With the backing of the all-powerful Crown brand and some canny marketing, CrownBet quickly became one of the biggest name in Australian betting. So how is their actual offer for punters compared to the many competitors?
It may seem like just another division of Crown, but CrownBet actually has a fairly interesting history.
The bookmaking firm that is now CrownBet actually started life as Betezy and was run by bookmaker Alex Kay. But things really took off in 2014 courtesy of Matthew Tripp. Tripp is of course the former owner of Sportsbet, which he purchased for $250,000 in 2005, before building the business to the point where he sold it to Paddy Power in 2011 for a whopping $330 million.
As with most business sales, Tripp had a non-compete agreement with Paddy Power and Sportsbet, and as soon as it expired in 2014 he got straight back into the game and purchased the assets and database of Betezy, changing the name (slightly) to Beteasy.
Less than a year later, in 2015, Beteasy announced a joint venture with James Packer’s Crown Resorts. The deal saw Crown acquire two-thirds of the bookmaking outfit (Tripp and others retaining a third) and the business name changed to CrownBet. Some parts of the business have been integrated with the wider Crown operations, most notably the rewards and loyalty program: CrownBet rewards points are earned by betting and can be used for (among other things) Crown Signature Club offers and importantly for punters, Crown Free Bets.
Website Layout, Mobile Usability and App
The CrownBet desktop website is a pretty busy place, but reasonably easy to navigate nonetheless. As with most bookies, the major centre frame on the page is reserved for a rolling display of promotions. This isn’t the most useful info for most punters, who just want to find their race or event and bet, but is pretty much a given these days for marketing purposes.
Surrounding this is all the standard info and links you need: next to jump races and then major upcoming events on the left, while below is the matrix for all of today’s racing. The right-hand side of the home screen is more screen real estate which is probably not very useful for more experienced punters, showing their auto racing multi-builder – this is effectively a multi mystery bet, where three upcoming runners are already selected and you simply choose your stake. Not something any half-serious punter will be considering!
The standard race page on the CrownBet desktop site is a fairly standard and useful affair. Fixed and clearly marked tote options are all displayed along with fluctuations, and each runner’s form and further details are only a click away via drop-downs. As soon as you click to place a bet, the betslip appears on the right of the screen, and stays there.
In terms of mobile, CrownBet inherited Betezy’s original mobile offering and binned it. The cornerstone of the new app is the “press and hold” feature for the main menu along the bottom of the screen, which navigates you between racing, sport and the My Account section. This is a different form of navigation to most bookmaker apps, but it works fairly well.
Otherwise, the app is easy to navigate and getting a bet on is fast, which is usually the main requirement when betting on mobile. Crucially too, the app keeps you signed in at all times, which of course saves time when you want to put a bet on. Some punters may find this a security issue, but other security measures on modern smartphones more than make up for this.
Why Bet With Them
CrownBet have a “hybrid” approach when it comes to pricing markets: they employ a large team of traders to price the most popular markets (racing, major sports), while using third-party pricing on some of the minor markets. This is a good approach as it can mean they have a slightly different opinion to others in the market.
Price-wise, CrownBet are generally quite competitive. You don’t often see them out on their own ahead of the pack, though they’re usually not far from the best price available. CrownBet also have one of the widest range of markets in the industry, which is another similarity to the approach that the management team took at Sportsbet.
CrownBet have a Live Centre section on the website where you can see all their available live markets, but due to federal government legislation you need to call them to place a live bet.
Client Profiling & Account Restrictions
CrownBet have proven to be relatively fair with punters and willing to take bets without closing accounts. They of course need to comply with minimum bet laws in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, but CrownBet were also the first bookie to put in place a blanket minimum bet on all racing across Australia ($1000). This won’t seem like much to some, but it’s a gesture that many other bookies haven’t made.
Provided you prove yourself to be a genuine punter who isn’t only focused on smaller markets or pricing errors, you shouldn’t have too many problems with CrownBet.
CrownBet are a solid, locally owned bookie who are a good addition to your account portfolio. Their prices are generally very competitive, they treat winners relatively well, and they offer a very good suite of promotions, along with CrownBet Rewards which is a quality extra that earns you points every time you bet.
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