Betfred review
4.5

Betfred 4.5 betHQ, 2015-08-20

Betfred is the largest independent, owner-operated bookmaker in the world. It’s known for its excellent promotions and bonuses, and its extensive betting markets – especially in UK and Irish horse racing. However, Betfred’s odds aren’t always as competitive as those of its key rivals. Here we investigate Betfred’s strengths and weaknesses in more detail.

Betfred is the largest independent, owner-operated bookmaker in the world. It’s known for its excellent promotions and bonuses, and its extensive betting markets – especially in UK and Irish horse racing. However, Betfred’s odds aren’t always as competitive as those of its key rivals. Here we investigate Betfred’s strengths and weaknesses in more detail.

Betfred trust & financial stability
4.5

Betfred is the fourth largest bookmaker overall in the UK, with over 1,370 betting shops and more than 10,000 employees. Since its successful purchase of the Tote in 2011, Betfred is also the sole operator of Tote betting (also known as pool or Totepool betting) in Britain. It’s one of the best-known brands in the UK and its owner, Fred Done, is a respected figure in the sports betting industry.

Betfred’s turnover for the 18 months ending in September 2014 was a staggering £13.3 billion, and the company's profits are continuing to soar – notwithstanding losses to the failure of its Australian mobile betting venture in 2014. Factors that have contributed to the bookmaker’s rapid growth include its extensive TV advertising, costing more than £10 million per year, and its successful mobile apps.

Betfred is licensed by the Government of Gibraltar and regulated by the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. It’s also registered with the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS), which adjudicates in cases of betting disputes. This provides added protection for Betfred customers.

Betfred odds
3.5

Betfred provides competitive fixed odds for horse racing, football and a wide range of other sports markets. However, it’s not a market leader when it comes to providing the best-value odds.

Tote betting differs from fixed-odds betting because winners’ pay-outs depend on the size of the pool for a market, instead of on the prices set by bookmakers. However, Betfred claims that Totepool betting gives punters 9% better value on average than fixed-odds betting.

Betfred specials & promotions
5

This is the area where Betfred really excels. It provides outstanding specials on an almost daily basis and is rivalled only by Paddy Power when it comes to excellent promotions and bonuses. It's for good reason that Fred Done is sometimes called the "Bonus King". For details of Betfred's current offers, use our handy list of Betfred's latest specials or go directly to the Betfred site.

Betfred's specials tend to focus on horse racing, football – especially Premier League matches – and greyhounds. However, betting promotions for other sports are available before and during major events. Betfred also offers specials specifically for bets placed via mobile devices. 

The popular football special known as the “Goals Galore” coupon was pioneered by Betfred. With this special type of bet, you choose three or more games in which you think both teams will score. Another popular football special that’s exclusive to Betfred is “Double Delight & Hat-Trick Heaven”. This pays out double if a player you select scores twice and treble if the player scores three times in a match.

For horse racing, Betfred offers a range of specials, including best odds guaranteed. It’s also the only place you’ll be able to get offers on pool bets.

Betfred pioneered the early pay-out, making punters punters happy by paying out bets before events finish. This has backfired for Betfred on a few occasions. For example, the company lost £500,000 in 1998 when it paid out early on Manchester United to win the Premier League, only for Arsenal to win by one point. It lost out again in 2012, when the Red Devils lost to Chelsea. Himself a lifelong Manchester United fan, Fred was luckier in 2013, when he paid out another £500,000 early and Man United did indeed go on to win the trophy.

Betfred website
4

Betfred’s web site is clearly laid out, with separate channels for everything from sports and in-play sections to lotto, virtual games, poker, casino (including live games) and bingo. Once you get to the content that's of interest to you, there aren’t too many distractions and everything works smoothly.

No search feature is provided but markets are nevertheless fairly easy to locate. The site also includes good help features, such as illustrated guides to explain how specials work, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section and a betting glossary (not nearly as comprehensive as ours, but they tried!).

Betfred has a strong focus on horse racing, covering racing events in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. The racing section of the site includes interactive race cards with form information, a graphical predictor and results, head-to-head statistics, live streaming and video replays.

A separate section of Betfred’s site is devoted to pool betting. You can place the full complement of pool bet types, including Win, Place, Exacta, Trifecta, Jackpot, Placepot, Quadpot and Scoop 6.

Betfred’s site includes sport-specific centres for football, racing, tennis and other sports. Each of these provides live commentary, statistics, results and easy access to popular markets. The site also contains a news section. However, it’s so deeply hidden on the site that we saw it once but haven’t been able to find it again!

The account management section of the site has all the usual features and makes it easy to set your preferences, access your history or transact on your account.

Betfred mobile
4.5

Betfred’s new and improved mobile sports-book app, available for Apple (iOS) and Android devices, is one of the best. It was a finalist for the eGR mobile sportsbook award in 2013, which was ultimately won by Sky Bet. The app is regularly updated and improved, and features respectable in-play betting and easy navigation. Coupons like Goals Galore and Fred’s famous special offers, such as “Double Delight” and “Hat-Trick Heaven”, are available, as are Totepool betting and the gaming channels.

Your favourite bet types are given priority so that you can access your preferred markets easily. The apps also feature a “quick-bet” feature, which allows you to place bets immediately, without going via the bet slip. Admittedly, this might make it a bit too easy to lose your hard-earned cash.

Betfred also has a fully featured mobile version of its site, and you don’t need any downloads to use it. If you access the Betfred site from a mobile device, you’ll automatically be redirected to the mobile version.

Betfred customer service
4

We’ve found Betfred’s customer service fast, efficient and courteous. Live chat is available 24/7, and e-mails tend to be answered quickly too. Pay-out times range from very good to excellent, and we have never had any trouble depositing or withdrawing funds.

The bottom line

Betfred, "your fun and friendly betting and gaming experience", is marvellous for promotions, horse racing – including pool betting – and early pay-outs, but slightly less competitive than some of its rivals on price.