Founded in 2010 by longtime trackside bookmaker Tom Waterhouse, tomwaterhouse.com quickly became established as a main player in Australia. The Waterhouse name has gone hand in hand with horse racing in Australia for generations, and Tom himself is the son of racing legends Robbie and Gai Waterhouse. As well as the regular punters, the firm boasts a list of 100 VIP clients, whose minimum bet is $1000.
The company and especially Tom himself have courted controversy, and have several times come up against the wrath of not only the authorities, but the Australian public. In 2013 declined an invitation to appear in front of a federal parliamentary committee into gambling reform, as a result of complaints made that he was not only using his slots as a commentator on free-to-air sporting coverage as a platform to promote tomwaterhouse.com, but that he was directing this advertising at children.
Also in that year, at the Sydney Cup, Tom’s mother Gai, was sacked by John Singleton as trainer of his horses amid allegations that Tom had given friends and colleagues inside information that Singleton’s horse – More Joyous, was unfit to win the All Ages Stakes. A Steward’s inquiry cleared Tom of all wrongdoing, though he was directed to keep his bookmaking business clearly separate from his mother’s training business in order to avoid further public perceptions of a conflict of interest.
Despite this unwarranted attention, or perhaps because of it, later that same year, William Hill – one of the UK’s largest bookmaker, acquired Tomwaterhouse.com, after also buying the Australian arm of Sportingbet’s business early that year. The three websites (Centrebet, Sportingbet and Tomwaterhouse) were modified, and operated with identical markets and odds. Early in 2015 Sportingbet was rebranded as William Hill – a name not well known in Australia, and there are plans for it to merge with Centrebet later this year, and for Tomwaterhouse.com to follow the same route early in 2016.
Like many Australian websites, Tomwaterhouse.com is predominantly concerned with racing, but it does also cover a host of other sports both Australian and international, and as you would expect Australian Rules is well represented.
Once in the AFL part of the site – accessed via the tab at the top of the screen, you instantly see the forthcoming games, other markets are displayed above.
The default markets for each game are:
- Margin 1-39
- Total Game Score
Clicking on All Markets, opens it out to all the others you would expect plus some interesting Player Specials, and Scoring Accuracy – whether each team will score more goals than behinds or vice versa.
Since being taken over by William Hill, Tomwaterhouse.com uses the same layout as Sportingbet, though with a different template. It looks fantastic, is very clear, fast and easy to use. It is designed to create extra space and it uses it well. The whole site almost has a social media feel to it. And not in a bad way.
A top menu displays the six of the biggest markets – Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness, Aussie Rules and Rugby League and US Basketball. The all sports option opens up all the other available markets including non-sporting ones such as the financial and entertainment markets.
There are no fixed side columns, just small floating tabs that give links to such things as quick multiples, a blog, live scores and current promotions. This means that almost the entire screen is available for your chosen market. Another space saving feature, is the way the betting slip is displayed. Or not as the case is. Instead of automatically appearing, when you place a bet, you have to physically click on it to see your bet displayed, and then close it in order to make another selection. The number of bets included in the slip are indicated by a small display above the slip when it is closed.
This means that the process of placing a bet can be slightly more time consuming than on other sites. This is a very little issues, on an otherwise gorgeously laid out site.
It would have been a surprise if the people who produced such a slick, polished and good looking website, didn’t follow it up with an app of a similar standing, and don’t worry it doesn’t disappoint. It may have taken a while in coming, but it’s been well worth the wait. It looks very similar to the website, with the same use of space and color. It is also fast. Very fast. Using it is a joy, and once again there is a lot of space so you can actually see the market/option you have selected.
Racing is selected as the default option when you first open the app, but simply click on sports to bring the AFL option up. It will also show you the next big sporting events that are about to kick off.
All the basics you would expect are there. You can place bets (once again the hidden betting slip is used, a feature that works better on the app than on the website, and is more necessary here), check your betting history, withdraw and deposit cash etc etc.
Other features include video tutorials; Tom’s Blog giving you the latest NRL betting analysis, news and tips; Quick Multis a way to quickly place multibets; live betting, and a results section.
The Tomwaterhouse App, is a fantastic addition to the stable, and lives up to the expectations.