It’s an Aussie company, and the new operation for Brisbane entrepreneur Dean Shannon. Shannon has a long and very successful history not just in bookmaking, but internet businesses in general. He started bookmaker.com.au in 2012, which proved to be popular with punters early on due to its easy-to-use interface and quality promotional offers. Just a year later in 2013, bookmaker.com.au was purchased by UK giant Ladbrokes and as part of the deal, Shannon took over as CEO of the Australian operations of Ladbrokes.
Shannon has since left Ladbrokes, and now he’s back with Neds.
In terms of the desktop site, it actually strikes you how clean and simple it is compared to many other bookies, who can overwhelm the punter with what seems like a million different menus, buttons and images. The main hero menu to the left simply consists of Racing, Sport, Live In Play, Promotions and My Account, which covers everything you’d need to get to quickly. There’s then a smaller menu below it with all current major events (both sport and racing), making them easy to get to for when you’re honing into that big match or race.
There’s also a dynamic bar along the top which shows the next few races to jump – fairly standard, but important nonetheless when you’re racing to beat the jump – and then some larger frames with full fields etc for upcoming races. The biggest, most prominent frame is reserved for a rolling display of current promos and specials. That’s perhaps not the most important item for more serious punters, but it shows their points of difference and will probably change as the business settles in.
Races are simple to navigate, with the standard matrix of today’s races on the main racing page (tracks down the left, race numbers along the top) making it quick and easy to click on your race. On a race itself, it’s a fairly standard setup, but with a couple of items that some bookies still get wrong. Firstly, the headers showing bet type are clearly marked, so you know exactly what you’re getting, especially with Tote prices. The labels such “Best or SP”, “Mid Tote”, etc are important, so you’re not looking around to confirm exactly what the tote offer is on that race, like you do when some simple say “Tote”.
You get a “Best Bets”-style race / speed map comment, plus all fluctuations on each runner, which is handy to have on the same screen.
Moving to the mobile app, things are quite familiar and in line with a number of bookies, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Things are easy to find, with a large focus on the next race. The ever present buttons along the top represent Next-to-jump, Racing, Sport and My Account. A race is easy to get to from there.
When a new bookie lands, it of course takes a little time to get an idea of what they’re all about in terms of pricing, market percentages and events covered. It’s too early to know how that will pan out for Neds, but one thing we can probably surmise is that there’ll be a strong Ladbrokes flavor to things: both as a result of Shannon’s own background, and also the fact that a good number of those who’ve come across to work there are apparently ex-Ladbrokes.
If we use Ladbrokes as a guide, it could be a mixed bag. They’re known for a large number of different markets (tick), reasonable (if not best) prices and percentages and lots of promotional offers (tick), but also for being one of the quickest around in terms of limiting promos and banning successful punters. Very much a “really good, but only while it lasts!” proposition.
The other recruiting pool for staff at Neds has apparently been UBET, which makes things very interesting… UBET are fantastic in terms of promo offers and letting regular punters continue to use them (provided they’re not completely abused!), and also for pricing: they’re regularly best in the market on many Australian races. Should some of that approach find its way over to Neds, it’d make things very attractive!
In terms of fixed prices, early signs (from the first day or two) look good: prices are definitely competitive.
There’s some good early promos coming out of Neds. First of all, the homepage offers to match $100 first deposits with bonus bets. But don’t use that: use this Neds free bet link to get that same offer, but to a much more attractive $500.
Also, Neds have already unveiled their ‘Bet Boost’ feature. It’s similar to other price boost offers, but when you hit the button, you get a boost to your stake amount rather than your odds. Same outcome, slightly different packaging.
Other standard promos at this stage (feature racing, etc) look fairly familiar. There are a few major races where they’re offering money back on your stake if you don’t win, regardless of where your runner finishes in the field! Definitely take advantage of that one while it’s there.
Neds are a brand-new company and fully Australian owned and operated, so security and legal issues aren’t a consideration (the federal government has recently moved to outlaw betting with offshore bookies in Australia).
Deposit options are credit card, POLi, bank transfer and BPAY, and are fast and simple. Withdrawals are via bank transfer and take 1 – 3 days.
Like the vast majority on Australian online bookmakers, Neds are licensed and regulated by the Northern Territory Government in South Australia, they’re governed by the SA Gambling Codes of Practice. They’re also an approved betting operator for the AFL, NRL, Australian Rugby, Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia and golf’s PGA Tour.
All-in-all, there should be few concerns safety-wise with Neds: they’re locally operated, have all required licenses, and are run by veterans of the Australian industry.
It’s early days, but that’s often the best time to get involved with a new bookie as they’re going all out to get business with good promotions and offers. We’ll know more about them in the coming weeks and months, but they already look an easy-to-use, accessible bookie with very decent prices. Setting up an account is very easy and only takes a few minutes, so it’s well worth doing so and giving them a shot: what have you got to lose?