If you’ve been anywhere near the papers today, you’ll have seen that Our Gai has had a gutful. In Sydney it was even front page news! She’s sick of all the negative attention little Tommy is getting just for doing his job, and she’s called for it to stop.
Gai and Tom Waterhouse – front page news?
This is, of course, in the wake of attempts to get her son to front a Senate Inquiry into gambling, attempts that have so far proved futile. It’s also after the uproar that her son’s NRL appearances on Channel Nine have caused.
Most of Gai’s reasons can be condensed into “They’re picking on him because he’s a Waterhouse, and they can bugger off.” Stirring stuff, Gai, but not exactly convincing.
Don’t forget that your boy Tom has traded on the Waterhouse name from day one. “Generations of betting” are “in his blood”, remember? Heck, you even appeared in his earliest ads, smiling dotingly as he professed to know nothing about sport. You looked so proud.
But Gai, it’s not that he’s a Waterhouse. It’s the fact that he has branded his company with his name, and his face, and is doing everything possible to push that name and that face into our lounge rooms, computer screens, TV sets, radios, newspapers and (in Melbourne) even our trams.
Of course there are other sports betting companies fighting for a slice of the pie. I can name fourteen off the top of my head (including your boy Tommy’s) which are licensed to operate in Australia. And of course there are other names and faces associated with these companies. Glenn Munsie and Matt Campbell are two that spring to mind, while Jaimee Rogers has a healthy fan club (although that’s a whole different story).
But Gai, none of these companies are called MunsieBet, or TAB Campbell, or even Jaimee365. Branding with a name and a face was your boy’s idea. It’s making him a fortune. So he, and you, will have to get used to the idea that not everyone is happy about it.
Gai, there was one thing you said in your interview with the papers that made sense. One nugget of gold almost buried in the cheerleading for your son. You said:
“They don’t have to pick up the phone to have a bet. They don’t have to pick up a cigarette and smoke it. They don’t have to do anything.”
How refreshing it is to hear someone intimately associated with horse and sports betting, someone with the closest of ties to bookmakers, equating sports betting with smoking. Because of course (as I’m sure you realise Gai), if we were to treat sports betting and smoking equally, every gambling website and smart-phone app would be khaki-green and carry graphic warnings and images of lives destroyed by gambling. Every betting ad would instantly be banned. And your boy Tommy’s face would vanish from our TV screens overnight.
Wouldn’t that be nice?