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William Hill bookmakers Australia – while carrying the name of the UK gambling giant – is essentially a re-branded version of the bookmaker formerly known as Sportingbet. It’s licensed by the Northern Territory Racing and Gaming Commission.
Back in 2003, the original Sportingbet site was launched and in 2011 they bought out another Aussie betting giant, Centrebet; restructuring the whole organisation to share the same markets and odds but offering the betting public different promotions. The acquisition of another big name in Australian bookmaking, Tom Waterhouse, was then undertaken in August 2013, and initially the three websites operated with identical markets and odds.
Eventually, the Sportingbet, Centrebet and Tom Waterhouse online wagering brands were merged into one – William Hill Australia.
While the William Hill bookmakers name was initially unfamiliar to Australians, in the UK it’s arguably the most famous name in betting and has been around since 1934, where it now has 2,300 betting shops and employs over 17,000 people.
Layout & design
William Hill bookmakers revamped their website in September 2016 to bring it in line with its UK equivalent. As a result, and not unexpectedly, it’s now up there with the very best the web has to offer. The site is updated constantly – unlike most of the smaller bookmaker sites – and as a result, any glitches are very quickly ironed out; the result is a slick, stylish experience for the bettor. Yet still it has retained a simple, concise and pleasing-on-the-eye front face, and behind it some solid, dependable and highly functional software keeps things ticking over smoothly. It works, and it works really well.
The main bookmaker layout follows the traditional pattern with sidebars and the main body, with sports listed down the left side, selected markets and odds in the centre of the page and the betting slip down the right side.
The various sports are displayed vertically down the left column, and there’s a very good selection (more on that later). A click on the down arrow next to each sport displays a pull-down menu of the leagues and competitions for that particular sport. It’s intuitive and rapid.
Once you’ve selected your league or competition you’re then presented with a page full of the upcoming fixtures for that sport. Each line is crammed full of goodies for the punter and while they initially offer the straight win/lose/draw bet and a yes/no on whether both teams will score (taking soccer as the example), it also offers a tab that presents literally hundreds of different markets for that one game – head-to-heads, lines, overs/unders etc.
The main body of the page offers similar features, but these pertain to events that are either live or imminent and are neatly analysed between events that are due to begin in the next 6 hours, 6–12 hours and 12–24 hours.
One particularly snazzy feature is one called Quick Bet – a pop-up that is displayed when you click on the odds. This enables you to either add your selection to the betting slip or place a bet right there and then. Quick Bet is a toggle feature and if it’s not for you, you can turn it off.
The main betting slip, which is located at the top of the right-hand sidebar, is excellent and enables simultaneous single and multi-betting. When you have added three or more selections to your betting slip you are automatically offered the standard multi-bet combinations – Doubles, Trebles, 4 Folds, etc – and also the more ‘exotic’ multiples such as Trixie, Patent, Yankee and Lucky 31. The only obvious omission from the betting slip, compared to the other big Aussie players, is Flexi betting, but this is a minor gripe; one rendered almost futile with all the other options available.
Ultimately, lots of groundwork and then subsequent tweaking has resulted in a nicely intuitive betting experience. It’s speedy and adapts perfectly for the beginner and the experienced, hardened punter.
The number of markets on offer is excellent and offers a good depth of betting options. As you would expect of an Aussie site, its biggest strength is Australian sport, with the NRL (rugby league), AFL (Aussie rules) and Super Rugby (rugby union) featuring prominently. There is also an extensively wide coverage of international sports, particularly relevant given the Aussie presence on the worldwide sporting stage, but even sports in which they are relatively small players are covered in some depth.
As a guide to the wide range on offer, at the time of this review, there were betting markets available on Czech and Norwegian domestic ice hockey and Croatian handball.
Other major international sports like the major US leagues, cycling, golf, motorsport, surfing and tennis are also well covered and, typically, soccer leads the way in terms of the sheer number of markets and the number of worldwide leagues on offer. In addition to sport, entertainment and politics markets are available.
William Hill bookmakers follow the strong William Hill UK tradition of going big on horse racing. It does the same for greyhounds and being Australian also offers the same in-depth service for harness racing. It obviously focuses on meetings close to home but also horse, harness and greyhound events in New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and Ireland. Selected races in Hong Kong and France are also covered.
The race betting page is excellent and matches in style the general bookmaker. It’s presented in a way that will be familiar to the regular punter. A clever touch is when you select a particular race, a list of upcoming races is also listed to the left of the odds, with odds fluctuations for each runner and the track conditions displayed clearly for each race.
This enables the punter to toggle between more than one race at a time. Another clever touch is how the markets for the selected races are added to a stacked list as each new race is selected. This leads to a fast and convenient way of navigating around the racing markets.
In-Play Sports Betting
In-Play betting is located on the site’s homepage via a one-click button on the main menu.
Technically, live online sports betting is unavailable in Australia due to the Interactive Gambling Act 3 2001, but William Hill bookmakers have managed to find a way for Australian bettors to still participate in live betting. Through a cleverly developed ‘Bet in Play’ product, punters can bet live from their computers – legally.
William Hill bookmakers have achieved this by creating an interface that looks identical to any live betting function, but when you click to bet you are technically placing the bet over the phone. In terms of functioning, however, it is the same as online betting because bettors don’t physically speak to an operator.
There is also a very good live streaming service available in line with their In-Play offering.
Customer engagement is a strength of William Hill UK and it’s something they’ve continued with their Australian operation. In addition to a very good 24/7 live chat facility, which they use as a ‘one stop shop’ for all types of queries, there is also an email and freephone hotline for any questions that are not answered by their extensive list of FAQs.
Mobile & Tablet
It is a mobile-optimized site and if you are betting on a phone or tablet you are presented with a configuration that is essentially a streamlined version of the desktop site. It works perfectly for both iOS and Android, is ideal for customers to navigate around and is super-responsive. There are also Apple and Android apps available, both of which offer a fine betting experience.
Cash-out is an automated process on William Hill bookmakers and so this is generally at the speedy end of the scale, with pay-outs usually processed within 24 hours.
Now one of Australia’s biggest licensed bookmakers, William Hill Australia offers an excellent betting service for the punter. The current interface is among the best on the web and offers a good range of deposit methods to go with its wide-ranging selection of betting markets. As you would expect, Australian sports are heavily catered for and, by the same score, most promotions cover Aussie sports. William Hill bookmakers cater nicely for a wide range of punters, from beginners – who can dip into their frequent betting promotions – through to the big, serious players who will appreciate the depth of betting selections and the classy, intuitive interface. Overall, it offers the punter a service right up there with the best on the web.