Sunday, November 23, 2008
A Tradition of Excellence: bet365.com
Some people argue that when it comes to online sportsbetting, it doesn't matter which site you choose. "They're all the same," they say over and over again. "They can't fix the games, so it doesn't matter where you bet."
Other players like to play follow the leader – that is, they keep switching from site to site, betting with whichever one has the latest graphics and newest “look”.
For my money, however, I want to find a site that has an established land-based counterpart backing its efforts. Someone whom I know is going to be around next week when I go to cash in my winnings. Gambling is risky enough; I want the added security of knowing that my money has at least a chance of coming back to me. Enter bet365.com.
One of the oldest and most reliable sportsbooks, bet365 Group Limited has been one of the UK’s foremost betting and gambling groups since 1974. Fully licensed and regulated, this company’s 500+ employees handle an incredible 250,000 bets each week from customers in over 120 different countries. Since expanding their horizons to include the online gambling forum, bet365 Group has continued to affirm its reputation for professionalism, industry savvy and great gaming action.
Just one look at bet365.com’s site (www.bet365.com) speaks volumes. Right from the start, bettors are treated to a tasteful barrage of highlighted information. From links to their latest promotional incentives to the vast array of current events ready to be wagered on, this site is a nice, tight package of gambling goodies.
Of course, even the most appealing looking site falls flat if it doesn’t have an ample selection, right? No problem here. bet365.com features an almost intriguing selection of both favorite and obscure wagering possibilities. These include the big three, football, baseball and basketball as well as boxing, cricket, cycling, darts, pool, horseracing, ice hockey, tennis and rugby – just to mention a few. Should your betting tastes run to the extreme, they even offer a “Special” category based on current events. As of the time of this writing, their current special is for the winners of the 2003 Oscars. So, if you think you know who’s going to walk away with the award for “Best Supporting Actress”, now’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is.
But as the old saying goes, man cannot live on bread alone. And so, sportsbettors who fancy the occasional jaunt to the casino side of the betting industry can take full advantage of bet365.com’s fully loaded casino. The games, which include numerous table, slot and video poker machines are available in multiple platforms – you can either download the software onto your system or play through your browser in the JAVA version. Either way, though, the graphics are great, access is simple, and the gaming is both realistic and profitable with verified payouts routinely exceeding 97%. Of course, that value is always subject to change, but thankfully players can check that out for themselves at any point – bet365.com provides a link to PricewaterhouseCoopers right at the bottom of the Casino365.com home page. (www.casino365.com)
Depending on your gaming preferences, getting started is either quick or really quick. For sportsbettors, it involves simply filling out a form online – name, address, personal preference, that sort of thing – followed by a deposit (via credit card, NETeller, FirePay, bank wire, FedEx, or Western Union) to establish a bankroll, and that’s it. If you prefer to start off on the casino side of the tracks, things might take a bit longer if you opt to download the software instead of playing through your browser. But even if you do go that route, the whole process should still take you only about 20 minutes, depending on your technical agility and the speed of your connection.
As always, before you take the plunge into any site I recommend that you review the customer support services that are available, and decide ahead of time which option you prefer. The last thing you need if something traumatic happens is to fumble around on the site, trying to find out how to get help.
Personal experiences with bet365.com aside (which have been, I might add, nothing but helpful) it’s obvious to even a casual visitor that this site takes pride in keeping their players happy, at ease, and free to bet. Their customer services staff is always on hand to answer any questions or promptly handle any problems that might arise. These include (but are not limited to) information about the company, requests for ante-post odds, access to your personal account information, or technical matters concerning the site. You are even free to contact them simply to pass on any good ideas you might have to improve the overall betting experience. They’re friendly and receptive to any good suggestions.
While personally I always prefer the more direct approach – calling the representative myself via the toll-free numbers – there are many other convenient methods available for gamblers who shy away from the telephone or who aren’t sure which department they should contact. These include e-mail, snail mail and the ever-popular “call back” service. In case you’re unfamiliar with this type of support structure, with the “call back” service, basically you just send them an e-mail listing your name, phone number and which department you’d like to hear from and they’ll call you back to discuss the problem, usually in under an hour.
To round out our discussion of bet365.com’s many attributes, we’ll conclude with the comp offerings. While they are not as extensive in the comps division as some other popular sites, nonetheless they do offer enough to make it worth your while. Right now, sportsbettors have the option of getting $25 worth of free action after initially opening their account. With this comp, bettors open their account, make a bet and then place a second bet – a win treble/three-team parlay equal to the same value as bet #1 (up to $25). If the second bet is a loser, just e-mail the customer services department to claim your stake refund and they will credit your account. Casino patrons are also entitled to a $25 comp provided they deposit a minimum of $25 on their initial deposit.
If that type of comp doesn’t appeal to you, they also offer bettors the option of selecting a 15% initial deposit bonus with a maximum possible bonus of $200. However, to receive this comp, players must deposit a minimum of $100 using one of bet365.com’s preferred payment methods (NETeller, FirePay, Western Union, bank wire, bank draft, or cashier’s check via FedEx.)
Finally, while not EXACTLY a comp, bet365.com players do have the option of joining the affiliate program (www.affiliate365.com) which allows happy customers the opportunity to post a referral link on their own web site and get 30% of the revenue generated by players they refer. Unless you actively promote this link, however, don’t expect to be rolling in the green stuff anytime too soon. But even with minimal effort, many affiliates enjoy at least marginal success – which is all anyone can really ask for.
Well, there you have it, a brief glimpse into what I consider to be one of the best sportsbook/casino sites on the ‘Net. As I stated when this review began, I prefer to protect my gambling investment by sticking with the sites that have proven themselves to be not only comprehensive and compelling, but also backed by an established industry leader. When all is said and done, bet365.com is nothing short of a continuation of the excellence their land-based counterpart started over 25 years ago.