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Betfair (exchange) bookmaker review

Background

Betfair is an exchange, rather than a traditional bookie and it is, therefore, possible to lay bets, as well back them. By cutting out the bookmaker's profit margin they claim to offer odds that are up to 20% higher.

It was launched in 2000 after initially having been called The Sporting Exchange. Rapid growth followed and by 2003 the site was available in eight languages.

By 2010, with their three millionth customer on board, they floated on the London Stock Exchange, which is fitting given the company handles more transactions each day that all European stock exchanges combined (seven million). They employ over 2000 people and are truly a great British company.

Betfair is an exchange, rather than a traditional bookie and it is, therefore, possible to lay bets, as well back them. By cutting out the bookmaker's profit margin they claim to offer odds that are up to 20% higher.

It was launched in 2000 after initially having been called The Sporting Exchange. Rapid growth followed and by 2003 the site was available in eight languages.

By 2010, with their three millionth customer on board, they floated on the London Stock Exchange, which is fitting given the company handles more transactions each day that all European stock exchanges combined (seven million). They employ over 2000 people and are truly a great British company.

Betfair (exchange) Odds and Markets

Betfair's odds and markets are second to none. Even allowing for the commission they charge (5% as standard) their odds are usually considerably higher than those available at all other bookmakers. As an example, at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011 Betfair had the highest odds on 37 horses (winners), whilst the bookies could boast the top price on just three. Moreover, whilst the bookies will run Betfair close (and occasionally beat them) on big-money favourites, on outsiders you will generally find Betfair ahead by a healthy margin.

As well as great odds they also cover pretty much every sport going. On the major events they are as good as anyone and the only very minor downside is that on less popular sports you may find liquidity is limited and you are unable to place the bet you want (or the odds offered are unrealistic). It is worth noting that by "less popular" we generally mean less popular in the UK, so US sports, for example, often have limited money available.

Betfair (exchange) Bonus Offers

Betfair dominate the exchange market and so their name and odds are enough to attract most customers. However, they do usually offer a sign-up bonus of around 25 GBP, although this varies from time to time. It is generally a straightforward offer with no minimum odds but check the site to confirm what is available when you join.

They also frequently offer refunds on multiple (accumulator) bets if one leg lets you down and other similar cashback offers. As well as these promotions they regularly have competitions for large cash prizes for which entrance is gained by placing a bet of a particular value and then some form of prediction, such as time of the first goal, is made.

In addition Betfair increasingly offer incentives to encourage people to venture further than the sports book and try their poker, casino, games or arcade suites.

In-Play and Mobile Betting

Yet another area where Betfair genuinely excel. The in-play console is a real market-leader and there are more events covered than anywhere, with easy access via its own tab from the main page.

Even better, many of those events are available to stream for live viewing. The odds are naturally superb, although you won't find the real stand-out odds you can get at a bookie if the operative gets lazy at a crucial moment!

Betfair has mobile betting well covered too and whilst there is no extra bonus for signing up to it, betting on the move is made pretty painless. It can be accessed by going to the main website on your mobile or by entering your mobile number on the site to obtain an SMS with the link.

Customer Service

Telephone: +44 203 059 8888
Email: info@betfair.com
Address: Icon One, Lytton Way, Stevenage, Herts, SG1 1AG
Other contact methods:

Customer service is very good, although they lose marks for no live chat facility. They have several options in terms of dedicated email addresses and phone numbers depending on what you need. These are detailed here: http://help.betfair.com/contactus.en.html.

Emails were answered promptly in tests and all call centre staff, based in London, appear very knowledgeable. Calls are answered quickly, even at peak times and you rarely have to hold or wait while they check information.

Conclusion

Betfair are not a company any serious punter can be without. They are always moving forward and trying new things in order to improve what is already a remarkable service.

There have been some high profile glitches with the website but on the whole these have been rectified satisfactorily and statistically, in terms of the number of bets they handle, mistakes are incredibly rare.

The website is slick and secure, with a wealth of information neatly presented and the odds, range of markets, customer service, in-play facility and overall feel of the site are all superb.

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