Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse is at the centre of a bitter dispute in the online gambling sector over how much ground the industry should give up to resuscitate its public image.
The Conroy-led Responsible Wagering Australia, which replaced the disbanded Australian Wagering Council, represents Sportsbet, Bet365, Betfair, Unibet and James Packer's CrownBet and has an overarching aim to remain a self-regulating industry.
But a stalemate has arisen because William Hill, headed by Mr Waterhouse, and fellow British-owned bookie Ladbrokes, have so far declined to join the RWA.
Fairfax Media understands William Hill, which acquired the Tom Waterhouse.com brand for $34 million in 2013, along with Sportingbet and Centrebet, has no intention of cutting lines of credit to big punters or reining in its growing marketing spend.
Online Bookmaker William Hill declined to comment on its "internal position" on the proposed reform push but said it was an active participant in the 2015 review of illegal offshore wagering, led by former NSW premier Barry O'Farrell, and supported the "development and implementation of an evidence-based responsible gambling framework".
A Ladbrokes spokesman said it "respectfully declines the opportunity to comment on this matter at this point in time".
But a forthright statement from the RWA questioned the commitment of the dissenting companies to minimising gambling harm in the community.**
"Our members are leading the industry and setting an example through their commitments to consumer protection, responsible gambling and harm minimisation measures," an RWA spokeswoman said.
"This is in contrast to other operators that do not demonstrate the same commitment to working with government and other stakeholders to improve regulation and consumer protection."
A source said Ladbrokes and William Hill remained unconvinced of the merits of joining the RWA after the former Wagering Council fell apart after failing to prevent the federal government legislating against online in-play betting, a move that is said to have cost operators $500,000 a week in profits.
It's not the first time Mr Waterhouse has been at loggerheads with rivals.
In 2013, then Sportingbet chief executive Michael O'Sullivan sent shockwaves through the sector when he told Fairfax Media that the scion of the Waterhouse bookmaking dynasty was "acting irresponsibly" by spruiking live betting odds from the sidelines of NRL games in a deal with Channel Nine.
The Gillard government later stepped in to ban live odds updates after months of pressure from a widespread community backlash.
The RWA has proposed abolishing sign-up offers, saying "we believe customers should decide to join a wagering operator without a financial incentive".
But a search for deals on Friday showed Sportsbet offering $75 credit for a $25 opening deposit. William Hill will match any first deposit up to $505 and Ladbrokes gives $80 credit for a $10 deposit.
For every dollar William Hill takes in revenue from punters, it spends 26¢ on advertising and marketing.
The company's publicly-listed British parent recently revealed would be raised to 28¢ in the dollar as it drives for greater market share.
Despite talk of reforms, the turf war for market share shows no signs of abating. CrownBet recently paid $300 million to become the official "digital partner" of 1200 registered clubs in NSW in a deal that poses a threat to the TAB.
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