Channel Nine has made the decision to bench Tom Waterhouse from its NRL commentary team as it looks to limit the damage of the public backlash against the incorporation of gambling into live sport.
Yesterday, a joint select committee convened to examine the close links of betting agencies and sports, and heard of Waterhouse's lucrative sponsorship of Nine's NRL coverage.
Scott Briggs, Nine's director of commercial and regulatory affairs, attended the gambling reform meeting, which is investigating whether broadcasting rules on gambling in sport have been breached.
Nine has conceded the line between bookmaker and commentator had been blurred following Waterhouse's appearances during its first round coverage of this year’s NRL season.
Nine confirmed Waterhouse will still appear on its coverage of NRL, but only within the proposed new guidelines being put forward by the committee.
“We’ve made an adjustment and we will work within the proposed guidelines being set,” a Nine spokesperson told B&T.
Waterhouse, son of legendary horse trainer Gai, did not attend the meeting to give evidence.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Nine has introduced a graphic informing viewers that Waterhouse is a ''sports betting operator, not a Channel Nine personality''.
Check out B&T’s recent ‘One Punt too Far’ feature for a detailed look at the blurring of the lines between gambling and live sport.