The following is an in-depth review of the betting agency Sportsbet. This review covers the history, features, interface, sports & racing markets, upsides and downsides of the service.
This review is part of our comprehensive Bookmaker Reviews section. The Betting Agencies page provides information and reviews for other sports betting agencies that are suitable for Australians. The following details are updated periodically to keep them up to date.
History, Location and Licence
Sportsbet is an Australian-based bookmaker that offers sports and race betting. Sportsbet commenced operations in Darwin in 1993, and is licensed in the Northern Territory. In 2005, Sportsbet was on the brink of bankruptcy when Matthew Tripp purchased the company for just $250,000. The bookmaker has since enjoyed a complete turnaround and currently employs over 250 staff. In May 2009, Paddy Power, Ireland’s largest bookmaker, acquired 51% of Sportsbet. In September that year Sportsbet acquired All Sports Ltd, the owners of IASbet. In 2010 it was announced that Paddy Power would acquire full ownership of Sportsbet. This process was completed in March 2011. In June & July of 2011 both the Sportsbet and IASbet websites were overhauled. They now utilise the same website interface, but with different templates. They also appear to both offer the same odds, although the sign up bonuses and betting promotions differ between the two services.1, 2, 3
Sportsbet is often in the media. It advertises on TV and is occasionally in the news for its ad hoc betting promotions. For example, in 2009 Sportsbet paid out all bets on Federer to win Wimbledon before the tournament started. It also paid out bets on England to win the 2010-11 Ashes Series after Day One of the 3rd Ashes Test. Sportsbet always has a myriad of betting promotions on at any given time. It also offers free to enter competitions such as the AFL & NRL million dollar tipping and the NRL & AFL Friday 500.
Services and Features
|New member offers||After opening a new account, Sportsbet will match 100% of your first resulted bet up to $150 with a free bet. Learn more.|
|Deposit options||Bank Transfer, BPay, Credit/Debit Card, Skrill (Moneybookers), PayPal, POLi 4|
|Withdrawal options||Bank transfer, Skrill (Moneybookers), Paypal|
|Transaction fees||None. The only transaction fee Sportsbet may charge is AUD$15.00 for international electronic funds transfers.|
|Currencies||AUD, NZD, USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, SGD|
|Minimum bet||$0.01 online, $50 by phone (cumulative amount in 1 phone call)|
|Maximum payout||Sportsbet sets a daily maximum win of AUD$500,000, unless otherwise negotiated. For sports and racing wagers the maximum betting limits depend on the event and bet type. Learn more.|
|Deposit turnover requirements||1x|
|Bonus credit turnover requirements||1x at 1.50 odds or greater for Australian residents, 5x at 1.50 odds or greater for non-Australian residents.|
|Bookmaker margin||4.6% (see below for more details)|
|Credit facilities||Members can apply for a credit betting facility up to $5,000. Sportsbet at its discretion may establish a $200 credit facility for you automatically.|
|Forbidden Jurisdictions||Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Congo Republic, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, United States of America, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Uzbekistan, Wallis and Futuna, and Zimbabwe.|
|Mobile version of the website?||Yes. Mobile betting is one of Sportsbet’s strengths. You can place bets, deposit funds and view your recent bet history. iPhone, iPad and Android Apps are available. Learn more.|
|Identity checks||You can quickly verify your identity online using Veda Advantage or edentiti (learn more). If you use a credit card you can make a maximum of 3 deposits up to $2,000 before you have to send a copy of the front and back of the registered card to fully activate it. Learn more.|
|Dormant account fees||None|
Betting Interface and Website Layout
The Sportsbet website underwent a complete overhaul in July 2011. The revamped website features a more functional interface, and apart from the template used, is virtually identical to that used by IASbet.
The website consists of the three-column layout that is common to many bookmakers. The left column displays available sports and racing options. Popular markets are displayed in the Quick Links box at the top. The sports and racing boxes can be hidden from view to facilitate easier browsing. When you click on a sport the page is refreshed to display the sub markets (such as specific leagues) in both the navigation menu and centre column. Given that the interface is so new, it’s a shame that the sub markets aren’t dynamically loaded to save time. While the page is refreshed to view sub markets for a new sport, when you select different markets in the centre column (for the same sport) the new odds are displayed without refreshing the page.
The odds display is fairly intuitive. The quantity of additional options is highlighted to the right of each event. Clicking on the link displays the full range of betting options for that event.
The betting slip is excellent. As items are added the slip is displayed on top of other content in the right column, but can be hidden from view when you don’t wish to view it. As you move your cursor over the information icon for each selection, the bet details are displayed. One of the interface’s strengths is its multi betting functionality. A multi bet option using all acceptable single bets is automatically provided when there are two or more selections in your betting slip. If you click on ‘Other Betting Options’ you are shown the exotic multi options such as Doubles, Trixie, and Patent.
Sports navigation display
UPDATE: the multi betting functionality has been given a further upgrade since the time of review. You can now combine win, place and each-way racing wagers along with sports wagers in the one multi bet.
In our most recent bookmaker margin survey, Sportsbet had an average bookmaker margin of 4.6%, which is lower than the survey average of 5.1%. From a punter’s perspective, the lower the margin, the better. Note that IASbet and Sportsbet have identical odds. Both bookmakers often reduce the margin in the build up to an event. For example, NRL and Super Rugby line odds typically open on Monday/Tuesday with 1.90 odds and shift to 1.92 odds on Friday.
Sportsbet offers both a great range of sports markets and a good depth of betting options for each fixture. Its biggest strength is Australian sport. Fans of NRL, AFL and Super Rugby won’t be disappointed, with up to 40 markets for each fixture. International punters won’t be disappointed either, with a broad array of additional markets such as volleyball, handball, golf, cycling, and American sports. As is always the case with bookmakers, football (soccer) is well covered, with up to 100 soccer markets across over 100 leagues. In addition to sport, entertainment, some basic finance and politics betting is also available. The offerings are certainly broad enough to use Sportsbet as your sole bookmaker.
Sportsbet has a strong Australian horse racing line-up that covers events in Australia, New Zealand, Asia (at certain times), and the Americas (at certain times). City Best, Country Best, Fixed Odds, Top Fluc, SP, Quinellas and Trifectas are available for thoroughbred racing and harness and greyhound racing are paid at Home Tote. On most days super exotics such as Quaddie, Double, Treble and Super6 bets are also available. Sportsbet also provides a form guide for each race.
Sportsbet offers Running Doubles and Daily Doubles on selected tracks. You select the winners from two races for the opportunity to pick up large dividends. Flexi Betting can be used on Doubles wagers, which give you a percentage of the full unit dividend. You can choose multiple horse selections in each leg to increase your chances of selecting a winning combination.
Live Sports Betting
Due to Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act 3, live online betting is not available for Australians. Australian customers must phone in to bet live. If live online sports betting is what you’re after, be sure to check out our survey of betting agencies that offer live online betting.
- Established, well known sports betting brand
- Freqent betting promotions and free to enter competitions
- Good selection of deposit and withdrawal options, including Paypal and POLi 4
- Very low turnover requirements
- Comprehensive help section with a search feature
- Strong support for multi betting
- Good range of sports markets and betting selections
- Excellent mobile betting service
- Low $0.01 minimum online bet
- Low $5.00 minimum deposit
- Live online betting is not available to Australian residents (due to Australian law)
- The sports navigation menu isn’t dynamic. The page is refreshed each time you view sub markets for different sports.
- Sign up bonus not as competitive as at its sister site, IASbet
- Have been known to suspend or limit the accounts of successful punters
Sportsbet is an excellent betting service. In an earlier review we described the interface as “simplistic.” Now that the website has been given a complete overhaul, the interface is modern and feature-packed, with strong support for multi betting. At the same time, it is still easy to use and intuitive, which makes Sportsbet a good option for beginners. The betting selection is excellent, in particular for Australian sports, which makes Sportsbet suitable as a sole membership. Because the website uses the same interface, and from what we can tell, the same odds as IASbet, we recommend you check out both websites to see which one takes your fancy.
Notes and Sources
- 1 http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Sportsbet-completes-IAS-takeover-pd20090918-VZ6BW
- 2 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/luck-of-the-irish-for-sportsbet-founder-as-bookmaker-buys-up/story-e6frg8zx-1225976467784
- 3 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/tripps-big-punt-on-sportsbet-pays-off/story-e6frg8zx-1225988026584
- 4 POLi facilitates online bank transfers that are acknowledged by the bookmaker instantly. This enables you to log into your banking provider, transfer money to the bookmaker, and place bets immediately.
- 5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_Gambling_Act