Bet365 is considered by many to be the best place in the world to bet soccer. When a book earns this reputation by standing out from a marketplace full of excellent books in a soccer mad country this is significant praise. Bet365 is licensed by the Gambling Commission (UK) and the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. They’re a rock solid corporation with over 3,000 employees—in fact, they’re the single largest employer in Stoke-on-Trent, England. As is typical for UK regulated gambling businesses they do not accept US clients though Canadian citizens are welcome. Citizens of other countries should check the Bet365 website for more information.
The banking options at Bet365 are typical of UK based sportsbooks. They offer a wide variety of payment options but the specific methods available vary from country to country. Within the UK and other European countries they offer what are essentially ‘standard’ payment options including Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard, EcoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, PayPal, PlaySafe and EntroPay. Bank wire, cashier’s checks and ACH Transfer is also available in most countries. Generally, both deposits and withdrawals are processed via the same method though the specifics can vary. Furthermore, some options are available for deposits and withdrawals in some countries but are only available for deposits in other countries due to banking regulations in specific markets. One advantage of UK regulated sportsbooks is that they’re not in a position to ‘slow pay’ customers—the direct and ancillary financial risks are just too high. For that reason, you can expect payments to be processed promptly and withdrawals to be received within 24-48 hours depending on the specific method used.
The bonus structure at UK regulated books is also different than what a player at a North American facing book would expect. Like a number of books, Bet365 offers a sign up bonus matching 100% up to a certain amount and subject to certain conditions. The specifics change often so it’s a good idea to check the Bet365 website. Throughout the European market promotions are significantly more commonplace than bonuses. They’re a better promotional tool in a vigorous competitive climate. Bet365 offers their fair share of these promotions but they’re constantly changing due to the sports that are in season and in reaction to competitors.
Another characteristic of the UK regulated betting marketplace is a fair degree of uniformity from one book to another in how betting information displayed and wagers processed. To a player used to sports betting in Las Vegas or at a North American facing book their first experience with Bet365—or any other UK market bookmaker—could be very confusing. The website and bet interface might look cluttered but there’s a good reason for this—UK bookmakers offer a staggering variety of betting options both in terms of the number of sports they cover and the variety of bet types within each sport. There’s a lot of information to display and it can seem overwhelming at first if you’re not used to it. For the same reason, many European based players find the wagering at Las Vegas sports books ‘too simplistic’.
Due to the wide variety of bets, the UK’s familiarity with betting and the strong regulatory oversight there’s a lot of similarity from one book to another. This is one of the things that make the UK betting market among the best in the world—sports bets are treated more like ‘financial transactions’ than a gambling activity like slot machines or the state lottery. You’ll see fewer ‘gimmicks’ at a UK based book and more intuitive, simple and easy to use processes. And since regulatory oversight extends to software and technology providers—all of whom must meet with Gambling Commission approval—you’ll find it easy to wager at any sportsbook without encountering a ‘learning curve’.
Sportsbook reviews of online betting businesses in many parts of the world focus on very practical matters like their honesty, reputation, and prompt payment record. That makes sense—there’s a lot of ‘due diligence’ necessary for players in much of the world just to make sure that they don’t get cheated or ‘stiffed’. For a review of a UK regulated book like Bet365 none of this is a concern—honesty and integrity is a baseline expectation. Concepts like ‘how long it takes to get paid’ that are concerns in other markets are a non-issue here. The regulations mandate prompt and accurate payments. When a dispute arises you’re not having to ‘hope for the best’–there’s a formal process by which players can appeal to the Gambling Commission. Most UK sports betting operations are huge corporations with many publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. Their financial stakes are way too high to even think about intentionally ‘stiffing’ a player.
In fact, reviewing a UK regulated sports book is more like reviewing a bank in a highly industrialized nation like the US or Canada. There’s a level of quality that can be assumed at a UK regulated book. You’ll be dealt with fairly. You’ll be paid promptly. At most books, you’ll get great client care. And what might be the best thing—if you don’t get great client care you’ve got plenty of other competitors happy to take your business. If a dispute does arise, you can get it mediated objectively and professionally. Full disclosure—as a US citizen I get jealous writing about the UK sportsbook market. It might not be perfect (I’d rather see less regulation and more left to marketplace dynamics) but overall it’s the type of sports betting experience that people all over the world deserve. The overall high quality of UK sportsbooks also means that it’s hard to give a ‘one size fits all’ review. When you don’t have to worry about getting cheated or stiffed a player is able to focus on finding a shop that best fits his personal preferences.
Even so, Bet365 is an essential ‘out’ for their soccer offerings alone. They may have built their reputation on ‘football’ but the reality is that they offer that same degree of excellence in all of their wagering options. I can’t count how many sports betting operations internationally I’ve bet at, reviewed, researched or consulted with. If you asked me to list the ‘pound for pound’ best bookmakers in the world Bet365 would be right at the top of my list. This might be the best recommendation I can provide—if I moved to London tomorrow the first sportsbook I’d post up at would be Bet365.