Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the Australian adult population place wagers on a regular basis. Per capita, the country has as many horse racing venues as any other country in the world. With that said, Australians love to bet on sports. They have the country’s national pastime of Aussie Rules football and support other sports like rugby, cricket and basketball. From a wagering perspective, those sports would rate as the most popular betting options. However, Internet wagering has brought new light down under. The country’s gambling population now loves to wager on soccer, US professional sports and tennis.
Within the international sports gambling community, Australian is known to have the strictest regulations. The country first legalized certain forms of gambling in 1954. At the national level, an online bookmaker has to maintain its corporate ownership in Australia. No outside corporations can secure licensing. This is done to make sure taxes are paid to the Australian government for the benefit of Australian citizens.
Beyond national regulations, each province/territory is then able to establish its own set of laws. It’s the same regulatory approach as one sees in the United States where the federal government establishes baseline guidelines and turns the regulatory process over to the states. In all, there are eight territories in Australia with each one responsible for setting its own guidelines and territory tax rates. Within each territory, the regulations are unique, and the tax rates can differ.
A quick look at the licensing of the top online bookmakers doing business in Australia reveals that a great majority of the licensed bookmakers operate out of either New South Wales or the Northern Territory. Most likely, that can be attributed to lower tax rates and less bureaucracy.
With so many visitors flowing into Australia every year, it’s important to stress that online sports gambling in Australia is restricted to Australian citizens. While it might be impossible to stop outsiders from opening an account, proof of residency is required before withdrawals can be processed.
It’s not surprising that most of Australia’s regulators put a lot of emphasis on responsible gambling. All websites are required to provide information about problem gambling and where to get help. These types of regulations are very important with a culture that so heavily supports gambling.
The Online Bookmakers
Australian gamblers were very quick to embrace online gambling. At first, much of the emphasis was placed on horse racing. After working out certain details, sports gambling was introduced to the Internet, and Australian gamblers were all in.
The population of online bookmakers licensed to do business in Australia comes from one of two sources. First, there’s the home-grown bookmakers. The parent companies originated in Australia and are very much part of the gambling culture. The other source comes from Europe. This gives Australian punters (term for gamblers) access to some of the top online bookmaking operations in the world. It’s not uncommon to see a company like Paddy’s Power or William Hill incorporate within one of the Australians territories and take advantage of a gambling population that loves betting on just about everything.
The list of Australia’s top online bookmakers includes Crownbet, William Hill, Sportsbet, Ladbrokes, Unibet and Betfair. The fact Betfair in licensed in Australia is a clear indication that exchange betting is permitted within at least a few of the gambling jurisdictions.
The Betting Options
As indicated above, Australians love to gamble. The truth is they enjoy gambling on a full range of sports. Aussie Rule Football is just as popular to Australian Gamblers as the NFL is to American Gamblers or the Premiere League (soccer) is to UK gamblers. The local bookmakers are more than happy to provide betting access at all levels of the sport. Beyond Aussie Rules Football, punters show a strong preference for rugby and basketball. This would seem to coincide with the fact Australia’s national teams maintain a high international profile in these sports. In recent years, Australian bookmakers have done a good job promoting US professional sports like the NFL, NBA and MLB. Even college football and basketball have a decent following. As for sports that wouldn’t be considered mainstream, Australian bookmakers also provide lines on sports like European football, Darts, Cycling, Tennis, Golf, Gaelic football, auto racing and ice hockey.
As for betting formats, Australian bookmakers offer the same options as gamblers would expect to see in the US or UK. That would include straight bets, accumulators/parlays, teasers, futures betting, live in-game betting and prop bets. Also, exchange betting is allowed in Australia. Exchanges allow punters to act as bookmakers. They can set their own lines and accept wagers from other customers. The betting exchanges merely collect a small commission on winning bets.
Bonuses and Promotions
Due to a bit less competition, Australian bookmakers can afford to be a little more selective about the types of bonuses they offer to customers. Most of them do offer a matching bonus on the player’s first deposit or real cash wager. After that, much of the focus is placed on betting promotions. Betting promotions are aimed at the actual betting process. If a punter were to hit 5 of 6 teams on an accumulator, a betting promotion might allow the punter to get heir money back. Another popular betting promotion is one where the punter is given premium pricing for betting on a specific event. The point is bettors are given some form of extra value on their bets.
It’s worth noting that many of the bonuses and betting promotions offered in Australia come with restrictive terms and conditions. The rollover requirements and betting deadlines seem to be more restrictive than one would find in the UK. BTW: International bookmakers often choose to offer different bonuses from one country to the next, this allows them more flexibility to address gambling cultural differences. In other words, William Hill’s bonuses in the UK will usually be different from bonuses being offered in Australia.
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