Digital betting now accounts for 65 percent of all wagers placed in Australia. This was the takeaway from a new report by UBS analyst Matt Ryan, published this week, who found that digital wagering, which includes internet and phone, grew 23 per cent in the first half of 2017.

65 of Australia bets now digital

Digital betting is on the rise in Australia despite the recent ban on live, in-play betting. (Image: Before You Bet)

At the same time, retail betting fell by six per cent.

This is all the more remarkable when you consider the fact that in April 2016 the government closed the “click to call” loophole, ultimately banning in-play betting.

The live, or in-play digital betting function was widely popular with punters because it allowed them to place real-time bets on numerous aspects of a game while that game was in play.

Closing the Loophole

The Interactive Gambling Act was enacted long before the advent of in-play sports betting, which was developed by corporate bookies in the UK, where it is still widely popular.

The Act states that bets on events that have already begun may not be placed online but can be placed over the phone.

William Hill found a clever way to circumvent this rule with its “Click to Call” app, which used voice recognition technology that allowed punters to confirm bets with a simple voice command, and thus they were “phoning in” their bets.

Copycat apps swiftly followed, only to be closed down by our killjoy politicians last year.

Sportsbet Most Downloaded

The report found that Sportsbet, owned by Paddy Power Betfair, was the most downloaded betting app, as it has been since 2014. It has a 31 percent share of all betting app downloads.   

In Q3, the major international bookies, defined as Sportsbet, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Bet365, held a 65 per cent share of all betting app downloads, although the report notes that this actually represented a four per cent year-on-year decline, perhaps as a result of the in-play ban.

However, Ladbrokes and CrownBet continued to gain in download share. William Hill, meanwhile, saw a greater download share in January due to sponsorship of the Australian Open, but overall share dropped four per cent to 15 per cent.

Tabcorp Benefited from In-Play Ban

Ryan said that there appeared to be a correlation between download shares across the betting companies and overall digital market share.

“This link may prove to be an indicator of revenue trends across operators and long-term sustainable digital market share,” he said.

He also posited that the in-pay betting ban may have boosted Tabcorp’s share of app downloads, which, at 20 per cent, saw a one per cent increase on the corresponding period a year earlier.   

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