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138 Sportsbook Review

The 138SunGame banner has long been in existence and has been popular in the online gaming industry in Asia for a number of years. A recent expansion to increase the company’s presence across Europe has led to a re-branding, with 138.com adopted as the new domain. A foray into the European sports betting market has seen the emergence of offerings on a range of different sports, but can this player from the Far East compete with the major European Sportsbooks for technology, odds and depth of markets? We find out.


Upon landing on the 138 website, customers are greeted with a red and black theme and the Asian influence is retained with Chinese symbols used in the logo in the top left corner. A large graphic engulfs the bulk of the main page, with the Daily Specials listed on a banner. To find the range of markets, customers are required to scroll down the page, and perhaps the Daily Specials could be a bit smaller so the list of different sports are immediately apparent. The website can be viewed in English, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese and the text can be changed by clicking the drop down box in the top right hand corner.

A straightforward and easy to see text is used and lists the range of different Specials markets before listing the different sports alphabetically (the exception is Football which is listed at the top for easy access). Whilst presented in a fairly basic format, the individual sports and markets contained within them are fairly easy to navigate around and add onto the Bet Slip. The Bet Slip could be improved as it is not immediately easy to add or remove selections – the user is required to scroll down to the bottom of the page and navigate across so that the Bet Slip comes into full view.

The right hand side display contains Sportsbook news and social media updates, whilst there is a scrolling banner at the top with yet more special offers appearing each day. All in all it’s a fairly simple and functional site that is relatively easy to navigate around, but one which could benefit from some small tweaks.


The odds offered by 138 are fair if not industry leading. Taking the Belgium v Algeria 2014 World Cup match as an example where the overround for the 1X2 market offered by 138 came in at 104.1%. This was better than Ladbrokes (104.5%) but worse than football specialists Bet365 (102.27%) and BetVictor (102.37%). The overround refers to the profit margin that bookmakers build into their odds. If all were fair and the firms made no profit, then their odds when equated to percentage probabilities, would equal 100%. The closer to a 100% book, the better value odds the punters are getting.

When looking at the horse racing market, the 10 runner Queen Anne race at Royal Ascot was compared. For early prices one hour before the race, 138 displayed a 110.2% book, whilst Bet365 offered a 105.6% book and Bet Victor a 105.5% book. Although 138 came out with the worst value for punters, it would be unwise to take this as a definite modus operandi of odds compilation strategy, as the latter two named firms had made a concerted effort to make concessions for one of the biggest race meetings of the year. Another comparison was required, with the 4.45 race at Thirsk on the same day used for the purpose. That nine runner race compared much more favourably, with 138 compiling a book to 115.6%, sitting sandwiched between BetVictors 110.1% and Bet365’s 119.1%.

Although the horse racing odds at 138 are not too far out of line with the major firms, it is worth noting that Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) are not offered. Most reputable European bookmakers now offer this concession for all UK and Irish horse racing. BOG gives punters the best of the initial odds taken or starting price – whichever is higher.


138 offer a range of daily promotions on their Sportsbook, ranging from money back specials on horses who finish second in certain races, to enhanced daily doubles and enhanced odds on certain football matches. It appears that 138 try to be innovative in all they do and offer something to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Now operating in a competitive European market, they will need to constantly evolve to compete.

Their 50-50 sign up bonus is definitely one of the more generous in the industry. Customers opening an account and striking a bet of up to £100 (or currency equivalent) are entitled to receive a free bet up to 50% of the first stake. To qualify, both the initial stake and the free bet need to be placed on a selection with odds of 2.00 or greater.


The different sports covered by 138 very much to cater to mainstream British and European clientele. There is obviously Football, Horse Racing, as well as Rugby, Cricket, Golf, Hurling, Snooker, Tennis, Formula 1 and more. What is apparent is that certain sports such as Ice Hockey, Handball and Basketball (which are extremely popular across Northern Europe) are neglected from the list of markets covered by 138. In total there are 22 different sports covered in the Sportsbook, with the possibility of more to come in the future.

Mobile Betting

There is currently no dedicated mobile betting site for 138, or any sort of app which means that the site has to be viewed ‘as is’ on a mobile device. This means scrolling in and across each individual page is required and it is definitely an area which requires improvement.


Payment can be made through several channels, namely Visa debit/credit card and Mastercard, Neteller, Ukash and Skrill. The minimum for any payment method is £10, with the maximum varying from £200 to £10,000 depending on which medium is used. Payments typically arrive in accounts immediately, but can vary depending on deposit method.


138 seem to take security seriously and have a verification process in place before any withdrawals can be made. Customers are required to provide a photo ID, an image of credit/debit card as well as proof of address in the form of a utility bill or a bank statement.

The site utilises a unique SSL encryption protocol to obtain and store confidential user information and is equipped with the latest firewall system.

Customer Service

The customer service with 138 is very good. There is a 24-hour around the clock live chat function with employees who are able to assist with most queries. There are Chinese, English, Thai and Viet speakers, so everyone is catered for. 138 can be contacted via Twitter, telephone, email or fax and there is an extensive FAQ section that can help with many questions.

The Verdict

138 received their license in the Isle of Man in 2012 and have pushed on since, linking up with Newcastle United FC in a two year partnership which will see the club use the company as their official betting partner. The move signals their intent to develop a strong presence in Europe and as a company with a reputation for innovation, their offerings can be expected to improve as they gain experience in the new market. The odds on site are fair and the market depth is okay, but there is certainly room for improvement.

Areas For Improvement

  • A mobile site needs to be developed to service an ever increasing number of individuals who like to strike a bet on the move.
  • The website could be more user-friendly and intuitive.
  • An increased number of Northern European sports will attract individuals from those countries.
  • Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) on UK/Irish Horse Racing. This is a must to compete with the established companies that offer the valuable concession.
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