Update – 2 December 2015
We’ve received word that Tom Waterhouse will soon be merged with its parent company, William Hill. Existing Tom Waterhouse accounts will be migrated to William Hill on January 12, 2016.
If you live in Queensland, Tasmania, the ACT or the Northern Territory and wish to take advantage of the separate Tom Waterhouse and William Hill sign up offers, now is your last chance to do so.
The following is an in-depth review of the betting agency Tom Waterhouse. This review covers the history, features, interface, sports & racing markets, upsides and downsides of the service.
This review is part of our comprehensive Bookmaker Reviews section. The Betting Agencies page provides information and reviews for other sports betting agencies that are suitable for Australians. The following details are updated periodically to keep them up to date.
History, Location and Licence
The online bookmaker Tom Waterhouse is an eponymous service, founded in 2011 by the son of racing identities Robbie and Gai Waterhouse. It is licensed in the Northern Territory. The service was originally known for its VIP clients, who placed phone bets with a minimum stake of $1,000. In August 2013 William Hill – one of the largest bookmakers in Britain – acquired Tom Waterhouse and the website has since been revamped to share the same markets, odds and interface (with a different template) as Sportingbet, a bookmaker that William Hill had acquired earlier in the year.1, 2, 3
Tom Waterhouse has been promoted through advertorial commentary by Tom Waterhouse himself during free-to-air televised sports, which has antagonised the Australian public. In May 2013, Waterhouse agreed to tone down the advertising on Channel 9. 1, 2, 3
In March 2013, William Hill – one of the largest bookmakers in Britain – acquired Sportingbet Group’s Australian business, which consisted of Centrebet and Sportingbet. This was followed by the acquisition of Tom Waterhouse in August 2013. The three websites were then modified operate with identical markets and odds.
William Hill re-branded Sportingbet as William Hill in February 2015. The parent company plans to merge William Hill with the Centrebet later in 2015 and Tom Waterhouse in early 2016.
The brand William Hill may be unfamiliar to Australians, but the publicly listed giant has been around since 1934 is well known in the UK for its 2,300 betting shops around the nation. The company employs over 17,000 people.
Services and Features
|New member offers||Make an initial deposit and Tom Waterhouse will match your first bet stake with a bonus bet up to $250. Only available to QLD, NT, TAS and ACT residents. Excludes POLi deposits.|
|Deposit options||Credit card (Visa & MasterCard), Skrill (Moneybookers), cheque, bank transfer, BPAY, POLi 4|
|Withdrawal options||Bank transfer, Skrill (Moneybookers), Paypal, BPAY|
|Minimum deposit||No minimum for bank transfer, $1 for POLi, $5 for credit card, $30 for Skrill (Moneybookers), $50 for BPAY|
|Minimum bet||$0.01 online, $20 by phone for sport, $50 by phone for racing.|
|Maximum payout||The maximum payout for a telephone wager is $500,000. The maximum payouts for single and multiple online wagers are $50,000 and $100,000, respectively. In addition, all multiple wagers are subject to a maximum win of 20,000 times the wager. The maximum permitted odds on a free (bonus) bet is 101.00.|
|Deposit turnover requirements||1x|
|Bonus credit turnover requirements||1x|
|Bookmaker margin||5.1% (see below for more details)|
|Credit facilities||None that we’re aware of|
|Forbidden Jurisdictions||United States of America, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Turkey, Denmark, France, Hungary, US Virgin Islands, Dutch Antilles|
|Mobile version of the website?||Yes. You can place sports and race wagers, view the day’s race results and view your recent transaction history. Apps for iOS and Android are available.|
|Identity checks||Australians can quickly verify their identity online. If you have two of the following documents the identity check is a piece of cake: tax file number, Medicare card, Australian passport. Alternatively, you can verify yourself through a 100-point check at your local Australia Post Office. Customers outside Australia will have to post a certified copy of proof of identity to Tom Waterhouse. Customers who make a deposit by credit card will have to verify ownership of their card prior to making a withdrawal.|
|Dormant account fees||None|
Betting Interface and Website Layout
The Tom Waterhouse interface is identical to that employed by Sportingbet, albeit with a different template. Sportingbet had previously followed the lead of its parent William Hill by using a horizontal rather than a vertical menu to display the list of sports. Clicking on the ‘All Sports’ link displays the full list. The sports are sorted using a combination of popularity and alphabetically, which is confusing at first, although we like the fact that the alphabetised sports are listed from left to right rather than top down as with Luxbet.
In place of the usual list of sports on the left are a few small quick links, which has freed up space for a wide central column. When you click on a sport the sub-categories are displayed below the sports navigation panel, followed by a concisely displayed list of odds. Clicking on the title of a fixture displays all available odds for that fixture alongside a list of other fixtures for that round.
Unlike most other bookmakers, the betting slip is not automatically displayed when you select a bet. Instead, when you make a betting selection a yellow number appears over the Bet slip link on the right to indicate how many items are in your slip. When you click on the Bet slip link the betting slip is displayed to the right of the betting interface. You have to close the betting slip again to make more selections, however this arrangement does provide additional space to display the markets and odds.
The betting slip itself is highly functional, providing you with the ability to place single and multi wagers together. A toggle icon on the left of each single selection enables you to choose which items to include in the multi. Below the single selections a full range of exotic multi options such as Trixie, Patent and Yankee are shown. The number of bets, total stake and estimated returns are automatically displayed as you input stake amounts.
While the top sports navigation menu may not be to everyone’s taste, overall we like the interface for its concise display of odds, intuitive markets navigation and betting slip functionality.
Tom Waterhouse has identical odds and markets to its parent site, William Hill. In our most recent bookmaker margin survey, Tom Waterhouse had an average bookmaker margin of 5.1%, which is slightly higher than the survey median of 4.9%. From a punter’s perspective, the lower the margin, the better.
Tom Waterhouse offers a great range of sports markets and a good depth of betting options. Its biggest strength is Australian sport, with the likes of NRL, AFL and Super Rugby heavily catered for. International punters will also appreciate the wide coverage of international sports. To illustrate the depth of coverage, at the time of review, betting on domestic Italian, German, French and Spanish basketball fixtures was available. The other major international sports like the major US leagues, cycling, golf, motor sport, surfing and tennis are well catered for. As is always the case with bookmakers, football (soccer) is well covered, with a vast range of world leagues on offer. In addition to sport, entertainment and politics betting are available. The betting selection easily surpasses the needs of most Australian punters, making Tom Waterhouse suitable as a standalone membership.
Tom Waterhouse offers a strong racing line-up that covers horse, harness and greyhounds events across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and Ireland. Selected races from Hong Kong and France are also covered. Win/Place, Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta, First 4, Multi and Super Exotic markets are offered. Best Tote (Tatts, NSW, Vic), fixed odds and best fluc odds are available on most horse races, while Tom’s Div (guarantees the best dividend out of Best Tote and Starting Price) and Best of the Best (guarantees the best dividend out of Top Fluc and Best Tote – maximum $50 stake) are available on selected thoroughbred races. Mid tote and fixed odds are available on greyhounds and the totes are available on harness events.
The race betting interface is excellent. The initial racing card is stock standard, however when you select a race a concise list of all upcoming races is listed to the left of the odds. This enables you to toggle the display of more than one race at a time. The markets for your selected races are stacked on top of each other as new races are selected. This enables fast and convenient navigation around the racing markets.
Live Sports Betting
Due to Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act 5, live online betting is not available for Australians. Australian customers must phone in to bet live. If live online sports betting is what you’re after, check out our survey of betting agencies that offer live online betting.
- Excellent sports and race betting interface with concise display of odds
- Low minimum deposit for most methods
- Very low turnover requirements for bonuses
- Strong betting selection, particularly for Australian sports
- Published daily racing betting tips from “The Baron”
- $0.01 minimum bet
- Live online betting is not available to Australian residents (due to Australian law)
- Not as many odds promotions as its sister site Sportingbet
- Sign up bonus not as generous as some competitors
Tom Waterhouse is one of the latest of a long line of Australian bookmakers to be purchased by a larger overseas operator. The result is it is now effectively a clone of Sportingbet, but with a different template and weekly promotions. The positives are that interface is top of the line and the website offers a good range of deposit methods to go with a strong betting selection. Despite now being foreign owned, the service is still primarily steered towards Australians, with the local sporting codes heavily catered for and only Australian dollars supported. Tom Waterhouse does offer a sign up bonus to new members (QLD, NT, TAS and ACT residents only), but apart from that, there’s very little reason to choose this service over its sister site, Sportingbet. This is because Sportingbet offers a greater range of weekly promotions.
Notes and Sources
- 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Waterhouse
- 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hill_%28bookmaker%29
- 3 http://www.williamhillplc.com/media/press-releases/2013pr/2013-08-09.aspx
- 4 POLi facilitates online bank transfers that are acknowledged by the bookmaker instantly. This enables you to log into your banking provider, transfer money to the bookmaker, and place bets immediately.
- 5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_Gambling_Act