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If there’s one thing that unites all Australians, it’s a passion for sport and gambling.
That passion may change depending on where you live and what time of year it is, but having a punt on our favourite past time is embedded into the culture.
While the passion and love for sport and racing runs deep, it is uniquely and famously paired with the love of taking on the bookies.
Australia has one of the most active and diverse bookmaker industries in the world and for good reason — we gamble more per-person than any other nation on average.
While we once focused all of our time and energy on the pillars of Australian sporting folklore — AFL, NRL, racing and cricket — Australia’s love of sport and gambling has expanded to the point where punters can find both live vision and gambling markets on almost every single sport being played right around the world.
Whether it’s the AFL Grand Final, the NFL Super Bowl, the Melbourne Cup, FIFA World Cup or a game of darts, you’ll find a wide array of odds at a number of online bookmakers.
With a large number of quality bookmakers competing for their business, punters are spoilt for choice.
Let us guide you through what to look out for and how to maximise your returns on every single cent you gamble in the land down under.
Australian sports betting
Australia has a big, well-regulated sports betting industry that provides legal betting access to every citizen in all of the country’s eight states and territories.
Most of the major online bookmakers have received their bookmaker licenses from the Northern Territory Gaming Commission.
We at Bets.com.au cannot stress enough that you should only be dealing with the licensed and regulated bookmakers that we recommend below. There are unlicensed bookmakers out there that do not offer the appropriate safety measures for depositing, withdrawing and secure banking options.
So, which bookmaker is the right one for you? Let’s take a look at the field:
BetEasy was forged from the ashes of CrownBet and William Hill Australia in 2018 and quickly solidified a big market share, due to its comprehensive and competitive markets, quality customer service and rewards program. The official wagering partner of the Australian Football League offers a dynamic website and quality Apple and Android betting smartphone apps.
The PaddyPower-owned Sportsbet is one of the biggest success stories of the Australian bookmaker industry. It was the first ever licensed bookmaker in 1993 and in 2005 exploded online after being purchased and reignited by Matthew Tripp. Sportsbet is the country’s biggest corporate bookmaker and in addition to its funny, cheeky advertising and promotional campaigns, offers great weekly bonuses and promotions, as well as ‘justice’ and early pay outs for unlucky or savvy punters. Sportsbet continue to innovate with its Same Game Multis and PowerPlay betting.
Launched in 2017 by former Ladbrokes CEO Dean Shannon, Neds has wasted no time carving out a significant share of the Australian bookmaker industry, before being sold to Ladbrokes for a whopping $68 million a little more than a year later. Neds has a fantastic suite of daily promotions in sport and racing, a unique ‘Tool Box’ in which punters can earn handy bonuses and perks and has a dynamic website and easy to use Apple and Android apps.
Bet365 is a global phenomenon with an enormous international customer base for a reason — they adhere to a simple formula of competitive odds, weekly promotions, diverse betting markets and quality customer service. When it comes to sports, Bet365 specialises in futures betting markets and all international soccer games. The bookmaker was also an innovator when it comes to live streaming sporting events — a feature they continue to expand and provide to satisfied members.
Owned and operated by the internationally-renowned Kindred Group, Unibet has a big global customer base and has also been a dominant bookmaker in Australia since being established in 2006. Unibet boasts competitive odds, daily promotions, a new interactive racing platform, esports markets and a new free-to-play game called Unibet Streak, where punters can win up to $5000 for successful tipping.
An old stalwart of the New South Wales on-course bookmaking scene, Palmerbet has undergone a steady evolution to become a quality alternative online to Australia’s bigger online bookmakers. Palmerbet has markets in every sport one could hope to bet on and calls on its vast experience when crafting racing markets and weekly promotions.
Betfair became the first bookmaker to introduce a betting exchange when it was launched in 2000 in the UK. The betting provider has had great success in Australia, where punters will take on sport and racing bets by laying wagers against one another. Technically, Betfair has no liability and is not technically a bookmaker — instead they take 5% commission from winning bets.
Launched in 2015, TopBetta has made its mark in the Australian bookmaker scene offering betting tournaments to punters, in addition to more traditional sport and racing markets. TopBetta tournaments see customers play and bet with play money, with the aim of accumulating the biggest profit.
Madbookie has had a tumultuous time since entering the Australian market in 2015, having been bought out by TopBetta in 2017 before both TopBetta and MadBookie were then purchased by PlayUp in 2018. Through all of the ownership changes, Madbookie has managed to carve out a nice niche for itself based on its competitive sports and racing odds.
Founded by father and son bookmakers Michael & Alan Eskander in 2007, BetStar has offered a quality corporate bookmaker service out of Darwin and Melbourne for more than a decade. BetStar offers weekly promotions, live betting on sport and racing and has a itunes and Android betting apps.
SportChamps is a new player to the Australian betting scene, capitalising on the growing phenomenon that is fantasy sports gambling. SportsChamps specialises in daily fantasy tournaments where punters can take each other on instead of the bookies. Tournaments in which players can deposit between $0 and $100 as an entry fee are available for AFL, NRL, NBA, soccer, horse racing and other popular events.
After starting out overseas, Bookmaker.com.au reached Australian shores in 2012 before being bought out during Ladbrokes’ Aussie invasion of 2013. Bookmaker has a great website design that is easy to navigate, its own bookmaker EFTPOS card so punters can immediately withdraw funds, as well as weekly promotions and live betting.
Founded by the former CEO of William Hill Australia, Michael Sullivan, BlueBet launched in Australia in 2015 with the goal of offering punters a ‘uniquely Australian experience’ in a time that saw UK gambling giants buy up the biggest bookmaker brands. BlueBet has grown quickly to offer a comprehensive sport and racing service for punters, flexi and fixed odds betting and a unique website interface.
PointsBet is a new player to the Australian market, offering a comprehensive service in US-style spread betting on a wide variety of sports. If you are looking to be entertained and think you can find real betting value beyond the simple win/loss equation, spread betting offers a unique service in which advanced punters can maximise their dollar.
Which Aussie bookmakers are safe to sign up with?
The bookmakers we have recommended are all safe and follow guidelines implemented to ensure the security of punters online.
If you do find yourself checking out other options online, these are the questions you need to ask yourself before signing up and handing over your vital personal details:
- Has this bookmaker attained a license from an official Australian state gaming authority?
- Are the deposit and withdrawal methods safe? Do they meet industry standards?
- Does this bookmaker have any history of scamming customers or not paying out fair winning bets
- Are my personal and banking details safe? Do they have the appropriate digital security?
You also have to ask yourself if a bookmaker meets your customer service standards:
- Is the bookmaker available via phone or instant chat online?
- Does the bookmaker offer regular promotions for its members?
- Does this bookmaker offer the best odds on my favourite sports and racing?
- Can I navigate the website easily and do I like the smartphone app?
There are a number of bookmakers we recommend that tick all of these boxes, so our advice is to sign up with multiple bookmakers – it will cost you nothing and after a quick check, you can always ensure you’re getting the best odds for your betting.
Bookmaker sports promotions
A competitive Australian bookmaker industry is a great thing for Australian punters, as it means each and every online bookmaker extends itself more and more to attract our business.
The country’s biggest bookmakers, in an effort to attract our punting dollar, offer weekly promotions on our favourite sports and big events.
When it comes to the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, State of Origin, the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and other big sporting events like the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Super Bowl, bookmakers will provide punters with a variety of unique markets, in addition to offers like early and justice pay-outs, bonus bet insurnace for bad beats and more.
Unfortunately for punters, sign-up bonuses, first deposit matches and any advertising that incentivises punters to open new betting accounts is now illegal in Australia, thanks to the implementation of the National Gambling Framework in May, 2019.
We implore each and every punter to keep a keen eye on the offerings from their bookmakers and other ongoing specials to make sure they are maximising their returns on each bet.
Biggest sports betting markets for Australians
While our first love is domestic competitions like AFL, NRL, Super Rugby and cricket, Australians’ love of sport has evolved to encompass the biggest and smallest sports overseas, especially in the US and Europe.
Here is a list of the sports that you’ll be able to bet on at any self-respecting Australian bookmaker:
Live sports news
It’s important for punters to keep their finger on the pulse when it comes to sports betting, given the ever-changing nature of professional contests and the impact that can be made from injuries, form and other crucial pre-game news.
Ensure that you’re keeping up to date with all of the latest market news, injuries, form and important betting information by following our news section:
Few things are more important to sport and racing punters than an accurate fixture to make your plans around.
Each of the Bets.com.au individual sporting review pages offers all of the key future dates and times of important events for leagues and even individual teams, but it is absolute vital for punters to ensure that before they gamble, they are 100% sure of the starting date and time, particularly if you are dealing with conflicting time zones.
The last thing any of us need is to nail a winner, only to find we have placed are bet too late.
Savvy punters will also note that big bargains can be had for punters who study future fixtures and are able to identify future trends for a particular player or team that may be over or under the odds.
Take a look at our Sporting Calendar here for updated fixtures and start times.
Live sports streaming
A number of bookmakers in Australia now offer live streaming of sport and racing for punters to watch on their mobile devices.
For Australians that can’t get to a pub, don’t have Foxtel or may be stuck at a wedding, birthday or children’s recital during the big game, we have some options so you don’t mix the action – and they shouldn’t cost you a cent.
BetEasy.com.au: BetEasy have an awesome live streaming service in which they offer their members live streaming for ALL Australian thoroughbred racing, as well as some selected tennis, NBA and soccer games. You simply have to sign-up to start streaming. The Aussie bookmaker is clearly a leader in this field in the country and also recently announced a key partnership with Kayo, which now allows existing BetEasy customers to get a three-month subscription to the sports streaming service for free.
Sportsbet.com.au: Sportsbet comes to the table for those in need of a stream with live streaming of Victorian thoroughbreds, tennis, selected soccer games, tennis and some interesting and niche sports like darts. Sportsbet have also been known to stream domestic Australian sporting leagues.
Bet365.com.au: Bet365 is a real innovator in the live streaming game, being the first international bookmaker to offer the service to its members. Bet365 offers a lot of soccer streaming for European leagues, offers vision for the major US sports like NBA and NHL and also caters to niche sports like hockey and volleyball.
Follow Australian sport on social media
Following your favourite sports through social media and ‘double screening’ as you watch live sport is now all part of the experience as an interactive fan.
Here are some of the official pages to follow for your favourite sports on Twitter and Facebook:
Cricket: @cricketaus, @cricketcomau
Soccer: @ALeague, @EPL, @FIFAcom
Basketball: @NBA, @NBL
Tennis: @AustralianOpen, @wimbledon, @rolandgarros, @usopen, @ATP_tour
Ice Hockey: @NHL
Horse racing: @racing, @FlemingtonVRC, @RaceQLD, @Racing_NSW, @Skyracingworld,
Motor sport: @F1, @motogp, @indycar, @supercars
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