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”. Always read the full T&C,s on the bookmakers website.

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Bonus bet funds cannot be withdrawn as actual cash until the bookie’s turnover requirements are met, and must be used on markets with longer odds, typically $1.50 or higher.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

UNIBET: Bet & Get Up To $200

Read full T's & C's on Unibet's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions. Existing Customers Only. Excludes SA.

Unibet are one of the largest online gambling operators in the world with over 9.5 million clients worldwide. have been in the Australian market since 2012 after purchasing the bookmaker "Betchoice".

They are also a 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 and betting products for both sports and racing including Protest Payout and Dead Heat Payout, In-Play Betting, Unibest (Get best market odds on selected races), Live Streaming and more. They maintain a high level of client interest offering all punters a great betting experience with competitve odds along with a great mobile friendly app.

Unibet Australia with numerous betting markets, mainly focuses on racing & sports but is also dedicated to international events such as World Soccer. Join Unibet Here »

NEDS: Bonus Bet Offers - Horse Runs 2nd Or 3rd On Selected Races

Neds - Of all the bookmakers Neds stands out from the crowd. Bonus Excl SA. Available at selected tracks only (Changes Daily). First fixed odds win bet only. Existing Customers Only. T&C's apply and available on website. Is gambling a problem for you? Call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 or visit

They offer very competitive odds, top flux, free racing form, up to date betting news and more. Other promotions include Live Betting, Best Price of all Totes, Protest Payout, Best Odds and lots more.

Neds wagering interface will take a few moments for those accustomed to the more prevalent three-column layout used by many agencies, but we are talking about a question of minutes here, certainly not hours or days by any means.

Offering live audio and video feeds makes it easy to follow punts and learn outcomes immediately, giving your more free time to anticipate how to maximise Neds website or how to best enjoy the fruits of your labours. Join Neds 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. Read full T's & C's on Bet365's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions.

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.

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 »

LADBROKES: Double Your Winnings Promotions

Read full T's & C's on Ladbrokes Site to see if you are eligible for Promotions. Excl SA. Existing Customers Only. Head to the promotions page on the website to find out how to claim. Available at selected tracks only (changes daily). Double winnings applies to win component only (excluding stake). First Fixed odds win bet only. T&C's apply and available on website. Is Gambling a problem for you? Call Gambling Help Line on 1800 858 858 or visit

There website loads very quickly and it has many dynamic features which makes betting quick and easy. Sign up now. Ladbrokes appears to have a very firm grasp on the Australian online wagering market, with all the features, a good range of bookmaker betting markets and other promotions that make it suitable for those desiring to conduct their wagering activities in one place.

Highly competitive in all aspects, the company offers better than tote racing products and almost every conceivable sport has plenty of head-to-head and related sports and betting markets, so finding a wager is more a question of deciding which of the alternatives to pursue, rather than which are available.

The website and the mobile wagering platforms are top-notch, and offer the ability to stream video of many events, as well as offering a nice selection of promotions and bookie bets for regular clientele. Click Here To Join »

WinnersBet - $50 Back In Bonus Bets If Your Horse Runs 2nd Or 3rd

WinnersBet is a newer bookmaker that started in June of 2020. Read full T's & C's on Winnerbet's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions. Existing Customers Only. First fixed odds win bet only. Excludes SA.

The bookie is headquartered in Melbourne and accepts wagers on behalf of a person who goes by the name of Da He, an industry veteran with experience gained from working for Sportsbet and Bet365. He is also a member of the Victorian Bookmakers Association. Join WinnersBet 

  • Australian owned 
  • Simple and intuitive wagering platform 
  • Thorough coverage of domestic and international gallops 
  • Interesting assortment of promotions 
  • Assortment of instant deposit methods

WinnersBet accepts funding deposit through Visa, MasterCard and POLi. There are no fees associated with deposits into WinnersBet. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is the only withdrawal option beyond having winnings credited to a funding credit card. Click Here To Join WinnersBet

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 to see if you are eligible for Promotions. Saturday Racing Specials. Excludes WA & SA residents. Existing Customers Only. Full T&C's at TAB website.

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 loyal TAB punters 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 products 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. Read full T's & C's on BlueBets Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions

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

BETSTAR: Bet On Horses, Sports, Dogs & Trots

Betstar are licensed in the Northern Territory, Australia by the Northern Territory Government to accept bets by telephone and the Internet on Racing, Sport and Entertainment. Read full T's & C's on BetStar's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions.

They continue to offer innovative services, including a nice range of bookie bet promotions that reward all clients.

Many people have expressed satisfaction with the high contrast look of the site, with white text on a blue background that shows well in most light conditions. Click Now To Join

Betstar accept Australian Dollars, New Zealand Dollars, Euro, Great Britain Pounds, and American Dollars. They accept bets on American football, AFL, Basketball, Baseball, Cricket, Chess, Gridiron, Golf, Rugby, Motor Racing, Soccer, Tennis and Horse racing, which has been the main stay for the company.

The popular betting types offered by Betstar are: Best of Three Totes, Best of Two Totes, Top Fluctuation, Protest Pay First Past The Post, Exotics, Jockey Challenge and more.

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 to see if you are eligible for this promotion.

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. Read full T's & C's on Betfair's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions.

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 will often offer 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 a wise choice for punters looking to get more than just enjoyment from their betting.

They have an exceptionally nice wagering interface and mobile wagering platforms. 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.

BOOKMAKER.COM.AU: Online Betting Racing & Sports

Racing punters with a long-term view toward profit will find more than enough bet types with Read full T's & C's on's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions.

Favourite versus Field is one option that permits some spreading of the risk.

Clients of enjoy valuable features, such as dividend payments right after interim dividends are announced with bookmaker’s Past the Post and Protest Payouts to relieve the sting of a winner relegated on protest.

Other bet types include Best of Best, Fixed Price, Fixed Price Place and a Nom Tote for selected events that allow a punter to nominate the tote price. All the exotics are offered as well.

The website is clean to look at and intuitive to use. The same holds for the bookmaker mobile apps.

There is a huge number of domestic and international racing for all three racing codes and punters who need a break from racing will find that is right up there when it comes to sports. Join Here »

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. Read full T's & C's on PlayUp's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions.

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 »

BOOMBET: Best Prices, Best Tote & Top Fluc Available

Punters who value a solid track record in a bookie will want to look into BoomBet. Read full T's & C's on BoomBet's Site to see if you are eligible for any promotions.

BoomBet 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 BoomBet 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 BoomBet makes sense.

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

BoomBet 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 BoomBet is a trustworthy operation. Join BoomBet Here »

BOOKIE BETS: Promotions & Offers - Australian Online Bookmakers

IMPORTANT - 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.

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 now extinct....

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