The world’s biggest online betting exchange, Betfair continues to grow in popularity and reputation. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a brand as big as Betfair must have been up and running pretty much since the dawn of time. Incredibly though, they only went into business for the first time in the year 2000. As of today, their success story speaks for itself – over 1 million active users on a global basis, bringing in weekly revenues in excess of £50 million. Which in turn means that whatever it is that Betfair is doing, they’re doing it right. What makes Betfair so popular with players in South Africa and around the world?
We’ve analysed the reasons why this exchange remains the world’s No 1 choice. Our objective and unbiased review examines what’s available at Betfair, where they excel and where they can improve.
Betting Interface and Website Layout
Please note that the discussion below concerns the new version of the Betfair interface, not the old version which is still available to use. At the time of writing, navigating to the .com
The navigation panel on the new interface runs horizontally at the top of the screen. Moving your cursor over ‘Racing’ or ‘Sports’ will display the list of racing locations and sports, respectively. The sports multi section can be reached by moving your cursor over ‘Sports’ and then selecting ‘Multis’.
To the right of these links is a ‘Cash Out’ button, which takes you to a page that lists your active wagers with links to lock in a profit or loss before the event has finished. This feature is particularly useful in futures markets such as the NRL Premiership.
To the right of this are the buttons Bookmaker & Exchange. These enable you to switch between viewing markets in bookmaker mode (i.e. Tote for racing markets) or exchange mode. At the time of writing only exchange mode is available for sports betting.
Exchange Sports Betting Interface
When you select a sport from the top navigation panel a list of upcoming fixtures is provided along with a sub menu to select a specific league. In contrast with a standard bookmaker, which only displays the odds to back each selection, Betfair displays both ‘Back’ and ‘Lay’ odds for each selection.
When you place a back wager you take on the role of a traditional punter. Your wager wins in the selection wins, with your return based on the odds displayed. In contrast, if you place a lay wager you take on the role of the bookmaker.
If you click on a fixture all of the markets for that event are displayed, with the best available back and lay odds shown. If a back or lay box is blank this signifies that there are no unmatched wagers available for that selection. If you have already placed a wager in a market, Betfair will automatically display how much you stand to win if a selection wins (in green) or how much you stand to lose if the selection wins (in red).
Because you can’t see how much money is unmatched at the available odds, it is advisable to click on the ‘View full market’ link for the market you wish to wager on. This will then provide more information on the market depth, showing the best available back and lay odds along with how much money is available to match at those levels. The total amount already matched on the market is also shown.
If you click on the stats icon you can view price/volume history for the market.
Having this unique position in the market was great for Betfair, but that didn’t stop the company from wanting a piece of the house-versus-player sports betting market as well. The Betfair sportsbook engine is robust, showing odds on thousands of sporting events around the world. The company doesn’t just cater to the major professional leagues; you can find odds on almost any professional sport. Have a look at the sports currently featured on the Betfair homepage:
Many sports also feature in-game live betting; this is usually most popular for sports like soccer and tennis, where the matches themselves can be long and with only one result, so betting on individual aspects of each game makes them far more intriguing.
If all these real sports aren’t enough for you, there is a whole series of virtual sports that you can bet on as well at Betfair. If you don’t know what these are, virtual sports are essentially video games that play themselves; think of the demo versions of games you have likely seen, but attach a Random Number Generator to them and let them play to a result. These events take much less time to complete (a soccer match can be done in less than 10 minutes), so you can make wagers on them far more often.
Betfair Live Streaming and Live Betting
In-play betting represents a very big and important part of the experience at Betfair, with pretty much every major football, horse racing and cricket event covered. The facility is great to use and anyone placing a bet of at least £2 will have the opportunity to tune into the live streaming service. As for the live streaming itself, it’s nothing short of excellent when it works, though has a reputation for being slightly unreliable. The experience to expect therefore varies in accordance with your chosen device, browser, connection and so on, though for the most part gets the job done just fine.
Betfair are new to the world of eSports having experimented with the growing market on their exchange, with the likes of CS:GO, LoL and Dota 2 among the most popular eSports bets.
Their actions within eSports go back to 2010 when they sponsored the German ESL Pro Series. However, in the UK they have failed to actively market this market, having started to offer eSports bets since October 2015, including the ever-popular in-play betting for LoL and Dota.
As a result of being new to the eSports market, the range of betting options on their sportsbook is fairly limited in comparison to some of the best eSports betting sites, with bets only available on the major events from around the world. Only traditional match betting is generally available, where customers can back the winning team or place a handicap bet. More advanced eSports bets are rarely offered at Betfair, however their easy-to-navigate desktop site make it easy for customers to quickly locate all eSports markets.
Esports odds comparison shows that Betfair’s odds are competitive, if a little disappointing, however price boost specials are often offered for major events. As well as this, Betfair do not offer any live streaming of eSports action, but this could well change should the industry continue to grow at such a rate.
With major events such as the Las Vegas DreamHack, Dota 2 Asia Championships and League of Legends Spring Split available, the chance to quickly add to your balance with a free bet with Betfair is certain to appeal to many.
Betfair Cash Out is now available for selected Betfair Exchange markets and allows you to take a profit or to limit your loss and liability before a particular betting event has been completed. How does Betfair Cash Out work? Well, rather than having to calculate a potential in-play trade yourself, Betfair does the maths for you and offers you a value for you bet based on current market odds.
Here’s an example of what a potential Betfair Cash Out looks like. Here, you have the chance to Cash Out of a World Cup Winner bet on Italy. You could to take the $1.73 profit you’ve acquired from changes in market odds since you placed your $10 bet, or alternatively, you can let your bet stand, either to the conclusion of the World Cup or to a later stage of the tournament when Italy’s odds of winning could be shorter and your Take even greater. It’s up to you and this is the beauty of Betfair’s Cash Out feature.
It may not offer as many games as some of the other big casino games out there, but the games it does offer are popular and varied, with something to suit all. It offers over 200 games to play in the virtual casino alongside the live casino. It is powered by Playtech and this offers you the chance to play their biggest and best games. The casino offers a pretty decent 116 video slot games, ranging from the ever-popular Playtech classic Wacky Waters to the best and most exciting jackpot games like Adventures in Wonderland Deluxe. It has 33 jackpot games in total.
If you’re up for table games, then there are lots to choose from. It offers 19 exciting roulette tables, 10 blackjack games, 2 baccarat games, pontoon, Casino Hold’em, 3 card brag, Caribbean Stud Poker, Hi-Lo Premium, Craps, Sic Bo as well as 8 video poker games. One of Betfair’s most popular products is its live casino. Again, this is powered by Playtech and offers games such as Live Baccarat, Live Blackjack, Live Roulette, Live Poker, Live 3 Card Brag, Live Hi-Lo. It has a total of almost 50 live tables to choose from so there’s something you’ll want to play from this exciting and fast-moving live casino market.
Bonus Offers at Betfair
As with any other sports betting websites, Betfair treats its customers with a wide range of bonuses and other rewards, which is why Betfair referral code is such a valuable asset.
Betfair bonus package starts with a 100% Casino bonus that can net up to £100 for new players (T&Cs apply), while the first bet made on the Exchange is secured against loss, with players getting back a £20 refund in case their wager doesn’t come through (T&Cs apply). Betfair free bet is a great way for new players to get acquainted with the site without risk, and is one of the most popular features that greatly impact player experience.
Wagering restrictions apply to all bonuses, so it’s mandatory to read the rules and regulations carefully in order to understand how you can arrive to the point where the funds can be withdrawn.
Basically, Betfair bonus offers are designed to enhance the fun factor and give players some room for experimentation, while the financial value they provide is a nice boost to the player’s budget. This player-friendly policy has long been associated with Betfair, and is one of the main reasons for the continued success of this betting site.
With the popularity of mobile casinos growing rapidly, and with a number of different markets it competes in, it is vital that it provides a good mobile app to keep up with the rest. It may not be one of the oldest on the scene but it has caught up and kept up nicely. The Betfair app is downloadable on Android and iPhone, so caters for most of the mobile market out there today. With the mobile casino, it does not offer exactly the same bonuses that desktop players receive, but it still offers lots of treats for its players as a reward for going mobile.
It isn’t the most visually attractive of the apps out there, but it offers a lot so it can be forgiven for this weakness. It is slick and responsive and completely reliable. It boasts great interactivity, which means you don’t keep having to flick from one screen to another as most of what you need is available on the one screen. There are about 100 games available to play on the mobile and the majority of games are slots, these include Top Gun, Gladiator, Age of Gods franchise, White King and John Wayne to name a few. However, you can also play on roulette, blackjack and other table games. You are also offered around 20 jackpot games, including the mighty Jackpot Giant. The Betfair mobile app is a very enjoyable substitute to the desktop site and is continually adding to its offering to add to your enjoyment.
HOW TO SIGN UP
- Visit the Betfair website where you will see a “Join Now” button in the top right corner
- Sometimes a new landing page will appear, so you may have to click the button a second time
- Fill in your personal details, your security and select your account currency
- The registration page will ask you for any Betfair promo code
- Agree to the terms to and conditions
- When registration is complete you will be directed to a screen where it asks for your preferred deposit method. You can do that right there or later through account management.
- Make your initial deposit.
Placing a Bet
With a very user friendly interface, placing a bet with Betfair is really rather easy. To show you just how simple it is, we’ve put together a quick step by step guide to placing a bet with Betfair.
Log into your Betfair account. If you have not yet registered your details and created a Betfair account, follow our quick guide to creating an account with Betfair here.
Select between Racing or Sports from the tabs located on the main menu header. Then select the sport you want to bet on from the drop down menu displayed.
When you’ve found the sport that you would like to place a bet on, select the league, tournament or competition that you wish to bet on from the options provided.
Once you have located the market you want to place a bet on, find the event from the options listed.
Betfair exchange gives you the option of either backing an outcome or betting against (laying) an outcome. You will see odds offered for a particular outcome and the amount of money that you can stake to bet on this particular outcome.
You can fund your account using the following options:
- Visa Electron
- Western Union
- Bank Transfer Express
Fees will vary, but it looks like you’ll pay 1.5% to 2% for e-wallets. Many of the larger, more well-known sites cover fees on incoming payments. I’m not sure why Betfair doesn’t.
Keep in mind this will depend on the option you use, as well as what currency you’re banking in.
You can cash out using:
- Visa Electron
- Bank Transfer Express
Payout time frames will be between instant and as much as 5-16 days (for bank wires and paper checks).
Betfair Pros & Cons
Customer support is another key consideration when it comes to a great betting exchange. In the modern world of online gambling bettors want immediate help to their problems and questions.
Due to their age and size you’d expect Betfair to excel in this department. The company has had a long time to work out how to best solve their customers’ needs.
Having said all that, it doesn’t take much digging online to see that not all customers are pleased with Betfair’s customer support. I understand you can always find bad reviews if you look hard enough, but I came across more than expected.
Despite these bad reviews, this is not what I’ve experienced when contacting Betfair with issues etc. Furthermore, from listening to the community and our members, most are generally complimentary of the Betfair support network.
You can use the following methods to get in contact with Betfair:
- On-site messaging service
- Telephone support
- Support via social media
Overall, I’ve had no issues with getting in touch with the required support over the years. I personally can’t fault the Betfair betting exchange in this regard.