William Hill Australia Announces Betting Top-Up Card
A new top-up card may make online betting easier for local punters. William Hill Australia’s announcement comes in the wake of the sudden departure of CEO James Henderson.
The former CEO resigned following disappointing second quarter results, which were partly the result of lacklustre online betting figures. The top-up card, which is to be introduced through Emerchants, is one way in which the UK-based bookmaker hopes to draw a better response. Punters will be able to top up their cards with AU$ at participating shops and petrol stations.
During a interview with the Sydney Morning Herald spokesperson James Burroughs said that with the new top up card William Hill customers would not only have instant access to their winnings, but they would be able to deposit straight into their account, making the overall betting experience even easier and faster.
While punters may be excited at the prospect of placing bets online more easily, not everyone will rush out to get one of the new cards. Woolworths have already indicated they will not take part in the service, no doubt due to their pokies involvement.
Local bookmakers, on the other hand, are less than pleased about the top-up card, as many believe that online bookmakers such as William Hill have an unfair advantage over land-based establishments.
Current laws allow Australian punters to use offshore online bookmakers that enjoy lower taxes in foreign licensing jurisdictions, and up until recently, offered credit to punters. Some critics suggested that the top-up card is a way of getting around the Interactive Gambling Act government review.
Financial Counselling Australia also expressed concern about the top-up card. Spokesperson Lauren Levin told the Sydney Morning Herald that the card may have a negative impact on gambling addicts or be used for money laundering. Levin said that they were fully aware that problem gamblers needed to cover their trail, and that hiding their activities from their spouses would now be easier, as would hiding income from the ATO.
However, Emerchants managing director Tom Cregan dismissed such concerns, and said the top-up card would benefit punters and the online bookmaker alike. He said that betting would happen anyway, and that all the new card was doing was making it more convenient. Cregan added that the top-up card should increase brand loyalty among the online bookmaker’s Australian punters.