As the name suggests, McBookie is Scottish and proud. Bar bagpipes sounding as you hit the homepage, this company shouts from the rooftops that it is trying to bring “the best possible service to the Scottish gambling marketplace.”
The website design in a dark blue and white style with a thistle logo leaves visitors in no doubt they have virtually travelled north of the border. The imagery on the site shows Celtic and other domestic footballers. It couldn’t be more Scottish if it was wearing a kilt and reciting Rabbie Burns.
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Priority is given to residents of Scotland. The Introductory welcome offer is only available to people who live within the country where the customer’s first bet is matched up to £25.
New Casino customers can qualify for a bonus of up to £175, while existing Casino customers can collect up to £3000 in real money each week and qualify depending on a number of factors, including cash deposits made, number of plays, frequency of play and whether the punter had won or lost with losers earning more.
The Tartan Club is again open only to Scottish residents and allows customers the chance to earn a £5 free bet each week when staking £30 or more at odds of EVS or greater.
A Coupon Buster from McBookie is basically a free bet of one element of an Accumulator lets a bet down and, as previously mentioned, the Best Odds Guarantee on Horse Racing Markets means punters get the better price if their ante-post bet is worse value than the Starting Price.
There is nothing wrong with the initial look and feel of the website, but that doesn’t mean it’s remarkable. The homepage themes are continued deeper into the site and, as already mentioned, the blues and thistles leave one in no doubt that you’re in Scotland.
There are no particular negatives with the homepage design, but neither does it blow one’s socks off. As a new customer the website’s introductory offer features prominently, both as the top of the page static advert and at the top of the left-hand vertical menu.
The homepage is topped by the Sports, Casino and Offers options and beneath that the In-Play, Horses, Dogs, Golf and Blog areas of the site are given prominence. At the time of the review the World Cup was in this menu area too, but is usually a generic Football heading.
Down the left menu the Top Links (Today’s Matches, Tomorrow’s Matches, Scottish Football, England Football, Both Teams To Score and Result and BTTS) are displayed just above the Top Sports (Football, Horse Racing and Greyhounds.) Then next the full list of available sports is displayed.
On the right-hand side another vertical bar displays the current top bets above a small graphic advert for Casino options.
The central area of the homepage is topped by the prominent In-Play markets with the ability to ‘Show More’ to find the full list of in-play matches in each sport. Beneath the In-Play area, Horse Racing has its own block showing the daily meetings and race times with the option of clicking through to each meeting or race.
All of the major markets are one-click from the main landing page and therefore the customer is close to parting with their money from the outset. It is functional and easy to navigate, but it provides nothing innovative or different to any of its competitors and is less visually striking than many.
Customers can deposit by card transaction and withdrawals are available by the same mechanisms and usually received in 2-5 days. A full transaction history can be located in the customer’s account.
A comprehensive customer service mechanism can be found on the website offering the customer the option of contacting the company by email, telephone or via a live chat service. This is available on every day of the year
The Scottish bias on the website has led to a large amount of dissatisfaction. A trawl of the various feedback sites shows only negativity, with previous customers less the complimentary on how their accounts have been dealt with. The majority of complaints stem from the introductory offer being available only to Scotland residents – a ruling that many have felt hasn’t been made obvious at sign-up stage. To be fair to McBookie they have responded and that offer now clearly contains the words ‘Scottish Residents Only’. So the cause of dissatisfaction may have been tackled, but the fact that the comments remain on comparison sites all over the internet leave a stain on the image of the McBookie brand.
Starting out in 2009 this privately owned business with headquarters in Dundee has a website operated by BetVictor and is licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission.
McBookie offers the usual wide range of sports betting markets and all are easily accessible from the homepage. There are around 25 to 30 sports available from the major activities like football and horse racing through to politics and entertainment.
The full list of markets available were Football, Horse Racing, Greyhounds, American Football, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing. Cricket, Cycling, Darts, Entertainment, Formula 1, Gaelic Football, Golf, Handball, Hockey, Hurling, Ice Hockey, MMA/UFC, Motor Racing, Motorcycling, Poker, Politics, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Snooker, Speedway, Tennis and Volleyball.
There are plenty of markets accessible each day from around the world, but Scottish football takes priority in season, although football markets are available on professional leagues around the globe
On the football page the Enhanced Markets are heavily featured and the more traditional approach of major matches and/or next matches is ignored. Instead McBookie opt to provide links to Major Markets and particular competitions or leagues. The number of individual markets available within each match is dictated by the stature of the game.
Horse Racing is also covered comprehensively with meetings from across the UK and Ireland carrying most prominence, but also joined by US, French and other meetings from around the world. The next three races are listed when entering the racing page and the site provides quick links to all the day’s racings and the chance to plan ahead with the schedule for tomorrow’s meetings and major future events also accessible.
Across the board the markets are competitively priced with McBookie operating on low profit margins and providing the punter with genuine value. On Horse Racing this is taken a step further with a Best Odds Guaranteed feature meaning if the Starting Price is bigger than the price a punter has taken earlier they higher price is honoured.
McBookie provide a Cash Out facility on most markets, which amazingly some bookies are yet to introduce. McBookie provide this on Football, Horse Racing, Tennis and Basketball markets and are identified by an icon against the market.
McBookie offer no live streaming or audio options which leaves them lagging behind their competition.
The only area of the website with added value in terms of journalistic content is found under the homepage Blog tab where written pundit pieces can be found on upcoming sports events. The preview pieces contain tips and are mostly available on Football and Horse Racing markets.
With many of the market leaders now further expanding their blogs and news sites, this is definitely an area that can be improved. McBookie’s Scots-first policy suggests teaming up with a football from the past or a local trainer could help boost their following but as of yet this is not an avenue they appear to have explored.
McBookie’s in-play activity is comprehensive. A full range of markets are available on current sports markets with major match prices visible on a catch-all main screen and detailed match markets available within each game screen.
On the bigger football matches the number of markets available may disappoint in-play backers, but the core markets are there and the graphics and live statistics are also basic.
Other bookies do this better, but McBookie customers cannot complain that what is available is not delivered efficiently.
In-play betting is available on all major sports such as Football, Cricket and Basketball. Forthcoming events that will be available in-play are listed on the site.
With plenty of horse racing venues found in Scotland it is no surprise that football and racing are the featured sports on the website and that increased focus is concentrated in these areas.
McBookie has grown the in-play markets and blog content in recent years, but generally there is the feel that they are happy to be a small Scottish salmon in a very large betting pond.
McBookie offers all expected ante-post and in-play markets on worldwide sport, but seasoned with Scotland throughout. The overly prominent Scottish slant to the offerings serves a purpose north of the Border, but has the potential to rile those from further afield and can immediately limit their allure.
They have grown a range of enhancements and bonuses, which match their competitors and heightens the value of the betting experience offered.
The website is one where a customer would say it’s okay rather than incredible. McBookie do the basics well, but there are few bells and whistles, or indeed reel pipes, to convert a basic betting experience into an extraordinary one. In addition, the mobile app is some way behind hitting the basic level.
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