Signing Up/User Interface
The home page introduces you to the distinctive but basic design you will experience throughout the site.
There is plenty happening, both on the homepage and throughout the website but finding your markets is an easy process, as is placing single or multiple bets thanks to a clearly displayed betslip on the right-hand side.
A reminder of online betting sites of old, events are displayed in a straightforward grid layout, though they match the trends of contemporary competitors by promoting in-play betting heavily within the homepage.
The top navigation bar provides links to the various different betting areas, for example casino and bingo games. The sidebar on the left, meanwhile, directs users to different sports – with the best known betting choices found under the ‘Popular’ tab. One slightly unusual feature of the sidebar, however, is the ordering of the subcategories. For example, in the football section ‘Club Internationals’ and ‘Algeria’ are among the top pages listed, rather than the Premier League or other major top flights which feels like a development issue.
There are also ever-present links to different languages and the ‘Chat’ help feature in case you get stuck, while we’re also pleased to see a ‘Results & Statistics’ menu, allowing quick access to historical information wherever you are on the site at any given time (more on this later).
On the individual sport pages, selections are easy enough to add to the bet slip, though the ‘1 x 2’ format for picking match winners isn’t the easiest to read. Additional markets are presented through an expansion of each match once it’s selected, rather than redirecting customers to a new page, and again this is something that takes a bit of getting used to.
Range of Markets
For football punters, the range of markets on offer is comprehensive and varied. Of course the usual suspects such as match result, handicaps and goalscorers are all on offer, but there’s also a selection of more specialised betting opportunities. Corner handicaps and whether a goal or substitution will occur first are just two examples of these.
All British and Irish horse racing is priced up the same as just about every online firm operating in Britain, and most of these markets are available a minimum of the night before the race takes place.
There are also a small number of additional markets – such as match bets – available on racing, however the ante-post selection is incredibly restricted. In fact, at time of writing in December, only the King George VI Chase was on-site in terms of future races, with not even the Cheltenham Gold Cup or the Grand National on offer, let alone any major Flat races.
Away from football and racing, the range of other sports covered is sufficient, but nothing special. Greyhound racing is included but takes more of a back seat, while greater emphasis is placed on more contemporary forms of betting, including e-Sports, politics and reality television. There are also some slightly more left-field options available, including wagering on biathlon and even chess.
Bonuses and Promotions
The new customers offer of ‘Bet £20, Get £20’ is fairly standard, and comes with all the usual terms and conditions surrounding free bets and minimum odds, but this is more or less where the major promotions from Marathonbet end.
Buried in the betting rules of the website it’s mentioned that ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ may be offered ‘on occasions’ (but elsewhere on the site it’s nowhere to be seen), while additionally the company promise to pay out on both ‘winners’ in the case of the first past the post being disqualified in a horse race. Double the odds for a single winner in certain racing multiples is also provided.
The fact that Marathonbet are relatively quiet about their bonuses is testament to their dedication to placing more emphasis on basic sport betting and less on crowd-pleasing gimmicks. However, there is no doubt that while this may please traditionalists, recreational punters will find more perks elsewhere.
As with most online firms, in-play betting is given prominence throughout the website, including on the homepage, where arriving users are greeted with a wide variety of live opportunities.
Under the ‘Live’ tab it is encouraging to see not all the attention being paid only to football. Of course, punters looking for these markets will not be left wanting but there are also lists of fixtures from the world of basketball, ice hockey and even volleyball (depending, of course, on what is happening at any given time).
Live scores are highlighted and though they could be a little clearer, helpful animations to the right of the screen give a more visual representation of what is going on in a certain fixture. This goes at least some way to making up for the lack of streaming functionality on the site.
Streaming and Content
Streaming is absent, which you may expect from a smaller operator but there were also no available radio commentary services, which would help to engage with customers and bring alive the events they are betting on.
Statistics and Information
This is one area where Marathonbet does seem to try and set itself apart from the competition, especially when compared to other smaller websites, by offering a Results & Statistics service. A drop down menu at the top of the screen is designed to give users the opportunity to jump immediately to a wealth of knowledge. The results were comprehensive, allowing punters to check quickly if they’ve backed a winner or loser and to search previous results for football and others sports. However, the statistics option was not working and delivered a blank page when accessed for this review.
In addition to the usual credit and debit card options for paying in and out of accounts, there is also the ability to use more contemporary payment websites in addition to traditional methods such as bank transfers.
All transaction times are fairly standard and there are no fees. The only slight caveat worth mentioning is that the minimum withdrawal amount using bank transfer is a significant £200.
Customer Satisfaction and Support
One area which is frequently praised by customers of Marathonbet are the favourable odds offered on football and horse racing when compared to competitors. On the other hand, there have also been complaints from users regarding restrictions on accounts, though this is increasingly being seen as an issue across the industry, especially when it comes to larger firms.
If an issue does arise, customer service is available primarily through a chat service, but the option to email or ring if preferred is also provided. This is handy for those who get frustrated at having to use live chats with firms who exclusively deal with their users through this method.
Though the interface doesn’t look like it’s been updated all that much in the website’s 20 year history, the lack of gambits on the Marathonbet website will be appealing to those who would rather focus on sport betting rather than get caught up in an array of special features.
That said, this still isn’t necessarily a website for professional punters, with a lack of depth of markets in some areas as well as the reputation for account restrictions in certain cases. The competitive odds are something to be applauded, however.
Perhaps Marathonbet risks getting caught behind in the increasingly saturated world of online betting in the long term, but with an ultimately effective service still being offered, it manages to keep itself relevant and appealing enough for now.