If an Australian bookmaker could choose a sport to hold a monopoly on the market, without a doubt it would be horse racing. This means the TAB and the various online betting sites licensed in this country chase these punters hard – mainly through a swag of freebets, or bonus bets, as they are more commonly referred to these days.
Best online betting bonuses
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HorseBetting.com.au only endorses betting sites licensed and regulated in Australia. From time to time we receive exclusive offers for our readers and we always source the best available offer.
Sportsbet: Probably the most well-known Australian-founded bookmaker. Still punches with the heavyweights despite being bought out by British giant Paddy Power a few years back. Always gives good value to punters.
PalmerBet: Backed by the NSW bookies association and has a great range of horse racing markets, including a comprehensive section on futures. Gives new customers up to $250 in bonus bets.
Bet365: A truly global bookie that has markets on every major horse race around the globe, including futures and exotics on all major Australian races. They will also offer a greater selection of futures than many of their competitors.
Luxbet: Luxbet is backed by the TAB and has a good reputation. Will often have specials on major Aussie racing meetings. Sign-up bonus can be anywhere from $250 to $700.
How does a bonus bet work?
There are a few ways a bonus bet might work in this country. It has changed from the golden days because of a government crackdown on sports and racing betting because of a perception it encourages problem gambling.
Putting these legislation changes aside, it is still possible to take advantage of many great offers from respected online bookmakers. These bonus offers usually come in the form of matched deposits and in some cases a straight up freebet.
Matched deposits: When you sign up at a bookmaker you will often see “Get $500 free” or “Get $700 free”. This can be misleading because of the previously mentioned laws. What it really means is you can deposit up to $700 and they will match the offer with the same amount.
The New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australian government have outlawed the ability of bookmakers to offer inducements to sign-up, so you might not immediately receive the offer but if you join you will be given the option in an email soon after.
Freebets: When people refer to freebets these days they are usually talking about matched deposits, as talked about above. Although most bookies are now running VIP programs where a member of their staff will contact high value, or inactive players, and offer them a straight up free bet as a way to get them to bet with them again.
While technically the ‘freebet’ has been outlawed, bookies will find ways around these laws, a prime example is some betting sites offering you a certain amount, to be used as you see fit, for downloading their app.
Other types of bookie bonuses
With the competition as heavy as it has ever been between online bookmakers, they are continually coming up with new ways to get us to bet with them. Here are some of the more common ones associated with horse racing:
Cash back offers: It’s a sweeping term but in horse racing often a bookie will give you back money if you have placed a quaddie and only miss one leg. Another popular cash back option is when you back a horse to win and it finishes second.
Bonus %: The phrasing might be different between bookies, but you will often see a bookie giving you an extra, for example, 20% on a win bet.
Top tote +: This might have different names from bookie to bookie, but it basically means you will get the best price out of the three Australian totes on any wager on horse racing, or sometimes harness or greyhound racing.
These are restrictions a bookie places on a bonus offer to stop a bettor gaming the system and simply withdrawing the money without betting it. Different bookmakers and bonus offers will have different restrictions placed on them and if they are too stringent we won’t push the offer on this site.
A common example of a wagering requirement might be:
1 / – If a punter has a $10 bonus bet and wins on a 10-1 shot they will be given $90 back, with the initial stake taken out of the winnings.
2 / – Sometimes a bookie might place another restriction on the winning amount. For instance a 5x wagering requirement might be placed on any winnings you might make. So if you win $50 from a bonus bet, you will be required to wager that money five more times before you can withdraw it, for a total of $250 worth of wagers.
Racing, sports and bookie bonuses
Online bookies have hundreds of different sports and events to wager bookie bonuses on. Obviously racing plays on the mind of all of the bookies in Australia but there are many other sports they are passionate about.
- Basketball (NBA, NBL, Euro Leagues)
- Harness racing
- Greyhound racing
- Soccer/Football (EPL, A-League, various Euro leagues)
- Motor sports
- Rugby League
- Rugby Union
Australian law and bookie bonuses
It is 100% legal for Australians to bet with bookmakers licensed in Australia. It is a regulated industry and the government taxes the betting sites who are licensed in this jurisdiction. Having said that, the betting landscape, has changed dramatically in Australia with the banning of ‘in-play betting’ but even this is under review.
Inducements like freebets were changed to bonus bets and came with a new set of guidelines, but for most online bookies operating in Australia it just meant finding new, legal ways to give us plenty of value.
Australians are not legally able to wager at offshore bookmakers, although many people do for varying reasons, including the fact many Australian betting websites will cut off successful punters.