Because we can’t bear to talk about Kevin Rudd, we turn to another ubiquitous public annoyance …

Tom Waterhouse. The prodigal racing son now raking it in from media organisations desperate to talk to him, sports bodies desperate to work with him and punters desperately searching for the next winner.

Reports emerged yesterday he might have an offer for his meteorically rich gambling business from overseas interests that would put $200 million into his pocket. The rumoured bidder rubbished it this morning; regardless, good luck to Waterhouse and his no doubt savvy entrepreneurship.

The risk here is not in Waterhouse getting richer — though anti-gambling advocates have something to say about that — but becoming even more prolific across the playing and broadcasting of sport in this country. Tom’s fresh face is everywhere — at sports grounds, in ad breaks and now even part of the broadcast team. This season rugby league fans are subjected to pre-game spruiks and a full segment of sporting odds after the big games on Channel Nine — he cut deals with the National Rugby League and Nine reportedly worth $65 million all up.

Andrew Wilkie hates gambling, but the independent MP asks a reasonable question: ”Is he a sporting commentator or is he a bookmaker? … Since when do gambling professionals become commentators on sport?”

Since nothing stops networks from doing it. Gambling academic Charles Livingstone told Crikey yesterday he’s convinced the cosy relationships between sports and betting firms is corrupting sport — given what we’ve heard from the Australian Crime Commission lately that’s a warning worth considering. Another anti-gambling MP in Nick Xenophon reckons there “needs to be a legislative response”.

The Senate has convened a gambling reform committee which is hearing from industry players over the next few weeks. It will make a compelling case to government, no doubt, for reform. Perhaps this time Stephen Conroy might even put something forward without arrogantly buggering it up.