Unless living in the wastelands of Outer Mongolia, everyone is familiar with the Waterhouses of racing dynasty fame.

The Waterhouse name is bigger, more colourful, better known and talked about than any other in the world of racing and gambling.

Yet no name in Australian racing has had more of a chequered past, surviving some of the turf's worst scandals, allegations, legal battles and injustices.

But these great survivors, whose history goes back to the First Fleet, have overcome their troubles and are more successful today than ever before.

Family patriarch "Big Bill" Waterhouse and his son Robbie, both warned off for 17 years for allegedly having prior knowledge of the infamous Fine Cotton ring-in scandal, have re-established themselves and are again on top of the bookmaking ranks.

Bill, still fielding in Sydney on interstate race meetings at the age of 85, ironically was given an award recently by the Sydney Turf Club for being "most improved bookmaker of the year." This for the man who for 10 years was the world's biggest bookmaker, betting in millions and figuring in the biggest known betting duels in history. Let's hope there's still room for improvement in Big Bill!

Robbie has recovered from his troubled past to become the ultimate bookmaking professional. He is always first up with his prices in the Sydney betting ring and gives direction to the ring. He's acknowledged as one of the world's best form experts.

Then there's his wife, the irrepressible and stylish Gai, daughter of the late T.J. Smith. Who will ever forget her courageous struggle for justice to obtain a trainer's licence, refused by the Australian Jockey Club because she was married to a warned-off person? She took her battle against discrimination to the High Court before succeeding. Now Gai is Queen of the Turf and the First Lady of Racing, one of the best trainers in Australia and this year is the leading trainer in Australia for Group 1 winners.

As for Gai and Robbie's offspring Tom and Kate, Tom at age 25 is betting very big as a bookmaker in the Waterhouse mould, sharing Bill's stand on the Rails; and Kate is making her own way in the game. Among other things she's the racing face for department store David Jones and writes a weekly column in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph.

So, where's all this leading?

To The Gambling Man, my blockbuster biography of Bill Waterhouse.

It became an instant bestseller, but many people felt threatened by its contents and tried to ban it. Not only was it fought out in the courts but the book was also the subject of a dirty campaign unlike anything seen in Australia before. Thuggish types walked into small bookshops and threatened owners with violence if they didn't take it off their shelves. Telephone threats were made to booksellers, declaring bricks would be thrown through their windows or the place bombed.

Five people sued me and some others connected with the book, alleging defamation. So many cross claims were filed against various parties involved that it became the most complex, bitter and longest-running defamation case in Australian legal history. Although not a lawyer, I was an old hand as a journalist around the courts and I personally defended it in the NSW Supreme Court for 10 years.

Although not officially banned, it was effectively banned because the litigants and threateners succeeded in having The Gambling Man pulled off the shelves - a bestseller nobbled. Booksellers became too frightened to sell it. They still are.

The book has had more publicity than Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory. Due to its powerful contents and notoriety, The Gambling Man has become an Australian classic and a collector's item, with rare copies surfacing on the internet selling for more than $400. One journalist, the late Jim Oram of News Limited, described it as "the best book written by an Australian."

The story follows the colourful Waterhouse gambling dynasty from its beginnings and exposes the intrigue, skulduggery and treachery involved in the upper echelons of gambling. It exposes polished crooks in high places, mind-blowing betting duels with giants like "Hong Kong Tiger" Frank Duval and "Fireball" Felipe Ysmael, and
other fascinating racing stories. It also reveals the truth behind the Fine Cotton ring-in. Many people believe the book's revelations were responsible for the Australian Jockey Club losing its power as Australia's principal racing club.

The bookshops won't handle it for fear of renewed litigation. But I've decided to bring back The Gambling Man anyway.

I know thousands of Australians want to read it, a bit of water has flowed under the bridge and recent changes to the Defamation Act have made it tougher for likely litigants to succeed against me if it goes another round. Also, some of the original litigants like multi-millionaire bookmaker Jack Muir, who stirred up so much trouble behind the scenes, are no longer with us. Gangster George Freeman, who did his criminal best to destroy the Waterhouses along with me, has also cashed in his chips.

Now you can get your hands on the book they tried so hard to stop.

Available only on my website, while stocks last! And it's COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED.

Details on http://www.thegamblingman.com.au

Kevin Perkins Media Release Published 22/10/07