Australia’s domestic online bookmakers are three times more likely to offer inducements to bettors than internationally licensed operators serving the Aussie market, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by Southern Cross University’s Centre for Gambling Education and Research, examined promotions by online betting operators in two specific periods this May. The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation funded the study, but the researchers made no effort to establish a link between gambling inducements and problem gambling behavior.
Australia recently announced it would conduct a review of the country’s online betting sector, with a particular focus on figuring out how to wean Aussie gamblers off the estimated 2k international online gambling sites currently serving the market.
Yet the Southern Cross study found that Australian-licensed bookies made an average of 11.6 inducements during the periods in question, while international sites averaged just 4.1 offers. And while Aussie bookies made up 60% of the 30 brands studied, they were responsible for 78% of the inducement offers made during the study period.
In fact, only one international bookie (Stan James) made the top 10 chart of inducements by brand. Ladbrokes was the top inducer, accounting for over 10% of the total offers in the period. There wasn’t much distance separating the top five pitchmen, and Lads was followed closely by CrownBet, Sportsbet, Bet365 and William Hill.
Refund of a bettor’s stake as bonus bets was the most common inducement, accounting for 21% of all offers. This was followed by better odds (15%), matching a stake/deposit with bonus bets (14%), refund provided as cash (12%) and all other free/bonus bets (10%).
The most popular form of inducement by Aussie-licensed bookies was refund offers, while international sites were more likely to offer a sign-up bonus. Deposit matching incentives made up 27% of international brand inducements, compared to just 11% for Aussie-licensed brands. Similarly, other free bet offers made up 20% of international sites’ inducements compared to 7% for domestic brands.
The regulation of gambling is primarily a state-level concern in Australia, and some states have enacted partial or blanket bans on betting operators offering inducements to attract punters. New South Wales recently levied fines against several operators, while Victoria has meted out punishment to the likes of Betfair and Sportsbet in recent years.