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Tom Waterhouse expands his betting empire

Controversial bookmaker Tom Waterhouse has been named CEO of Australian operations for British gambling giant William Hill.

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High-profile Australian online wagering identity Tom Waterhouse has been appointed head of British bookmaker William Hill's Australian operations.

William Hill is the UK's largest bookmaker and one of the largest online betting businesses in Australia.

The group's Australian operations encompass the Sportingbet and Centrebet brands as well as tomwaterhouse.com.

William Hill acquired tomwaterhouse.com in August 2013 for $35 million, plus an "earn-out" payment of up to $70 million based on the incremental operating profit of the business in the year to December 31, 2015.

Waterhouse, who has drawn criticism in the past for his in-your-face style of marketing, said he looked forward to building an attractive and competitive customer offer for the William Hill operations in Australia.

"I am proud to have the chance to lead this business into the next level of growth," Waterhouse said in a statement on Thursday.

Tom Waterhouse is a fourth-generation bookmaker who became Australia's largest on-course bookie between 2003 and 2008.

In 2010, he launched the online sports betting business: tomwaterhouse.com.

Waterhouse attracted controversy for his ads and a paid deal with the National Rugby League that involved giving live odds on air. It prompted then-prime minister Julia Gillard to pressure broadcasters into stopping the practice amid concerns about children's exposure to gambling.

Waterhouse apologised for his advertising blitz and promised to cut back after the government's intervention.

William Hill PLC chief executive designate James Henderson said Waterhouse was a passionate, innovative and digitally-savvy industry expert.

Henderson said Australia was William Hill's "second home" and long-term prospects there were excellent.

William Hill also announced the early settlement of the earn-out provision that was part of the acquisition of tomwaterhouse.com, for $5 million in cash.

AAP