Bookies, eh? There's not much to love about them really, is there? Generally speaking there is plenty wrong with the bookmaking industry in Britain right now, but probably the straightest bat - in the online village at least - is bet365.
Regular readers will know that I rarely promote bookmaker offers, let alone bookies per se. There are several reasons for this:
- Most of them are unfavourable to customers, in spite of apparently attractive sign up offers.
- Account restrictions mean you're often likely to get closed down within a handful of bets, even if just caught in some algorithmic crossfire.
- Aside from Tote Ireland, where geegeez gets a small percentage of turnover rather than profit, I've become increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of getting paid from punters losing money - which is the typical bookie affiliate model
- With my HBF hat on, I'm keen to support Authorized Betting Partners, and not keen to support non-ABP's
So why am I writing a review of bet365?
For one reason in particular, which I'll come on to in a minute. But first, let me cover off my own points above.
- bet365 make a lot of customer-friendly offers - which are just that (e.g. their in-play free £50 football bet) - as well as one of the best signup offers of all the leading bookmakers
- bet365 are the least likely of the major bookmakers to restrict or close an account, according to an independent survey by the Secret Betting Club.
These findings largely mirror those of the Horseracing Bettors' Forum when we undertook a similar piece of work (to which you may have responded) earlier in the year. As you can see, half of all bet365 accounts are unrestricted. Whilst I know that still means half are restricted to at least some degree, punters at least have a (significantly) fairer crack of the whip with the Stoke-based firm.
3. Because of bet365's excellent concessions - best odds guaranteed, Channel 4/1 free bet, in play free bets, etc - it is an affiliate account from which geegeez has generated as close to zero commission as doesn't matter, over the course of approaching ten years. [As you know, geegeez is a most transparent business, and I have no problem sharing information like this with readers]
4. bet365 are an Authorized Betting Partner, contributing a fair amount to racing's coffers in exchange for the right to take bets on the sport. (We won't get into the politics of them not having a retail estate - because everyone knows the bookies that do have shops are funded by FOBT's anyway. But, like I said, we'll not get into the politics of that...)
In other words, you have a better chance of getting on, and of winning, with bet365 than pretty much any firm.
So why am I writing a review of bet365 right now?
Because the best (in my opinion) just got better. You'll be familiar with the somewhat ubiquitous concept of Best Odds Guaranteed (or BOG for short). This is a concession whereby if the starting price on your winning bet is greater than the early price you took, you get paid at the bigger of the two.
For instance, you back a horse at 3/1 in the morning. At the off, it is returned 4/1, and it wins the race. Most bookies - including bet365 - would pay you out at 4/1, if you're entitled to the BOG concession.
bet365 were one of the first firms to introduce Best Odds Guaranteed. And, at the time, the traditional books shook their heads and said, "They'll cut their own throats, it can't possibly work". Now bet365 is one of the largest bookmakers in the world, having stolen a march on their competitors, who continue to play catch up in a game in which they've ceded first run.
[As an aside, the 'traditional' bookmakers have a history of ignoring new players with big ideas, expecting them to go away. They ignored the spread firms, before trying to replicate their model - too late; they ignored the exchanges, before trying to have them shut down - too late; and they've ignored the ABP model, and are now whining about restricted advertising opportunities as a result.]
Let's cut to the chase...
bet365 have just begun offering Best Odds Guaranted Plus, or BOG+. What is BOG+?
Let's take our earlier example:
You back a horse at 3/1 in the morning. At the off, it is returned 4/1, and it wins the race. Most bookies will pay you out at 4/1, if you're entitled to the BOG concession. But bet 365 will now trump that and pay the next price UP from starting price. In this case, you'd get paid out at 9/2.
It sounds like a crazy concession, and if it was from a 'micky mouse' firm, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was a crazy concession.
But bet365 is a big fish in the bookmaking pond and it will have run the numbers on the implications of this offer to the nth degree. They know they will get an even larger share of horse racing betting revenues, and they're happy to take the risk involved.
They're a firm who do business in Australia, and they've seen the impact of the 'minimum liability' rules over there on turnover. Like all other bookies forced to adopt that rule, they've been pleasantly surprised at the upshots, even though they are obliged to accommodate consistent winners. They are taxed on turnover there, and perhaps they recognise that's how the game might go here in Britain too.
That's conjecture on my part, but at the very least, ignoring all politics, this is a standout offer for those who can avail of it.
If you already have a bet365 account, you're set fair and will get this as a matter of course, assuming you were still eligible for the BOG concession.
If you're not yet a bet365 account holder, I would strongly encourage you to put that right. Quite simply, you'll give yourself a better chance of winning.
Oh, and if you're a bigger punter, note that BOG+ is available for your full stake, rather than capped at £200 like the only other (non-ABP) firm offering this concession. For those who might want to have £400 on a horse, that 3/1 to 9/2 example is worth an extra £600, and even an extra £200 against a BOG bookie.
Regardless of your stake, though, BOG+ will improve your bottom line, and you should be using it whenever bet365 are at least joint top price about your fancy.
What else should I know about bet365?
- Their customer service is very good, in my personal experience.
- They offer a range of further concessions, such as best price on all horses in terrestrial TV races; a risk free bet to the same stake in those TV races when you back a 4/1+ winner; a 100% deposit match on your first deposit between £10 and £200; free in play bet offers on footy; and so on.
- They are less likely than any other major bookie to close or restrict your account, as per the table above.
- THERE ARE A FEW TERMS AND CONDITIONS, WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE, AND YOU SHOULD READ THEM (especially #5)
As I say, these days it is very rare for me to promote a bookmaker or bookmaker offer - with the exception of Tote Ireland, normally when they have a massive value rollover - but this is an exceptional offer from a bookmaker with whom I'm happy to work.
They work fairly with British racing, they give British (and Irish) punters a fair chance, and they are seriously innovative in their marketing and offers.
If you still don't have a bet365 account, now is the time to get one. Sign up here.