What is the difference between bonus bets and free bets? What bets are allowed in Australia? What promotions do the bookies offer? Who's entitled to what bonuses?

"Bonus Bets" & "Free Bets". Are They Really Free ?

The term “free bets” is often used interchangeably with “bonus bets”.

In order to avoid semantic confusion over both of the bookie terms, here is a short explanation, with some common sense reality thrown in.

“Free bet” implies a wager that did not require a bookie client to make any bet whatsoever, but there were never any of those. “Bonus bet”, on the other hand, refers to simulated money a bookie will supply in certain circumstances, such as a win bet on a horserace where the backed horse runs second or third.

Bonus bet funds cannot be withdrawn as actual cash until the bookie’s turnover requirements are met, and must be used on markets with longer odds, typically $1.50 or higher.

So, whichever term you use, you'd better remember that “free bet” and a “bonus bet” are two completely different things - except that “free bet” is not only extinct, it never existed.

Below you can find a quick look at how bonus bets work with some of the best bookies in Australia - read on to find all the latest news about Australian corporate bookmakers (Sportsbet, Betfair, Ladbrokes, Unibet, Bet365 and more), their bonus bets, promotions, products, reviews and online betting markets. See T's & C's and on Bookmakers Website

SPORTSBET: Up To $50 Bonus Bets Horse Runs 2nd Or 3rd On Selected Races

Join one of Australia's best Bookmakers. Read full T's & C's on Sportsbet's Site.

Sportsbet would be a valid choice for a sole betting agency for all levels of punters. For those who prefer to distribute their eggs amongst many baskets by having multiple online wagering agencies, Sportsbet has low minimum deposit, wager and turnover requirements.

They also have no dormant account fees and a multitude of ways by which to fund an account.

Their primary website will be a familiar arrangement to any experienced punter, but even someone totally fresh to the site can be up and punting in minutes. Sportsbet also has great mobile wagering platforms that might possibly banish the desktop to service as a paperweight, along with plenty on one-off and ongoing bookie bonus bets promotions, offers and free promo's. Join Sportsbet Here »

UNIBET: 4 x Matched Racing Bet Bonuses Up To $25 Each

Join Unibet and receive 4 Matched Racing Bets Up To $25.00 Each. Just select Match Bet in the bet slip when placing your bet to trigger the Bonus Bet. This offer is available on Win Bets Fixed and Tote only. Bonus Bets have a 7 day expiry. Read full T's & C's on Unibet's Site.

Unibet are one of the largest online gambling operators in the world with over 9.5 million clients worldwide.

Unibet are one of the largest online gambling operators in the world with over 9.5 million clients worldwide.

They are also publicly listed company on the NASDAQ, OMX Nordic Exchange with offices all over the world including Australia, Sweden, Malta, Uk to mention a few.

Unibet offer plenty of promotions for both sports and racing and maintain a high level of client interest offering punters a great betting experience along with better odds.

Unibet Australia, mainly focuses on racing & sports and is also dedicated to international events. Join Unibet Here »

TAB: $50 In Bonus Bets Horse Runs 2nd Or 3rd On Selected Races

It was originally the Totalisator Agency Board. The name was soon shortened to TAB by punters and everyone else too busy to spit out the original mouthful. Read full T's & C's on TAB's Site.

From 2015, it was known as UBET. Punters who seek out the URL are redirected to, although the operation had left government hands beginning in 1994.

Today, this online bookmaker offers all the bells and whistles, including a keen website and mobile app.

Punters will enjoy a pleasant and entertaining online wagering experience that features an unbeatable selection of sports and racing markets, competitive odds and plenty of bonuses and promotions to keep punter attention focused.

Racing punters are sure to appreciate TAB’s association with Sky Racing, which supplies the ability to stream Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races live to a PC or mobile device for every race, except those in Victoria and NSW, which are audio stream only.. Click To Join TAB »

BLUEBET: Australian Owned Sports & Racing

See all their great promotions on most racing and sports here including AFL, Soccer, Rugby, Tennis, NRL and more. BlueBet have an extensive selection of mobile apps, supporting the iPad, iPhone and Android operating systems.

BlueBet Australia is synonymous with bookmaking. BlueBet Bookmakers was founded in 1934 and is now one of the world’s leading betting and gaming bookies. BlueBet has expanded its betting business in recent years which now includes Australia and making avail their broad product range and innovations. BlueBet Customer Support delivers an excellent professional and responsive service 24 - 7.

BlueBet also has In-Play Betting. They provide punters with the fastest in play live sporting experience in Australia. The in-play betting revolution has begun! Sports and Live Betting events by calling 1800 797 558. This service is available to members 24/7. Click Here To Join

PALMERBET: Bet $100 Get $100 In Racing Bonus Bets

Palmerbet launched their online service in August 2013. They however have over 30 year’s experience in the Sydney and interstate betting rings. $100 Bonus for Existing Customers only, Bet Placed On 2nd Racing Bet. Exc WA & SA. Read full T's & C's on Palmerbet's Site.

The owners being Grant and Andrew Palmer are committed in giving all punters a true interactive and pleasant experience with a very modern-looking site offering better odds and promotions.

Palmerbet Promotions include Money Back Bonus Bets, Favourite V The Field, Best Odds of the 3 National Totes and much more. They cover all types of race betting including, Horse Racing, Dogs, Trots - All Sports Betting such as Basketball, Rugby, AFL, Boxing Cricket Baseball to name a few.

Palmerbet have an excellent range of racing products including Best Of The Best, Top Fluc, Best Tote, Exotics and more. There mobile phone betting app is excellent and well above par. It is easy to use and understand with all the bells and whistles. A big plus in this day and age.

Palmerbet are Australian owned and operated, licensed by Racing NSW and financially guaranteed by the NSW Bookmakers Co-operative. There website is very well designed with a bright clean and easy look about it. We found it very friendly to use. So one thing is for sure joining Palmerbet is a safe bet. Join Palmerbet Here »

BETFAIR AUSTRALIA: Australia's Only Betting Exchange

Punters accustomed to traditional online bookmakers will discover that betting exchange operator Betfair requires a little getting used to, but experienced punters really appreciate the ability to function in the role of bookmaker in certain markets.

Betfair Betting Exchange - value-conscious punters will appreciate what are perhaps the lowest margins to be found and ongoing surveys of Betfair odds for various markets frequently finds them at the top of the heap.

Betfair is the world’s largest and Australia’s only betting exchange wagering company. The Betfair Exchange always offers superior value than the traditionally TAB's or Bookmaker. Betfair offers better odds, lay betting or backing, offers functionality, offers better control and better betting opportunities. Betfair is the wise and only choice for punters looking to get more than just enjoyment from their betting.

They have an exceptionally nice wagering interface and mobile wagering platforms, combined with all the financial Betfair incentives, it almost makes it imperative to have an account with Betfair, even if other bookmaker accounts exist. Join Betfair Betting Exchange Here »

Betfair is the only one you can Bet on an outcome to happen or Lay an outcome not to happen. These opportunities only happen at Betfair, so be a better punter with Betfair.

PLAYUP: PlayUp Get In The Game

For the low cost of one portrait of AB Banjo Patterson, punters can set up a membership with PlayUp and have full access to one of the most full-featured arrays of racing and sports markets, fun promotions and competitive odds anywhere to be found.

PlayUp is one of the newer online wagering portals, having been launched in 2019, so everything seems fresh and sparkling.

This agency is proud to be Australian owned and operated and they have some of the best racing dividends to be found for racing, making them a must-have for racing punters.

PlayUp has one of the nicer offerings when it comes to Thoroughbred racing, with domestic and international races displayed concisely in a fashion that makes filling out a bet slip almost entirely intuitive.

Racing promotions include Best of the Best Premium, Best Tote or Starting Price and Protest Payout. Join PlayUp Here »

SPORTSBETTING: Best Prices, Best Tote & Top Fluc Available

Punters who value a solid track record in a bookie will want to look into SportsBetting.

SportsBetting is an Australian owned outfit that offers a comprehensive suite of wagering platforms, exceptional customer service, and enough bet types to satisfy the most particular racing punter.

It is a matter of pride with SportsBetting that they do not rely on gimmicks to provide a superb punting experience for all levels of punter.

Competitive odds and full coverage of domestic and international racing and sports markets are two basic reasons why a membership with SportsBetting makes sense.

There are plenty of ways to fund a wagering account with SportsBetting.

SportsBetting has existed for over 20 years, where others have come and gone or been absorbed, so anyone with any apprehensions about turning over personal details and money to a bookie can rest assured that SportsBetting is a trustworthy operation. Join SportsBetting Here »

BET365: Australia Highly Recommended

Bet365 is well worth consideration as a stand-alone bookie, or as part of a multi-pronged attack toward punting.

They have one of the best wagering interfaces we have seen, whether the offerings are viewed on a big screen, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone.

A key feature that punters who look to the less mainstream tracks and niche sports is that Bet365 video stream multiple thousands of events over the year and they offer audio streams of horse and greyhound racing.

Higher frequency punters will be glad to know that Bet365 have margins that average below the going rate for the industry, which adds to the bottom line over time.

Plenty of Bet365 promotions make it truly worthwhile to look at the wagering platforms every time it is time to fill out a bet slip.

The availability of a Bet365 MasterCard makes depositing funds and claiming winnings super convenient. Join Bet365 Here »

SPORTCHAMPS: Weekly Tournaments Over 500 To Choose

Long-time Australian bookmaker Alan Eskander, the founder of Betstar, is the driving force behind the presence of SportChamps.

This bookie is vastly different from most of the others by offering racing and sports betting contests that let punters go head-to-head with each other.

Tournament betting of this sort is what sets SportChamps apart from the rest of the lot.

There are always plenty of tournaments from which to choose, including some that are free of charge for those new to the concept.

Mobile betting, of course, is a given, but SportChamps seems to have found a way to make it even more appealing.

SportChamps offer over 500 tournaments most weeks and offers more than 12 codes, including Thoroughbred racing.

Monthly prizes of over $1 million per month, with tournaments ranging from winner-take-all to everyone-gets-a-prize accommodate every punter skill level. Join SportChamps Here »

BOOKIE BETS: Promotions & Offers - Australian Online Bookmakers

In Australia, Australian Bookmakers are no longer allowed to offer bonus bets, free bets and promotions to new customers as an incentive to join. May 26th 2019 was the cut off date.

It was New South Wales who recently put into force laws that prohibit bookies from enticing customers to join with sign-up bonuses or free bets or any other free joining offer - Now it is Australia wide.

We knew the day was coming and it is here and the rest of the states are now following NSW’s lead.

Most people who joined up all loved to have free bets, but residency restrictions often made many of the incentives irrelevant. Now, or at least soon, sign-up bonuses, free bonus bets and free bookmaker bets face extinction. The term "Free Bet" or "Free Bets" had to be changed to Bonus Bets.

Previously, bookies enticed you to join to grab the free bookies bonus bets offers, by joining up, give them all your details, name, address, phone etc and then submitting those details. That process is still much the same to set up a new membership. You will then receive back a user name and password so you can access the members’ page of the bookie you had just joined.

It used to require you to make a deposit into your bookie account before you could access your free bets bonus offer, but that is now a thing of the past.

Regardless of the type of bonus bet offers on hand on bookie websites outside NSW, whether it be a first match bet offer, meaning, whatever your first bet was, the bookmaker would match it with a bonus bet. Typically a $50.00, win, lose or draw bet, would earn you another bet worth $50.00.

If those bonus bets won, you would be paid the winnings only but not the actual stake, in the case of $50.00, you would only ever paid the winnings. Bookies such as Sportsbet had/have a first bet bonus offer valued up to $600.00 in the states outside NSW.

Another type of bonus bet offer that the bookies quite regularly offered was the first deposit match. So if your first deposit to your new bookie was $200, the bookie would match your first deposit with a bonus bet deposit match of $200 giving you $400 into your new account.

Bookies such as Neds and Sportsbet both had offers such as deposit bonuses of $500 each. Those are things of the past now.

So when joining with a new bookmaker in Australia and looking for one or more of these reward offers, I doubt you will find one.

Still, online wagering will continue on, just in a different form where bookies will compete along different lines.

Things to keep in mind when joining are: 1. Is the bookie's website user friendly. 2. Has the bookie on offer all sports and racing that you follow. 3. Does the bookie offer the best odds. 4. Are you able to deposit and withdraw with ease and by many means. 5. Have you checked out Forums to view any unfriendly comments about the bookie. 6. Does the bookie have good customer service and are they easy to contact

That was sound advice then and it still is now.

More About Bonus Bets & Free Bets

Along with being quite fun, bonus bets and bonuses from Australian bookmakers, when useable, could help give you the edge to stay in front.

For example, the recently completed Round 4 of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition did not have a whole lot of appeal in terms of the head-to-head matches for any other than fans of one side or another.

Bonus bets from Australian bookmakers, used to provide some interest in otherwise lack lustre rounds of the competition. The old system of free bets and bonus bets were designed to provide an incentive to follow the proceedings over the course of the season, and went a long ways towards keeping the level of interest going when it is early in the season.

It took some practice and experience to take best advantage of the so called free bets and bonuses from Australian bookmakers. It was the sort of thing that was difficult to describe perfectly, as the written instructions often took longer to read than it took to actually perform the task.

Using Ladbrokes for a brief example of the procedure used to unfold, similar in many aspects to the nuts and bolts to how it was with other bookies, gives some insight into how things used to be.

On the Ladbrokes page, there was a tab in the upper right hand corner of the site titled Bonus Bets. The procedure was slightly different for the mobile application, but was not difficult.

A bonus bets page would load, which would reveal a list of your current and previous offers (some offers would expire after a certain time or certain event). At that point, you simply clicked on the free bet or bonus offer you wanted to redeem. You needed to deposit money into your account if you were claiming a Deposit Match or a Reload Bonus, but that was readily evident.

Ladbrokes use to allow clients to split bonus bets into smaller bets in many instances. The important thing that had to be remembered was that once selected, bonus and free bets could not be changed once submitted to Ladbrokes. In most instances, only one bonus bet could be used per race or event.

Many of the bonus offers from Ladbrokes required selecting a market offering Fixed Odds and typically the market must have had odds of $1.50 or greater.

This restriction was quite common, as Australian bookmakers would not allow clients to use bonus bets to back short-odds favourites.

The most important thing to remember was to consider carefully how you wanted to use your bets and bonuses before you clicked/tapped on the button to place your bet.

Anyway those days are long gone, Bonus Bets used as incentives for you to join a bookmaker are extinct.

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Up To $50 Bonus Bets Horse Runs 2nd or 3rd
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Exclusive Offer 4 x Matched Racing Bet Bonuses Up To $25 Each
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