In some countries, bookmakers suffer lowly social status and legal prosecution.
Australia, however, is not one of those countries. A more enlightened approach, one that recognizes that it is far better to keep things on the up-and-up and provide a societal benefit to the entire population by capitalizing on an activity, gambling, for which there is a clear desire and demand, is the prevailing attitude.
Thus, rather than being perceived as criminals, Australian bookmakers instead have over the years been endowed with elevated status and recognized for their contributions to society.
The lives and exploits of bookmakers such as the Waterhouse clan and others of almost equal stature are well documented and examined for the real life lessons they supply.
Online wagering has somewhat reduced the role of the big bookmaker, but it is important to acknowledge that modern technology owes a debt to the men who manned the rails and provided liquidity for punters who held different opinions as to the potential winner of any particular event. There will always be a place for bookmakers, regardless of how they conduct their operations, for as long as there is horse racing in Australia.
Here is where you can read of the lives and times of some of the bookmakers that occupy a prominent place in the history of racing in Australia.
Bookmakers have been an integral part of Australian horse racing almost since its inception. In the early years of Australian racing, on course bookmakers were the only legal form of gambling on racing.
Betfair Betting Exchange
UK based Betfair has, for the past 10 years, been a popular online destination for placing wagers on all manner of games and sporting events. The Internet has caused profound, fundamental changes on how sports wagering is conducted.
Bill Waterhouse Bookmaker Genius
The name of Waterhouse is synonymous with Australia 's oldest bookmaking dynasty. Begun in 1898, it reached the pinnacle of its influence through the efforts of "Big Bill," "King of the Bookies," Bill Waterhouse. His decades-spanning career on the rails is almost inconceivable in a business where longevity is not all that commonplace.
Michael Eskander: Australian Bookmaker
Michael Eskander is the owner of Betstar, a leading sports betting portal. Michael immigrated Down Under in 1966 and worked in a various fields before earning a bookmaker's license in 1984. Along with son Alan, the duo has become the biggest on course bookmakers in Melbourne.
Robbie Waterhouse: Australian Bookmaker
If one were to engage in a game of word association with any Australian punter, and he or she were asked to say the first thing that popped into their mind in response to the word bookmaker, the vast majority would immediately reply, Waterhouse.
Tom Waterhouse: Australian Bookmaker
The blue-blooded, now well established member of Australia 's most famous family of bookmakers, Tom Waterhouse, learnt the trade well from his grandfather and legendary bookmaker Bill Waterhouse. Known to wage punting wars with some of the most fearless punters on the tracks, continues to rule the Waterhouse dynasty after becoming one of the youngest bookies at the age of 21.