With 800,000 customers in over 100 countries, SportingBet is one of the giants in the global betting market. This status is reflected by an impressive range of available bets and customer support. However, the reliability of and navigation around SportingBet still leave room for improvement.
On arrival at the site’s front page you are greeted by a quite garish interface, with various flashing icons and slowly loading pictures distracting you from the site’s main content. However, the offer of 50% cashback on your first bet should help remove some inhibitions.
Unfortunately, the signing up process left something to be desired. Two letters were cut off the end of my user name for no apparent reason, and then the whole process crashed, telling me to call the free phone number and giving me a reference to quote. I therefore gave up temporarily on SportingBet, only to find that when I returned a week later my account was working fine.
With the registration hurdle out of the way, depositing money proved to be a simple process, helped by the fact that SportingBet never charges fees. Withdrawals are equally simple, and the money comes through quickly and reliably.
The layout of the site itself is relatively complex. Most pages hit the potential bettor with a daunting amount of content, and you may well have to scroll down several screens to find what you’re looking for. Down the left side of the screen are the links to the home page (useful), the games rooms, and the various sports, which bizarrely seem to be in no particular order. Equally confusingly, the ‘help’ section is entitled ‘information’. This is reached through a bar along the top, and other options include the ‘my account’ section, which is quite fiddly to use.
SportingBet’s strength lies in its choices. There are forty-three football leagues (more than any other sports betting website), eleven languages and a variety of sports. Placing a bet is not as simple as on some websites, but this is due to the amount of choice. The odds themselves offer reasonable value and are quite consistent. They do, however, appear on the market relatively late, so at any one time only about half of the mentioned sports actually have bets available. Experienced bettors will tell you that late odds are more accurate, and therefore more difficult to find value, than early odds. Occasional visitors will also find it annoying not to be able to place bets.
Another strength of SportingBet lies in its customer support, which is available 24 hours. I did get the impression of phoning a large call centre where some staff knew considerably more than others, but this is only to be expected within such a large organisation. This commitment to customer support typifies the fact that SportingBet is a website which follows the American rather than European ethic: it goes for quantity, big bonuses, and strong support, rather than value and simplicity.
My overall impression of SportingBet was of a site that doesn’t quite live up to what it promises. It offers a large amount of languages, some of which are dubiously or incompletely translated. It offers a large amount of sports, most of which do not actually have odds available until a later date. And the sheer quantity of information seems to overwhelm the navigational structure at times.