Tom Waterhouse: Somehow I’ve become the face of gambling – sorry about that

tom waterhouse nineTom Waterhouse has announced he will “dramatically cut back” from advertising on Channel Nine’s NRL coverage from tonight in an open letter apologising to the public for his ubiquity.

The high profile head of online betting site has become the public face of the controversy around live betting odds being spruiked on live broadcasts of football games. And his heavy rotation ads featuring his slogan “I know what punters want” sparked a backlash of video parodies.

“Because I stand up as the bookmaker, and do not present as a faceless corporation, I also have, somehow, become the public face of the entire Australian gambling industry,” he wrote in an article published by News Limited today.

“If people have an issue with gambling, it seems to become an issue with me personally and I have to cop it on the chin,” he wrote.

Waterhouse said he needed to advertise heavily in order to take on the “big boys”, such as overseas corporates “who have taken over betting in Australia”, and Australian betting group TAB, he said. accounts for around five per cent of the racing and sports betting market with an estimated turnover of around $300 million, and he spends around five per cent of the betting advertising dollar, he claimed.

The son of trainer Gai Waterhouse and bookie Robert Waterhouse, Tom Waterhouse has reportedly been in talks with Channel Nine executives this week to discuss cutting back his $12.5million promotional deal —  in which he spruiks live odds during NRL broadcasts — by around 20 per cent.

Under government proposals promotion of live odds by gambling companies and commentators will be prohibited during live broadcasts of sport.

Waterhouse claims that although advertising has been allowed since 2008, betting revenue has not increased since 2007. “What has changed is that TAB’s share has dropped with the competition and the corporate bookmakers have grown,” he said.

“My online business is still young and striving to grow and so I have needed to advertise heavily. This is the reality of being a privately owned, proudly Australian company – employing around 100 Australian workers – trying to take on some very big foreign players in an intensively competitive market.”

“However the public has spoken and you will see less of me on TV. I have listened.”


  1. DTM
    31 May 13
    10:58 am

  2. Wasn’t that the brief Tom?

  3. DF
    31 May 13
    11:05 am

  4. He appears to crave the fame but not have the basic smarts (or personality) to deal with it.

  5. Blutack
    31 May 13
    11:09 am

  6. So he’s admitting he didn’t actually know what punters want.

  7. JT
    31 May 13
    11:34 am

  8. Cry me a river Tommy…

  9. Groucho
    31 May 13
    11:48 am

  10. Another one of those wining scions of a rich family who without their employment would be doing manual work.

  11. Cognitively DIssonant
    31 May 13
    11:57 am

  12. DTM,

    I think the brief was “make sure no one knows this brand is owned by Robbie Waterhouse.”

  13. JohnW
    31 May 13
    12:13 pm

  14. Which PR agency told Tom to do all this in the first place ? …… you Max??

    Now they tell him to invoke the PR text book Exxon Valdes response “I’m sorry for being a toxic social polluter”. That won’t cut it Max. Myself and 50,000 other punters won’t be betting with Tom tomorrow – or ever again.

  15. LastLineLenny
    31 May 13
    1:25 pm

  16. I can’t stand this guy or anything he stands for but I wouldn’t have the faintest clue who he was if it wasn’t for ABC News. I don’t watch sport, I’ve never seen any of his ads but I’m still morally opposed to him.
    Bad PR strategy much?

  17. RLJ
    31 May 13
    1:27 pm

  18. My heart bleeds for you

  19. DTM
    31 May 13
    1:30 pm

  20. @Cognitively DIssonant

    Too true.

  21. nell schofield
    31 May 13
    1:55 pm

  22. because Gai has had Ray Thomas of the Daily Tele in her back pocket for years, the waterhouses thought they understood PR and marketing but this whole fiasco has shown what amateurs they really are

  23. afv
    31 May 13
    2:02 pm

  24. I totally agree with no odds being broadcast on free to air tv or any sporting event for that matter.

    however I do think that tom waterhouse is copping an unfair bashing. what about tab sports betting with Munsie.

    He has been all over it for years and no one ever said a word. this is not new and tom has copped it royally when government owned and run businesses were doing the same thing……….

  25. Adam B's mate
    31 May 13
    2:23 pm

  26. It appears Tom is….(a)

    Counting it up
    Out of this world
    Cashing in


  27. Nic
    31 May 13
    2:23 pm

  28. parasites

  29. Fartster
    31 May 13
    2:32 pm

  30. What a collection of holier-than-thou comments from a group that would have probably given their “left one” 12 months ago to have worked on Tom’s multi-million dollar launch campaign.

  31. Red Bean
    31 May 13
    3:35 pm

  32. Somehow? SOMEHOW?????

  33. DC
    31 May 13
    3:44 pm

  34. agree with you Fartster.

  35. bodo wwerner
    31 May 13
    6:52 pm

  36. Tom Says he is sorry and will cut back on his smiling face on the channel 9 sports and will only bore us with his ads in the beginning, mid game break and game end, does he think that we are so stupid as to think that no children will be watching before the game starts or at halve time or at the end of the game.
    Get this guy right of the TV, I can’t stand him any way with his smarty grin on his dial lecturing to us, I turn the sound off at least that calms my nerves a little.
    Ban him altogether and the public will be better off.

  37. Chris WA
    31 May 13
    10:14 pm

  38. Basic marketeting 101, “Understand Your Market”. Tom you broke the first rule. I never thought I’d be so pleased to see a Bunning ad again!

  39. Duh!
    1 Jun 13
    4:08 am

  40. The face of gambling – surely that’s what he wanted to be and he paid big bucks to become it!

  41. Enough is enough
    1 Jun 13
    2:58 pm

  42. It is unfortunate for Tom that he became the whipping boy, because all the betting agencies are just as bad (TAB included). The public were clearly outraged and he was the easiest target. But ultimately it’s a good thing for the country. And as an industry we are actually in a position to help. I have before and I always will refuse to work on betting accounts. They are bad for society and should not be allowed to advertise odds during matches. At all.

  43. Billy C
    2 Jun 13
    4:40 pm

  44. As if all of you aren’t for sale to highest bidder.

  45. CC Cash
    3 Jun 13
    5:26 pm

  46. Will be glad to see less of that smug face….