Sportsbet Bookmaker Review
Sportsbet started in 1993 as Australia’s first licensed bookmaker. Any old enough to recall the internet in 1993 recall agonisingly slow dial-up connections of dubious reliability, but this is today, where broadband and mobile phones provide access in terms of nanoseconds.
Matthew Tripp bought Sportsbet in 2005 for almost nothing. He expanded Sportsbet from a number of employees that could be counted on one pair of hands, to a degree where the company was perfectly poised to play a major role in the societal shift from betting in person to betting on the phone and online.
As of 2012, Sportsbet could claim to be Australia’s largest corporate bookmaker.
The Australian operation is licensed by Norther Territory, but Sportsbet is for now owned by Flutter Entertainment, which is a conglomerate of bookies that span the globe, including names like Paddy Power, Betfair, TVG and FanDuel.
They cover almost every conceivable sports and racing code and just about anything that anyone might consider worth betting on.
We have been following and reviewing online bookmakers for more than a decade. After all that time, we have discovered that our top criterion for evaluating an online bookie is its website and mobile wagering platforms. Here are our impressions of Sportsbet’s offerings in that department.
We visit the Sportsbet website often. Not quite daily, but several times a week. We have yet to encounter a problem with accessing the main landing page at sportsbet.com.au. Well, by that we mean a problem caused on their end.
We use a broadband connection of average speed on an older Windows computer. We use two 60-cm. diagonal high-definition monitors. In other words, our rig is not especially speedy or powerful, but we have never had to wait more than a second for any Sportsbet link or page to load.
The main page has one of those awful scrolling slide shows at the top. We find it extremely distracting, but if Sportsbet’s reason for having it is to get us inside, it works like a charm.
Sportsbet uses a subtle colour scheme with a medium grey background. The left column is a relaxing shade of blue, with Sportsbet racing as the second option in the column. After racing in the left column come sports. Punters have the option of viewing these as an alphabetical list or sorting to limit the results to upcoming events or live betting.
This column is also where all the Sportsbet results can be found, along with some Sportsbet contact information for live chat. There is also an assortment of quick links, including one for Sportsbet Specials, that is, promotions.
The centre column of the racing page has a grey background with sharp black and grey text. This is also where Sportsbet odds will be found, once a venue is selected.
The very top of the centre column offers easy access to a search function where it is easy to look for horses, teams and players, so this is one we often use to go right to our desired market. In that same area are filters for racing codes and an ability to see limit racing markets to domestic or international markets.
The right column, as with most bookmakers, is for the bet slip. It cannot be hidden as it can with some bookies, but that is hardly a hanging matter. A couple of features of the Sportsbet bet slip worth mentioning are the automatic calculator that shows the potential dividend for a winning wager, and information that reveals if a particular market is eligible for the Sportsbet Cash Out feature, which lets punters abandon markets they no longer fancy. The bet slip also makes it simple for punters who want to construct a multi bet.
Once away of the distracting scrolling slideshow landing page, we find the Sportsbet desktop web pages very appealing, which accounts for why we spend so much time on the site.
We very much appreciate that alongside the sports odds quotes, Sportsbet has a section for helpful information that includes things such as tips, previews and ladders.
Sportsbet Mobile Wagering
A trend we have noticed lately is that the bookies no longer splash icons for their Android and iOS mobile apps on every page. Sportsbet falls into that category, but Sportsbet does have mobile apps for Apple and Android devices. We have yet to find an issue with Sportsbet’s apps and it is simple to find download links with one or two clicks.
Our preference in all cases is to use mobile versions of bookie websites and in the case of Sportsbet, despite our declining vision and avoidance of smartphone tech, we can almost say that we could do most of our work on the mobile website.
At any rate, Sportsbet has top-notch mobile wagering platforms that punters who take the mobile path will enjoy immeasurably, over either a Wi-Fi or a cellular connection.
Sportsbet Odds and Markets
Sportsbet has not survived since 1993 without offering competitive odds. Here is a quick snapshot comparing Sportsbet odds and markets with those found on Ladbrokes. We chose one random sports fixture and one racing fixture.
Keep in mind that odds fluctuate almost constantly as events near the jump and that what is true one moment might be different the next. Also, be aware that what looks like a better price quote with one bookie could be negated by a higher margin.
An upcoming AFL fixture for Collingwood versus Richmond found Sportsbet quoting the Pies $2.29 to $1.63 for the Tigers. Sportsbet were offering 180 markets. Ladbrokes had it $2.25 Collingwood to $1.62 for Richmond, with 145 markets.
The edge belongs to Sportsbet, but to a degree that the average punter would consider inconsequential. Punters who truly need 145 or 180 markets for one footy game might be rarer than our boss offering to pick up the bar tab.
For racing, we picked an upcoming race at Ballarat that was soon to jump. Sportsbet was quoting the favourite at $4.50, while Ladbrokes was offering $4.20.
Again, edge to Sportsbet and in fact, of the horses in the race that had decent chances of winning, Sportsbet was better in every instance.
Our unscientific approach to this comparison is obviously affected by the limited sample size, but it could serve to point out that shopping for the best prices is something most online punters would agree is a big part of the appeal.
Suffice it to say that Sportsbet odds will seldom be anything other than competitive in almost every instance.
Sportsbet Racing Bet Types
Racing punters are among the most creative when it comes to getting the best return on their punts.
Sportsbet recognises this and responds by offering every imaginable bet type. The list includes, but is not limited to, such offerings as Top Fluc, Top Tote, Midi Div, Fixed Odds, Starting Price and various exotics and multis.
The Sportsbet Help Centre has reams and reams of information for punters who would like a little extra help deciphering racing jargon. The intent of so many bet types, of course, is to reassure punters that it is not necessary to scatter wagers over multiple outlets in order to get the best return on a winning punt.
Sportsbet Sports Bet Types
We touched on this briefly above, so it is enough to say that Sportsbet has every conceivable bet type for sports, from the basic head-to-head and line betting to some exotic props that cover everything from quarter markets to how many times a certain footy player will be arrested during the course of a season.
Sportsbet Live Betting
Sportsbet has a multitude of live betting on offer. We grew tired of scrolling down to see them all. Of course, the number of markets will vary depending on the time of day. They have a dedicated phone line for live betting, so it is easy to get a punt on before the market has evaporated.
Sportsbet offers live streaming of some events, which is of particular value to punters who do not have broadcast subscriptions. Sportsbet live streaming can save hundreds of dollars that would otherwise go to broadcasters. Sportsbet live streaming is a great way to watch racing.
Sportsbet has plenty of promotions of every type. The ones that we view as attractive are the NRL and AFL Tipping. These two are free and offer newcomers an opportunity to test their skills and predictions against Sportsbet clients in general, or create private competitions.
Other Sportsbet promotions span the gamut of sport and racing, but we always check what is on offer every time we visit the Sportsbet website to find the latest and most tempting choices for racing and sports.
Sportsbet Funding and Withdrawal
Sportsbet member can make deposits that are instantly available for wagering by choosing to use a credit/debit card, PayPal and POLi. For punters who remain mired in the 20th century, bank transfer and BPAY are options, but it will take overnight for a deposit made via BPAY and two to three days if bank transfer is used.
The bookie recommends bank transfer for withdrawals, but it is possible to withdraw to the funding credit card, PayPal and Skrill/Moneybookers.
They offer the Sportsbet Cash card, which permits instant access to winnings and functions like a credit card that can be used for online and in-store purchases at any business that supports MasterCard.
Bookies offering this branded card feature automatically rise in our view.
Sportsbet Customer Support
We give Sportsbet high marks for having dedicated phone lines for racing and sports betting 24 hours, seven days per week. Live chat is available anytime the chat icon is displayed in blue in the bottom right corner of the screen and that is 24 hours, seven days.
One area where we feel Sportsbet truly shines is the Help Centre that offers a wealth of information in an easy to navigate manner. There are 11 ways to sort the FAQ section and the FAQs actually provide useful information, something that cannot be said of all FAQ sections.
Many, many reasons exist for support of Sportsbet for an online bookmaker membership. A few of these are:
- Superb website and mobile apps
- Live streaming
- Consistently good odds
- Huge selection of domestic and international markets
- Top shelf live customer support
- Multiple funding and withdrawal methods
We thought long and hard about reasons why someone might want to avoid Sportsbet, but it was hard to come up with anything. It is often mentioned that Sportsbet does not have live online betting, but there is no legal bookmaker in Australia that can offer live online betting.
Sportsbet have been known to ban winning punters. Refer to the above sentence about legal bookmakers.
If we could have only one online bookmaker membership, there is a high probability Sportsbet would be our top choice.
It is not necessary to limit to one bookie, however, so we support Sportsbet as an essential service that would be a wonderful addition for any punter who enjoys shopping markets and looking for the best deals.