Signing Up/User Interface
On entering the 138 website, users see a red and black on white background theme, with the distinct Asian influence depicted via Chinese symbols in the top left logo.
The site can be viewed in English, Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese – whilst text can be changed via the drop down Language menu in the top right-hand corner.
The sportsbook layout is cleaner than most of the competition but that is partly because it does not quite have the breadth of coverage that some others have and some may find it a little boring. It still includes the usual main elements, however, including the sports available column on the left hand side. A “Quick Picks” menu above the main sports list gives ready access to the most popular events and they in turn feature the usual array of markers.
The top central bar, meanwhile, includes the main menu options of Sportsbook, Casino, Macau, Virtual, Promotions, Cash out and App. The central portion of the screen is taken up with betting highlights and markets like most of the competition. Overall, the user interface is fairly standard.
In the centre of the screen, 138 offers an interesting “last minute bets” section with an array of sports betting markets about to commence – with a countdown clock showing how many minutes before each event starts.
All major sports betting markets are offered – along with a few slightly rarer ones for the UK including badminton and table tennis, two sports more popular in its Asian homeland. Overall, the sports covered include all those that a British and European gambling audience would expect to see including the biggest markets of Football and Horse Racing, along with Cricket, Rugby, Golf, Tennis, Snooker, Formula 1 and others. In total, 31 different sports are covered in the 138 Sportsbook.
Asian Handicap markets feature prominently though overall markets are safe and predictable and lack novelty or interest.
Events are though listed in a mundane manner with no extras and creating multiples is an easy enough process with the combinations shown in a large betting slip on the right-hand side of the page.
Like most bookmakers, the level of bonuses and promotions on offer at 138 is constantly changing. Currently, newly registering bettors are offered a free £25 or €25 depending on where they live.
Punters must make an initial deposit then make five qualifying bets. For example, if a bettor stakes £10 on five bets, he/she will then receive a free £10 bet. If he/she stakes £25 on five bets they will receive a free £25 bet.
138 Sportsbook also offers a range of different daily promotions designed to catch punters’ interest. This is easily accessible from the “Promotions” link at the top of the page and looks to be quite imaginative – offering additional odds and promotions on big daily football matches, for example, price boots to coincide with new registrations on the site, and money-back offers if Player X scores first etc.
This whole area of bonuses and promotions will be a big one for 138 Sportsbook to get right as they try to enter a highly competitive European market. They certainly seem to be making imaginative efforts.
Live Streaming And Content
There is currently no live streaming, radio or audio commentary available at 138 and the lack of tis type of content does add to its smaller and more ‘in-development’ feel.
138 Sportsbook does offer very clear In-Play markets on major events, clearly depicted on the Sportsbook home page – along with the usual ‘Cash Out’ options.
Stats And Form
A dedicated section on stats is available – though it’s a little hard to find at first. Users need to go to “Information” under the main sports available menu at the bottom left corner of the Sportsbook home page then to click on “Statistics” which opens a new window provided by EnetPulse. There is then a menu of options depending on the sport you’re interested in. One of the biggest markets of football, for example, then gives current standings, recent form tables, top scorers etc.
Overall, the stats available are standard and there are undeniably better sites out there for real students of form.
138’s customer service is very good. In addition to the usual 24-7 live chat option, there are English, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese speakers, and the company can be contacted via phone, Twitter, email or fax. There is a useful FAQ section covering most questions potential users would have at the foot of the home page alongside other basics such as “About Us”, “Terms of Service”, “Responsible Gambling” etc.
Banking seems standard with 138. Punters can use the usual payment and withdrawal methods – and can set daily deposit limits etc. There are no reported issues or complaints from users.
As a relative newcomer to the UK it is not able to compete currently with the bigger established brands in terms of its offering or credibility. It will be interesting to see how the site evolves – and whether it can make real inroads. The site is functional and clean, and not hugely different from the main competition, it just needs to go a bit deeper and then a lot will come down to marketing.
Specifically, then, punters will be looking at comparative odds available at 138 (which isn’t currently listed on Oddschecker) – along with bonuses and ongoing promotions. How far they go to differentiate on price is questionable.