The gambling menace in Australia has been highlighted by the betting scandal that has engulfed the ABC’s flagship children’s television program, Play School.
With Australian sports tightening their control over wagering, overseas betting syndicates have begun turning their attention to other televised programs.
In the latest twist, millions of dollars are now changing hands each day on whether Play School viewers look through the round, arch, diamond or square window.
But worse still, the ABC may be giving gamblers the time of day.
“Last month we had a huge run of money for three o’clock on the Play School clock,” reveals corporate bookmaker Tom Waterhouse.
“No one wanted to back any of the other eleven hours of the day. We suspected something was wrong so we stopped taking bets.”
“Sure enough, when it was time for a story, the Play School clock said three o’clock. It was obvious someone at the ABC was in on this.”
Play School star approached
Play School host and writer Alex Papps has defended the integrity of ABC staff.
“Play School scripts are closely kept secrets. There are definitely no leaks at the ABC.”
However, Papps admits he has been the target of a Play School honey trap.
“I was at a bar recently and a beautiful woman bought me a drink. We talked about Jemima and Big Ted for a while but the conversation kept coming back to what time it was going to be on the Play School clock next week.”
“It was real unsettling at the time but I didn’t know why. I realise now that this woman didn’t even fancy me. She was just after inside information about the show.”
Papps says he revealed nothing to the beautiful stranger.
But critics of the ABC are sceptical about protests of innocence.
ABC is to blame
“There used to be three Play School windows,” notes Janet Heim of public policy think tank, Kill the ABC.
“Now there’s four windows. Clearly, the diamond window was added at the behest of Asian betting syndicates to increase turnover.”
Heim says that the Federal government should get the ABC to do the right thing about the Play School betting problem or else abolish the network immediately.
“At the very least, the ABC should be seeking a share of Play School betting revenue. That’s what any sensible corporation would do.”
“Gambling is what modern Australian society is all about. If it wants to survive, the ABC needs to take gambling responsibly the way other entertainment products have done, like cricket and rugby league.”
The Tunnel are satire writers from Queensland, Australia.