Whether you bet often or just for special races, it is convenient to have a TAB account. It is advisable to allow yourself plenty of time to set up your TAB account, because you have to wait for it to be validated and this can take up to 24 hours, more if you choose a weekend or bank holiday. One of the advantages of having a TAB account is that you can set one up without having a credit card; this is not necessarily the case with accounts with other online bookmakers. You can set up your account in any of the TAB offices or their agencies (known as pubTAB and clubTAB) or you can go into a post office and do it there. There are certain constraints on setting up your account, due to anti-money laundering rules, but these are clearly explained as you go.
If you want to bet online using an account, a TAB account is not necessarily the best way to do this. Many of the online bookmakers allow a line of credit, which is not usually available on TAB accounts; which are quite tightly regulated. Having a credit limit is obviously a huge advantage - always bearing in mind that you should remember to gamble responsibly and not chase losses using credit - as you can bet in the last minutes before a race even if your account is empty. It is easy to lose track of your available credit and it would be a shame to lose the bet of a lifetime for a few cents.
With an online TAB account you do have the advantage of being able to place bets on other regional TABS, although not all accounts will give you access to all TABs - you will have to shop around. With other online betting sites running TAB-like systems, you may want to look into what they have to offer. One thing to certainly shop around for is your opening bonus. Many online bookmakers offer very substantial additions to your initial deposit and they are certainly very much worthwhile as a start to your online betting account. TAB accounts don't usually offer a bonus and are more prone to general red tape and restrictions, possibly because of their beginnings as a government owned company.
Despite the tradition and familiarity of using a TAB account, it is certainly well known nowadays that online bookmakers generally offer much better prices. The bookies below all specialise in providing their customers with better odds and better returns than the TAB.
Luxbet has around eight different racing products available to all punters; six of which deal with producing better odds and returns than the Tote.
If you are betting on metropolitan horse racing in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney or Perth, IASbet guarantees to pay better than the TAB.
Sportsbet has TAB promotions which are designed to pay better returns than the Tote on horse racing in both city and country meets.
Offers such as SuperBest from Centrebet mean that your winnings are guaranteed to equal or better the highest win dividends from the three major Australian Totes.