After enjoying good results for well over 15 years in other parts of the world, and winning numerous awards from industry groups, Malta-based Unibet ventured into the highly competitive environment of online wagering presented by Australia and New Zealand in the latter part of 2012. Unibet’s license to operate in Australia is from Northern Territory.
Their trail to the southern hemisphere leapfrogged after Unibet acquired an existing Australian online bookmaker - Betchoice - gaining an instant clientele and the all-important gaming license.
To date, Unibet - whose motto is “We are By Players, for Players” - have done a good job of serving notice that they intend to be and grow as a force to be reckoned with. This, by making moves designed to appeal to existing Betchoice customers; punters who may be wavering in their allegiance to another bookmaker; those who are totally new to the online wagering game; and those who will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of advantages of any kind to make their punting more profitable.
That would seem to cover everyone, would it not?
Unibet Wagering Interface
Unibet is configured for desktop computers in a way very similar to other bookies; sports are listed alphabetically on the left side of the page, markets and odds occupy the central region and the betting slip is on the right side of the page. This three-column approach is familiar, reliable and intuitive to navigate.
Beyond that, if we were to choose a bookie solely on their website and we could have only one bookie membership, Unibet would be our choice. The colour scheme is a combination of subtle green and grey with white and black texts. Compared to some others, spending time on the Unibet website is actually relaxing.
There are plenty of shortcut links that make it even easier to sort through the thousands of markets offered by Unibet and many useful features to the wagering interface that make it suitable for first-timers and great for punters who maintain accounts with two or more bookmakers for purposes of comparison.
Many punters will also appreciate and take advantage of the live video and audio streaming that Unibet serves up for selected markets.
Unibet does not have dedicated mobile apps, but as good as is the desktop website, the mobile version is as good, possibly better, and while we resist apps and prefer mobile versions of websites, Unibet has gone a long way towards getting us to migrate to mobile wagering.
This approach allows them to offer mobile betting without the issues of developing separate applications for iOS and Android systems, which many might consider an elegant win-win setup for Unibet and its clients.
On our most recent visit, we did run into some technical glitches with the website. As is always the case in instances such as these, it is impossible to know for certain where the problem lies. Earlier visits seemed to go smoothly, so this could be an isolated instance.
Since PGR is a website devoted to Thoroughbred racing, we offer this detailed examination of Unibet racing promotions:
The Vault is a racing rewards program that the bookie calls the Racing Rewards suite.
Suite, vault, call it what you will. It is filled with some attractive offers.
Unibet will make bonus bets available from time to time and the best feature of the Bonus Bets section of the Vault is that the bets can be used at leisure, so no pressure to take a sketchy punt just to use a bonus that might otherwise expire with another bookie.
Reboost, according to Unibet, offers unlimited odds boosts until a winner is backed.
Uniboost offers boosted odds on the horse you select.
Uplift is a keen feature that offered elevated odds on every runner. This is a nice way to increase the value of betting on shorter horses that have good chances of winning or placing.
Bonus Bet is one we can see ourselves appreciating. It is not cash back, but it is a bonus bet that returns the staked amount of a win bet if the backed runner finishes second or third.
Cash Back, on the other hand, features the same conditions as Bonus Bet, but returns the stake in the form of cash.
Last X Minutes is a way to place a bet within a Unibet designated time window that supplies punters with a bonus bet for placing a bet during the window of time during which Last X Minutes is enabled. It makes a lot of sense and eliminates the possibility of losing a stake to a runner backed when the markets go up, only to see that runner scratched.
Match Bet is a promotion that supplies a bonus bet equivalent to a staked amount.
Runner Bonus Back functions in a manner very similar to Bonus Back and the same can be said of the comparison between Runner Cash Back and Cash Back.
Runner Uplift offers enhanced odds on a specific runner, differentiating this promotion from Uplift, where every runner offers boosted odds.
Unibet also has a section devoted to Racing Specials where they will provide promotions that have an expiration associated with them.
Other Racing Promotions
Other Unibet racing promotions included an odds uplift on any runner in the first race of any meeting. That means every race, every day, at any Thoroughbred meeting in Australia.
A racing feature we thought was very creative was called Head to Head Specials, where in order to win, it is only necessary for one specific horse to beat another horse.
Daily Jockey Specials allow wagers on a jockey to ride a certain number of winners over the course of a meeting. This promotion is available every day.
The two sports promotions we saw on our most recent visit to the Unibet website were Soccer Mega Multis and Daily Sports Profit Boosts.
Unibet offers one of the most comprehensive array of promotions that we have seen. They serve to make it quite worthwhile and pleasurable to visit the website often and see what Unibet has dreamed up.
Another feature of the Unibet website is a blog that features valuable information for making selections. Many bookies have a similar offering, but Unibet has stolen a march on them. Many of the blogs are well-produced videos that truly give gravity to the old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words.
Even non-punters will find things of value in this section.
Funding, Deposits and Withdrawals
Unibet does not have as many funding options as some of the other bookies have. They accept credit cards PayPal and POLi. We consider that adequate and we give a shout to Unibet for having PayPal and POLi. To the plus side of the ledger, Unibet has no transaction fees from its end with any of these deposit methods.
Unibet is a bit weak on the withdrawal side. From their website and others we use for research, we learned that this bookie will send withdrawals to a funding credit card, bank transfer and PayPal. Once again, we appreciate bookies who support PayPal, as it is secure and reputable.
It is possible to forego the bet matching offer and set up an account with Unibet for as little as $10. Some of the online markets offered by Unibet will accept wagers of as little as $0.10. Telephone betting is supported at the $10 level, a critical piece of information for anyone contemplating telephone-only live betting, which is a fact of life for Australian punters.
As a kudo to Unibet and their realisation that they have a daunting task ahead of them to win over the allegiance of punters, they offer the benefit of no dormant account fees and a total lack of any turnover requirement for deposited funds - Free Bets Offer.
The Australian dollar is the only accepted currency by the Unibet Australia branch, and English is the only language supported. Unibet is very competitive in terms of turnover requirements, with both deposit and bonus credit turnover levels of 1x.
Betting Odds Comparison
Regarding odds, it would appear from a random sampling that Unibet is in line with its competitors.
They are fractionally higher on some popular markets, lower on others, equivalent on the majority and subject to the fluctuations that one would expect from any bookmaker adjustments that are made as markets develop.
Their margins do appear to be higher than some and lower than others, and overall, slightly above the national average, but not alarmingly so.
Sports and Racing Markets
Unibet Australia, with but a few exceptions, focuses exclusively on sports and racing and is also apparently dedicated to home events.
This would seem to be a holdover from the Betchoice days and it is one that would seem to be positively perceived.
Major international sports and major races do, of course, receive more than adequate attention, so anyone basing a decision on that criterion alone would not feel compelled to eliminate Unibet on that basis.
One unique feature of the sports offerings is that Unibet does offer domestic football leagues other than A-League.
Racing punters will find all three codes well represented on the racing section of the Unibet wagering platform.
Unibet lacks a chat feature. They have separate numbers for phone betting and support and while some may view chat as a bane rather than a benefit, there are times when it serves the immediate needs quite well.
Customer service is available seven days a week. It is not 24-hour phone support, but the hours of 9am to 3:30 am AEDT should serve all punters except for insomniac international markets sorts.
At this juncture in its brief history as a part of the Australian online wagering market, Unibet seems to be doing whatever is necessary to secure its place.
They have used their prior experience to advantage and it would also seem that they have retained some elements of Betchoice in order to ease the transition for existing clients. They also offer plenty of promotions for both sports and racing to maintain a high level of client interest and to drive client web traffic to their website.
It will be quite interesting to watch Unibet as they continue to explore the unique aspects of the Australia and New Zealand online punting scene.
A membership with Unibet is practically a must for racing punters and this includes not just the gallopers, but also the trotters and the dogs.
Unibet could also be a single source for those who take the casual approach, but even those low-frequency punters will benefit from a Unibet membership, as will those punters who like to have a quiver full of bookies.