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Table of contents
Meet our author
Betting expert Elizabeth Winnie

Through a ranking system and serious and consolidated standards, we make a point of evaluating the best authorized betting sites in Australia. This information will not only allow you to have access to the best bonuses, but also to the best conditions to make the best sports bets online.

For anyone even remotely familiar with Australian gambling it would be expected for betting houses to fight for each and every player. With so much competition and such a demanding market, it may seem strange that none of the new sports betting websites in Australia is showing betting bonus offers.

But, because of the new law passed on the national level, operators are no longer permitted to promote bonus offers. This includes promotions in the following places:

  • Index web page
  • Social media account
  • Media promotions

Simplified, it is expected for players to register with the platform before they can be made aware of all of the bonus offers that are available, as well as their amount. This move by the legislator aims to reduce the allure of younger people and other sensitive groups from gambling.

For the operators, this is a minor issue because they can still promote their services and games and draw in players in other ways. This is especially the case for the biggest operators who believe that this move will slow down the jumping of players from platform to platform and keep them in the dominant position.

For players, the problem is slightly bigger, as now we can't know right off the bat which of the operators will offer the biggest bonus. Thankfully, it is possible to find this information on independent websites and with experts online, which will hopefully push even more players to investigate their options before they start playing.

Betting bonus terms and restrictions

If looking per capita, Australia is one of the hottest betting markets in the world. Because of the long history of sports even before colonisation, the continent now has a tradition of cheering teams and athletes as well as betting on the outcome.

Since the new legislation allowing online betting came about in 2004 the number of people placing bets and the number of bets being placed skyrocketed. And while this was highly beneficial for local tax income, it also created some concerns with the more conservative part of the population.

Unlike cousins in the United States of America or Canada, Aussies start acting as adults much sooner. This has given concerns that aside from parties and drinking, young adults may be overly prone to gambling and that they are at a higher risk of irresponsible gambling.

There is yet to be any firm data on the matter, but the public concern alone pushes many legislators to act on their behalf and introduce new regulations, such as the new law that forbids betting operators from exposing bonuses for those who are not registered.

And, to be registered, you will need to provide your national ID which will state your place of residence as well as your age. Only with such information, you can legally bet with top 100 bookmakers Australia.

Overall, the rules are not strict and adults can easily register and play. The rules for responsible gambling made by the operators are usually more strict than what is required by law because all operators want you to primarily have fun with them and not cause frustration and a bad public image.

No enticing promotions

Although the change was broached like this by those advocating against the prohibition of promoting bonuses, this is not entirely true. Namely, the betting houses are still allowed to promote their services, the games they offer, and their quality.

But, what they can’t do is place the bonuses, including both signup and deposit bonuses, at the forefront. Free games and bonus games also can’t be promoted, as they fall under the same legislation.

Only once the players are already registered with the operator can they receive all of these promotions either directly on the website, via email, or even via text message. In that case, it is completely okay to speak both about the bonus offers and any other special offers that involve prizes.

The nominal reason behind this was the tendency of some operators to promote signup bonuses and deposit bonuses as ‘’free money’’. For young people might see this as something you get for free and don't see it only as a player's advantage.

In those cases, so as not to let bookmakers test the limits of such promotions and what is allowed all the time, the government just banned the practice altogether.

Needed registration

Ever since domestic online sports betting in Australia became legal, registration with the platform was a big deal. The main reason why many of those who were originally opposed to the practice relented is because of the assurances that come with the registration.

Primarily, there are assurances for the community that no underage gambling as well as other predatory practices would be permitted. You need to have your ID checked when you register and the number of your ID matched with the public registry, proving that the information is real.

Also, registration allows the state and institutions to track those who might have a gambling problem and would require assistance. Many operators pride themselves on the fact that they are so careful when dealing with such sensitive issues.

In these cases, bonus offers are both positive and negative. On one side, they allow the players to effectively have lower stakes. With a 100% deposit bonus, you are effectively cutting your risk by half.

The problem is that such a reduced risk might fool you into thinking that your money is not as important and you can bet more. This misconception is something that people in the online betting community should be aware of and talk about openly.

How much you spend on gambling is not a question of your class or status. We don’t have a problem talking about how much we paid for movie tickets, and any other type of legal entertainment shouldn’t be different.

Preventing irresponsible gambling

Sports betting is very fun. And, while you can win quite a bit of money, for most people a much bigger prize is being right about the result and showing their sports knowledge and foresight.

But, similar to what we get in both offline and online casinos, that rush we get when winning can be intoxicating. And, if the operator is left to exploit that rush, many people will get hooked and won't be able to stop betting, even against their better judgement.

And, while we might think that this issue is not something we would ever fall for, the truth is that any person who finds gambling interesting at all has this tendency. The thrill of the win and the pleasure of being right will work against us if we don’t realise it.

This is why the community must set up some boundaries on what can be promoted and what should be banned. Harassing players about how they can win big if they act immediately is one of those things, and bookmakers in Australia are banned from making such advertisements.

For many, promoting bonuses for those who are not registered is the same. Not to mention that oftentimes there is the fine print. For instance, many people don't know about the play-through rate, meaning how much you must play to get your bonus back.

Free bonus bets in betting sites of Australia

The regulation brought in by the Australian federal government has placed a lot of large betting platforms in disarray because bonus bets and signup bonuses were such a large part of the marketing campaign. For the players, they have come to expect to get a bonus once they sign up.

But, the law doesn't forbid the actual practice of bonuses as much as it forbids promoting them. Namely, stated in the regulation for New South Wales, the bonus can't be for a certain event, or a result of an outcome of a certain event. But, it can be due to company policy for those who are already signed up.

While having promotional ‘’free bonus bets’’ will no longer be possible in any case, you might receive a sporadic freebie by the operator to spend on whichever game you want for that week.

The law has two major issues, on one side there are a lot of situations missing from the law, and on the other, both operators and players have a vested interest not to read it in completely good faith.

Three points about the new law

There are a lot more questions about this subject than there are answers. Because the legislation was made in 2018 and is only now coming into effect, after the local betting market has exploded in popularity, both the bookmakers and players don’t know what to think.

Primarily, there are legal questions about what betting options would be possible under the new regulation. While it is plain to see that promoting any offer would be against the new law, having the benefits for current and existing players is not strictly banned.

Rather, the operator can’t directly make bonuses and promotions based on someone just signing up, depositing, or playing the game. Rather, the bonuses must be either random or a part of a campaign that affects all players at a certain time.

Also, there are operative questions as many players still have their bonuses. These should be safe as they are grandfathered in with the law. But, any new bonus will need to comply with what is written or levy a fine.

Finally, the player will want to know where they will get the best options to play. Because such information is no longer available on the company websites there is a bigger pressure for independent reviewers to find the best opportunities and inform the players all across Australia.

Regretfully, that probably won’t have straight answers and tables as it did so far because too many of the aspects are unknown. The bonuses will need to be at least random on the surface as no betting operator wants to be bogged down with fines.

Legal issues with the law

The original issue with Australian legislation is that it wasn't brought in under the realisation that Australians really like this type of entertainment and that it should be legal. Rather, they were passed because of fear of off-shore gambling and the losses that might make to the local economy.

With the original law from 2004, the Liberal/National coalition under John Howard was concerned that if there was no action they wouldn’t be able to stop off-shore gambling in the country, which was increasing daily.

Currently, the same coalition is in power under Scott Morrison and it is unlikely that the relationship between the ruling powers and online gambling and betting will improve.

Because of such disparity between the views of common Australians and the governments, the law that passed reducing the bonuses is not as respected as it ought to be. The players don’t care that the platforms might be in breach, and the platforms are doing everything in their power to follow the letter but not the spirit of the law.

In such a situation, unless further clarifications are made it is unlikely that there will be any full adoption and everyone will constantly try to find loopholes on how to entice people to play with them.

Sign up bonuses

Under the new law, it is unlikely that signup bonuses will be a thing, at least in the name. Because getting a bonus because of signing up is an explicit reason. But, that doesn't mean you get nothing.

Because there is no time frame mentioned for what might be considered a signup bonus, the operators might make games like spinning wheels and similar luck-based games where virtually everyone wins. This would be considered a gambling win, and as such wouldn’t fall under the new legislation.

You wouldn’t get the money because you signed up explicitly, but virtually everyone who did sign up might win the equivalent, pushing the situation back to its previous state.

The only difference is that such a promotion couldn’t be advertised explicitly by the platform. But 3rd party experts, such as websites that test and compare operators are completely in their right to mention such options.

In the end, this might prove to be highly beneficial for both the players and the bookmakers. The players will be better informed and will already have information about the platform before they start. That will make their experience better and the operators will get a higher quality of players in turn.

Deposit bonuses

This is a no-go. While there might still be bonuses after you deposit as a lottery, there will be no bonuses that are based on the size of your deposit. Such a move would be a clear sign that the reason for the bonus was the deposit, so it will be impossible to pass this next to the new law without a fine.

What might happen is that those who bet more frequently will get random bonuses at a higher pace, but the amount of the bonus would need to be the same for each player.

This might be solved by the operators by making a strict deposit limit to push all players into the same bracket. But, it is much more likely that those who deposit more will just get officially random promotions and advantages via email in the effort to keep them on the platform.

Regretfully, there will be no way to confirm this rate and only after a while, provided that anything similar is instituted, we will get the idea from independent review sites of the size of this difference.

No deposit bonuses

At least in name, this will be the main way how bonuses will be distributed. But, the bonus won't be able to exist just because you signed up and were enticed to play without depositing. Rather, it will need to be set either inside the game or as ''house credit'' which will let you play for a bit before depositing.

All new bonuses will be without a reason and purely by chance or sporadically as an internal gift to all players. This will be the only way to provide bonuses without getting fined.

More or less, all bonuses that exist now will roll back to this category, as it is the only one that isn’t caused by a specific game or action.

Ironically, this can create an even greater advantage with players as you will be able to keep accounts open with all operators and just visit them from time to time to collect your bonuses, even if you don’t deposit anything.

How operators will moderate such behaviour is yet to be seen, but maybe the new betting competition between platforms will be how much they allow you to rake in "random prizes".

Free bets

Although free bets are not explicitly banned, they are mentioned in the law meaning that getting a free bet for a specific game will no longer be possible. Because there is a causality when promoting such a game, the practice will need to stop.

But, there can still be free bets in the form of tokens given the same way as no deposit bonuses. In such a case you will get to pick any game you want from the list and play that.

A clear way to get people to play a specific game is to give out these tokens that only last for a short while in a period when a big game is being held. This way the operators will still be able to promote the game and invite the player to check it out.

Those who are not interested will still be able to play another game or another sport altogether. But, operators usually have intricate information about who is following what on their platform and might target promotions to these players in particular.

Although this isn’t as good as a free game directly that you know you will play now even if you don’t care about the outcome in the slightest, having free bets will still be a viable option and something we can expect as players.

Bonus bets

Because free bonus bets are always connected to a specific bet, and thus have the cause-effect moment, they will be more or less completely banned under the new law. It might get you on some list to get more random promotions in the future, but there won’t be a clear quid pro quo.

The only possible solution for operators is to have VIP sections that would have better odds for certain bets. But, there is a possibility that such a separation would fall under unequal terms and be problematic on the other side.

Free bonus bets were never a fan favourite among Aussie betting bonus offers, but they are fun for some people and their loss might prevent those people to play as they did before.

Alternatively, Australian sports betting sites might use the same route as many European bookmakers. Namely, it is possible to offer ‘’systems’’ where you don’t need to win all games on the slip to have a winner.

This will effectively allow bonus bets without being particular enough to be penalised under the new legislation. Such sports betting is very popular in places like Italy and Spain and might become popular in Australia as well.

Bet credits

Depending on how they are worded, it is completely possible that betting credits will be available with some operators. If they are not mentioned as anything ‘’free’’ or ‘’bonus’’ they will be allowed under the current legislation.

But, because the operator is not a banking institution these credits probably won’t have a cited value in AUD. More likely they will be coins or tokens that you can use which would later be redeemed.

In this situation, the offer will work very similar to what video games have with ''loot boxes'' where there is a luck component of what you get and imaginary money involved, even though there is a clear conversion rate between the imaginary tokens and the local currency.

Odds boosts

Similar to free bets, such boosts will more likely break some fair play laws than the new legislation. But, if they are available to anyone at random they could still be available to most players, especially if there is a VIP section.

Regretfully, unlike getting tokens for free at random, it won’t be possible to use tokens to boost odds. That would still be a causal bonus and as such couldn’t be provided by Australian bookies.

What you may get is paid boosts where you will need to wager a certain amount to be able to boost your odds. Such a move would still fall into gambling as you can lose the boost just as well as you win.

It is questionable if such options will even be considered by the operators. Boosted odds were not as popular with the players before and introducing a workaround might be more trouble for the bookmakers than it would be worth.

Still, if enough players demand this, and especially if some of the operators manage to make a good model for this bonus, others will follow and we will see it on the platforms as soon as possible.

Profit boosts

Regretfully, this will be out of the question under the new legislation as there isn’t a way not to tie the profit boost to the ticket, at least not under that name. As such, it creates the causality of bonuses, which is against the law.

There are some options to make systems where one game will be the ‘’super ball’’ where if you win that one you get a bigger pay-out, but that will need to be under a novel name and without focusing on which game you will play as that joker.

Because the workaround is so convoluted it is not likely we will see such an option right off the bat. It is more likely that it will come out only in the future as a new package of offers from the betting operators that they have.

As was the case with the last point, the only thing that might change this is an expressed desire by the players or competitive advantage from some of the biggest betting houses. In that case, nobody will want to stay left out.

Money-back offers

Although it might not be able to provide such a service through the platform alone, a money-back offer is possible as a deal with a credit card issuer, the same as it is with retail companies. In that case, you can only get money back once you deposit and it probably won't be a lot.

Also, you will not be getting this from the platform directly, but rather from your credit card issuer or bank. Only that way there is technically no bonus from the bookmaker in Australia but a payment processor company which is often somewhere else.

The only problem is that not all bonuses would be possible this way. With credit cards, the most you can get in cashback is 5%. And while this might be an enticing offer when buying retail products it is significantly less than what most betting companies offer now.

It is much more likely that such an opportunity will be recognized by the payment processors as a way to push someone to their platform. In that case, however small the advantage you get, if you are already using that card you should take it.

FAQ

Which bookmaker offers the biggest bonus?

On average when it comes to bookmakers in Australia, the biggest bonuses are with four major operators: Betway, Unibet, Bet365, Betonline. As these operators are international, they have the player base and infrastructure to offer the biggest advantages. And, even though these bonuses might not be visible under the new Australian legislation, there is still the capacity for them by the companies which will certainly find a way to inform their future customers about them.

What apps give you free bets?

At the moment, none of the major betting apps in Australia offers free bets explicitly as it would be against the current legislation. But, once you sign up there is a chance to get a token for a free bet for one game that week. The only thing you won’t be able to get is a free bet for a specific game or because of your deposit. Rather, it will be given at random and you will need to choose which game to play.

How do I get my free Sportsbet bonus bet?

Once you apply to the platform and create your account, you can fill out your betting slip and use a token for the bonus bet. It will be in the button right under the "stake" column. If you pick it out here you can make the bonus bet and not spend your own money.

Which bet site gives bonus?

At the moment, all of the official betting sites in Australia provide some sort of a bonus. Although all of these will offer different types of bonuses and to a different extent, all will try to accommodate their players to the best of their ability and follow the letter of the current legislation.

How do I get my free bonus bets TAB?

On the TAB platform getting your bonuses will require you to go to your account, either through a browser or on the app, and find the ''Deposit Funds'' button. Your available bonuses will be under that. For mobile app users, this is slightly easier as the page you are looking for can be reached by simply swiping left. For browser users, it will take a bit more fidgeting but it shouldn't be too hard to find.