The story of William Hill in Australia starts as recently as 2013, when they acquired Sportingbet Group’s Australian arm, namely Sportingbet and Centrebet. Later that year they added Tom Waterhouse, and the three sites were adapted to run with identical markets and odds. Sportingbet was rebranded as William Hill in early 2015, Centrebet will merge with it later in the year, and Tom Waterhouse will follow suit early in 2016 to create one massive bookmaker, which should see them at the very forefront of sports betting here in Australia.
William Hill, may not be a familiar name to Australian punters, but back in the UK, where they started in 1934, its name is synonymous with high street betting. Its journey has been far from smooth, has included scrapes with the serious fraud office and the office of fair trading, several buy outs and a profit warning.
Things appear to have turned a corner however, with a new stability being in evidence since partnering with Orbis (latterly OpenBet) and Israeli software company Playtech in 2008.In April 2015, they secured the services of Ladbrokes’ corporate affairs director of ten years.
Existing customers of Sportingbet experienced little if any disruption, with all account balances and details being transferred across to the new entity. Added to that, the site has changed in appearance only, so existing customers will have no problem navigating and using the site.
The site doesn’t give the appearance of being foreign owned, all Australian sports are more than catered for, including in the promotions and offers.
Like most sites, the default sport for the homepage is racing, but the biggest six markets are listed along the top of the screen, and as you’d expect Australian Rules is featured. Click on the AFL tab, to reveal forthcoming matches, along with the most popular markets and their respective odds. The markets covered are:
- Margin 1-39
- Margin 40+
- Total Game Score
If you want to go more left field with your punt, click on all markets and the remaining options scroll along the top. The site doesn’t indicate how many markets are available for each game, but to the right hand side of each one there is a form icon. Click on that and a detailed list of statistics, tables and form guides opens in a new window. William Hill also runs a Pick the Ladder competition for AFL, giving you the chance – albeit a slim one – of winning $100million.
Located on the right hand side of the screen on a floating column, there is a link to a blog, which provides previews on all forthcoming AFL games, as well as other betting tips.
Those used to the Sportingbet site will recognise the layout and functionality as for all intents and purposes, it is the same site with the Sportingbet logos having been replaced by the William Hill one, as well as a couple of other superficial enhancements. This is a good thing however, and not only for the existing customers who won’t have to get used to a whole new layout and format. The site is very neat, not just to look at, but to navigate around and use.
It has the look of a modern, professional site, loads very quickly, and navigation is intuitive and speedy. The use of space is impressive, with your selected market taking centre stage in the middle of the screen, so even if you were accessing the site on a mobile or tablet, it would be clear and readable. This is achieved by having the available sports and markets along the top of the screen (clicking on all sports releases those not displayed as default). The left hand floating column is just used for a small number of quick links for live betting, promotions and quick multis for example.
A change from its previous incarnations is that when you place a bet, the betting slip isn’t automatically displayed. This is another space saving tool. It works well. After making a bet, a number appears over the bet slip link on the right hand side column, indicating how many bets you currently have. Clicking on the link opens up the slip where you can place single or multiple bets. A toggle function gives you the ability to select which lines you want to include in multi. Total stake and estimated returns are automatically displayed.
It manages to provide a lot of information and options, without making the screen too busy, or needing several clicks in order to track anything down.
After such a slick, clear and innovative website, it would be a disappointment if the app wasn’t something special, and you needn’t worry.
Available free in all formats, it carries on the same themes as the website proper, and allows customers to place single and multiple bets, check their betting history, account balance, as well as giving them the ability to deposit and withdraw funds. Currently it doesn’t provide live scores, or stats, but that is something that could easily be added in time.
This is an incredibly neat, fast, and easy to use app, which has set the benchmark for other betting companies in Australia.