On first arrival at the Gamebookers site, the punter is greeted by an interface which is both easy on the eye and highly effective. A bar along the top displays key details of your account and allows for easy navigation between sectors of the site. A bar along the bottom allows access to account details and other information. The betting slip appears down the right when it is necessary. The bar down the left provides access to the bets themselves.
And those Gamebookers' bets are on an impressive variety of sports, which will attract interest from Europe (handball, winter sports), the UK (Gaelic sports, cricket) and the US. If you are betting on something obscure, then you simply click on the bet, fill in the stake and confirm it.
If you’re betting on something more common, a vast array of bets and options are available. It is indicative of the quality of the Gamebookers' design that these innovative options add to rather than confuse the betting experience. For example, there are nine types of bets on soccer matches, all of which can be reached simply through a tab system. Furthermore, clicking on the appropriate logo brings a brilliant pop-up box with news and statistics relating to the relevant teams and competition. The news and statistics is gleaned from the Gamebookers' excellent ‘Infoworld’ feature, which is a comprehensive news, analysis and statistics service.
Another impressive innovation is the P2P betting system. This is basically a betting exchange, in which one punter offers a bet and other punters match all or some of it. Although the choice and odds don’t compare with specialist exchange betting sites, the P2P system adds another impressive layer of choice to Gamebookers. Yet another cool feature is the community discussion board, on which bettors can exchange tips and ideas.
Yet despite all these excellent features, the main strength of Gamebookers lies in its ability to do the simple things right.
For example, signing up takes a mere three or four minutes, and does not require an immediate deposit. Deposit itself is a simple process, which can take place through a staggering array of methods, upon none of which Gamebookers charges fees. Withdrawals are simple and reliable, and most important, both quickly available and quickly dealt with.
An impressive online help and FAQ service combines well with an email system (which claims response times of about two and a half hours, although this seemed a bit optimistic in my experience) and a phone line which is only open during office hours but which makes up for this by actually being staffed by people who know what they’re talking about.
The main question mark over Gamebookers regards the odds themselves, which are treated with suspicion by some segments of the online sports betting community. My experience was that Gamebookers offers good value at the long-odds end of the scales, but that in the mid-section and short-odds sections some bets (probably around a quarter) offer worse value than some leading rivals. However, this is made up for in part by the opportunity of exchange betting. Any discerning bettor should be able to notice where the value is suspect and avoid such bets. Any bettor who cannot do so is best off sticking to Roulette.
Upshot: Highly Recommended