Strange happenings in bookie land this week, with retired brand Centrebet rearing its head in a somewhat bizarre return.
Centrebet, the original Australian online bookie, was bought out (along with tomwaterhouse.com) by British giant William Hill in 2013. The brand was slowly phased out before being retired outright just a few months back, with all remaining accounts transferred to the parent company.
That was until this week, when ‘Centrebet’ started contacting punters out of the blue via email and social media, informing them that they were back.
Centrebet are claiming to have a new, “no frills” approach (complete with spelling mistakes!):
- Best fixed-odds available
- No gimmicks / advertising / promotional offers
- Betting all comers to win up to $5,000 on any Australian metro racing (no mention of sports betting at this stage)
This is of course in stark contrast to the William Hill experience that Australian punters are used to: slashing of odds and account closure for any customer that shows a hint of intelligence.
With the financial performance of William Hill Australia showing the strains of this poor reputation among punters, we understand this impromptu re-launch of Centrebet is an attempt by Australian CEO Tom Waterhouse and his team to show their British bosses that they can run a bookmaking operation in the opposite manner to them – taking bets from all comers and without the gimmicks, promotions and costly advertising – and in fact make more money.
The move comes against the backdrop of a growing chorus from Australian punters for bookmakers to act (or be forced to act) in a fairer, more traditional manner, rather than the account-restrictive model that many have imported from the UK.
So something of an experiment then. The ‘new’ Centrebet has been ring-fenced from William Hill – anyone wanting to have a punt will have to open a new account, including former customers whose accounts have been transferred to William Hill.
William Hill Australia could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Check out our Know Your Bookmaker guide here.