Great to see News Corp Australia throwing in its lot with the gambling clique (in fact the whole company, globally, given its eagerness to exploit gambling revenues by The Sun in Britain).

Damian Eales, the company’s head of Australian metro and regional publishing is moving News Corp into the “fast-expanding wagering industry” (to quote a story in the Media section of today’s edition of The Australian) “with a new hire to spearhead plans to monetise a national sports loving audience”. In other words, News Corp Australia wants to turn those “fantasy” football and coach competitions into revenue and profits, as well as hooking up with online gambling companies — and that means opposing attempts by Senator Nick Xenophon and independent MP Andrew Wilkie to place restrictions on gaming.

Eales wants to see the racing form guides, published across the empire’s myriad papers, monetised (although the racing clubs might have a say in that). The paper said Eales announced on Friday that Simon Anderson had been appointed to the “newly created role of group director, wagering”. Anderson is a former general manager of the Sydney papers, the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs.

There was another interesting story in the same media section revealing that the CEOs of our three commercial TV networks are opposed to any move to ban gambling ads during sports broadcasts. It is a veritable meeting of profit and loss accounts. News Corp has an indirect stake in Ten via its 50% holding in Foxtel, which owns 14.9% of Ten. The headline on this story also said it all: “TV chiefs rail against Xenophon, Wilkie threat to gambling ads”.

So by these stories we can take it that News Corp’s papers and the Nine, Seven and Ten media groups and owners, plus Fox Sports and Fox Sports News (100%-owned by News) will run dead on anti-gambling stories and start attacking any gambling activists and politicians, like Xenophon and Wilkie? Is that why The Australian in particular went for the throat in the campaign in their attacks on Xenophon?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey