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Bonus Bet Offers and Sign Up Promos: Gone, But Not Forgotten

July 28th 2022, 4:19pm, By: admin

Bonus Bets

Who doesn't love a free bonus bet?

Bonus bets once were one of the most visible element of the sports betting industry here in Australia. A few years ago you couldn't turn on a match, flip on a radio or log in to an app without being bombarded by sportsbook ads offering free bets if you signed up using a specific bonus code. 

That all changed in May 2019, when new advertising policies were put in place by the National Consumer Protection Framework. These new laws banned sportsbooks "from offering account holders credit, vouchers or other rewards…to open a betting account" and "from offering complimentary bets that force account holders to use any winnings to continue to gamble" with that operator.

For all intents and purposes, this was a bonus bet ban. 

Note how we say "bonus bet ban" and not "advertising ban." Gambling ads are as prevalent as ever. In fact, studies report that the gambling industry spent $287.2 million on advertising in Australia in 2021, up from $89.7 million in 2011. And these numbers don't even include in-stadium advertising or sponsorships!

Sportsbooks want your business. Punters want to be able to find safe, trustworthy sportsbooks with quality products and promos.

So where do you start?

Bonus bets are offered to existing customers only. Australian bookmakers can no longer use bonus bets to incentivize new customers. However, they still are able to offer perks such as free bets for existing customers.

Remember - the bonus bet ban affects advertising and customer acquisition for sportsbooks. It does not impact what they are or aren't able to offer after you sign up.

So if you're looking to join a new site, you should do so based on the product, features and all-around experiences that sportsbook provides - not the bonuses they offer. In fact, if you see a new user bonus being advertised, it's likely an offshore sportsbook and not a regulated Australian company.

Bonus Codes are now more often known as Welcome Codes or Referral Codes

We've explained how sportsbooks can not offer any type of bonus, freebie, promo or perk to incentivise a member of the public to create an account with that site, and how these restrictions change after you create an account with a sports betting site. There still are rules and regulations that must be followed, but existing account holders may be offered bonus bets over time. These bets typically are offered directly via email or SMS but may be restricted depending on the player and state of residence.

Since the codes you use during registration no longer involve a bonus, they're (obviously) no longer named bonus codes. Sportsbooks may instead call them Welcome Codes, Promo Codes or Referral Codes. In some cases, sports betting sites no longer use codes at all.

For the sites that have kept this practice in place, referral codes are primarily used to track who referred new customers to that business. This can help businesses grow their relationships. It also allows sportsbooks to offer certain promos to account holders who were referred by a specific partner. For example, if you used a code displayed on an AFL ad, you might later receive AFL offers from the site you joined.

As an example, we've explained what the Ladbrokes bonus code does and doesn't do. Our Ladbrokes code does NOT offer a free bet or any other sign up bonus. It is, however, a code that is uniquely linked to Before You Bet.

Ladbrokes Promo Code

Free bets and bonus codes are gone - What changes to gambling ads might be next?

According to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, in 2021, an average of 948 gambling ads ran each day on Australian free-to-air TV. So the content of ads have changed, but the volume of ads certainly hasn't.

The Age recently reported that "Sportsbet spent $139 million in 2020 on advertising and sponsorship…to 'deeply integrate content to reach footy fans across a number of touch points.'" Omnichannel sports entertainment experiences that put live streaming alongside sports betting lines and trends are going to continue to grow. Perhaps none of this should be surprising, since the entire sports betting industry continues to grow. In the same article, Sportsbet "also revealed that the amount of money Australians gamble on sport has been growing at about 10 percent a year since 2015, to $6.9 billion in 2020."

It wouldn't be surprising to see additional restrictions be put in place regulating the channels and timeslots that sportsbooks can advertise on. It's not unreasonable to think additional regulations for offline media like signage would at least be proposed as well.

Whatever the case, two things are certain. Sports betting isn't going anywhere, and bonus bet offers are not coming back.

Bonus codes aside, I'm still looking for a new sportsbook. What now?

Like our partner sites, we can't and won't advertise bonus codes. We also are firm believers in - and supporters of - responsible gambling. 

So long as you continue to bet within your means, we'd suggest you consider creating accounts at multiple, different sports betting sites. This will allow you to take advantage of a wider array of promotions and offers as they become available to existing customers. The biggest, actual benefit would be that you could compare markets and find the best odds and and lines possible for the wagers you want to make. This is a common best practice in the gambling community.

Our experts have curated an extensive list of reviews of the Best Australian Sports Betting Sites. We'd encourage you to compare the different pros and cons of each and find the best fit for you and your preferences. 

Good luck!

Sports Betting Australia

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