Black Type

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When Black Type was launched in 2016, it was targeting a specific audience – serious punters, in particular those who bet on racing. It began life by promising to lay any price to lose at least £500 and that it wouldn’t close winning accounts, a practice which has become all too common in an ever-growing industry. The approach could be summed up, thus: proper prices, proper stakes.

Offers such as best odds guaranteed on racing – something that has become fairly standard – would not be available; it was a return to a more traditional form of bookmaking.

London-based, the firm was set up by two former staff of Kambi, the gaming tech company which powers numerous bookies including Unibet and 888Sport. David Gowers and Craig Nicholson are the men in question and they have had significant support with members of the Sangster family, Guy and Mylo, among the shareholders. Guy is the son of legendary racehorse owner and breeder Robert, and Mylo the grandson.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Kambi are not involved with Black Type, which instead uses FSB Technology for its online products, a company which is also a client of a number of big-name firms in the bookmaking industry. FSB have worked with Paddy Power Betfair, for example.

At launch, Nicholson explained the firm’s stance thus: “Having witnessed the evolution of the industry over the past 20 years, the UK market in particular has lacked a quality horse racing-focused sportsbook for a considerable time, and there is very little competition for the established, bigger operators.

“We wanted to draw on our knowledge and racing heritage to put that right, but most importantly we wanted to offer a very competitively-priced service while also being seen to lay a fair bet. We’re called Black Type for a reason.”

For those not in the know, the term is a racing one which signifies horses which have won major races, such as Group races.

Black Type’s ‘old-school’ approach garnered plenty of launch publicity but it is hardly an in-your-face bookie given its lack of sponsorships which have largely been in minor race meetings at Ripon. It does, however, have a presence on odds comparison giant Oddschecker – crucial if price is one of your major selling points.

However, the laying-to-lose-£500 promise has since been removed – a fundamental change and one which, fairly obviously, didn’t go down too well with some punters.

In May, the company defended itself saying the guarantee was in place for “well over a year” and that “like any business we have evolved over time”. It added: “Many of our customers, including ‘winning accounts’, still enjoy this concession.” However necessary it may have been, it was a bad PR move, eroding the foundations on which the bookie launched.

Pros & Cons of Black Type

Pros

  • Black Type offers competitive odds
  • Punters can lay a decent-sized bet
  • Accumulator bonuses are paid on winning accumulators

Cons

  • Limited markets
  • Uninspiring sign up offers
  • Lack of content and live streaming

Reasons to Join Black Type

  • Competitive prices – Traditional bookmaking requires some gutsy trading decisions and you are more likely to get them here than many other bookmakers.
  • Ability to place a big bet – A promise to lay bets and not close winning accounts was at the forefront of Black Type’s business plan. While that promise has now been watered down, getting money on is still less of a problem here than elsewhere.
  • Account unlikely to be closed – A vow not to close winning accounts (unless you are an arb hunter) appears to remain in place, although you may no longer be able to win at least £500 from your bet, as had been the case.
  • Acca Cash Bonus – A bonus of between five and 50 per cent is paid on winning accumulators.
  • Casino – Casino products are also offered making this a one-stop shop if you are into such gaming.

Black Type Overall

Black Type does what it sets out to do – offer decent-sized bets at decent prices.

It deliberately doesn’t try to be all singing, all dancing and that will clearly put some people off, while the lack of an Android App and the company’s limited customer service are clear shortfalls which have negatively affected the rating for this review. As long as you sign up with the correct expectations, you should be happy. If you want more from your bookie, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Frankly the industry needs diversity and, in particular, firms which don’t put ridiculous restrictions on accounts and for that Black Type should be applauded.

However, the original guarantee of laying a bet to lose at least £500 is now gone with some punters having reported varying restrictions, particularly those who follow certain tipsters. At launch, following tipsters was not going to be a problem, Black Type said, which does beg the question is the business model not as strong as first thought?

Black Type User Interface

The thing you immediately wonder when opening the desktop site is ‘where are all the markets?’ Some links to sports can be found in a banner just below the header but to drill down into each section you have to head to the right of the page – it’s rare to see the various categories listed in a set of links on this side of the screen but that’s where they are, just below the betslip. It’s fine but takes a bit of getting used to.

It’s a similar tale on the mobile platform with the sport menu in the bottom left hand corner of the screen rather than anywhere towards the top. More problematic is the fact that once in your chosen sport, the different categories, competitions (call them what you will) can only be found by scrolling to the bottom.

That’s something of a design flaw but at least the site display is easy on the eye. A teal, black, grey and white colour scheme may sound rather dreary but it works well, while a bright red in the menus – the same border colour used to make the odds stand out – has the desired effect of making things clear.

The home page focuses on live and upcoming events which is no surprise, while there’s also a quick links section to bigger future events. The use of images/graphics is minimal – one on the desktop site above the fold and none at all on the mobile version. This fits in with the company’s focus on being a punter-friendly bookmaker – it’s all about the odds and a lack of pictures will help with load speed, particularly for anyone with a slow connection.

On racing there is an upcoming favourites section on the right-hand side, a nod to the type of punter the site is looking to serve.

Black Type Betting Markets 

The focus here is on the prices in the markets provided, not providing a wide range of markets.

The firm’s social-media hashtag of choice, #AlwaysValue, says as much and while guarantees about laying certain amounts may be a thing of the past, there’s no doubt that the firm’s odds remain competitive, particularly on racing. There’s not enough room for it here, but statistical evidence of this can be found with a quick search if required.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact that there’s a fairly limited offering. At the time of this review, there were no goalscorer odds available for international football matches involving Scotland and Northern Ireland, despite kick-off being less than 12 hours away. They may have only been friendlies but that’s still an offering most football punters would expect.

As for racing, the website’s name shows this is a core area for the firm but again the range of markets is somewhat disappointing with only UK and Irish meetings covered, a lack of specials and only a small ante-post offering.

Black Type have made no secret of their target audience and they are probably not that worried about missing out on the occasional punter, but some will undoubtedly be put off by the lack of markets.

One issue that really does need addressing though is the lack of prices of an evening for the following day’s racing, that’s something which will annoy key racing customers.

Black Type Bonuses and Offers

Like most bookies, Black Type have a free bet sign-up offer – and also a loyalty scheme – but neither is particularly generous. When new customers place a £10 bet they are given a £5 casino bonus (which has to be played through no fewer than 20 times inside 30 days) and, if their initial bet loses, a £5 sportsbook bet which must be placed on an outcome at evens or bigger and expires after 14 days.

There’s a better ‘bet £20, get £20’ offer for pool fans due to a tie-up with the International Professional Pool Association (IPA) but that’s a fairly limited audience.

As for the firm’s Free Bet Club, it’s for those willing to spend. You need to place 10 bets of at least £10 at evens or bigger in a single week to earn a free bet. And there are more provisos – only one bet per event will count towards qualification, while multiples and cashed-out bets don’t count at all.

The ‘acca cash bonus’ is more attractive with bonuses on acca winnings added according to how many selections were in the multiple. The more selections, the bigger the bonus. Four-folds get a five per cent bonus added; 13-folds get 50 per cent added.

Finally, there’s a best-odds guarantee on UK greyhound races – an offer deliberately not provided on horse racing given the type of customer being sought.

Black Type Content

No live streaming here. Indeed, away from basic in-play market updates, there’s little option but to head off site if you want to follow live sport. There is a blog section, although it hasn’t been updated since March. It was clearly launched with strong intentions – trainer George Baker and footballer-turned-journalist David Preece, who is also the firm’s head of media and communications, both have articles on the site but neither appears to be contributing any more.

When compared with other firms, there is a gaping hole here, although how important that is to its target audience is open to question.

Black Type In-Play

In-play markets are easily found via a button in the header bar. The in-play page also contains a useful list of upcoming events for which live betting will be offered.

It was largely tennis on offer when this review was being carried out and the number of markets was pretty decent, even from the lower-level Challenger and Futures events taking place.

All markets were easily viewed – no unnecessary clicking required here – with the match score shown at the top of the page. However, there was no ‘secondary’ information such as break point stats or service percentages which would potentially help the punter and encourage further betting.

Black Type Stats & Form

As already suggested, offering punters stats is not something Black Type is particularly interested in. Aside from racecard info, which is limited to jockey, trainer, age, weight and last seven runs, the only stats on site appear to be those relating to in-play markets, such as the current score in a particular live match.

In short, you’ll need to head off site for bet research which most serious punters would do anyway.

Black Type Banking and Withdrawal

Fairly basic stuff here with credit and debit cards the methods of depositing. Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard, Visa Electron and Maestro are all accepted. However, money transfer methods such as Neteller are not offered.

It’s also significant that deposits are only accepted from Great Britain and Northern Ireland – the operating firm used by Black Type, FSB Technology, is only licensed in the UK. The minimum deposit is £10 and the maximum £5,000.

Black Type Customer Satisfaction

The primary way to contact the company is via email which seems very outdated in 2018, a time when live chat and Twitter conversations are commonplace.

Email can be used, or simply fill in an online form when logged in to raise your query.

The firm’s Twitter account, @BlackTypeBet, which had around 1,800 followers at time of writing, does not openly encourage support queries, although followers can send direct messages.

There is no equivalent Facebook account.

Black Type Mobile App

iPhone only here – sadly there’s no Android version, although the firm says one is on its way.

Again it’s easy on the eye and fairly user friendly – once you’ve figured out how the menus work. It certainly functioned smoothly when tested.

Other Features 

There have been plenty of mentions of what Black Type don’t do but it’s only fair to point out that they are diverse in other ways. Casino, Live Casino and Virtuals are other products offered and easily available via the home page (which by default is the sportsbook index).

Check back soon! 

Written by Oli Coates

Oli Coates is a huge sports fan, particularly football and especially Manchester United, who follows sports betting closely and has written extensively on the market. An experienced writer, Oli has covered everything from travel to how to care for your pets!

Our Opinions of Black Type

Black Type is a no nonsense sportsbook offering competitive odds for those looking to place big bets. Winning accounts are unlikely to be closed and acca bonuses sweeten the deal. It’s really meant for a particular type of punter.

  1. Black Type offers competitive prices and the ability to place big bets
  2. Limited markets as well as content and features
  3. Customer Support is email only

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