2019 Australian Open preview

It’s that time of the year again. Yes, the next couple of weeks will effectively be ‘owned’ by the 2019 Australian Open Tennis Championship. Out of only 4 tennis Grand Slam competitions held in the world, it is the first of the Grand Slam tournaments held ever year. Hosted at the Melbourne Park tennis centre in Melbourne, Australia, the Australian Open tournament is played on a hard court surface, providing one of the fastest surfaces of the Grand Slam competitions. Thousands of people will be making their way to the traditionally blisteringly hot centre court, Rod Laver arena, and surrounding tennis courts which make up the “Melbourne Park” entertainment centre. This year the Australian Open will take place from 14th Jan until 27th Jan, 2019.

Swiss maestro Roger Federer has taken out the men’s title for the previous 2 years. Last year Federer defeated Marin Cilic in a five set thriller 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to win. The win was Federer’s sixth at the Australian Open.
The previous women’s Australian Open winner, Dane Caroline Wozniacki, defeated Romanian Simona Halep 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, to breakthrough for her maiden grand slam victory.

Although certain players tend to dominate, it could be anyone’s tournament this year. Betting on the Australian Open always provides a reliable pointer to the tournament chances, and allows fans to interact with the tournament. According to the current Betfair exchange market odds for the favourites in the men’s title this year are tight, Novak Djokovic leading rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Men’s event. Other big names with good odds to win are Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexander Zverev, although all of their chances are subject to change as we get further into the event.
According to major bookies such as Sportsbet, a win from Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, who has a good chance of doing well and possibly causing a major upset, currently pays a generous amount of 19.00.

rising tennis star Omar Jasika in action
Image: Omar Jasika – Tennis Australia – AusOpen

Another Australian to keep your eyes on is Omar Jasika, who made his debut grand slam appearance at the 2016 Australian Open, at the tender age of 18. He made it through to the second round in 2016 before being knocked out. He is much improved, and will benefit from his previous experiences. We expect big things from this up and coming sports star in the years to come, and the 2019 Australian Open will give him a chance to show what a strong competitor he has become over the few years.

Extreme weather at Melbourne Park

Apart from being the first grand slam of the year, one factor that makes this sporting event stand out for sports fans is the unpredictable player behaviour due to the extreme heat.
Given that mid January is often peak summer in Victoria, where temperatures frequently hit 35 degrees Celsius, and there are often heat waves in the mid 40s, this makes matches at Rod Laver Arena and surrounds traditionally very gruelling due to the extreme temperatures.

Matches are often halted due to the Australian Open extreme heat policy, which was 35°C, but since 2014 has been 40°C. There is another temperature system used called the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT), a more complex temperature system which takes into consideration wind speed, humidity and other factors, and is used by athletes and military to determine how long they should be exposed to certain temperatures.

photo of the wet bulb globe temperature meter
Image: U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols

When the WBGT temperature hits 32.5°C or above the game may be halted. However according to charts using the wet-bulb globe temperature, if there is no humidity in the air, the actual WBGT temperature may reach 50°C during game play, well before the 40°C limit is reached (if the temperature is measured the standard way). It is not uncommon for heat exhaustion and other factors to take their toll on rookies and well-seasoned professionals alike.

In short, the Australian Open is not only a test of tennis skill, it is one of the ultimate tests of fitness, endurance and mental fortitude. Even seasoned campaigners suffer from the weather extremes that are regularly served up at the Melbourne Park precinct, which makes the viewing all the more compelling.

Free bets for Victorians

One topic that generates a lot of discussion amongst sports betting fans is the availability of free bets offered to residents of Victoria, Australia. There is confusion around the topic due to the Victorian State Government’s ban on bookmakers offering new customers a free bet in return for opening a new account.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that there are different types of free bets. The most popular free bets are those offered by Australian bookmakers to new customers, often referred to as sign up or deposit bonuses. However, there exist other forms of free bets, for example, there are: reload bonuses, no deposit free bets and weekly promotions where bonus bets are offered.

In Australia, gambling is regulated by State Government legislation. The Victorian Gambling Act legislates against bookmakers making free bet offers, or enticing new customers with the promise of free bets. Details of the Act can be found on the Victorian Commission for Gambling website.

So how can you get a free bet?

There are number of ways Victorians can still get access to free bets, including sign up bonuses:

There are ways to receive free bets

In summary, yes, as per the law, Victorians are not entitled to free bets when they register a new account with a bookmaker. However, by asking nicely, looking around for good betting offers and taking control of your existing accounts, you’ll find that in actual fact there are plenty of ways to secure a free bet if you’re from the great state of Victoria.

Four of the most memorable AFL Grand Finals of all time

The AFL grand final breaks television rating records year after year, with good reason. It’s the most heart-stopping, chip dipping, beer sipping, edge of your seat sporting event of the year. Whilst it originated in Victoria, the AFL is now a truly national sport. Many of you NSW betting fans might still prefer NRL, but no sport in Australia is more watched and loved than AFL football, so when it comes time to grand finale of the footy season, nothing quite matches the AFL grand final.
While every grand final is memorable in its own right, some matches remain unforgettable, no matter who you support. We’ve nominated our top four grand final matches – let us know if you don’t see your favourite!

1. 1970 – Carlton vs Collingwood

While technically the AFL was still known as the VFL at this point in time, it just wouldn’t feel right to exclude this historic grand final from the list. Widely regarded as the best grand final of all time, the Carlton vs Collingwood game still holds the record for the largest crowd to ever attend a footy game in the history of the sport, an incredible 121,696 spectators were lucky enough to witness it.
The conditions were perfect – a huge, noisy crowd looked on as two arch rivals went head-to-head. At half time, Collingwood led by 44 points, seemingly leaving Carlton in the dust. However, in what would prove to be an unbelievable comeback, Carlton not only clawed its way back, but went on to defeat Collingwood by 10 points in a stunning turn-around, winning 17.9.111 (17 goals, 9 points) to 14.17.101 (14 goals, 17 points).
Some might remember the match for the image of Carlton’s Alex Jesaulenko leaping up so high that his knees touched Collingwood’s Graham Jenkin’s shoulders. The feat is often described as “The Mark of the Century”. A record crowd, a pulsating comeback and so many iconic moments, it’s easy to see why the 1970 grand final has cemented its place in football history as one of the best matches of all time.

2. 1989 – Hawthorn vs Geelong

Dermott Brereton and Robert'Dipper' DiPierdomenico before the 1989 Grand Final
Image: Dermott Brereton and Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico
The 1989 Grand Final was one of the most intense matches the sport has ever seen. There were bone-jarring hits, broken bones and spectacular marks. Perhaps the most memorable moment, was when Geelong player Mark Yeates charged at Hawthorn’s Dermott Brereton, striking him with enough force to break several of his ribs and injure one of his kidneys. But in an unbelievable show of determination, the battered Brereton did not leave the field – he wound up staying in the game and scoring three incredible goals. DiPierdomenico, who won the 1986 Brownlow Medal, also played out the game with broken ribs and a punctured lung and was later hospitalised for 8 days.
Broken ribs, concussions, and punctured lungs were just a few of the injuries sustained during one of the grittiest finals in history. All of Australia watched on in morbid fascination to see Hawthorn take a narrow victory of 21.18.144 to 21.12.138 and a certain Gary Ablett kick 9 goals in a losing side.

3. 1990 – Collingwood vs Essendon

Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but amazing grand finals can strike back-to-back. This is one for the Collingwood fans, lovers of underdog stories and hard nosed footy. In 1990, Collingwood hadn’t won a grand final in 32 years, and with Essendon’s strong start it was beginning to look like the drought would extend to its 33rd year.
The most memorable moment of the match wasn’t a kick, catch or a score, but rather a huge brawl that broke out on the field as the first quarter came to an end. The end of quarter siren signalled the ding of a boxing bell, as players ran to jump on each other in a pile-up the likes of which Australian sport had never seen. While only one minor injury was actually sustained by the players involved, it’s still one of the most talked-about fights in AFL history.
The kerfuffle seemed to give Collingwood a renewed energy, as the club would make a vigorous comeback in the ensuing quarters. Collingwood’s captain Tony Shaw would be remembered as the best player the match, carrying the club to a long-awaited, hard earned victory, with a final score of 13.11.89 to 5.11.41

4. 2012 – Hawthorn vs Sydney Swans

If you like close, edge of your seat matches that are a toss-up until the last second, it’s hard to go past the 2012 AFL grand final. No one likes a game of footy where they know who’s going to win within the first five minutes, and this was certainly not that kind of match.
In a great back and forth contest, Hawthorn led in the first quarter, Sydney in the second and third, and then Hawthorn again at the start of the final term. In an unbelievable nail-biting finish, Sydney managed to score a match-winning goal with less than a minute to go, ending the match in front 14.7.91 91 to 11.15.81. It was like something out of a movie, except no script was required to create this unforgettable match.
What is the most memorable grand final that you’ve seen? Maybe it was the first one you watched as a kid, the year your favourite club won, or when the match was so close in the final quarter that you were on the edge of your seat until the very last moment. Let us know your all-time favourite AFL grand final!

Brownlow Medal analysis and betting preview

Brownlow Medal betting preview infographic

Our comprehensive analysis and preview of the Brownlow Medal has unlocked some tips and predictions for the big night that will help you extract value from this year’s count.

This time last year, we were dealing with a $1.20 favourite for the Brownlow Medal, and discussing how to deal with such a short-priced favourite. Well, the favourite for the 2017 Brownlow Medal is even shorter! Richmond star Dustin Martin is an incredible $1.05 to take ‘Charlie’ home. Ironically, it’s the ineligibility of last year’s short-priced winner, Patrick Dangerfield, that has caused Martin to be so short. Fear not though, our analysis has once again unearthed some value picks, away from the winner’s market, for the 2017 count.

The 2017 Brownlow Medal will take place at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium Ballroom on Monday 25th September. The count will be televised from 8:30pm on Channel 7. The Brownlow Medal is steeped in history and past winners include several of the all time AFL greats.

Past 20 winners: their playing position, votes polled and their starting price

WinnerClubVotesPositionTeam finishedPrice
2016Patrick DangerfieldGeelong35Midfield2$1.18
2015Nat FyfeFremantle31Midfield3$2.0
2014Matt PriddisWest Coast26Midfield9$21.0
2013Gary Ablett JrGold Coast28Midfield14$1.8
2012Jobe WatsonEssendon30Midfield11$5.0
2011Dane SwanCollingwood34Midfield1$16.0
2010Chris JuddCarlton30Midfield8$17.0
2009Gary Ablett JrGeelong30Midfield2$3.3
2008Adam CooneyWestern Bulldogs24Midfield3$13.0
2007Jimmy BartelGeelong29Midfield1$10.0
2006Adam GoodesSydney Swans26Ruck / Midfield4$2.7
2005Ben CousinsWest Coast20Midfield2$2.1
2004Chris JuddWest Coast30Midfield7$11.0
2003Nathan BuckleyCollingwood22Midfield2$2.5
2003Mark RicciutoAdelaide22Midfield6$4.5
2003Adam GoodesSydney Swans22Ruck / Midfield4$6.0
2002Simon BlackBrisbane Lions25Midfield2$3.5
2001Jason AkermanisBrisbane Lions23Midfield2$16.0
2000Shane WoewodinMelbourne24Midfield3$13.0
1999Shane CrawfordHawthorn28Midfield9$1.5
1998Robert HarveySt Kilda32Midfield6$11.0
1997Robert HarveySt Kilda26Midfield1$2.5
1996Michael VossBrisbane Lions21Midfield3$3.5
1996James HirdEssendon21Midfield6$5.0

Patterns of Brownlow winners: looking for an angle

Trying to predict the minds of the umpires that compile the 3, 2 and 1 Brownlow votes for each AFL match may seem like an impossible task, but there are however patterns, winners tend to have similar credentials.

The ‘Midfielders Medal’

The Brownlow is now described by many pundits as the ‘Midfielders Medal’, and it’s easy to see why. In the past 20 years, the medal has only been won by midfielders, except for the two Brownlow’s that Swan great Adam Goodes won in 2003 and 2006. An important stipulation, Goodes was effectively an old-fashioned ruck rover, covering the ground and collecting possessions much in the mould of a midfielder. The only other notable winner in the past 20 years in terms of the position they played is Jason Akermanis. The charismatic Lion combined time in the forward half with extensive periods in the midfield. Look for midfielders to win the medal and to feature prominently in most team votes markets. If in doubt, back the midfielder.

Look for players that have polled well in the past

When looking for the winner of the medal, or the most team votes, look for players that have consistently polled well in prior years. Of the past 20 winners, only Shane Woewodin failed to consistently poll well in the years either side of his Brownlow victory. Adam Cooney is perhaps the only other player to not rack up votes year after year, however, his career was curtailed somewhat by injury; and when he was fit, he still polled relatively well. Cooney only polled 4 votes and 9 votes in the years prior to his victory, however, in a pointer to his eventual win, he polled 12 votes in the 2005 count as a 21 year old. Most winners poll at least 13 votes at some point early on in their career, or in the few years just prior to their Brownlow; an indicator that their style of play falls under the notice of the adjudicating field umpires.

Ladder position of winner’s team

Until recently, there was a very strong trend of the winner’s team finishing inside the top 8 and playing in the AFL finals. From 1996 to 2011, only one winner came from a team that finished the season outside of the top 8,; Hawthorn finished 9th when Shane Crawford won in 1999. Perhaps even more significant, 11 of those winners played for teams that finished inside the top 3 ladder positions. However, in a sign that this indicator is far less important, three of the past four winners have come from teams that finished the regular season outside of the top 8. In summary, don’t be too perturbed if your selection played for a team that didn’t playoff in the finals, but be mindful that the trend of winners coming from teams that filled the top few positions on the ladder is still strong.

Polling record of 2017 Brownlow favourites

Dustin Martin252113165
Patrick Dangerfield3522212223
Tom Mitchell1212020
Josh Kelly6000DNP
Zach Merrett1910DNPDNP
Rory Sloane244101511
Matt Crouch700DNPDNP
Marcus Bontempelli20134DNPDNP
Lance Franklin17822512
Josh Kennedy (Syd)1425211419
Dayne Beams0916119
Gary Ablett65222824
Joel Selwood1813212714
Daniel Hannebery2124112112
Stephen Coniglio174201

Strategy for tackling the 2017 count

Dustin Martin: The $1.05 favourite

What to do with a $1.05 favourite? There is no value in backing Martin to win the Brownlow. The Brownlow still remains somewhat unpredictable even for the hottest of favourites. In fact, of the past 11 winners, 5 have been double figure odds just before the count. In that time, 5 favourites have gone on to win the medal.

That being said, there is no knock on Martin’s form, nor his Brownlow credentials. In numbers that are remarkably consistent, Martin’s votes are on an upward trajectory, with a high of 25 votes in 2016. He has pedigree. If you do really fancy the Richmond champ, consider including him in your Brownlow multi with other markets, or look for him to poll over 30 votes and try and extract value that way.

Winner without Martin

We normally shy away from these sorts of bets, but this just may be the year to consider who might run second to the Richmond star. Most bookmakers will field a market on who will finish second. Tom Mitchell is currently a $2.10 chance whilst there is great value for a player like Josh Kennedy ($17).

Look to other markets

If you do fancy a roughie to outpoll Dangerfield, you’re sure to get good value owing to the short price of the favourite. However, most of our bets will be placed on other markets including: most team votes, top 5 finish and top 10 finish markets. We have included the top 10 finish market from Bet365 below, as we feel it is one of the best markets to tackle for this year’s Medal.

top 10 finish market for the 2017 Brownlow Medal

Odds and analysis of the favourites

PlayerOutrightWinner w/out MartinTop 5Comment
Dustin Martin1.05N/A1.00Likely to win but way too short to back
Tom Mitchell132.101.22Consistent poller who has had breakout year. Only threat to Martin
Josh Kelly173.251.45Only polled 6 votes last year. Doesn't represent value in any market
Rory Sloane346.52.50Proven vote getter. Good value top 5 pick.
Marcus Bontempelli61154.25Didn't appear to have as good a year as 2016 when he missed top 5
Matt Crouch61173.75Hasn't polled well yet, big watch this year
Josh Kennedy (Syd)71176Attracts votes, fancy for top 5 or most team votes

Brownlow tips and selections

Winner without Martin

Selection: Small bet on Rory Sloane to win at $6.50
It would be a major surprise if Martin, the $1.05 favourite, didn’t win the Brownlow. A proven vote getter, he has enjoyed a stellar season and fits the criteria of past Brownlow winners. For what it’s worth, we think he’ll win. Will we back him? Absolutely not! So, we have dodged the outright market in this year’s count.

It’s worth looking at who might run 2nd to Martin. We are viewing the market from CrownBet where Patrick Dangerfield is excluded. Tom Mitchell is favourite at $2.10. He has polled 12 votes in each of the past 2 years and has had a breakout season at new club Hawthorn. He seems a risk at such a short price for a player that has yet to poll more than 13 votes in any one count. Sloane ($6.50) and Josh Kennedy ($17) are far more appealing. Both are proven vote getters. Sloane was the early favourite before being bogged down by negating players mid-season. Kennedy is likely to storm home given the Swans slow start to the season.

Top 5 finish

Selection: Josh Kennedy (Syd) at $6.00
Kennedy seems too good a price for a proven poller. Given that there are polling doubts on Josh Kelly and Matt Crouch, Kennedy seems like a very good bet.

Top 10 finish

Selections: Trent Cotchin at $11.00, Joel Selwood at $6
Along with the top 5 market, the top 10 finish market is appealing this year given Martin’s short quote. The good thing about this market is that it’s slightly more predictable, in that the proven vote getters normally occupy the majority of the top 10 positions. Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has enjoyed a good year alongside Martin. At $11, he seems good value to sneak a top 10 placing. Joel Selwood was one of the early favourites for the Brownlow, whilst he missed some games late, he might do enough to grab a place inside the top 10.

Most team votes

Selections: West Coast – Andrew Gaff at $3.40, Melbourne – Jack Viney at $11, Melbourne – Western Bulldogs – Jason Johannisen at $11*
Where possible, the strategy should be to back players that are proven vote getters and pot those traditionally don’t perform so well. There are two great value picks: Andrew Gaff to attract more votes than Josh Kennedy at West Coast, and Jack Viney to outpoll the unproven Clayton Oliver for the Melbourne Demons. In Gaff’s case, we would much prefer to take the midfielder at far superior odds, whilst Viney may just get enough votes if Oliver fails to catch the umpires eye.

The other market of interest is the Western Bulldogs team votes market without Marcus Bontempelli (offered by Sportsbet). Despite a poor patch of form mid-year, Johannisen had a decent season and is likely to attract votes again this season to go along with his 10 from last year. His competition includes Macrae and Hunter.

Team votes markets provide a good opportunity to extract some value if you have followed a team’s performance closely throughout the year. Other players of interest that appear very good value are: Dayne Zorko, David Zaharakis and Nat Fyfe.

Tell us who you think is good value to poll the most votes for your team!

The Best Surfers in the World in 2017

Australia is well known for its surf culture. Our affinity with the beach has produced many famous surfers. The battle for 2017 World Champion crown is heating up, we preview the best surfers from around the world.

Surfing is a unique sport that requires its participants to not only have the strength and flexibility of most athletes, but also possess an instinct and understanding of varying conditions that they face every day. The best surfers exude these qualities, allowing them to win with regularity on the pro surfing league. We’ve compiled a list of who we think are a few of the best surfers in the world right now.

John John Florence

As a native-born Hawaiian, John John (Jo Jo) Florence has been on a surfboard since he was six months old and riding waves on his own at the age of 5. So, it’s no wonder that this pro has surfed his way to the top by winning the 2016 World Surf League Men’s Championship. His journey began in 2003 when he was the youngest surfer to win the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, he was only 13 at the time. John John is the first Hawaiian to win the WSL championship since Andy Irons.

Mostly known for his pipe surfing and his effortless style, John John has every surfer on notice. And everyone’s looking to see how he’ll do this year. Will he tame the competition and earn the number 1 position again, or will his competitors win out?
Check out his footage of John John nailing it at this year’s Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro:

Some of you Victorian betting fans may have been lucky enough to watch Jo Jo in person at the 2017 Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro just recently. Although Jo Jo earned a 9.97 in his round at this year’s event, he was still beaten out by South African Jordy Smith. However Jo Jo is a top favourite to win the world championship title for 2017.

Kelly Slater

With a long and triumphant career, Kelly Slater has set a record for hitting the number 1 spot in the WSL Championship, even winning the championship five times in a row from ’94 to ’98 and never ranking lower than 9th place since 1992 when he won his first championship.

Born in Florida, Slater has spent years honing his skills and has become known for his style and competitive nature. Though some claim he’s on his way out, 11-time WSL champ, Kelly Slater, might still be able to pull more wins out. Only time will tell if the best surfer of our time can take back the number one spot in the WSL championship.

Joel Parkinson

This Australian has used his laid-back method of surfing to stay on the radar of the World Surf League for years by being nothing more than himself and a pretty inspired surfer. Since his appearance on the international level back in 2001, Parkinson has consistently ranked high, usually in the top 5, of the WSL championship. That is until 2012 where he finally took the top spot from none other than the 11-time World champ himself: Kelly Slater. Parkinson hasn’t taken the number 1 spot again in some years, however he is always thereabouts, it would take a brave pundit to declare that Joel Parkinson won’t win the WSL Championship again.

Mick Fanning

Born in New South Wales, Mick Fanning has been riding the Australian waves since he was 5 years old. He’s gone on to win some big-name events, like Australia’s Rip Curl Pro competition in 2001, the same year he won the of ‘Rookie of the Year’ title. He’s even shown up his best mate Joel Parkinson on several occasions during the WSL Championship and is a three-time winner of the competition. Fanning has experienced some scares in his surfing career. The most notable being his run in with a shark during the J-Bay open in 2015. But nothing has been able to stop him, he even bounced back to finish with the Number 2 in the WSL that same year. Fanning is one of the most proficient power surfers in the league today and still has some of his best years ahead of him.

These are just a few of the best surfers of the current crop, but who do you like? Are there any surfers we missed? Comment below with who your favourite surfer of all time is.

Kelly Slater at the Margaret River event in 2017

The best advice for those new to sports betting

Sports betting is a fun and exciting hobby that many Australian sports fans participate in. Not only is sports betting an enjoyable pastime, but when done correctly it can also be an avenue to earn some extra money. If you are a beginner looking for some advice on how to get started in this field, read on for our top sports betting tips.

1. Signing up with online bookmakers

In order to increase your chances of making a decent profit, it is a good idea to sign up with a couple of online bookmakers. Having various accounts will allow you to compare sign up bonus offers and betting odds so that you can make the smartest decision on where to place your money. Online bookies make sports betting easy and convenient by providing mobile apps and other services that allow you to monitor the status of your bets and track your favourite teams from your phone or computer at any time.

2. Sign-up bonuses

When looking to create an account with an online bookmaker, be on the lookout for new customer sign up bonuses. These bonuses are promotional incentives that are intended to attract new punters. Sign up bonuses are usually in the form of additional credits or rewards. If you are new to sports betting, you can use the credit from your sign up bonus to help you get used to the process of placing bets before spending your own money. Also, it’s worth keeping an eye on our promotions page for one off specials, usually around the time of big sporting events, such as football finals and the Australian Open tennis.

3. Do your research

In order to make a smart bet, it is important to do your research on the players or teams that you are considering backing. There is plenty of information and resources available for punters, including statistics, analysis, professional predictions, and other information about almost any sport event. Starting your research early about upcoming matches/races and staying informed about changes to line-ups, can help you make a smarter bet.

4. Determine how much to bet

Determining how much to bet can be tricky and you will learn to master this skill with experience. For new punters, however, a good conservative rule to follow is to never bet more than 5% of your bankroll. It all depends how large the sum of money you have invested in your account is, and how comfortable you are. Some experts advise that if you are fairly confident about a particular event, then you can bet up to 10% of your bankroll, and if you are less confident you can minimise your bet to around 1% or simply just walk away.

5. Know when to walk away from a bet

If you really aren’t feeling confident about a bet, the best decision can sometimes be to just walk away. One pitfall that some novice punters fall into is chasing bad bets in an attempt to make up for money lost. Placing a bet right after losing can cause to you make impulse decisions without properly considering the viability of the wager. The same can be said after you have won a bet. Many punters feel so excited after winning a bet that they immediately place another one. Placing irrational bets out of excitement is equally dangerous, since it is important to use clear judgement in order to make smart bets. Creating a schedule and sticking to limits is a great way to eliminate impulse betting.

6. Know the laws and regulations in your area.

Each Australian state and territory has different rules and regulations for online betting, and laws for how the bookies are allowed to advertise their bonus offers and services to you. If you’ve watched any sports matches on TV the last few years you would have noticed sports betting companies are heavily promoting their business. However the methods they use change frequently, usually in response to government rule changes; aimed at protecting consumers. Navigating these rule changes and staying up to date with legislation is important, Victorian residents, you can view our guide here to betting laws in your state. Not only Victoria, but no matter where you live in Australia, our full list of agencies will give you an idea of the offers available to you, whatever state you live in.

We hope this list can help rookies take advantage of and make the most out of the fun hobby of sports betting. Maybe you’re already a semi-pro at this, if so, do you have any advice to share with our readers?

popular sports balls all gathered together

History of the Rip Curl Pro and Bells Beach Surf Classic Surfing Contest

Surfing has been a popular Australian sport since the 1960s. Besides being such an enjoyable participant sport, one of the ways that the sport has maintained popularity is through major competitions that have brought together the best surfers from around the world. The surfing competition that is a part of every serious surfer’s bucket list is the Rip Curl Pro held at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia. The Bells Beach Surf Classic has become a staple in the world of pro surfing and offers surfers and spectators alike, a great social and viewing experience.

For you lucky ones who live in NSW, you get to enjoy some of the most picturesque and beautiful warm beaches in the world, but Victoria’s Bell’s Beach is renowned as the Australian home for world class surfing competitions, and of course, the classic ending in the Point Break movie.

Surfer on a wave at Bells Beach

Just Starting Out

Before the world famous sporting competition began being called by its current name, the Rip Curl Pro, it was formerly known as the Bells Beach Surf Classic.

The Bells Beach Surf Classic was first held during Easter Week in 1962. The contest was founded by local surfers Vic Tantau and Peter Troy. The first tournament was a humble one. Equipped with nothing but a fold-away table and a modest trophy, the two founders put the word out that they were holding a surfing competition, they even performed the judging duties themselves. Back then, the competition only consisted of a men’s singles division. Word quickly spread. The Bells Beach contest quickly gained a reputation worldwide for consistently producing 8-foot waves or bigger, with the 1965 contest beginning with knee-jangling18-foot waves.

Going Pro

The Bells Beach Surf Classic got its first sponsor in 1973 from Rip Curl Wetsuits, who put up $2500 in prize winnings for the competition. In 1976 when the world of surfing had created a world tour pro circuit, Bells Beach was a fixture on the league’s debut circuit. Bells Beach is now the longest running surf competition on tour, with an event held there every year at Easter time.

The 1981 contest, featuring 18-foot waves, was the perfect showcase for introduction of a new surfboard design. Simon Anderson rode his tri-fin to victory and changed the course of surfboard designs. This was highlighted in the 1981 documentary titled All Time Bells. The Bell’s Beach surf contest even opened ’92 and ’95 world tours, and has been a staple of the World Surfing League since its inauguration. The 1967 and 1971 events doubled as the National Title for Australia.

Bells’ Surf Divisions

There are now two other divisions in the Bell’s Beach competition, the junior’s division and women’s division. The junior division event had an eight-year run and was hosted from 1963 to 1972 with one event cancelled in 1965 due to dangerous surf conditions. The women’s division was first created in time for the 1964 event. The division had to be cancelled in 1965 and 1973 and the division also went on hiatus in the early 2000’s, eventually making a return in 2007. When the women’s division went pro in 1975, the prize money was a mere $200, as compared to the men’s division winnings which were over a thousand dollars. The 1975 contest was won by Gail Couper, who went on to win the event for 10 years running.

The Coming Event

With the 2017 event just around the corner, surfers will no doubt be eager to ride the huge waves that Bells Beach nearly always has to offer, and enjoy the nostalgia of surfing at such an historic location. Though the name of the competition has changed over the years to Rip Curl Pro, its humble beginnings and stationary position in the World Surfing League’s pro circuit is testament to how special Bells Beach is.

If you haven’t attended this event, you should definitely make plans to experience it, because the big waves of Bells Beach, mixed with the appeal of new and returning surf talent, will no doubt provide for another exciting event. You can bet bookmakers will get in on the action too, check out our promotions page for the latest offers for this tournament and other upcoming sporting events. Let us know who your favourite is to win the classic this year!

The next Rip Curl Pro contest will run from April 12-24 2017, exact dates are dependent on surf conditions.

Top harness drivers charged over alleged race-fixing

Betting is only fun if it’s fair; a level playing field is essential. Recently, two Australian harness drivers were arrested for alleged ‘gaming of the system’. We take a closer look at this case and delve further into the all-important issue of sports betting integrity.

horse hooves in fixed horse race

Last year a scandal in the world of Australian harness racing took the Australian sports betting industry by storm. The Daily Mail reported that two drivers, Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull, had been arrested for race-fixing. The arrest happened in Melton at the big Breeders Crown meeting.

The press has labelled the two drivers in question the “glamour couple” of Australian harness racing. They have big resumes: both have a ton of experience and a successful track record in the racing world. But now their integrity has been called into question: investigators say they have evidence that these drivers conspired to pull the wool over the public’s eyes by misusing inside race information.

The amounts involved in the alleged scandal are believed to be as high as $30,000. Australian sports betting fans are angry about this abuse of the public trust. Official groups are looking into the issue as well. The Victoria Harness Racing Integrity Department first began an investigation into the incident back in June 2015, that focused on training arrangements and betting activities on certain races. This was then followed by an investigation by the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit in November of that year. The sports betting community is similarly aghast.

Reports in the Melbourne Herald Sun discuss the driver’s efforts at avoiding suspension. The pair were released without charge after the Breeders Crown race, subject to an ongoing investigation from industry officials. The Herald Sun refers to both Jack and Turnbull as “champions of the industry” and cites the horse central to the scandal, “Airbornemagic.”

Investigators looked at betting patterns along with police – and they didn’t like what they saw. The news piece quotes insiders talking about how this is going to really affect the harness racing industry in a big way The quoted source talks about “getting the tongues wagging” – but incidents like this can have a more devastating effect. Members of the sports community are up in arms, as any scandal calling into question the integrity of the industry is seen as detrimental.

As evidenced by an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, this is not the first time that investigators have looked into harness race fixing. The report cites other cases of race fixing allegations and shows that administrators are always keenly keeping watch. Nathan Jack has also previously been suspected of leaking information to punters.

About Australian Sports Betting

So how big is sports betting and harness racing betting in Australia?

It’s a good question – any investigation into the heart of the matter should really look at how much of a piece of the pie sports betting makes up. A report from Gaming Intelligence shows that the country’s total gambling market is worth $191 billion in Australian dollars in 2014-15.

However, it shows that sports betting accounts for just 4% of that. That means those who are betting on football, horse racing and other sports are really in the minority, as compared to other forms of gambling.

However, anytime there’s any scandal regarding any form of gambling, the whole industry comes under the microscope, after all, money is at stake.

In our opinion, it’s unacceptable to have a situation where people are betting without the same knowledge as everyone else. This is why betting scandals in other countries are met with such forceful responses. Just look at the story of Pete Rose in the United States. It shows how a career baseball star lost everything due to his involvement in the under world of sports betting. Scandals like this are also a reason why punters look elsewhere for reputable betting agencies to bet with.

More Scandals?

How often do these problems happen in the Australian sports betting industry? More often than they should. This is just one recent scandal over the last year, but it probably will not be the only scandal to hit the newsstands this year.

Keep reading our industry news to see what’s going on in the betting world, and what you can do to protect yourself from any scandalous activity. You just might save yourself a whole lot of money, and you’ll soon become an authority on the gambling sector you’re participating in.

What are your thoughts on the scandal?

Luxbet Bonus Bet Offer on Signing now $250

Update: In December 2017, Luxbet’s parent company Tabcorp Holdings Ltd, made the decision to cease the operations of, Australian bookmaker Luxbet. This move not only spelt the death knell for Luxbet, but of course their sign up bonus.

The analysis of other sign up incentives in the Australian market remains relevant, so this content has been retained. Please see below:

Analysis of the Current Free Bet Offers in the Australian Marketplace

The move from Luxbet to reduce their sign up bonus offer reflects the changing forces within the Australian bookmaking industry. Global bookmakers have been buying up local Australian brands and bringing with them more competitive practices. In March 2016, Unibet Australia altered their sign up offer from a matched deposit bonus to an insured first bet bonus. Withstanding the heat is the local arm of global agency Ladbrokes. They continue to offer new customers a $250 matched deposit bonus. Sportsbet continues to run their matched first bet offer in preference to the deposit offer. There is no doubt that the matched deposit bonus represents better value to potential customers.

Still Value in Free Bets for new Customers

Whilst the matched first bet offers aren’t as attractive to new customers, there is still great value on offer for prospective clients with the matched deposit offers. For example: Bookmaker.com.au’s $400 bonus and Ladbrokes’ $250 offer are both very deposit bonuses. A full list of free bets and bonuses can be found on our home page.

New Players Provide Diversity

The good news for Australian punters is that growth in Australian sports betting is bringing new players to the industry, that are continuing to bring with them generous offers in order to entice new customers. In recent years, Neds, Unibet and BetEasy have all entered the Australian market with aggressive welcome bonus deals.

Australian government cracks down on rogue betting operators

Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal government has launched an unprecedented attack on less than reputable betting agencies doing business in Australia. Any bookmakers who are licensed by the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority (NIGA) will need to gain new licences from mainland Australian regulatory authorities, as the federal government moves to shut down the NIGA citing claims of corruption and mismanagement.

Norfolk Island, a tiny Australian island in the middle of the ocean between Australia and New Zealand is home to the NIGA. Investigations into the NIGA found they had become lax in their responsibilities, and failed to correctly enforce their regulatory duties. In particular, they have come under fire for handing out licences to some less than desirable agencies such as BetHQ, who have close ties to the world’s largest illegal bookmaker Citibet (based in the Philippines).

idyllic setting of Norfolk Island

It is important any gambling authorities, and bookmakers who may be licensed by them, are compliant with Australian regulations. By better enforcing Australian regulations, and holding licensing authorities to task, the government is able to better protect all punters, and remove the risk of dealing with potentially unscrupulous or vulnerable operators.

Earlier in the year, the government ordered the Norfolk Island authority to stop issuing any new licences, but now the body will be scrapped completely. The minister for Territories senator Fiona Nash stated “Gambling in Australia must be carefully regulated to ensure the integrity of our sport and to protect consumers”.

What does this mean for consumers?

If you wager with a bookmaker that has a licence from the Norfolk Island body, it is not necessarily an immediate cause for concern. It does not necessarily mean that the provider is illegal or shady. What this news does mean, is that the Australian government is tightening up their grip on rogue betting operators. If you stick with the well known companies, such as established brands, ones that advertise frequently, have a long history and solid reputation, you will avoid any underhand operators. If you’re not sure who to avoid and who is a safe bet, definitely avoid those you have heard little about, any company that is unlicensed or only licensed by a foreign country. Most companies will state on the bottom of their home page where and by whom they are licensed and regulated.

For the highest level of protection it is always best to only ever join companies licensed by an Australian state or territory. To quickly determine if they are likely to be legitimate, always play with those who state they are licensed by Australian authorities. Here at Free Bet Deals, we only ever review and promote offers from trusted brands that are regulated and licensed to operate in Australia.

There have been reputable bookies, such as the British based Ladbrokes, who originally had their Australian arm licensed by the soon to be banned NIGA. However, the Australian Ladbrokes division has since moved its operations and switched its licence to one issued by the Northern Territory Government. Any remaining Australian online gambling operators still licensed by the Norfolk Island body will have 6 months to seek new licences from other Australian state and territory authorities.

As for any illegal betting companies, all bets are off. We never recommend you play with any illegal or shady agencies, no matter how generous their offers may seem. If you currently have an account with BetHQ, Citibet or other questionable agencies, fear not. We would recommend you remove your deposits and earnings from them when you can, and try out any number of trusted Australian based bookmakers. It is always best to use reputable bookmakers who are 100% trusted and fully covered by Australian regulations, such as the many we review on this site.