Every bookmaker is different in some way, which is why it is important to test and compare bookmakers so you can find one that fits you. However, there are many bookmakers out there, so it’s difficult to open accounts and make deposits on each one. First, that would cost a fortune. Second, there isn’t enough time to go through this process and evaluate every single element of the bookmaker. Fortunately, we take care of the bookmaker comparisons for you so that you don’t have to spend valuable playing time figuring out which one meets your personal specifications.
How We test Bookmakers
When we test bookmakers, we look at a wide range of elements. They include:
- Variety of betting markets
- Betting odds
- Live betting vs. no live betting
- Quality of the website
- Mobile accessibility
- Payment methods
- Level and accessibility of customer support
- Bonuses and promotions
- Responsible Gaming
Below, we give a more thorough explanation of how we carry out each of these testing elements.
Variety of Betting Markets
We look at the variety of sports offered by each sportsbook. There are some sportsbooks that may be for a specific sport. For instance, there are some bookmakers that focus on only horse racing and others that focus on only football. Many, however, offer many betting markets so that sports betting enthusiasts can get their betting fix.
Common betting markets include horse racing, football, tennis, cricket, greyhounds, snooker, golf, darts, rugby, American football, baseball, basketball, boxing, futsal, MMA, motorsport, ice hockey, handball, golf, and volleyball.
We look at the total of sports you can bet on and the number of products offered, such as in-play betting, so we can determine how much strength a bookmaker has when it comes to variety.
We look at the details of every sport that is offered by the bookmaker. We are looking for high odds because higher odds are better for the bettors. It is possible for favourable odds to be almost impossible for a bettor, which puts the ball in the court of the bookmaker. We are looking for fair odds so that you know there is a chance that you could win.
We look at the payout that is offered in each sport and then we compare the pre-match and overall payouts.
Live betting has become more popular over the years because bettors can watch the event live and, in some cases, can place live in-play bets. This takes the experience to a whole new level, so we evaluate the bookmakers that offer this exciting option. Not every sport has this option, so it’s important to see which bookmakers allow live betting and in-play bets and which ones don’t.
We also see if it’s possible to stream multiple live events at the same time so you can place bets simultaneously on these events.
When you find the live betting link on the bookmaker’s website, you can click the link to see which sports allow live betting. That’s if live betting is important to you. Some players prefer betting the old-fashioned way.
Quality of the Website
When we arrive on a bookmaker’s website, we look at the overall design. If the site is a mess, it is going to be difficult to follow. When a site is orderly and clean, it’s easier to see where the features are, find links to mobile app downloads, access the list of sporting events, access the account screen, and navigate the account. We see if the registration process is simple and how easy it is to cash out.
We also see if the website has live streaming capability. If it does, we evaluate how easy it is to access and how well it functions. Just because a bookmaker offers a live streaming option doesn’t mean that it is going to work properly. If there are streaming issues, then the feature isn’t going to be a very enjoyable one.
Furthermore, it’s important that we evaluate the limit of events that you can watch simultaneously on a live stream and if you can place bets during those streams
Because of the number of punters using their mobile devices to place bets, having a mobile website or mobile app has become increasingly important. If there is no mobile app, we expect for there to be a mobile website that is intuitive and functional. If the website freezes on a mobile device, it isn’t very responsive. If the website isn’t intuitive and difficult to navigate on a mobile device, it’s not going to be a very pleasant experience.
When a bookmaker offers an app, we look at which operating systems are supported. The two most commonly supported operating systems are Apple’s iOS and Android. If an app is available in its respective app store, we check out the ratings. Even if an app has poor reviews, we don’t rely solely on these opinions in our evaluation of the app. The reason is that it’s possible for some of the issues people experience to be due to outdated operating systems, devices that don’t have enough RAM or inadequate devices. We like to take a look at ourselves.
Our evaluation of the app includes checking for a smartphone and tablet version, accessibility in app stores, and ease of download. Sometimes, an app may not be available in an app store. This is frequently the case for Android devices. Google Play has rules about betting apps, so many bookmakers will place download links on their websites to the Android file so it can be directly downloaded to the phone. We have found that it’s best to go to the security menu in your Android device’s settings so you can check “Unknown Sources.” This will allow an app that isn’t found in the app store to be downloaded to the device without causing any security issues.
If you have an apple device, then there is no problem downloading from the app store. You don’t have to change any of your settings. Of course, we like to see an Android app on Google Play, but we also understand that isn’t always feasible. Just because an app isn’t in the app store doesn’t mean that it is inferior or untrustworthy.
Assessing payment methods is extremely important because, without payment and withdrawal methods that are simple, the experience can be seriously altered. How many payment methods a bookmaker accepts or doesn’t accept isn’t a reflection of its quality, though. Some of the best bookmakers only accept credit cards, while some of the worst accept dozens of methods and vice versa.
However, we look at the number of methods that are accepted, the amount of time it takes for your deposit to appear in your account if there are any fees for making a deposit, and how easily you can withdraw cash to the deposit method you’ve chosen.
Some of the most common payment methods are credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and Diner’s Club; Visa debit cards; eWallets like Entropay, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, and dozens of others. We evaluate if any of these deposit methods forfeit any promotional offers that you may be eligible for. This is why it’s important to carefully read the terms and conditions of the bookmaker and for each promotion, you may be interested in. It’s common for payments made using Skrill (formerly Moneybookers), Neteller, and Skrill 1-Tap to render a person ineligible for promotional offers. If this is the case, you will want to choose another payment method if it’s important for you to take the promotion.
Once it’s determined what payment methods are accepted and the details surrounding those methods, we look at withdrawals, the methods you can use, how long the withdrawal takes, and if there is a fee. Just because a bookmaker accepts a long list of deposit methods doesn’t mean the list of withdrawal methods is just as long. There’s also the fact that some bookmakers will only let you withdraw from your betting account to the same method you used to make your deposit.
If you withdraw using a different method than you deposited with, then it may be possible for you to have to verify both accounts. When verifying your withdrawal account, which can still happen if you use the same method you deposited with, it can add a day or so to the process. This is done for your safety and the safety of the bookmaker. This is a one-time thing unless the bookmaker decides to do a random check at a later date.
As for deposit processing times, credit cards and eWallets are instant. Bank transfers can take 3 or more days, depending on the financial institution and customer location. Withdrawals to credit cards and bank accounts can also take 3 or more days. eWallet accounts usually see the money within 24 hours after the withdrawal is approved. Sometimes approval occurs within a couple hours. Other times, the processing time can be a couple of days.
Customer support is an important element to us because there are times when customers need help. There’s nothing more frustrating than not receiving a deposit or a glitch causing a bet to be lost and not being able to get a hold of someone for help.
There are many bookmakers that have won customer service awards from various entities. However, we make our own assessment. We look for email access, a telephone number, multi-lingual customer service options, live chat, and contact forms. The FAQ section is also very important because it can provide instant answers to some of the most common questions. There are many bookmakers that try and answer as many questions as possible via the FAQ section to avoid congestion among chat, email, and telephone customer service departments.
We like to see these customer support options located on bookmaker websites in places where they are obvious. We look for “help” and “customer service” links. Sometimes, a small chat button will appear at the bottom of the screen on desktop computers and mobile websites. We also look for easy access to customer service on mobile apps so mobile users can easily get help at any time no matter where they are.
Bonuses and Promotions
Of course, we take a look at bonuses and promotions because this is an element that is important to many sports bettors. When looking to try a new bookmaker, you want to see if there is a promotion that gives you the opportunity to try the site with little risk and/or enhance winnings. Many bookmakers offer a bet credit in exchange for an initial bet that loses. Others will do deposit matches. Either 50% or 100% of the initial deposit will be matched. However, the wagering requirements are usually stricter with deposit matches versus bet credits where the only requirement is to place an initial bet valued at a specified minimum amount on an event with certain odds.
We look at the strictness of the wagering requirements because, despite how great a promotion may look, the wagering requirements may be almost impossible. For instance, a bookmaker could require the sum of a deposit and bonus to be rolled over 8 times in a 14-day period. This can be hard for some people and easier for others, but we look at requirements that can work for the majority.
The responsible gaming requirement is one that each bookmaker must meet so they can become licensed to do business. However, some bookmakers meet the minimum requirements while others take it a step further and provide many resources for bettors, family members of those that may be suffering from gambling addiction, and more. There are many sites that provide gambling addiction self-assessments to help a person determine whether it’s time for them to take a step back.
Something else we look for is the ability to place deposit limits. A lot of times, this can be done during the account registration process. It can also be done from the customer’s account. Setting deposit limits is a great tool for preventing a person from betting more than they can afford. It’s also a way to prevent gambling addiction.
- How do I know a bookmaker is reputable?First of all, we take steps to thoroughly evaluate bookmakers. However, you can evaluate the bookmaker yourself by using the same formula that we use. It takes some time, but you can look at licensing, affiliations, payment methods, level of customer support, measures taken to ensure responsible gaming, reviews, mobile app reviews, and the features that are offered by the bookmaker. Even the quality of the website is a legitimacy factor because a bookmaker that truly cares is going to spend the necessary time on the site. If a site is not legitimate, it’s going to have a poor design with few features and offers that are too good to be true.
- Does the absence of a mobile app indicate a poor-quality bookmaker?No. The presence or absence of a mobile app has no bearing on the quality of the bookmaker. In fact, some bookmakers prefer to only offer mobile websites because it’s better for their bottom line. There are development fees and other expenses involved in the development of an app. It’s simply up to the bookmaker on what they want to do. If they have a mobile website that works very well for mobile users, they may decide an app isn’t their cup of tea.
- Why wouldn’t a bookmaker offer a promotion or bonus?In our bookmaker comparisons, we have found that some bookmakers offer new customer bonuses and others don’t. Some offer no promotions at all. The absence of a promotion is either because the odds offered are above industry standards and presents a perk on its own or there are low commissions on winnings (common with betting exchanges).
- What’s the difference between a bookmaker and a betting exchange?First, betting exchanges don’t push promotions like bookmakers. The betting exchange market is also less competitive than the bookmaker market because there aren’t as many of them. The primary difference is that a betting exchange allows you to “back” and “lay” the outcome of an event, whereas a bookmaker restricts you to backing the winner. The betting exchange allows you to take the role of bookmaker and set the odds or you can take the role of customer and back odds that are set by other users.
- How do I know which bookmaker is truly the best?We evaluate bookmakers for you so you can make an educated assessment. What may be best for you may not be best for someone else and vice versa. You may prefer a betting exchange over a bookmaker or a site with better odds over one that gives you a match on your first deposit. Simply look at all of the details, do a bookmakers comparison, and find one or more bookmakers that you are willing to try so you can find one, or even two or more, that you want to do business with.