Betting in Australia has been subject to many regulations over the years and while playing here isn’t quite as restrictive as it has been in areas such as the United States, there are many rules that customers and, in particular, Australian bookmakers must adhere to.
Anyone travelling here from outside will be quickly aware as to how excited Australians are by sport and by betting in general. Bars across the country house the famous ‘pokies’ – slot machines based on popular poker variants – while sports grounds across the country are packed with spectators across many diverse events.
What Makes a Great Australian Bookmaker?
Like any country, Australia has its preferences when it comes to sporting markets so for any operator to be successful they must cater to those requirements. Australian Rules Football is a good example and here we have a very idiosyncratic sport which gathers very little interest outside of its own country.
The majority of bookmakers around the world provide a market for this but unlike a sport such as American Football, which many would say is similar, Aussies Rules hasn’t seen much interest from the wider betting community. However, for a bookie to be successful in Australia, they must give it extensive coverage.
Horse Racing is very popular across the country so the traditional bookmakers such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral will do well here. Aussie focused outlets such as PanBet, CrownBet and LuxBet also cover this sport but some of the newer, mainland European companies who avoid anything on four legs will struggle.
Elsewhere, soccer, tennis, cricket, golf and both codes of rugby are additional sports that are popular from a spectator’s and bettor’s point of view. So, for a bookmaker to do well here, the first thing they have to address is the need to cover the popular markets.
Having taken care of this side of the business, an Australian betting site needs to consider all the usual points that attract betting customers. These will include a strong welcome bonus and a range of ongoing promos, great customer service and excellent prices across the sporting markets.
Anyone looking to invest great time and effort has a seriously good and profitable sector of the market here. That fact is underlined by two very different experiences of two very familiar names in the industry.
In 2016, Ladbrokes reported a 50% growth in earnings over a three quarter period as the company continued to thrive. However, at the same time as that announcement was made, William Hill’s relationship with the Aussie betting markets was said to be ‘On The Rocks’.
In a sector that was claimed to be growing at a rate of 15 per cent each year, Hills had seen a drop in market share from 34 per cent to 12 per cent across 2013 to 2015. Of course, that could also be down to the rise in new operators but it shows how hard all the brands – even the long established ones – have to work here.
Elsewhere, Australian focused betting sites such as PanBet, CrownBet and LuxBet are open to customers from all over the world but they are considerably more popular among the Australian betting public.
History of Australian Betting Sites
Australia’s first ever licensed casino came with the building of West Point as recently as 1973. This was relatively isolated out on the Island of Tasmania and even if we fast forward over 40 years, there remain only 12 licensed establishments in what is a vast country.
The government have always been reluctant to grant licenses and have been largely opposed to those famous ‘pokies’ but as only small stakes are involved with that type of machine, they have been tolerated over the years.
However, the birth of the internet and the rise in online gaming just couldn’t be ignored. Suddenly, all Australians, even those living in the most remote parts of the country, could gain access to the net and potentially sign up for a new bookmaker account in just a few minutes. In a country with such reluctance to allow widespread betting, it just had to be properly regulated.
The most significant law in recent years saw the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 come in. This generally makes it much harder for a bookmaker to get a license in Australia and there are severe penalties for anyone who doesn’t follow the stipulations.
Perhaps the most interesting piece of legislation within this act makes it illegal for anyone to bet in play online so you cannot stake via the internet once a sporting event has started. You can, however, do this via the telephone or you can walk into a physical betting shop and stake in this manner.
This may seem a little curious but a clear intention could be to curtail impulse betting. It is very quick and easy to bet in play on line but telephone and in person betting require more thought and more time in which to weigh up whether you’re making a good decision or not.
Advertising is also highly regulated so if you were to watch a TV station out in Australia, you would see only a fraction of the amount of adverts that might appear in the UK or in other parts of the world.
In general, while the act of 2001 may seem very harsh in certain areas, it’s really just an example of how strongly Australian government wants to promote responsible gambling and to protect its citizens.
This is a very tricky market to conquer with its specific rules and regulations but anyone meeting the overall needs of the Australian punter will do very well here. Overall, the gambling sector in this country is said to be worth some 500 Million AUD so Australian bookmakers’ hard work can be really profitable. This is a sports mad country with a particular love of horse racing, cricket, rugby and, of course, their very own Aussie Rules Football so it’s easy to see why those that have worked hard to focus on this idiosyncratic region have done very well in Australia.