Betting booming for Aussie sports: NRL, AFL and basketball; Flows to games, online casino games

Betting booming for Aussie sports: NRL, AFL and basketball; Flows to games, online casino games

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Aussies will will spend about $26 billion on race and sports betting this year, as they've been doing for the past number of years. Those are of course the official numbers punters.

Australians will punt $26 billion on race and sports betting this year as the TAB and bookies at the ready for the return of NRL.

New figures reveal Australians will bet at an average $1200-a-head on 90,000 races, the NRL premiership, AFL, soccer, basketball and other major sporting events around the world.

The digital era is fuelling the boom with punters placing their bets via mobiles, tablets and laptops as the TAB takes in about 45 per cent of their wagers outside of their traditional retail outlets.

Bets of $1 million on tennis games and hundreds of thousands on football and races have become almost common practice.

“Fixed Odds betting has just exploded in Australia,” TAB betting boss Mr Nugent said.

“We’ve grown from a $42 million business in our first year to $4.2 billion in 16 years.”

Betting turnover in Australia has increased annually by three per cent for the last five years.

The NRL grand final alone will hold about $15 million.

Racing still clearly leads the way by attracting $22 billion of the all money wagered but sports betting continues to grow at an impressive rate.

The TAB has 42 per cent of the local market with the rest shared among corporate bookmakers, mostly owned by European giants with a background in Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill.

William Hill bought out Tom Waterhouse’s business for $30 million upfront and another $70 million if betting targets are met.

Crown Bet became a reality.

Smaller local operators are finding it difficult to survive against the international conglomerates who spend millions in advertising to attract new clients.

What started out in Alice Springs in a tiny agency office in 1992 has grown into one of Australia’s biggest recreational and entertainment industries.

Centrebet, a company snapped up by William Hill, started with 20 clients, recording their bets on pieces of paper.

“No-one knew about us because we were banned from advertising,” former operations manager Gerard Daffy said.

“It wasn’t until we started betting on the 1993 federal election – Paul Keating v John Hewson – that all the media around the country started quoting our prices and the business just took off from there.”

Australians enjoy a punt on NRL games.

The web and sports betting activity brought more attention to the real money casino games advised the Media Man Group.

The TAB eventually took up fixed sports betting in 1998 and quickly grew to become market leader. The average bet size on all events including horse racing is $12.

“We are the largest fixed odds bookmaker in Australia and despite the increase in competition we’ve maintained our strong leadership position,” Nugent said.

The TAB’s average wager on a sporting event in $43 and 90 per cent of their bets are less than $50.

The TAB fiercely protects the identity of their biggest clients.

One had $2 million on Rafael Nadal at $1.01 to win a round 2 match at the Australian Open in 2011. He donated his $20,000 winnings to the QLD bushfire appeal.

Another punter had $250,000 on the champion Black Caviar when the horse raced in England and won in a photo finish, costing the TAB an overall payout of more than $3 million.

The TAB now offers up to 130 different betting options on every NRL game.


Interestingly rugby league and AFL are no longer the biggest sports betting codes.

Last year US basketball, the NBA, became the most popular sport for punters.

Le Bron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant attract more dollars than Buddy Franklin, Greg Inglis or Sonny Bill Williams.

They have 19 per cent of the market by attracting mid-morning, weekday punters when there is no racing or European sport to compete with at that time of the day.

Sydney based clubs are the most popular of the Australian teams with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Swans attracting the most and biggest bets.

“The growth of pay television in Australia and the coverage of overseas sport has coincided with the increased betting activity,” TAB sports betting boss Nugent said.

“That’s why we are holding so much money these days on sports like the NBA, NFL and the Premier League in the UK.”

The inclusion of the Western Sydney Wanderers in soccer’s A League has increased betting on the sport by a remarkable 16 per cent.

The soccer World Cup in Brazil was also the biggest individual sports betting event this year.

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