Bookmaker bonus bets are common at Australian betting sites, although new account incentives are now banned under local laws. Bookie bonus bets are now something existing customers get offered from time-to-time as a way to either get your business, or as a reward for your loyal custom. Even though bookmaker sign up bonus offers are outlawed, the offers that are given to existing customers are still a great way to pad your bankroll. HorseBetting.com.au recommends holding multiple bookmaker accounts, so you don’t miss out on the best bookie bonus deals that are available and legal. Those punters outside of Australia, still have many bookie bonus bets available, with these including betting sites in places like the UK and much of Europe. The top bookmaker bonus bet offers (if they are available in your jurisdiction) for 2023 are accessible via this table:
Introducing bookmaker bonus bets in Australia
If any online 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 Australia used to chase these punters hard – mainly through a swag of free bets, sign up offers, promotions or bonus bets promos but that has all come to an end.
As of May 26th 2019 no Australian licensed bookmaker is legally allowed to offer any sign up offer, bonus, promo deposit bet bonuses or “free bets” to Australians. These wagering and betting landscape changes are the result of regulatory reform from the National Gambling Framework. The resulting bonus offer removal has become known as the Bonus Bet Ban.
Australian Bonus Bet Ban Has Begun
The Bonus Bet Ban has started and came in to effect on Sunday 26th May 2019. No Australian punter can get any free bet, sign up bonus offer or bet bonus at any Aussie licensed online bookie.
If you are visiting HorseBetting.com.au from Australia, the table below contains the best online bookmakers in Australia but none will offer any sign up bonus or promo deposit bonus as of Sunday 26th May 2019.
Visitors from other countries will be able to see online bookmakers that still offer bonuses, free bets and sign up offers that are available to residents from their countries, but Australian bookmakers are not offering any bonuses to any customer regardless of residency.
Best online bookmakers
HorseBetting.com.au only endorses betting sites licensed and regulated in Australia for Australian residents.
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. In the past these bonus offers usually came in the form of matched deposits, sign up offers and in some cases a straight up no deposit freebet; but those days are gone. For the sake of posterity and our visitors outside Australia, this is how these offers work:
- Matched deposits
When you signed 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 often match the offer with the same amount.
The Australian government have outlawed the ability of sports betting sites to offer inducements to sign-up new customers or to offer bonuses that may encourage higher levels of gambling.
- Free Bets
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 to foster the relationship.
While technically the ‘free bet’ 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.
In Australia the use of Free Bets has been outlawed. Bookmakers are allowed to only provide bonuses to punters in the form of cash that have no turnover requirements, are not an inducement to open a new account, and that can be immediately withdrawn. No Australian bookie is yet to offer this.
Other types of bookie bonuses and features
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 or Cash Out 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.
- Early Payouts
Early payouts on racing, or more commonly on sports; are still legal. Bookmakers are allowed to settle bets prior to the finish of an event, race or game; and you receive the winning bet immediately as cash in your account. Examples would be with NRL matches when a bookmaker pays out on the team ahead at half time as if the game was over.
- Bonus % or Odds Boost
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. Almost all sign up offers, promotions or match deposit bonuses come with Terms and Conditions (T’s & C’s). It is vital you understand that attached T’s & C’s of any promotion or bonus you intend take advantage of.
A common example of a wagering requirement might be:
- 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.
- 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 from an online betting free bet. 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, and bookmakers outside Australia focus more on sports, particularly soccer or football.
- 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 free bets 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 offer value to punters.
Now the Bonus Bet Ban has occurred we will see another shift in how bookies offer bonuses to customers, but it won’t be in the form of bonus bets or free bets. More likely there will be increased promotion and use of product features like Odds Boost or PowerPlays, Early Payouts, and Cash Out offers.
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.