Australian Online Gambling Firm Target of William Hill

Published Thursday, August 08, 2013 -
Australian Online Gambling Firm Target of William Hill

William Hill is one of the U.K.’s largest gambling services operator and it is a major player now in the internet wagering industry.

William Hill s reported to be close to penning a deal to acquire the Tom Waterhouse Australian gambling group in the near future. Thirty one year old Thomas Waterhouse is a fourth generation bookmaker, and the great grandson of one of the first official bookmakers in Australia.

Waterhouse's online gambling business is and is a business owned by a network of companies owned by Robbie, Louise (Robbie's sister) and Tom Waterhouse. The company is one of Australia’s largest corporate bookmakers, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin, and claims a client list of 100 "high net worth individuals" whose minimum bet is $1000.

In 2013, the escalating presence of promotions and editorial commentary on free-to-air television led to a significant backlash from the Australian public against Waterhouse personally and the wider gambling industry. In 2013, Tom Waterhouse declined an invitation to appear before a federal parliamentary committee into gambling reform.

Ladbrokes and Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment have also expressed an interest in acquiring Tom Waterhouse but William Hill seems to have the upper hand in this deal. Earlier this year, the group purchased Sportingbet online sports betting giant for a record $500 million. In 2011, Sportingbet purchased $183 million to purchase the local Australian online betting agency, Centrebet.

Chief Executive Officer of William Hill, Ralph Topping, reflected his concerns about the internet wagering market in Australia, "You never buy a perfect business," he was quoted as saying, "This business has a lot going for it but there are imperfections in it and there is upside for us on the digital side. This was the last significant asset in Australia and we bought it and we take a long term view of businesses."

There has not been a price announced for the acquisition which is speculated at anywhere between $50 million and $500 million.

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