Australian In-Play Betting Service Defended by Tom Waterhouse

In-Play Betting Under Investigation in Australia

Tom Waterhouse warns of the risk that punters could move to illegal offshore bookmakers.

Australian bookmaker, Tom Waterhouse, has defended its in-play betting features despite suggestions by some politicians that they may be illegal. In particular, earlier this month, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison described services such as in-play betting as being illegal in Australia and the matter has now been referred for investigation.

Tom Waterhouse Defends its New In-Play Betting Feature

Australian bookmaker in-play betting has come under fire with two major brands, William Hill and Bet365, bearing the brunt of the criticism over this feature. Both companies claim that the service they offer is telephone betting via smartphone and laptop and that this service is legal.

In August 2013, William Hill acquired Tom Waterhouse and the Australian bookmaker has now chosen to follow in the steps of William Hill and launch its own in-play betting service.

The regulator of the Australian Media and Communications Authority (AMCA) has taken the matter further and referred it to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Interpol for investigation. They will determine whether this feature is illegal according to the current Interactive Gambling Act which restricts in-play betting to wagers placed during telephone calls.

The William Hill in-play betting uses an online program to technically make a phone call, but allows punters to place the actual bet with the click of a mouse or tap of the smartphone.

Television Advertising on Hold

An online-only advertisement was released last Wednesday to announce the launch of the new service; however television advertising will remain on hold until the investigation has been completed.

Tom Waterhouse, company founder and head of William Hill's Australian operations has defended the service and announced his certainty that it is legal, even in the face of risking heavy fines.

He went as far as to say, "We're 100% confident that the product is legal," and suggested that there must have been a complaint about the product in terms of it legality.

"In terms of the television stations we came to the agreement we will wait to show in-play betting ads until the AFP has come back on it," said Waterhouse.

At the same time he warned of the risk of Australian punters moving to using illegal offshore bookmakers if restrictions are placed on in-play betting services in Australia.