Sport Power list: David Attenborough at #8. If you’re going to talk power in sport, you’ve got to talk gambling. And if you’re going to talk gambling, then you needn’t look much further than Tabcorp, the 800-pound gorilla in the gaming room, and its British-born CEO David Attenborough.

It’s no secret that Australians love a punt — just look at the dollar signs. More than $22.6 billion was wagered on sport alone last year (most of that on horse racing), according to industry figures. That’s an amount more than Australian households spent on alcohol in the same year ($14 billion), tobacco ($11 billion) and cars ($20 billion). “When it comes to sports gambling, you can’t help concluding the tail is wagging the dog,” says Senator Nick Xenophon, a noted anti-gambling campaigner.

And at the top of it all is Attenborough. Running Tabcorp, he’s in charge of a business that owns TABs across NSW and Victoria, he also runs TAB Sportsbet online, and broadcasts racing events to pubs, clubs and home viewers across the country through Sky Racing.

“In racing they are very powerful, of course, having traditionally paid a lot of the money that keeps racing going,” says Dr Charles Livingstone, a gambling expert at Monash University’s department of health sciences. — Tom Cowie (read the full profile here)

Abbott breaks out the policy red pen. His opponents call him a ‘wrecker’, while his supporters say that he is just doing what a good opposition does. Whatever your opinion, Tony Abbott sure is giving the red pen a workout. The opposition leader has added poker machine reform to the growing list of policies he has vowed to overturn should he win the next election.

Abbott revealed his intention to rescind the federal government’s pokie machine pre-commitment plans to a crowd of more than 1,000 people at the Campbelltown RSL in south-western Sydney last night. — Tom Cowie (read the full story here)

Kloppers backs business social responsibility. “Social responsibility” may not be the first phrase that springs to mind when mining giant BHP Billiton is mentioned. But BHP CEO Marius Kloppers, whose company is regularly dodging headlines claiming it’s failing in its social responsibility duties, has attacked the issue head on.

Speaking at the Creating Shared Value conference in Melbourne last night, Kloppers said: “We seek affirmation in our share price that what we do is right, but I think we’ve got to turn that around. — Lucy Clark (read the full story here)

Megaphones Watch: Devine, Bolt and Jones. Miranda Devine praises anti-greed protesters; Andrew Bolt’s slammed as a monster by his former fiancée; Alan Jones hits it off with an orthodox climate scientist … Here we reveal what Australia’s most powerful megaphones have been up to over the last week. — Matthew Knott (read the full story here)

Peter Fray

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