Bet365 vs Betfair – Comprehensive Comparative Review
Directly comparing top online bookmakers is one of the best ways of making sure you’re getting the best the gambling industry can offer. However, with betting sites like Betfair, things aren’t that simple. As you probably know, Betfair is mainly a betting exchange, allowing players to essentially bet against one another. Direct comparisons to a standard fixed-odds sportsbook like Bet365 are tricky but possible.
As a short disclaimer, we’ll point out that we’ll be using the Betfair betting exchange and not the sportsbook that they also offer. After all, Betfair is mainly used for the exchange, and reviewing the fixed-odds part of their betting site would make little sense. However, this means that this comparative review also serves to establish some points about the advantages and disadvantages of betting exchanges. If you ever wanted to know whether online exchange betting is for you, let's see how it stacks up against one of the most acclaimed sportsbooks out there.
Interface, Design and Accessibility
This is one of the easier sections to directly compare. We’ll keep the intended purpose of these sites in mind, of course. However, a betting exchange site interface is not fundamentally different from regular online sportsbooks.
Betfair sports the recognisable bright yellow colours of the brand. These can get a bit jarring if you spend too much time browsing the lays and offers. You can adjust the colour scheme in the settings, though, along with the usual options like odds formats. We love the customization, but we wish it was more impactful than it currently is. More importantly, the site does an excellent job of blending familiar online sportsbook design with the needs of covering the dynamics of a betting exchange.
The various sports and categories can be found both on the left-side panel and the tabs at the top of the screen. The markets themselves are neatly presented, with the best possible back and lay bets highlighted in blue and red, respectively. Clicking ‘view full market’ offers more details about the given bet.
This allows you to easily monitor and even anticipate drifting odds. Better yet, you can find on-site head-to-head stats and other useful info.
Bet365, on the other hand, comes with the classic sportsbook layout polished to perfection. This bookmaker site is famous for its clever use of space, intuitive design, and attention to detail. It’s especially handy for finding the exact events and markets you had in mind.
This is incredibly useful given the bookie’s extensive coverage of sporting events. The Bet365 online sportsbook is the result of two decades of constant improvements, and it shows
We’ll give Betfair the point here purely based on innovation and quality-of-life features. After all, it set the gold standard for what a betting exchange is supposed to be.
Licensing, Safety, and Reputation?
We’re dealing with the cream of the crop of online sports betting here. Safety and data security are more or less a given with such operators. As far as remote gambling licencing is concerned, though, these two sites are pretty much on equal footing. First of all, their main international licenses are the Malta Gaming Authority and the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. These are seen as the most respected licenses in their field, so that’s as good as it gets. Beyond that, both also boast a series of regional and country-specific permits. These include Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and more.
There are dozens of restricted countries for each site, of course, but that’s par for the course. What is interesting, however, is that there is a Bet365 in the USA! Well, only in the state of New Jersey, but Bet365 NJ is available as one of the rare instances of top world-class bookmakers in America. Betfair had a similar operation for a while but was forced to withdraw.
As far as reputations go, it’s hard to single out a winner. Both are widely seen as examples for other online bookmakers to follow. Bet365 is especially beginner-friendly, while hardened sports betting veterans seem to prefer Betfair.
All in all, Bet365 manages to pull ahead here due to having a small but important presence in the US. They also have a more solid international presence, most notably in Australia and South America.
There are multiple ways to contact Bet365 customer service, all of which are to be expected from a legit betting company. E-mail, dedicated service phone lines, and a live chat feature are par for the course. Better yet, the company boasts a team of professional service reps, available 24/7. Everything is as it should be as far as helping their customers out is concerned.
However, Betfair takes this a step further. First of all, they have one of the best bookmaker help sections we’ve ever seen. It’s vast, detailed, and easy to navigate. Moreover, there are additional ways to contact Betfair customer support, such as online support forms and social media. All in all, the site is full of information not just about the particular sportsbook. You can also find handy exchange betting tutorials, betting strategy guides, and so much more.
Due to the above reasons, we’d say Betfair offers more help to its users. Bet365 does an excellent job by all accounts, but Betfair simply goes the extra mile.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Betfair comes with a decent range of available payment methods, covering most bases users will realistically need. This includes card payments, e-wallets and online payment options, and even good old bank wire transfers. Both the limits and processing times may vary depending on the method in question, though. Most deposits are instant, as is to be expected, and e-wallet withdrawals are done within 24 hours. Other withdrawals at Betfair may take up to a few working days.
Bet365, on the other hand, comes with a huge range of possible banking methods. Your options may depend on your country of residence, but there are upwards of 15 of them. Transactions are quick, easy, and can go up to £150,000 for some methods. All of this makes Bet365 payment options better than almost any competitor out there, including Betfair.
Sports and Markets
When considering which sports you can bet online, it’s important to keep the differences between betting exchange sites and standard fixed-odds bookmakers in mind. The latter are easier to go through, so we’ll start with Bet365.
Available bets at Bet365 are pretty much the gold standard of online sports betting. The range of sports and leagues that this site covers can truly seem staggering. From hundreds of markets on fan-favourites like Premier League betting to third-flight national leagues from around the world, you’ll never run out of things to bet on. It doesn’t end with just football, of course. With more than 30 different categories including motorsports and carling, it’s difficult to match Bet365’s offer.
Betfair’s selection may not seem as extensive at first glance, but it’s difficult to judge it on the same terms. It takes at least two people to successfully bet on Betfair – and much more to get the most out of it. So even if the site lists, say, MotoGP bets on Betfair, you’ll often find the listings empty for all but the biggest events. The same is true for any smaller markets. Sure, that Time of First Goal bet in the Bulgarian A League may seem interesting for betting value. But you’re not likely to actually find an offer to back. This is just an inherent betting exchange downside, though.
Because of all this, we’ll say Bet365 is better in terms of variety, but it’s hard to fault Betfair. They can’t control which sports and markets are popular, after all.
Odds and Margins
Speaking of the differences between betting exchanges, here’s the big one. Incredible odds are the primary reason people opt for Betfair in most cases. Competing against other players can hold incredible betting value if you know what you’re doing. In short, other punters are way more likely to over or underestimate the chances of an outcome. That means that the odds they lay and back can actually be in your favour, as their opponent.
Traditional bookies generally apply a margin to all bets, making it very hard to profit in the long run. If you’re confident you can outsmart other players, though, Betfair can offer unparalleled profits. That said, they do charge a 5% commission on all net profits, though that can be decreased with time.
As a fixed-odds online bookmaker, Bet365 can hardly hope to compete with all of this. They offer a standard bookmaker margin of 5% across most sports and markets. This is fairly solid compared to other sites in this weight class. However, a 5% bookmaker margin is considerably more than a 5% commission on net winnings, if you do the math.
As is to be expected, Betfair comes out on top when comparing odds. It’s the main selling point of betting exchange sites, after all.
The fact that Betfair even managed to pull of in-play betting exchanges is a technological marvel. Obviously, you’ll need to be razor-focused to get the offers you need, though. Reflexes are another matter. We’re simply surprised to see how many people actually wager on live bets on Betfair 24/7. Of course, the width of the offers can’t match fixed-odds bookies. However, the incredible odds are still there. There’s a dedicated in-play betting section, live sports streaming, and all the handy features you’d expect.
Bet365 live betting, on the other hand, is more user-friendly. It’s wonderfully designed, easily accessible even to beginners, and offers a wealth of information for educated betting. However, compared to Betfair, it seems just like any other live betting sportsbook out there. It’s one of the best with traditional bookmaker sites, of course. Still, it pales in comparison to the incredible innovation of live exchange betting.
Staying on top of things is quite important for exchange betting. That’s why a handy online betting app is crucial. On that front, we applaud Betfair for what they’ve managed to do. Fitting all the backs, lays, and other information required for successfully exchanging bets is difficult. However, Betfair has managed to do so with as little friction as possible. Some features from the desktop version are missing or simply not as easily accessible, though, such as the comprehensive stats windows. That’s about the only downside – the app is sleek, efficient, and a joy to use.
The Bet365 app is quite convenient as well. Again, though, the Bet365 sportsbook app is what most other sports betting apps are trying to be. It doesn’t omit any features of the main site, and it’s dependently functional. Without faulting Bet365, though, we’ll also have to give a point to Betfair here, and for several reasons. First of all, the Bet365 app does not have any apparent advantages over the mobile version of the site. Betfair, on the other hand, can inform you of drifting odds and other important things. Betfair also had to brainstorm, design, and make a betting exchange app from the ground up, which is admirable.
Bonuses and Promotions
Betfair promotional offers again run into issues with how exchanges work. Throwing around too many free bets could be bad for the sort of stock exchange at the site. That’s why the £100 Betfair signup bonus is reserved for the fixed-odds sportsbook. Exchange bonuses do come up occasionally, of course, such as cashback bonuses and enhanced odds. They’re understandably unimpressive, though.
Bet365 promotions, on the other hand, are notoriously attractive. 100% up to £100 is the standard Bet365 welcome bonus at the moment, for instance. Moreover, there are over a dozen promotions active at any given time, making this bookmaker the clear winner in this comparison.
Let’s summarize the impressions and answer the question – which is better, Betfair or Bet365?
|Licensing and Safety|
|Sports and Markets|
The incredible odds of Betfair seem to have carried the day for them. However, there’s a big disclaimer with these results. This comparison is mainly useful for experienced bettors who can make use of and win at betting exchanges. Exchanges are not for everyone, and Bet365 may be the better option for beginners. Especially due to their sign-up bonuses and free bets.