Not that I purposefully watch Channel 9 here in Australia, I have brain cells to protect after all. But sometimes, at work during breaks, I can’t avoid being exposed to the demented programs that are shown on that channel. Or the sports betting advertising they run. On particularly unlucky days, I get to see ads by a guy called Tom Waterhouse, a man who makes Tom Cruise on Scientology look like a sane person. Waterhouse managed to get himself “embedded” with Nine’s NRL sports commentators, according to this report:
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.
Now sports betting, and its “embedding” into the actual TV broadcasts, is indeed a cancer in this country, as Tracey Spicer points out in her most recent post about the issue:
But Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says Mr. Conroy has put the interests of gambling giants above the public by refusing to stop the “blanket broadcast of live odds”.
He’s told Channel 9, “Just like the Prime Minister’s backflip on meaningful poker machine reform, Minister Conroy has proven that this government cannot be trusted to put the interests of ordinary Australians above those of the multi-billion dollar gambling lobby”.
To put this into perspective, let’s look at recent research.
There are an average of 50.5 episodes of sports betting marketing during every AFL telecast, according to a study by Monash University.
Associate Professor Samantha Thomas compares this “saturation advertising” with tactics used by tobacco companies. “Older women, younger men, moderate and high-risk gamblers and those from low socio-economic backgrounds were particularly influenced by incentivisation to gambling,” she writes.
Gambling advertising needs to disappear from sports broadcasts. Gambling companies need to be banned from sponsoring sporting events, same with tobacco and alcohol companies. It’s a total disgrace for our country that this is allowed to go on.
I’m not holding my breath that even if the current Minister Stephen Conroy( he of the “internet filter” shame) can stay in office over this, anything will change in a hurry. Viewers will still be forced to look into the eerie empty eyes of Tom Waterhouse during sports broadcasts, while he preps our kids to accept sports betting as a part of Aussie culture. Which it is not.