Signing Up/User Interface
Signing up with Betfair is an easy and quick process, taking only a few minutes to fill in all the relevant data. One of the key selling points in opening an account with Betfair is the chance to win £100 in free bets. Once you have signed in and used the promotional code, you need to place a minimum of five £10 single bets at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) in order to qualify. When you have settled your qualifying bets, you will receive a £20 free bet. The process can be repeated up to five times with the max bonus available at £100 (5 x £20 free bets).
In terms of usability both on the site and via the app, Betfair’s is one of the easiest to use. At first glance, the exchange can look a little complicated. However, once you have spent a bit of time having a look around the plethora of markets, it is easy to get to grips with.
Enhanced offers for the day draw your eyes to the top of the page, while the option to go on the exchange is clearly marked out. It really does tick all the boxes for punters who bet on the go.
This has been recognised numerous times, as seen in 2013, when Betfair won the Mobile Entertainment Award for Best Gambling Company app for a third consecutive year. The speed and reliability of their sites on all devices for back and lay betting and in-play betting means they are very much at the forefront in the market.
However, when it comes to customer service, there is some room for improvement.
The company does provide a live chat support system to answer any queries customer have, but the option could be made more visible in the exchange.
In terms of their other helpdesk services, Betfair provide assistance via telephone, e-mail and even Twitter support seven days a week, from 7:30am to 12:30 am UK time. Customers have stated that waiting times appear to be short and exchange representatives are knowledgeable and courteous.
Markets and Betting Experience
One of the big plus points with betting with Betfair is the tremendous variety of odds and depth of market options across both platforms. It covers all sport and more obscure markets like politics in real detail. Looking at the exchange, punters are able to set their own price for a wager and as long as someone matches it, it will be active. It is all about finding value and there is plenty of it at Betfair.
Compared to its exchange rivals like BETDAQ, Betfair has good liquidity throughout the different markets due to its huge popularity. This is largely due to its first-mover advantage, launching the first exchange in the country, and also thanks to its high-profile television adverts, which are primarily shown during big sports events such as Premier League games to boost brand visibility.
Even if there is a football match from for example, the lower leagues in Sweden, you will usually be able to find plenty of value due to the sheer volume of punters who use the site.
However for some sports, the lack of liquidity on the exchange can be frustrating although there is always the sportsbook option.
One of the downsides is the amount of commission Betfair charge on winnings on the exchange. They run at the 5% mark, while BETDAQ charge 3%. It feels to some as though they may be taking advantage of being the most popular exchange in the market, and could perhaps show more flexibility.
In addition, some also express concern over the company’s decision to commission everyone who has won over £250,000 on Betfair to 40% and higher. Essentially, this means that high stakes punters on the exchange are being hit in the pocket for being successful.
Another issue raised by punters is problems with the amount of time it takes to make withdrawals or cash-outs from their account compared to a slick operator like bet365.
In-play betting is really where Betfair comes into its own, both on the exchange and sportsbook. Just by the nature of the betting exchange, it works in tandem with live in-play betting and most serious punters who like to bet on live events will have or should have a Betfair account.
Take football betting for example. You can simply go onto the main page and select a match of your choice, where you will find all of the odds, which change as the match progresses.
On the exchange, Betfair automatically refreshes odds every few seconds so you can track the market as people back and lay different outcomes. Markets are suspended for only a short period of time when game changing incidents occur.
Betfair have built up a huge fan base of people trading in-play due to the variety, quality of odds and the accessibility of their site and apps. It is simply the best money-making platform you’ll find in the sports gambling industry.
Bonuses and Help
One reason why it stands out from other exchanges is that it offers customers’ great help guides and videos to educate them with regards to learning how to use the system.
Alongside that, there is also a user forum as well, where punters like to give advice on how to get the most out of using the exchange markets. It gives it a community feel, with punters providing their advice and tips on the user-forum and for popular betting sports like horse racing or greyhounds it is the definitive message board-style service.
Another dimension of their quality and service is through their cash out features, especially with ‘Acca Edge’. This works by building a wager, which once completed, allows you to select the Edge for that particular bet. It means for a small cut in the odds, you can take the insurance should your bet lose by just one leg. If it doesn’t, then you will get your lost stake refunded as cash and this is available on acca’s from multiple sport selections too.
Not only do Betfair help you get your money back on bets, they also boost your wager to higher odds with their ‘Price Rush’. This is available through the Betfair exchange and after checking the prices offered by customers, you have the chance to get a rush where your wager is boosted up to the next full number. For instance, if you had selected a bet at EVS for example, you would get a rush to 2/1.
Streaming and Content
It can be no coincidence that all the big successful betting companies take content very seriously and Betfair has always been to the fore.
They work with various streaming providers to offer a comprehensive live video service to all members with a vast number of events to watch. From live international cricket to football from around the globe, all members need to do access it is click on the ‘Live Video’ tab on the ‘Sports’ page. Betfair’s live streaming service for all sport is free to all punters with an account, apart from horse racing, where you must have placed at least £2 worth of bets on the race via the exchange.
Betfair radio supplies live commentary on all races from the UK and Ireland without needing to be, meaning you need never miss a race wherever you are and there is a greyhound commentary service too which is another plus.
However, they cannot compare to bet365 in terms of football commentary (who cover all Premier League games as standard) which is a setback for in-play punters on a Saturday afternoons, although the goal alerts (if turned on) at least gives you the score, if not the enhancement.
betting.betfair like the Betfred blog and bet365’s betting news section is a great read and helps you keep abreast of what’s happening and to find a betting angle to breaking sports news and upcoming events.
You have the usual array of banking options for funding on your account and across a variety of currencies as well. You can use a regular bank transfer, e wallets and cards to get funds into your account, while there is also a full list of transaction history. Always check for charges and processing times for the different methods of deposit and withdrawals.
It is worth noting that as the world’s biggest online betting exchange, and being based in Gibraltar, all of the actions of the site are regulated and licensed by the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner under the Gambling Act 2005.
Betfair also possess a UK license as well so they can serve the UK freely. This means that Betfair is regulated by two highly respectable organizations and that it can be trusted.
The control and the value that Betfair provides through both its sportsbook and betting exchange is second to none. Quality offers, in-depth markets, live streams and strong liquidity in the exchange markets mean it remains streets ahead of its exchange rivals and on a par with most big sportsbook operators.
The technology that set Betfair apart in 2000 is now not as innovative as it once was and the company will need to continually invest in its technical infrastructure.
Because of its superior margins, the sportsbook site has been marketed ahead of the exchange which is a mistake as it is the latter which sets it apart.