It’s been a big year for mobile sports betting in Australia, with bookmakers introducing a host of new products and services that have made it easier than ever for bettors to watch and bet on live sports through iOS and Android-friendly apps.
From exciting new in-play options to free live streaming of the country’s largest sporting events, here are some of the major developments that have put Australian bookmakers at the forefront of sports betting innovation.
AFL Live Vision Courtesy of CrownBet
Online bookmaker CrownBet is a relative newcomer to mobile betting circles Down Under, but as shown through its AFL Live Vision service the company is making a big impact.
Available exclusively to customers with the CrownBet iOS or Android app on their mobile device, AFL Live Vision provides a free live stream of every Australian rules football match during the regular season, along with the finals series and Grand Final.
The move was made possible thanks to CrowBet being the AFL’s official bookmaker, and represents a major coup for the company. In a congested sporting market in which Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union, soccer and cricket compete for audience share, AFL matches garner more TV viewers and betting activity than the other major sporting codes.
Offering a live stream of the country’s biggest sport, for free, straight to a customer’s iPhone or Samsung Galaxy is unparalleled globally.
Free Live Streaming of Horse Racing
Continuing with the them of watching live sports via bookmaker apps, horse racing fans Down Under have won big with the increase of free live streaming of race days in the country’s largest sporting markets.
The likes of Bet365, CrownBet and William Hill all stream live racing to their customers’ mobile betting apps in Victoria, where thoroughbreds are raced on all but two days of the year. This includes Spring Racing Carnival feature events such as the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
In New South Wales, meanwhile, William Hill live streams all thoroughbred racing in the state to customers on its mobile betting app. Major race days such as the Golden Slipper, held during Sydney’s Autumn Racing Carnival, are included.
Compared to other major sports betting markets around the world, free live streaming of horse racing is a huge perk for Australian sports bettors. In the UK, for example, major bookmakers charge their customers a £1 or £2 bet to access the live stream of a single race.
Automated Phone Betting
Bookmakers in Australia were able to find a loophole in the country’s gambling regulations on online sports betting when they launched in-play automated phone betting.
Australian gambling regulations permit bets on sports events that are in progress via telephone only. But, the automated phone betting service rolled out by the likes of Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Sportsbet, cleverly sidestepped that restriction.
It did this through a ‘Click to Call’ feature on bookmakers’ websites and mobile apps, which connected bettors with an automated operator that read out the in-play bet being placed, including details of sporting event, teams, odds and stake.
Bettors simply had to have a functioning microphone on their smartphone, tablet or laptop in order to be connected with the automated operator. The feature both simplified and sped up the process of placing in-play sports wagers, and was embraced by sports bettors across the country.
Double Down by William Hill
The hype surrounding automated in-play wagering came to a standstill when updated gambling regulations outlawed automated phone betting on live sports.
New regulations stipulate that bettors are required to contact the bookmaker directly via phone to place a live sports wager, though calls can still be made through the bookmaker’s mobile app.
Yet, as demonstrated through William Hill’s Double Down product, bookmakers are fighting back, finding new ways to allow their customers to place bets after the kick-off, first bounce, tip-off or, in the case of Double Down, start of a horse race.
Double Down offers customers with the William Hill Australia mobile betting app on their smartphone or tablet to double their initial stake on a particular horse – at pre-race fixed odds – after the jump of selected Australian thoroughbred races.
The offer to William Hill customers was launched in time for the Spring Carnival, Australia’s largest annual horse racing event which features the showpiece Melbourne Cup.
While a fee of 10 per cent applies to all Double Down bets, the opportunity to boost an initial stake at original odds after a bettor has seen where their preferred horse is positioned in the race, appeals to horse racing punters.
Sportsbet’s Power Play
Similarly to Double Down, Sportsbet’s Power Play targets sports bettors by offering a free increase to their racing odds.
Power Play only applies to single fixed odds win bets and cannot be utilised in-play, yet it does extend to greyhound racing and harness racing, as well as thoroughbreds.
While short-odds will only attract a marginal boost, the real value comes with long-odds bets, which receive the largest increase and can even double when selected in conjunction with a Power Play.
The feature can only be used once daily on selected races, and is available exclusively to Sportsbet Mobile customers with the latest version of the bookmaker’s IOS and Android app.
Apple Watch Sportsbooks
With the launch of a new app for the Apple Watch, Ladbrokes Australia became one of the first bookmakers in the world to facilitate smartwatch sports betting.
The Apple Watch extension contains a very simple interface that makes betting from your wrist seamless, and can also be synced with the Ladbrokes iOS mobile app.
Ladbrokes, which was the first bookmaker in Australia to introduce a payment card that allowed customers to withdraw money from their betting accounts via ATM, are yet to make their Android app compatible with smartwatches.
But, given the company’s focus on being a betting technology innovator, it will only be a matter of time before products like the Samsung Gear allow for wristwatch betting.