There is an old saying that offers the advice that weather not to one’s liking will change shortly and if this is true for weather, it is true in spades for online bookmakers. Join PointsBet Today
We no sooner think we know the industry from every possible angle than along comes another wagering agency to take us back near the beginning.
Not long ago, in the early part of 2017, an outfit called PointsBet arrived on the scene.
It is the only licensed spread-betting operator in Australia for the moment, but see above comment relating to meteorology and Australian bookmaking agencies.
With most agencies, a winning punt receives a pre-determined dividend. If you back the Brisbane Lions to beat the West Coast Eagles by 10 points and the Lions win by 45 points, you get the same payout as if they had won by 11.
As of late 2018, anyone who would take such a punt would be considered daft, but we wanted an extreme example to demonstrate the nature of spread betting.
If you had made that same punt with PointsBet, your dividend would be increased far beyond the regular bookmaker dividend.
A losing punt, for example the Eagles beating the Lions by 60, would entail a loss beyond the original stake.
Read that last part again and again and understand that spread betting is basically a way to make an already risky proposition even riskier.
Do we mean to imply that PointsBet should be avoided?
Not at all. All punting carries some degree of risk. The greater the potential reward, the greater the risk.
PointsBet enables punters to set a maximum risk level at the time the punt is placed. This feature also entails a cap on the maximum profit, but that is the price of security.
If there are any stock speculators out there reading this, PointsBet is very similar to the environment you encounter daily with your ASX picks.
Finding a comfortable risk level and living to punt another day is what punting with PointsBet is all about.
One thing we consider important is that you can punt with PointsBet as though they are a more conventional operation.
For example, at point in time, you could back Australia at $2.20 to beat India in the first Test. A stake of $10 on a fixed bet would return a $22 dividend. The spread aspect comes into play when you want to make a play on the winning or losing margin.
PointsBet also covers racing, domestic and international. For the sake of comparison, we had a look at the Kingston Town Classic, which at the time we made the comparison, was just hours from jumping.
PointsBet offer favourite Arcadia Queen at $2.40 fixed win. Ladbrokes was quoting $2.45 for the same bet and Neds was identical to Ladbrokes.
Draw your own conclusions and make your own decision on how much the five cents means to you. All the shoppers and frequent punters constantly seek the best bargains. Other markets may have quotes that lean in the direction of PointsBet, so do not use one example as an indication that PointsBet has inferior odds.
As for the PointsBet website, we quite liked the look and the navigation. It is clean and uncluttered. The left panel that usually displays various sports and racing is hidden by default.
A hamburger icon in the top left corner opens the column and it can be closed by clicking on the ‘X’. We liked having this option and most of the time, we kept the column closed.
The middles section contains the odds, a familiar setup we appreciate.
When a selection is made, the betslip opens in the middle of the screen, not the right column as with most bookmakers. That may bother some, but it does not seem a big deal to us.
The main colour scheme is a dark grey background with odds and markets having a black background with white text. It gives the screen a somewhat sinister appearance, sinister in a nice way.
Our brief examination of sports, the NFL, has a simple way to toggle between fixed odds betting and spreads, something we found truly convenient. Two days before the main part of the NFL fixture kicked off, we found over 30 markets per game, which should be more than enough to satisfy most.
EPL fixtures were showing over 80 markets for each match. PointsBet did have spread betting available for soccer, but given the low-scoring nature of that game, we considered it something with which we would not devote much time.
There are mobile apps for Android and iOS operating systems and the website displays quite nicely on a mobile browser, so PointsBet is comparable to all the others, as competition dictates they have to be. A wide array of stats and player-based betting markets is included.
Our best information tells us that for new customers, PointsBet offers a sign up bonus of a 100 percent match up to $200. The applicable terms and conditions apply, although it seems as though Victorians are eligible, which is a bit of a switch compared to what we are accustomed to seeing.
PointsBet offers plenty of ongoing promotions.
These vary by the season, of course. Some of these are special time promotions. For the NBA, promotions include time of first free throws to be made by players or team, first three-point field goal and more along those lines.
When the AFL is up and running, punters can participate in time of first goal, time of first behind and time of team reaching 10, 20 points, etc.
As with all the bookies, expect a constant and ever-changing flow of promotions with the level of creativity on par in line with the expectations punters have developed.
The PointsBet website shows Visa, MasterCard and POLi as the options for making deposits, with bank transfers being the method of withdrawal. We were mildly disappointed that PointsBet does not offer a branded debit/ATM card, but that may well be in the near future.
They have some dormant account fees, something becoming rarer, but if you have money lying about and you do not know where it is, that is all on you.
The offer live chat, phone and email support, but there are many punters who never need to use support with a bookmaker, so it is hardly a make-or-break feature, but it is there if you need it.
Our conclusion is that we saw nothing that would make us want to avoid PointsBet.
Spread betting, with its variable risk/reward aspect is something we would approach with extreme caution, as sports and racing seem intentionally designed to break hearts and banks.
If you are one of those punters who are good at picking winning or losing margins, you might consider spread betting with PointsBet as a way to increase the dividends from your correct predictions. Join PointsBet Today