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Betfair was launched in 1999 and has grown to become the world's biggest betting exchange with over 7,000,000 transactions a day, and nearly 1,000,000 active customers. Betting exchanges allow gamblers to offer their own odds that a sporting event will go a particular way, and others on the exchange can accept those odds, placing a bet that the opposite will occur. An estimated 90% of the world's betting exchange activity is carried out through Betfair's facilities, and in recent years, they have added a sportsbook, casino, poker, bingo and mobile betting sites to their offerings. The unique Exchange feature lets players bet against other punters on the outcome of casino games, without actually needing to play the game itself. This all makes Betfair unlike any other place, where players from around the world will find every betting opportunity they could wish for.
The site is easy to navigate, with each area accessed by clicking on links at the top of the page. All of the information required to get started is there, with a comprehensive FAQ section, and links to the Customer Support desk if needed.
This works by letting two people bet against each other on the outcome of a sporting event, with Betfair taking a 5% cut of any wins. Customers pick an event and place a stake at odds they choose themselves. For an example, if Player 1 thinks Liverpool will beat Everton, they can place a bet at 2:1 on the Exchange. Player 2 sees this bet on the Exchange and, believing that Everton will win, they place a 'Lay' bet. Betfair hold the funds for each bet until a result, and pay out the winner. As Betfair are not trying to make money on the actual odds, players will often see better rates on the Exchange than they could anywhere else, and there are no upper betting limits, making this a good choice for high rollers. Player 1 would need to give the best odds possible, as many other customers could be betting on the same game, and anyone in Player 2's position will select the bet that will give them the most value. It's estimated that odds can be 20% better here, but the 5% commission that Betfair take on wins must be considered as well.
Another point worth noting is that the Exchange works on decimal odds, which are more common around the world, so punters should have an understanding of how these work. Although, fractional odds can be shown when a cursor is scrolled over the decimal ones.
With Exchange Games, players view a selection of casino games, and bet against other users on the predicted outcome. An example is Exchange Blackjack where four virtual players are competing to win a game. Betting on Exchange Blackjack is like being at a casino and watching these customers, deciding which one is likely to win and offering odds to another viewer. Bets can be placed on any virtual player or the dealer to win a round, running over a maximum of seven rounds, with betting opportunities after each one. Betfair again hold the betting funds and pay out to the winner after the game has been decided.
Apart from Blackjack, other Exchange Games include Baccarat, Texas Holdem, Omaha Hi/Lo, Card Derby Racing and Bullseye Roulette, which is a four round Roulette game where numbers are eliminated at each stage to leave just one at the end. Betfair usually has a free bonus for new customers to let them place bets and get used to how it works without using their own money.
The Sportsbook gives customers the chance to bet on all major events, from football, golf and tennis, to cricket and horse racing, plus some less mainstream sports like volleyball, mixed martial arts and gaelic games. Betfair guarantees the best odds on all UK horse racing, so if the starting price is better than the price taken, the SP will be paid out. Football matches from Europe, many US sports and some politics are covered - while it's not a huge range, most popular events can be bet on.
There are In Play betting options for all of the main sports of the day, and a particular feature here is the cash out facility, which lets players take their winnings or stop their losses at any point during a game or race. For example, if a bet has been placed on two football matches, and the first has been won before the second starts, players can cash the bet out at the odds taken on the double, without needing to wait for the second game, guaranteeing a profit. Deciding what bets to place and where can be made easier by visiting the Betting site where live commentary and useful tips are found.
Promotions at the Betfair Sports site are fairly limited, but free bets for new players are usually offered, and returning customers should be able to find a few cashback or double odds deals.
Using Playtech software, Betfair Casino has around 150 games in a downloadable version, and 30 or so instant play games that can be played without needing to download the software. Playtech are widely regarded as the highest quality software provider available, with some big progressive jackpots and an unmatched selection of movie-themed slots. There are several roulette, blackjack and video poker titles, plus a live casino that offers four games with real dealers. Well thought out optimisations for Android, iPhone and iPad earn this category a place on our list of mobile compatible casino bonuses.
Online casinos tend to offer customers a wide range of generous bonuses, and Betfair Casino is no exception, with new players able to claim a welcome bonus and returning ones rewarded with loyalty points each time they play, plus prize draws, cashback promotions and competitions.
Many more casino games are available at the Arcade and Vegas Slots sections, where slots, instant win and classic favourites can be found, along wit`h further promotions and bonus offers. While we welcome the inclusion of so many games, there seems little advantage to having them spread across three distinct sections.
Betfair Poker is part of the Ongame network, which has thousands of players online at peak times. The software gives customers access to realistic tables with featured games including:
There are many sit-n-go and scheduled tournaments at different buy ins, and cash games can be found in the Poker Lobby at all price ranges.
New player welcome bonuses tend to be generous and, like many poker bonuses, the funds are released into the players account in stages - each time they generate a set level of rake or buy into a tournament. New players should also get entry to weekly freerolls with real cash prizes, while regular players build up Poker Points which can be exchanged for cash.
Opened in 2013, Betfair Bingo uses the common Virtue Fusion software platform which makes it part of the biggest bingo network around. Being part of a big network is a clear benefit to bingo players, as more frequent games can be found with more players, livelier chat games and ultimately more fun. 75 ball and 90 ball games are featured, as well as games exclusive to this network like Deal or No Deal bingo, Britain's Got Talent and the bingo games, plus a host of slots games on the side.
Although new player bonuses can be competitive and there are plenty of ongoing promotions like free bingo, jackpot games and bonuses on certain slots, there are no redeposit bonuses for regular players, nor is there a loyalty points scheme.
Most of the commonly used credit and debit cards can be used to fund a Betfair player account, as well as several money transfer systems, but not prepaid vouchers as withdrawals can usually only be sent back to the same system used to make the deposits. Payments in 10 currencies from 43 countries are welcome, but US players cannot access the site. Withdrawn funds take 3-5 days to appear back in a player's account, which is quicker than many other places.
Betfair is one of those sites that anyone who bets online should try out. The fact that they dominate the betting exchange market and feature unique exchange games, along with the cash out function, means that players will simply not be able to find the same range of opportunities anywhere else. The sports book covers virtually all of the events that customers will be looking for, while the casino and its related sites give players access to a huge range of games. The poker site has a quality look to it and an excellent selection of games at prices to suit all budgets, with decent promotions to go with it. While the bingo site has some good games and promotions, the lack of a redeposit bonus scheme does let it down a little.
|Solid range of gambling products.|
|Good mobile compatibility including iPhone, iPad and Android.|
|High commission charges.|
|Tricky learning how the exchange works.|
|License Number: 39561|
|Registration Number: 91|
Appointed in August 2012, Breon Corcoran is the current chief executive officer at Betfair, a company employing 1,800 people worldwide.