specially convened parliamentary hearing into the spread of gambling into live sporting broadcasts.
The 30-year-old Waterhouse has a multimillion-dollar deal with Channel Nine to exclusively spruik odds 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.
Young kids can't tell the difference between a bookie and a commentator when they're all standing there together.
After paying $15 million for the privilege, Waterhouse has been embedded with the Nine commentary team for NRL broadcasts, updating the changing odds but also giving his opinion on play.
Facing parliamentary hearing: Tom Waterhouse. Photo: Sahlan Hayes
He also hosts a panel discussion with figures such as Phil Gould and commentator Ray Warren on the next day's horse racing form.
Senator Richard di Natale, a member of the gambling reform committee that will invite Waterhouse to appear, said the bookmaker was ''pushing the boundaries''. ''Young kids can't tell the difference between a bookie and a commentator when they're all standing there together,'' he said.
''Tom Waterhouse has been a lightning rod for the anger that's brewing about the constant bombardment of betting odds on TV, often when kids are watching.''
Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
Waterhouse did not return calls for comment. A date has not been set for the special hearing but is expected to be within weeks.
A government member of the committee, Stephen Jones, told Parliament last week. ''I think I am in union with most average football fans when I say: enough is enough. I have spoken to many people within my electorate, many other sports fans and many other parents on this matter, and they just about explode when you raise the issue with them … they complain their kids can now quote the odds on their team winning or losing.''
Advertising by gambling companies is banned during the G-rated periods - but an exception was made for sport.
The gambling reform committee heads to Sydney on Wednesday where it will hear from the chief executives of online gambling giants Sportsbet and Betfair, as well as Free TV and representatives of subscription TV.