One of the first things worth pointing out about TopSport is that unlike most Australian online bookmakers that have licenses from Northern Territory, TopSport’s authority to offer online racing and sports wagering is from the government of New South Wales.
TopSport is the trading name for Merlehan Bookmaking Pty. Ltd. The primary persons behind TopSport are Lloyd and Tristan Merlehan. Lloyd Merlehan goes back over 30 years in terms of bookmaking experience. He was the first of the rails bookmakers to start taking sports bets.
This bookie is Australian owned, at least for now, as it is not rare for the international corporates to swoop and swallow the locals, as we recall was the case in 2018 when Ladbrokes took control of Neds.
When we first landed on the TopSport homepage at topsport.com.au, we almost thought we had landed on the site for Sportsbet, as the layout is very similar to the colour scheme. TopSport uses the three-column arrangement that most punters find comfortable and reassuring. There is one of those distracting scrolling slide shows on the home page, but fortunately, that is the only place we found it.
We immediately headed for TopSport’s Quicklinks in the left column and clicked on the upcoming NRL round. The design of the left column is a couple of shades of blue with white text that really pops off the screen.
This gave us the chance to have a look at TopSport’s centre column, where we found a large open area of screen that displayed fixtures and markets on a white background with clear black text. Quotes were in a light blue shaded area.
The top of all pages offers a simple horizontal menu that supplies links for the TopSport Home, Racing, Sport, In-Play, Promotions and Contact information.
In the right column, where the bet slip is usually found, TopSport shows live betting and upcoming markets. A soon as we picked a market, the right column turned into a bet slip, which was simple and straight-forward, but still supplies the indispensable potential return calculator.
The website wagering interface is clean and uncluttered. The familiar design gave us no trouble, but even those new to online bookmaking will find navigating the TopSport website no harder than shopping on Amazon, sending an email, or updating a social media status.
For years, we have been expressing our preference for mobile versions of websites. We use an Android mobile and the lot who run the app store still has the puritanical belief that wagering is immoral, so downloading the Android version of TopSport arouses all the issues all online bookmakers experience with an Android app.
IOS users have it easier.
The TopSport mobile version of the website is not the best we have seen, but that is not to say it is bad or dysfunctional. We did observe that it was easier to navigate in the landscape mode. Once we had a grasp of the differences between the desktop and mobile version, we found it easy and fast to fill up a bet slip. Items that appear automatically on the desktop version, primarily the left column, are found in a drop-down menu accessed in the top left corner.
We cannot say anything negative with regard to the operating system dependent apps, either, but we freely disclose that when we want to research markets and odds, we insist on big, high-definition screens.
We would bet with the mobile version, for example, in instances where we wanted to ensure our horse was not scratched, but we were not able to be in front of our main screens when it came time to get a punt on.
TopSport Odds and Markets
Over the years, we have seldom seen a huge disparity in the prices quotes from one online bookie to the next, but we enjoy looking just the same. We admit though, that while it may be nice to find a bargain where a favourite is sent off for $1 more with one bookie than with another, but if that horse does not salute, it matters not whether it jumps $1.50, $2.50, or even $101.
Since we already had the NRL fixture open, we used it for our brief, unscientific odds comparison.
We have come to expect nearly identical prices and this time was no exception. We used Sportsbet and Neds for comparison purposes and saw only pennies separating all three bookies for all the favourites and the unders. The lines were absolutely identical for all three bookmakers.
While we are the conservative sorts who seldom dig into a fixture beyond the head-to-head or the lines, or in the case of Thoroughbred racing, the top four, we were shocked to learn that beyond H2H and line betting, TopSport either did not have additional markets, or they had hidden them so well that we gave up before we could locate any additional markets.
To quell our curiosity, we looked at the TopSport offerings for the AFL, where we saw only Win, Line, 1 – 39, 40+ and Draw markets.
This gave us the chance to compare prices and as we expected, the differences in quotes were a matter of pennies.
We have to give TopSport the benefit of the doubt. They may add additional footy markets closer to the games, but punters who want any of those prop bets could already have them on with other bookies.
The entire area of additional markets now had our full attention, so we switched to a soccer fixture and found TopSport offering 40 – 50 extra markets for one of the major codes. That same code found Sportsbet offering well beyond 100 markets per match. Neds were closer to 200 additional markets.
Everyone loves a special, a deal, something fresh and new, so bookies are keen about rolling out various promotions to keep clients returning to the website and to keep them there.
We personally know punters who will devote chunks of time looking for the best promotions. For example, when it is Melbourne Cup time, one punter of our casual acquaintance will check multiple bookie websites multiple times for Melbourne Cup promotions. When he finds a great one… well, there’s no living with him.
Here is what we found for promotions with TopSport. Bear in mind that in order to see the latest, TopSport, like the majority of bookies, requires registration and login.
TopSport is one of two bookies of which we are aware that show historic promotions. Seeing promotions that were offered in the past give some inkling of what might be coming along as the seasons change. We saw a couple that were offered in 2015.
For punters who are not historically inclined, we found seven current promotions on a recent visit to TopSport.
It being footy season, TopSport were offering Even Money Footy Lines for the NRL, AFL and Super 15 Rugby for the entire season.
TopSport offers Best of the Best Premium for metro carnival races, some of them, at least.
Successful win bets will return the highest dividend of the on-course top fluctuation or best tote.
Another promotion offers an odds boost under the name of Top Up. There is at least one per day for sports and one for racing.
Loyalty Rewards allow punters to accrue points that can be redeemed for bonus bets.
We saw a promotion for owners and trainers that is not common, but it does tell us that TopSport is aimed at a certain degree toward racing.
Protest Payout is a common bookie promotion that pays out on the official winner and the first horse past the post, should an upheld protest result in a changed final outcome.
Our conclusion is that TopSport is competitive for promotions. Some bookies have more, some have fewer, but much of what we find when we research this aspect of online bookies is dependent on when the website is accessed.
TopSport Bet Types
Racing punters appreciate many possible choices of bet types, as this makes the difficult nature of race betting easier to manage.
With the depth of racing experience TopSport brings to the arena, their offerings for bet types were in line with the industry.
Not every bet type is available for every race, of course, and the same can be said of every bookie.
TopSport’s lists as their bet types, Best Tote + SP, Best of 3 Totes, Best of 2 Totes, Middle Tote, Win and Place Tote + 5%, Exotics, Best Fluctuation, Best of the Best Premium, Multibets and Fixed Odds.
In short, with their racing background, TopSport has everything a racing punter could desire.
TopSport will accept multi bets for both racing and sports, with the maximum capped at 10 legs. Punters are permitted to combine racing and sports markets in the same multi bet.
TopSport In-Play Betting
Aside from the roadblock the Interactive Gambling Act erects for live betting, TopSport is level with the other bookies in terms of in-play markets. There may be more, there may be fewer at any given time, but for anyone who chooses to participate in live betting, checking in to determine what is on offer is a part of the regular routine.
TopSport accepts credit cards. They are one of the few we have seen that still discloses that they will take personal, company and bank cheques, when even dinosaurs such as ourselves have been years without writing a paper cheque. Punters can also instruct their banks to send funds to TopSport via funds transfer. Finally, they take BPay, POLi, and they will accept cash at Westpac branches.
We would have liked to see PayPal in the list, but that is just us.
For withdrawing winnings, clients must withdraw an amount equal to their deposits if using a credit card. After that benchmark is obtained, it is possible to instruct TopSport to deposit to a bank account. TopSport offers internet bank transfers for when speed is desired.
The only lack we noticed here was no option for a branded TopSport card, such as those available from Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and others.
TopSport Customer Support
There is no chat feature, which is either a blessing or a curse, depending on your viewpoint.
Blessing when it is possible to get a quick answer to a query in time to get a wager on. Curse when it is not possible.
They offer telephone support 24 hours a day inside and outside Australia. They list two email addresses. One is for banking enquiries, which is email@example.com. The other is for general enquiries, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a postal address that goes to a post office box in Queensland.
TopSport has a respectable FAQ section that is well organised, supplies answers to actual questions and does so in plain language.
TopSport claims that there will be no banning of winning punters. They also accept larger bets, have competitive fixed price odds, and are Australian owned and operated.
Additionally, they offer top-up tokens twice per day, have a nice loyalty program and best dividend assurance for Saturday metro racing.
We were not sure whether to put the lack of a chat feature here or in the Pros section, but it is now here.
TopSport are sometimes a bit tardy getting their markets up, which could cost them some punts. Some seem to think there should be more promotions, but tell you what; we will gladly sacrifice a few promotions for a bookie that does not ban winners.
We would have no issues recommending TopSport to anyone of our family or any of our mates. They have been around long enough to supply assurance that money deposited with them is safe.
The claim that they will not ban winning punters is enough to make us think TopSport could be a single vendor for punting, but they would certainly be a nice addition to an array of bookie memberships.