First established in 2000, Betfair rose to popularity as one of the original sports betting exchanges. The company moved to a bit more of a traditional sportsbook model in 2012, but still offers player-vs-player markets with a robust variety of in-play betting options.
They have also branched out to incorporate a surprisingly wide range of casino games, including their innovative (and exclusive) "exchange games" that incorporate the concept of "in-play" wagers into traditional table games.
Available Games and Software
Unfortunately, Betfair's interface isn't the most intuitive around. It's also complicated by the presence of the "exchange games" and the division of the traditional casino games into "Arcade", "Vegas" and "Macau" sections. We'll start with the simplest elements first and work forward.
First, the four sections that the casino games are spread around in.
The main casino section has 139 slots in total. That's where you'll find the interesting new Space Invaders slot, which features a skill-based bonus round. You'll also find 39 slots with progressive jackpots here. A very large selection of roulette tables are also present in this section, including some games you don't see in many other casinos like Penny Roulette and Pinball Roulette.
You might think the Arcade section would be devoted to skill-based games, but it's actually kind of an odd mashup of the same sorts of games seen in the main Casino.
The Vegas section is all about slots, and adds 108 more options to the mix including the Monopoly games, Wheel of Fortune and Michael Jackson: King of Pop. There are also a small handful with progressive jackpots here, like Vikings of Fortune and Romeo & Juliet, but without a clear way to separate them out from the rest of the games.
Finally, Macau is predictably home to 22 Asian-themed slots. The big gimmick here is that all of the slots share the "Dragon's Jackpot," a progressive that resets to £100,000.
Live dealer games are also available. The live casino section has European and French roulette, blackjack, baccarat, 3 Card Brag, Hi-Lo and Casino Hold 'Em.
Betfair also has separate poker software/apps for table poker players, a bingo section with a wide variety of games, and various types of virtual sports.
That brings us to the exchange games. The easiest way to conceptualise these is as if you were standing at a table game watching other people play, with the full ability to bet on outcomes as the game goes on. So you could bet with a player, with the dealer, or just that a certain card or number would come up next. To make this work, another player has to take the opposite end of whatever wager you want. So players are betting against each other rather than against the house, but the house gets their money by charging the winning player a small commission.
Safety and Security
Betfair is based in Malta and overseen by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The site requires two-step authentication to log in for an extra layer of security. Disputes are adjudicated by IBAS, but their site terms do not make it clear who provides their third-party fairness testing.
Bonuses and Player's Club
Betfair is currently offering new signups 30 free £0.25 chips to play at Premium or Live roulette. The promotion restricts you to wagering only one chip at a time, but there is also only a 1x wagering requirement to withdraw your winnings.
Betfair doesn't offer a loyalty program, but you will get comp points for each wager. These convert at a fairly standard rate of 100 points to £1 in free play. There is a VIP program for high rollers, but Betfair doesn't want to share the exact terms with anyone who has not been invited to it.
Is Betfair Worth It?
Betfair has a collection of very unique offerings that few to no other casinos have to offer, which makes it all the more frustrating that the site interface scatters them about in an somewhat confusing manner. If you're willing to invest some time in learning and exploring, however, you'll definitely be rewarded.
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