Launched in 2006 and boasting over half-a-million customers, Betsafe are one of the biggest Swedish bookmakers. Does their website fall in line with the stereotypical Scandinavian traits of sophistication, professionalism and organisation? We find out.
The Betsafe site is slick and sharp, with impressive graphics. Upon landing on the website for the first time, the user is greeted with an enchanting full screen video, built in to the background of the page. It certainly creates a positive first impression. The main site is user friendly – both clear and well organised, with the different sports and number of individual markets, listed down the sidebar.
With a website which oozes quality, there is no surprise the advanced technology and impressive interface that Betsafe produce for the desktop, is replicated in the mobile applications. Available on iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry, as well as a WAP version, whatever smart phone you have, there is access to your account with Betsafe.
The clear and well matched grey, red and white colour scheme makes all of the options easily identifiable. Much like the main site, the sports are clearly listed with the number of markets available for each discipline. The app is very easy to navigate, and the option to play both poker and the casino whilst on the move, is a big positive.
From a negative perspective, the app appears to download a fairly large amount of data – not a problem if the connection is fast, but it can slow down the process of navigating and placing bets occasionally, especially if using the Windows version.
This iPad device displays a different layout to the desktop version, but the options and different functions are still easy to identify and execute. However, the slowness of the mobile app is replicated on the iPad. Some markets take a while to load and the in-running prices are displayed in very small text – anything but 20/20 vision and customers could be struggling!
Being a Scandinavian bookmaker (40% of users from Norway & Sweden), it is no surprise to see the main markets satisfy North European demand. Naturally, football has the highest coverage, and most matches offer the 1X2, Handicap and Over/Under markets as standard when clicking on each match. This approach mirrors that of the large Asian bookmakers who focus on these three markets, and they are the areas that tend to attract the most interest from serious bettors.
Ice Hockey and Handball, which are very popular in Northern Europe, are also very well covered. Any enthusiast of either sport could do worse than using Betsafe, as they offer more markets than many bookmakers due to the knowledge of the sports brought about by their popularity in the site’s home country.
With football generally being the biggest betting sport, it is best to compare Betsafe’s generosity in odds compilation in this area. Overrounds of 104.5-105% seem the norm, and fall in line with the industry average margins. To give some perspective, top football sites such as Bet365 and BetVictor operate at 102.5-103%, whereas large UK firms William Hill and Ladbrokes work with around a 106% book. For the uninitiated, the overround refers to the sum of all of the probabilities (each potential outcome) in a contest. A true book would be made to 100%, but bookmakers build their profit margins into their odds for each team, meaning the sum total of all probabilities equates to more. Basically the bigger the overround, the greedier the bookmaker, as the odds they are offering further away from the 100% ‘true book’. For a more detailed explanation, visit our overround article.
Casino & Poker
The casino is well put together, with the bread and butter slot games such as ‘Rainbow Riches’ and ‘Arabian Nights’ available. With over 100 casino games, as well as traditional slots and jackpots, those who love some easy entertainment will not get bored quickly. An instant play interface is useful, as no download of software is required and customers can start playing immediately, without a lengthy installation process. When betting through the mobile app, there is the option to play the casino, which is an excellent selling point, and feature that a large percentage of rivals do not offer.
The poker area is very comprehensive, offering a ‘Poker School’, and a choice of rooms, with a ‘Poker Red’ and a ‘Poker Black’ skin. Poker Red is powered by Ongame, whilst the Black option is on the Microgaming Network . The option is there for the users to play Cash, Sit N Go’s or Multi Table Tournaments, with most of the being found at the lower limit tables.
The Betsafe Bookmaker offers are subject to change from time to time. You might find that there’s no dedicated welcome offer, and if you are looking for a big introduction you’ll have to content yourself with whatever casino or poker welcome bonus is available. There are, however, offers to be had by punters, especially during main sporting events. These mostly take the form of Betsafe Boosts, through which you can get the opportunity to bet on markets with boosted value.
If you are interested in getting a poker or casino welcome bonus, you’d best check the site directly before you sign up. The number of offers and max bonus amounts differ at Betsafe depending on where you’re from. UK players lately have been getting less extravagant deals, though they still offer solid fun.
Betsafe’s no nonsense approach with the Sports and Casino bonuses appears to be in place to detract any potential ‘bonus baggers’ from the site, and we can’t fault them for that.
A very impressive feature of Betsafe, is their customer service. With a 24 hour manned telephone line and live chat function, any query is always answered swiftly. Unlike some competitors, Betsafe place their links for the support clearly next to the log in on the homepage.
Funds can be deposited in a number of different currencies, from the Polish Zloty, to the British pound. There are a wide range of payment options, from Visa, to Mastercard, to Skrill and Neteller. Betsafe obviously have a clear preference for their customers to use an online e-wallet, as both the debit and credit card methods have a 2.5% deposit fee attached. This is clearly to minimize transaction fees for the company, but is a definite negative, as imposing a surcharge for using a card, is not par for the course with most of Betsafe’s competitors. The one benefit of their payment system is the lightning fast processing time of withdrawals. The processing time is usually between 2-24 hours, which is right up there with the best in the industry.
One of the major criticisms of Betsafe is their decision to offer very low limits, even on fairly well established markets such as the Champions League. Users have complained of struggling to even roll over bonus requirements due to the low maximum stakes imposed by the trading department.
Betsafe have all of the makings of a top bookmaker, however their risk averse nature appears to limit the potential to attract long term clientele. A user-friendly, technologically advanced website, offering a diverse range of markets, coupled with excellent customer support and fast payments, should be a recipe for bookie success. However, the tight approach characterized by the low staking limits which are quickly imposed on customers, in addition to the extensive requirements to monetize the sign up bonuses, are likely to detract any shrewd, or high staking customers. Imposing an individual bet winnings limit of €30,000, is also likely to put off anyone who likes to place big priced accumulators.
The casino & poker rooms benefit from modern technology and there is plenty of action available at the lower end of the staking spectrum. Betsafe appears a site for the recreational bettor, who wants a secure site, impressive graphics and quick service.