The following is an in-depth review of the betting agency TAB 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
TAB Sportsbet is owned and operated by the ASX listed Tabcorp Holdings. Along with TAB Sportsbet, Tabcorp owns the online betting agency Luxbet, as well as TAB retail outlets, Sky Racing, Sky Sports Radio, Keno and a few gaming brands. Tabcorp boasts over 310,000 customers betting through Internet, pay TV and phone as well as 1,200,000 regular TAB retail wagering customers.1
Because TAB Sportsbet is licensed in both New South Wales and Victoria, visitors must choose whether to be directed to the New South Wales or Victoria website. If you don’t reside in either state, you can pick either one. The odds are the same between the two sites but your selection will impact certain betting rules. Note that once you’ve made a selection during sign up, the jurisdiction preference cannot be changed on your Internet betting account.
Services and Features
|Deposit options||Credit card, TAB Retail Outlets, Cheque or Money Order, BPay, Electronic Funds Transfer, Australia Post Bank@Post outlets|
|Minimum deposit||$20 for credit card, BPay and Australia Post. No minimum deposit for other methods.|
|Withdrawal options||Electronic Funds Transfer, TAB Retail Outlets, Cheque or Money Order|
|Currencies||AUD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, USD|
|Languages||English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional|
|Minimum bet||$0.50 for racing; $1.00 for online, Speech Express and Touchtone phone sports wagers and $10.00 for wagers over the phone with an operator.|
|Maximum payout||Vague. “TAB may set any minimum or maximum stake or payout for sports bets at its sole and absolute discretion.” TAB Sportsbet actually has a reputation for accepting larger bets than other bookmakers.|
|Deposit turnover requirements||None that we’re aware of|
|Bonus credit turnover requirements||N/A|
|Bookmaker margin||6.1% (see below for more details)|
|Credit facilities||None that we’re aware of|
|Forbidden jurisdictions||United States of America, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Netherlands, Dutch Antilles, Hong Kong, Germany, Turkey, Denmark, Hungary, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, New Caledonia, South Africa|
|Mobile betting||iPhone/iPad and Android apps are available.|
|Identity checks||TAB Sportsbet will automatically attempt to authenticate your identity during the registration process. Should the automated check fail, you must verify your identity within 90 days of opening an account. This can be achieved either by completing a form and taking it to an Australia Post outlet, or by submitting an alternative form along with copies of your ID and the signature of an approved referee (legal practitioner, judge, policeman, etc.)|
|Dormant account fees||A monthly account management fee of $5.50 for Australian customers and $5.00 for international customers is charged to those who have not placed a bet for six months or more.|
Betting Interface and Website Layout
TAB Sportsbet underwent a complete – and much needed – overhaul in 2012. The interface is now Flash rather than HTML driven, resulting in a modern website packed with interactive features. The new design is very busy, but it is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous interface.
Unlike most bookmaker websites, the sports are listed at the top of the page rather than along a left column. The left column now lists upcoming fixtures for the selected sport or league.
Underneath the sports area is a list of available markets for the selected sport. At first we thought the markets list had a bug in it, with no changes evident when additional markets such as Total Score and Margin were selected. It turns out that most of these markets are displayed below the original selection so you have to scroll down to see them. All changes are displayed without reloading the page. We really like the new arrangement because it enables you to find what you’re looking for quickly.
Below the markets list are odds for upcoming events. The arrangement is similar to what you get elsewhere. The events are listed in table format along with their respective odds. A TV icon is displayed next to each fixture. Clicking on the icon displays the TV channel(s) that the event will be aired. A button is available to the right of each fixture to view all markets for that particular event. One issue we have is these markets can be slow to load when selected. They are displayed below the rest of the odds one by one, so there can be a sizeable delay before every market is displayed. A convenient reset button is available should you wish to hide previously selected markets. One feature we really like is a sort button for winner markets. This enables you to sort the field by odds or by name, which is handy for events with a large number of competitors, such as golf and tennis.
The betting slip is feature packed as you would expect for a modern betting interface. Items are dynamically loaded into the slip when selected. Relevant multi betting options are offered when more than two selections are added to the slip. Flexi betting functionality is built into the betting slip area, which is a brilliant feature for those with smaller account balances. Total bet cost and collect are dynamically displayed at the bottom of the slip.
Sports, matches and markets navigation
Overall, we really like the TAB Sportsbet interface. Our only gripe is that it can be slow to load at times.
In our most recent bookmaker margin survey, TAB Sportsbet had an average bookmaker margin of 6.1%, which is significantly higher than the survey average of 5.1%. From a punter’s perspective, the lower the margin, the better. TAB Sportsbet had the highest margins of the Australian-licensed bookmakers surveyed.
TAB Sportsbet offers a strong betting selection that is very much in line with other leading Australian bookmakers. A plethora of sporting leagues are supported and the popular Australian sports are well catered for, with numerous betting options for each event. In addition to the standard sporting markets, poker, entertainment and basic finance betting are available.
The betting selection is perfectly adequate for most punters needs. TAB Sportsbet would suffice as your only bookmaker membership.
The racing section is a strength of TAB Sportsbet. Horse racing, greyhounds and harness events are covered across Australia as well as at selected tracks in Singapore, New Zealand, and the UK.
For most events Win, Place, Trifecta, Quinella, Exacta, Duet, First 4, Quaddie, Daily Double and Running Double bets are offered. TAB Tote is offered for all events and TAB fixed odds are offered for most events.
Like the sports betting section, the racing interface was given a complete overhaul in 2012, although the changes weren’t quite as dramatic. The race selection page is intuitive with all events for the day concisely displayed. The results for concluded races are shown and the times for upcoming races are dynamically updated with colour coding to denote whether they are shortly due to start or in progress.
Three view modes are available for the racing odds: Standard, Expressbet (supporting code bets and batch bets) and Expert (supporting batch bets). The standard view is what the majority of punters will use and is similar to what you get with other bookmakers. Betting tips and ‘SkyForm Best’ lists are provided below most races. Pool amounts are also displayed.
The betting procedure is slightly different to the sports betting section. You make your selections in the odds panel and then select the stake amount in the right panel before adding it to your betting slip.
Racing event selection
Standard racing odds display
Racing bet entry
Live Sports Betting
TAB Sportsbet offers a live betting interface that is separate from the standard sports betting interface. An event schedule is provided, along with results and a stats centre. Live scores are provided for most events and video feeds are available for some events.
Due to Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act, live online betting is not available. Customers must phone in to bet live.2
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.
Live odds display
- Available odds are often in contrast to other bookmakers, which means that TAB Sportsbet frequently offers the best value for a particular selection.
- Has a reputation for accepting larger wagers than most competitors
- Backed by Tabcorp Holdings, a large ASX listed company
- Multi betting with up to 20 selections is supported
- Flexi betting available for sport and racing multi bets
- New users can set pre-commitment limits when signing up. This caps your deposits over a set period.
- Phone betting with Speech Express (a speech recognition system) supports a low minimum sports wager of $1.00
- State of the art betting interface
- No minimum withdrawal amount
- Extensive help section
- Members can accumulate points with the ‘Number 1 Club’ rewards program. Points can be redeemed for free bets and other rewards.
- Higher margins than competitors
- No sign up offers for new members
- Members are assigned an account number rather than a username when signing up. This is inconvenient when you can’t recall your account number.
- POLi3 and Skrill (Moneybookers) are not available as deposit methods
- Identity verification options not as convenient as some competitors
- Dormant account fees
After giving its website a much needed overhaul, TAB Sportsbet has overtaken most of the pack in interface design. The sports and race betting sites are now state of the art, making for more convenient wagering. TAB Sportsbet’s other drawbacks still remain, however. Their margins are higher than other leading bookmakers and there are no sign up offers. Having said that, TAB Sportsbet has a reputation for accepting larger wagers and it offers a good selection of sporting markets. Furthermore, the odds are often in contrast to other bookmakers. This makes the service useful for punters who hold other memberships. We recommend TAB Sportsbet as part of a portfolio of memberships, but novices are still better off using its sister service, Luxbet.
Notes and Sources
- 1 http://www.tabcorp.com.au/about-us.aspx
- 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_Gambling_Act
- 3 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.