A contrite Channel 9 has announced that bookmaker Tom Waterhouse will no longer appear on its rugby league coverage. Instead, Waterhouse will be reassigned to “other projects” better suited to his talents.
One of the rumoured projects is the hosting role of Channel 9’s Federal Election Night coverage later this year. According to television industry insiders, Waterhouse will be providing Channel 9 viewers with live odds on the overall election result, as well as seat-by-seat contests. There will also be a range of special betting bonuses, including “If your sitting Labor MP is rolled by 6.01pm, I’ll refund your bet”.
Channel 9 is also reportedly in negotiations with Waterhouse to host the next series of The Block. To be renamed The ‘House, the rebooted format will allow home viewers to wager on room reveals and the nightly weather, with live odds to be given on rain and sunshine (except in Melbourne).
Finally, Waterhouse is also said to be developing a children’s program that encourages responsible gambling. Called Never Run Up Stairs, the program will combine home safety hints with the perils of backing short-priced favourites on rain-affected tracks. In an innovative move, it will be the first children’s program that is not rescheduled for Channel 9’s summer cricket coverage – instead, it will offer live odds at the top corner of the screen, whilst explaining to younger viewers the basics of spot betting.
Channel 9 hopes that its decision to remove Waterhouse from its rugby league coverage will finally put an end to criticism that it has taken the promotion of sports betting too far. “This just goes to show that we are not focused on sports betting,” said a Channel 9 spokesman. “Any betting is good!”