All the leading Internet bookmakers offer free bets and bonus deals for new punters, as well as special promotions for existing customers. But what kinds of online bonus bets are available to Australian gamblers? How do they work? And where can you get the very best sign-up offers? We’ll show you.
Best online betting bonuses
CrownBet.com.au – The official betting partner for both the AFL and Racing Victoria, CrownBet is the fastest-growing bookmaker in the game. It is also the only 100% Australian-owned online betting operator, catering especially to Aussie punters with big bonuses, great odds and thousands of sports and racing markets every day.
Sportsbet.com.au – There’s a reason Sportsbet is the most recognised betting brand in the country, and it’s not just those goofy ads with a Mick Molloy impersonator doing voiceovers. Trend-setting mobile betting apps for iOS and Android devices allow you to spend your bonus bucks anywhere, anytime, across an enormous range of races, sports matches, futures/outrights and novelty markets.
WilliamHill.com.au – One of the UK’s oldest and most respected bookmakers has finally launched a standalone Aussie branch. With attractive desktop and mobile interfaces, competitive odds on all major markets and great bonus deals for new customers, William Hill Australia is a very welcome addition to our exclusive list of trusted online sports books.
Bet365.com.au – Who in their right mind would disagree with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Ray Winston? Bet365 has been doing excellent work in the Australian betting field for several years now, offering generous deposit bonuses and free bets which can be used on thousands of local and international markets every day of the week.
Luxbet.com.au – Backed by the might and experience of Tabcorp, Luxbet is an attractive alternative to some of the more heavily advertised online bookies out there. The markets are many, the prices are right, and the betting bonuses are among the very best in Australia.
How do free bets work?
The most common type of online bookmaker bonus is the free bet – also called a bonus bet, which is probably a more accurate term. This kind of promotion is usually activated after you make a real money wager with your own cash. Once that bet is settled, the bookie will match your initial stake with a complementary wager up to a certain amount.
For example: let’s say Sportsbet.com is offering a bonus bet up to AUD $100 for new members. If we deposit $50 and stake it all on our first bet, we will then receive a $50 free bet which can be used on any market you wish. In this case, the maximum bonus bet available is $100 – so even if your initial stake is $300, for instance, your free wager will be capped at $100.
In the vast majority of cases, bonus bets must be used in one go (e.g. a $20 bonus cannot be split into four $5 stakes, but must be wagered as a single $20 stake). Some free wagers also come with an expiry date (e.g. 30 days after activation), so make sure you read the terms and conditions beforehand.
Payout rules for bonus bets
Should your free bet salute, it will pay out in one of two ways:
Stake returned – Your account will be credited with both the winnings and the original amount wagered, as per any regular sports or racing bet. For example: if we bet $10 at $5 odds and win, we would collect $50 ($10 x $5).
Stake not returned – Your account will be credited only the winnings, and not the original amount wagered. For example: if we bet $50 at $10 odds and win, we would collect $450 ($500 – $50).
While the latter rule is much more common, there are betting sites out there which pay back the initial stake along with any winnings. To find out which system is in play at our top-ranked bookmaker sites, check out the fine print in the ‘Promotions’ section.
What is a match deposit bonus?
Instead of free bets, some online betting operators offer bonus cash which can be activated when you make your first deposit. This system differs from bonus bets in a couple of ways:
– In most cases, you don’t have to place an initial wager in order to qualify
– You can bet your bonus money in whatever increments you like (i.e. you don’t have use it all at once)
With a deposit bonus, the bookie awards extra cash credits by matching a percentage of your transaction up to a certain amount. For example: with a 100% match up to $100, a $100 deposit would get you $100 bonus bucks for $200 total betting credits; with a 50% match, a $100 deposit would get a $50 bonus.
Match bonuses are often multi-tiered, covering as many as three or four deposits. For instance, a $500 welcome bonus might be structured like so:
First deposit – 100% match up to $150 (e.g. deposit $150, get $150 free)
Second deposit – 50% match up to $200 (e.g. deposit $400, get $200 free)
Third deposit – 25% match up to $100 (e.g. deposit $400, get $100 free)
Fourth deposit – 100% match up to $50 (e.g. deposit $50, get $50 free)
What are wagering requirements?
You might be wondering: why would an online bookie award punters free cash with no obligation to bet? Surely customers would simply activate the promotion and then withdraw the bonus cash immediately?
That’s why bookmaker bonuses come with wagering requirements. Whenever you activate a deposit bonus, you must ‘play through’ your starting balance a certain number of times before you can cash out.
For example: a 5x wagering requirement means we have to bet our initial amount of credits five times over before we can collect any winnings. So if we deposit $50 with a 100% match for $100 total, we would have to make at least $500 worth of wagers ($100 x 5) in order to clear the betting requirements.
Exact wagering rules for match deposits differ from bookie to bookie, so take a good look at the terms and conditions before you go topping up your account with bonus cash.