BetFair Bookmakers

BetFair Free Bet: £25 Bet

BetFair aka Blue Square Bookmakers began trading in 1999 and now provides a substantial UK interactive gambling service. The sports betting markets and games on offer provide near 360 degree coverage with poker, slots and casino as well. Betting media includes more than just the internet; there is interactive television, WAP and telephone gambling too.

The introductory offer in the sportsbook is the lure of a £25 free bet for newcomers. Simply place a bet of a fiver or over to receive a match bet up to a maximum of £25.

Prior to 2003, BetFair Bookmakers were part of the Intercapital Group Ltd. In January 2003, BetFair was purchased by Rank, whose assets already included numerous bingo clubs and casinos as well as online gaming operations known as Rank Interactive Gaming. BetFair and Rank Interactive Gaming were brought together to form an enviable force in the online gambling market, with a combined customer base in excess of 740,000.

Other Rank Group companies include Mecca Bingo which enjoys the support of some three million members with over 100 clubs located across the UK. Grosvenor Casinos are also owned by Rank. Grosvenor has over 30 UK clubs including six situated in prestigious locations in London.

BetFair's primary focus is on horse racing and football markets. One of the most important concerns and frequently the decisive factor when choosing a bookie is often the odds that are on offer. BetFair can be particularly generous on the prices of outsiders. So, if you are looking for value in a long shot, they are definitely worth a visit. Another bonus is that BetFair's unique starting prices are often better than the industry starting prices.

BetFair Bookmakers also helps punters improve their chances of success by providing a really useful racecard online with easily accessible, detailed form which includes video as well as race predictions. There are other handy features to help racing punters which include data on 'steamers' (horses that shorten rapidly in price) and long-distance travellers.

One click will give you a list of top track trainers too, although these are currently listed in order of the total of number of wins achieved at the track rather than the perhaps more helpful successful strike rate at the track. At Folkestone racecourse in Kent, for example, local trainer John Best is beaten into second place only by Richard Hannon for his number of winners at Folkestone since June 2005. When you look at Best's percentage strike rate at the track in that timescale, many other trainers in the list have a better record than he does. The same is true of the multi season track jockey table. Provided you have the patience to scroll down, there is excellent information further down the page giving sensibly ordered track statistics for the current season.

BetFair also give punters the benefit of good, short format horse racing news that is provided via The Press Association Sport.

They have positioned themselves as key players in the UK football market, providing generous levels of sponsorship in the lower echelons of the UK game: the BetFair leagues are well known. So it should be no surprise then that BetFair Bookmakers is renowned for the quality of its football betting offering and of the betting odds on offer for football matches.

The site is extremely UK oriented - which is often a bonus for British punters - but there are no language options beyond English, one of several pointers to a rather parochial management style. In addition, you can only hold your betting account in one of a choice of seven currencies. This is half the number of its competitors. Little wonder it is losing ground on those razor-sharp rivals. It begs the question, is someone asleep at the wheel?

However these issues affect very few UK punters, even if it does deter other nationalities from joining this otherwise commendable online betting site.

If you are a UK based punter and looking to find the best odds on offer, especially for horse racing or football, BetFair Bookmakers is a must for your online sports betting shortlist.