PointsBet was launched in early 2017, and distinguishes itself by being the first spread betting operator to be licensed in Australia.
The basic gist of spread betting is that the more your bet wins by, the more money you win – but of course, this principle also means that the greater the margin by which you lose a bet, the more money you will lose. As you might imagine, then, it’s a form of betting that can be especially beneficial for more experienced and disciplined bettors, but not those who are prone to more reckless gambling.
This is different to typical line betting, whereby your payout is the same whether your selection wins by a slender or wide margin.
So, has PointsBet made a good account of itself as it seeks to popularise online spread betting in Australia, or are you better off just sticking with a more traditional sportsbook?
Based on a predominantly black colour scheme with elements of white, red and blue, the PointsBet website looks classy and unfussy, whether you access it via a desktop computer or a smaller mobile or tablet device.
Like many sports betting sites today that are designed to look the same on larger screens as they do on smartphone displays, PointsBet has a hamburger button in the top left-hand corner, through which you can reach information on the latest promos and the sports on which the site enables you to bet.
The site itself is pretty insightful and easy to navigate. Furthermore, if you’re a mobile user, you’ve got the option of either accessing the site through your device’s web browser or downloading the relevant app – the latter available on both iOS and Android.
You might not have expected a site as new as PointsBet to offer a terribly impressive range of sports – but the fact of the matter is that it does.
Basically all of the obvious categories are covered here, in fact, including racing, American football, Aussie Rules, baseball, basketball, cricket, cycling, rugby league, rugby union, soccer and tennis, to name just some.
Then, there are the slightly quirkier categories, such as Novelty, Politics and Name a Bet. All in all, there’s a good breadth of betting possibilities on offer to keep you stimulated, whatever you might be in the mood to have a flutter on at any one time.
If there’s anything you need a bit of help with as a PointsBet member, you’ll be reassured to learn that there’s a page of the site answering many of the most obvious questions you could have.
Whether you want to know more about how spread betting differs from ‘normal’ fixed-odds betting, what the minimum stake is or what happens if your account goes into negative, you can find a good amount of relevant information in this part of the PointsBet site.
However, the site also provides a telephone number and email address that you can use to contact the team directly, not to mention a ‘live chat’ functionality of the kind that is so ‘in-vogue’ on sports betting sites these days.
The customer service team is available from 6am to midnight every day, which should further maximise your chances of receiving a swift response to any query.
One possible downside of life as a PointsBet member is that it isn’t a site exactly replete with loads of extras and goodies.
Other Australian sports betting portals often go big on the online tutorials or have a regularly updated blog. But apart from a page that usefully explains how spread betting works, PointsBet keeps everything fairly simple and succinct, which isn’t necessarily an entirely bad thing.
The relative youth of PointsBet probably means you will want to be reassured that it is a trustworthy site. That’s why it’s such great news that the site is both licensed and regulated by Australia’s Northern Territory Government.
Furthermore, for South Australian residents, PointsBet is governed by a Code of Practice outlined by the Independent Gambling Authority South Australia.
Any good online sports betting site should also encourage responsible gambling, which PointsBet does in part by urging any members concerned about their betting habits to visit Gambling Help Online at gamblinghelponline.org.au.
Indeed, such responsibility is especially important for a site like PointsBet, given that one of the big disadvantages of spread betting is the potential to lose more than your original stake with an unsuccessful bet.
How the site deals with your account going into negative depends on the type of account that you have. If it is a cash-only account, you will need to redeposit to continue betting. Alternatively, PointsBet will restore your account to a $0 balance within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, in the case of a credit account going into a negative value that exceeds your DSF Limit, again, you won’t be able to continue betting unless you redeposit.
The site also gives you various options for limiting your risk when you have a flutter, such as the ability to set a ‘stop-loss’ for a given bet. This involves choosing a multiplier of your stake that represents the maximum amount you are prepared to lose, although it should be borne in mind that using this feature will also limit your maximum ‘win’ amount.
With PointsBet being a newcomer to the sports betting game, you shouldn’t be shocked to learn that it doesn’t have as broad a range of accepted payment methods as its longer-established and more obvious competitors.
In fact, you can currently only add money to your account with a debit or credit card – both Visa and MasterCard being accepted – or via bank transfer. All of these options are safe and secure, so you should have no reason to worry about your sensitive payment information falling into the wrong hands. These methods also involve immediate processing, zero minimum deposit requirements and no transaction fees.
If you want to withdraw your funds, though, the only possibility right now is a bank transfer. Again, there aren’t any transaction fees, although we wouldn’t mind seeing a few of the major third-party e-wallets represented on the site as deposit and withdrawal options in the months and years to come.
You won’t be able to take funds out of your account until you have satisfied the relevant identification and credit card verification requirements, as well as minimum turnover requirements.
Nor will withdrawal be permitted if you have bets in dispute or no available funds to withdraw.
PointsBet is by no means perfect just yet – after all, there aren’t that many accepted payment methods as of present, and customer support isn’t available on a true 24/7 basis.
However, it’s a site that does many more things well than badly. The site itself is slick-looking and intuitive to use and the iOS and Android apps help to ensure a stress-free mobile experience.
We also like the broad range of sports betting markets, which means that even if other great spread betting portals appear in Australia in the future, PointsBet is still likely to be one of the leading ones.
In short, we are happy to recommend PointsBet to those who are new to and intrigued by this form of sports betting that can be risky for novices, but potentially very lucrative for bettors who truly know what they’re doing and what it takes to win.