Racing, Sports and Streaking!
Unibet are a big player in bookmaking worldwide, but perhaps not as high profile in Australia. Is that for good reason, or are they a bit of a hidden gem for punters?
The Unibet Group was founded back in 1997 and after many expansions, acquisitions and a float on the Danish stock exchange, are now one of the biggest gaming and bookmaking companies in the world.
In recent years the Unibet Group acquired numerous European online bookmaking businesses, including Bet24, 32Red and StanJames.com. As a result of this multi-brand approach, the parent company last year changed its name to Kindred Group.
On the Australian front, Unibet got involved when they acquired Australian online bookmaker Betchoice in 2012. Betchoice was founded by Sydney bookies Colin Tidy and Mark Morrissey, who sold the business to Unibet for over $20 million.
Morrissey stayed involved with the business for some time after the sale, and Unibet Australia employs a small team in Sydney, however the European parent company maintains a high level of control over the local operation.
While other corporate bookies to come to Australia have gone into overdrive with marketing and promotion, Unibet have been lower profile and perhaps less willing to dip into the marketing budget. That might be changing, with some new TV campaigns and sporting event sponsorships, but Unibet still flies somewhat under the radar compared to competitors.
Website Layout, Mobile Usability and App
The Unibet Australia desktop homepage is a really average effort compared to some of the competitors. Basically the entirety of the page is taken up with promotional ads for new features. Many other bookmakers have direct links (or even full markets) to next-to-jump races and sporting events, for when you need to jump on something quickly. Unibet has none of that – the only link to any market or the rest of the site is a menu across the top of the page.
Click on the racing option, and you’re greeted with a lot of the things that really should be on the homepage: next-to-jump markets and a matrix of the day’s racing.
The race market page is fairly standard fare, with form, flucs and fixed and tote prices. Form is expandable and brings you a pop-up with a pretty comprehensive runner summary.
Moving to mobile: the Unibet app is, at first glance, just a shrunken version of the desktop site. Once you get into the racing menus it’s reasonably usable and easy to navigate however. But there’s a few more steps to get a bet on quickly compared to better-developed apps, and it doesn’t seem like Unibet has put a heap of development in to keep up with other betting apps. Annoyingly, the app also logs you out periodically, and there’s no option of a quick PIN login to save time if you’re in a hurry.
Why Bet With Them
The betting experience with Unibet is, all-in-all, underwhelming. It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with the volume of markets or prices offered by them… there’s just nothing particularly special on offer.
This is the case with prices particularly. Unibet’s prices aren’t generally uncompetitive, but it’s very, very rare to see them at or near the top of the market. Probably the exception here is some sports, notably cricket and soccer, where Unibet often post extremely competitive odds. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with racing.
One thing Unibet do seem to do differently is the pricing of sporting leagues. Unibet often have future rounds and matches priced and displayed well before most other bookies, weeks – or even months – ahead. For example, you may find match markets for European soccer matches available for many weeks to come, rather than simply the next one or two rounds. This may offer some opportunity to get a bet on at a better value price.
Another function Unibet is offering is ‘The Expert Edge’. This is a statistical / form portal which is developed by iSport Genius and available with multiple bookies globally. It gives an in-depth statistical preview for upcoming sporting events with stats such as recent form, head-to-head records and player stats. None of it is anything you can’t get elsewhere, but it’s well presented and good to have it all in one place.
Bonuses and Promo Generosity
Unibet offer a decent range of regular bonuses include Bonus Bets for 2nd or 3rd in Saturday and major races, bonus bets for losing multis where you only miss one leg (AFL, NRL, major American sports), and bonus bets for draws on head-to-head soccer bets.
Unibet 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
This is a major area of concern when it comes to Unibet. Unfortunately, they have a well-earned reputation in Australia for being quick and brutal with the old “ban hammer”. A reasonable run of winning bets is usually enough to see you booted from Unibet: expect to see your stakes severely limited when trying to place a bet on any sporting event – if you’re offered fixed-odds at all.
Minimum bet limits in major Australian states offers some level of protection to the punter, however Unibet aren’t often competitive with their racing odds anyway. When it comes to sport, don’t expect to last long with Unibet if you’re moderately successful.
Limiting of bonuses and promos is usually even quicker. Even if mixing promo bets with a fair number of non-promo markets, Unibet are still rather quick to switch off the bonus tap.
Unibet tick some basic boxes in terms of their betting offer, but that’s really about all there is to it. Their presence in the Australian market seems somewhat half-hearted: it’s almost like it was just somebody’s job to tick the “Expand to Australia” box. They did it, they made the effort to come to Australia and acquire a local operator, but have done little since to stand out or offer anything special in a very competitive market. They do little visible marketing, their prices aren’t generally anything special, the website and app experience are average and if you show the slightest hint of knowledge or talent, they’re quick to withdraw the ability to bet with them.
If you already have most of the major bookies and are after something else, it’s worth signing up and you may be able to find yourself some value, albeit short-lived. Otherwise, there’s plenty of better options out there.
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