Australian bookmakers

With disquiet about bookmakers at an all-time high, there’s one factor that is perhaps mentioned above all others…

The international invasion!

According to some, less-than-desirable bookmaking principles are largely the product of UK or European practices being brought to Australia, resulting in Aussie punters not getting a fair go.  The “UK approach”: highly restrictive and preying on losing punters.

But does that play out in reality?

Who owns our bookmakers?

With so much talk of the British invaders, it’s easy to forget that many Australian bookmakers are still just that: Australian.

The reason for that is largely the sheer scale of the European operators and their subsequent huge advertising budgets.  They’re the big players who reach the most punters and are constantly in your face.

To make things a little clearer, a while back we put together this graphic:

So how does this play out in terms of ownership? Of the 18 brands here, we’ll call twelve of them Aussie, and six of them ‘internationals’.

Australian owned

  1. CrownBet (majority owned by Crown, ASX listed)
  2. Betfair (the Australian exchange is also owned by Crown)
  3. UBET (owned by Tatts Group, ASX listed)
  4. (owned by Tabcorp, ASX listed)
  5. TopBetta (ASX listed)
  6. Luxbet (also owned by Tabcorp)
  7. TopSport (privately owned)
  8. (privately owned)
  9. BlueBet (privately owned)
  10. MadBookie (privately owned, though recently acquired by TopBetta)
  11. Palmerbet (privately owned)
  12. TABtouch (owned by the WA government)

Overseas ownership

  1. Bet365 (privately owned in the UK)
  2. Ladbrokes (including Betstar and, publicly listed UK company)
  3. Sportsbet (owned by Paddy Power Betfair, a publicly listed UK company.  Yes, they also own Betfair… but just to confuse things, the Australian Betfair exchange is owned by Crown, not Paddy Power Betfair.  Blame a complicated series of mergers and acquisitions).
  4. William Hill (publicly listed UK company)
  5. Centrebet (owned by William Hill)
  6. Unibet (publicly listed Nordic company)

So does it pay to be a patriotic punter?

Ask those who know best: the punters themselves.

That’s what we did with our Betting and Bookmaking Survey.

So how do the two sets of bookies compare?

Of the punters we surveyed, there were 1,407 individual accounts with the twelve Australian bookies, and 982 with the internationals (keeping in mind of course that one punter could have used anywhere from just one bookie, up to all 18).

For the Australian-owned operators, the punters told us that 23% of their accounts had been closed, or had at least one bet limited.  The corresponding figure for the international bookmakers was much higher at 44%, indicating the international bookies are indeed more trigger-happy on the account restriction front.

Each bookmaker was also ranked out of 5 on three major categories.  Averaging the overall scores for each bookie in either group shows the following figures:

Competitiveness of odds: Australians 3.1 vs Internationals 3.4

Willingness to take a bet: Australians 3.4 vs Internationals 3.1

Ease of use of website & app: Australians 3.3 vs Internationals 3.4


Whilst not a commentary on any single operator – there were high and low-scoring bookies in each camp – it does highlight some overall trends.

On the whole, you may often be able to land better odds with international operators… but enjoy it while it lasts, as they’ll be more likely to pull the rug from under your feet and ban or limit you.  Based on what the punters told us, you will get a fairer go from Aussie-owned bookies.

Our overall bookie rankings are listed here.