A Brand You Can Bet On
The Betfair brand dates back to 1999, but Betfair Casino launched online in 2006. To many people, Betfair is best known for Betfair Exchange – its innovative betting platform that allows members to ‘lay’ bets, essentially meaning members bet against each other rather than against a bookmaker.
The betting arm accounts for a large part of Betfair’s public face, and the company is the official betting partner of Arsenal FC and of FC Barcelona, but there are also Betfair Poker and Bingo sites, virtual sports betting and all the usual casino games you’d expect to see.
Playtech at the Helm
The main Betfair Casino software and most of the games are powered by Playtech, one of the most respected names in online casino software and games, and this gives you some sense of being able to expect what you get when you log in. If you’ve played at another Playtech casino, you should recognise most of the slots titles and the general interface.
This makes Betfair Casino a good option if you’ve run out of welcome bonuses elsewhere, and want to try a casino that’s powered by Playtech but isn’t part of one of the bigger groups of casino sites, as this should help you to keep on the right side of any small print when claiming bonus credit to play with after signup.
Plenty of Mobile Apps
One of the distinctive features of Betfair as a brand is that they are not just a casino, but also operate sports betting, bingo, poker and even virtual sports events for you to bet on.
As the saying goes, “there’s an app for that”, and Betfair produce separate mobile apps for each area of their business, including Android and iOS apps for Casino, Live Casino, Arcade, Poker, Bingo and Exchange Games. If your smartphone isn’t compatible with any of those, there’s also a Mobile Casino website you can visit directly from your phone or tablet’s web browser at https://mcasino.betfair.com/, which should allow you to start playing almost instantly, without having to install an app or any software directly to your device.
Online or On Disk?
When you play on the Betfair Casino desktop site, you have a choice – you can either play instantly by streaming the games via your internet connection, or there’s a downloadable casino client that you can install if you prefer. Of course, you will still need an active internet connection in order to be able to wager on games, as you’ll need to be logged into your Betfair account and connected to the game servers, but the downloadable software might offer a slightly more seamless experience particularly if you’re on a slower internet connection and don’t want to wait for each new game to buffer.
Just be aware that unless Betfair update the software and you install the latest version, the selection of games available to you might not include some of the newest titles that are available when you play instantly on the website.
Slots with Big Names and Big Money
As you might expect from Playtech, the list of slots titles to choose from is impressive, with brands from the world of entertainment ranging from American Dad and Robocop to Dirty Dancing and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There’s a section dedicated solely to jackpot games – more on those below – and many of the titles have a free play option too.
Launch a game and it opens in a pop-up window that resizes to fill your screen – so there’s none of the ‘stuck in a box’ feeling you might get at some casinos, although you’ll have to cope with separate windows for each game you launch.
One thing Betfair do particularly well is to provide individual RTP percentages for every slots game – once you’ve launched a game, check its help page to find this. If it’s not listed there, RTP for all other slots are in the Betfair Casino support pages, so you can always find out exactly what percentage of your stake will pay out as prize money over time.
Jackpots that Build
Another of Betfair Casino’s best features is the Jackpots page. This not only lists the slots titles with progressive jackpots, but also gives you an instant preview of how big the jackpot is, allowing you to choose only the biggest prize pots to wager on, if you wish. Just click on to the Jackpots menu from the Betfair Casino homepage and they’ll all be listed in one place, including non-slots titles like Caribbean Stud Poker. It seems like such a simple feature to have all the progressives on a single preview page, but it’s actually pretty rare to find a casino that lists the actual cash value of all the jackpots on the menu screen, and it’s great to see it here.
Roulette is on the Table
Looking for roulette? You’ll find it under the Table section along with craps and sic bo. It’s easily the main contender in the table games, but it’s not the only one by any means, which is why there’s no dedicated roulette section.
It’s nice to see links to the live dealer versions alongside the RNG roulette, craps and sic bo titles – in fact the Live Casino is integrated really well into Betfair Casino (more on that in a moment). And, if you want to quickly bring up a list of only roulette games, you just have to type it into the search box at the top right of the page.
Blackjack is on the Cards
Like roulette, blackjack is slightly hidden, this time on the Cards menu alongside other casino favourites like baccarat, poker and 3-card brag.
There’s also live hi-lo, a simple higher-or-lower prediction game that actually helps you to count cards by telling you how many of each value is left in the shoe.
Look out for variations on classic blackjack, such as Pontoon and UK Blackjack, if you want to try something a little different that’s still within your safety zone.
Live Dealers with More Choice
Click through to the Live Casino page and you’re moments away from playing as you would in a real-world casino, with a dealer or croupier in control of the cards or the roulette wheel – and again, this is something Betfair Casino handles really well.
The software is provided by Playtech once again, but again the Live Casino homepage has been given the Betfair magic touch, and gives you a wealth of information – an option to preview one of the tables even when you’re not logged into your account, links to choose a specific game or a particular dealer, and a live feed of hot and cold streaks from across the tables, for example, if a particular result is well overdue on one of the roulette wheels.
Combined with an excellent array of games from roulette to blackjack, baccarat, Casino Hold’em and classic hi-lo, it stops the live dealers feeling like a gimmick and transforms this into one of the most fully fledged sections of the site.
Buy-In to Betfair Tournaments
Betfair Poker is the place to be for tournament play, with nearly 150 active tournaments at any one time at a range of very low buy-in prices starting from less than £1. As you might imagine, Hold’em is the dominant game here, as it’s easily the most popular among players.
Twister Tournaments are an unusual added gamble – the stakes are small but the total prize pool is only decided just before the event begins, and could return anywhere from 2x the player’s stake to 1,000x, with 10% runner-up prizes for second and third places on the big-money games.
It’s good to see Betfair are upfront about how likely you are to find yourself playing for serious money – the 1,000x multiplier only happens 5 in 100,000 games – but it’s also interesting to note that at 57,185 in every 100,000 tournaments, the lowest 2x multiplier accounts for less than three out of every five games.
Awards on the Down Low
Betfair Casino are not too outspoken about their awards. One you can’t really miss is shown on the homepage though, as Betfair were named Best Casino Operator at the 2016 EGR Operator Awards. It’s worth noting, though, that since the 2016 merger of Paddy Power and Betfair to create Paddy Power Betfair plc, some of the nominations may be connected with other parts of the group. For instance, in the 2017 EGR Operator Awards, Paddy Power Betfair earned nominations for Best Marketing Campaign, which is likely linked with the Paddy Power brand, but also for Best Slots Operator, which is much more likely a direct nomination for Betfair Casino.
Safe, Secure – and Fair?
Security is a stated priority at Betfair Casino, and you can find out full details by clicking on the Security link at the bottom of any page on the main site. You’ll find an explanation of the two-step authentication process, ISO27001 certification, the physical security measures used in Betfair’s data centres and SSL protection of personal data.
It’s good to see all of this listed in one place, in plain English, although it’s a shame there’s no clear mention of third-party testing for Betfair’s games. The RTP percentages seem to be mostly self-reported, with no current certificates from third-party auditors like eCOGRA.
The Playtech software offers some reassurance, but it would be nice to see a major site like Betfair go the extra step to get external certificates of randomness and RTP payout rates.
If You Need Support
Support options are par for the course, with live chat and telephone being the main options. Oddly, the help pages ask you for a reason behind your call before displaying the telephone number, although it’s the same number in almost every case for general customer service calls. The phone lines close from half past midnight until 7:30am, but live chat is open 24/7.
You can also email for support, but as is often the case, it’s not easy to find the email address for this – we spotted it buried in the help pages of the mobile casino site, but not in the main support pages.
Betfair also list their social media profiles as ways to get in touch for support, including @BetfairCS on Twitter. Most of the enquiries sent to them on Twitter relate to the sports betting side of the business, but responses are fast – within a matter of minutes – and escalate the issue to Direct Messages if needed, so it looks as good a way of getting in touch as any of the other methods.
Time-Outs and Self Exclusion
Betfair have one of the best Responsible Gambling sections out there. It’s bright and breezy without being flippant about the risks of spending more than you mean to – but importantly, it’s not just a solid block of text to delve into when looking for time-out options.
The My Gambling page is a great one-stop place to find info about setting account limits, reality checks to remind you when you’ve been playing for a long time, temporary account timeouts (Take a Break) and methods of long-term self-exclusion from individual types of gambling, for example, if you want to prevent yourself playing poker, but not slots, or to block your own access to the entire site.
The less severe limits apply only to Betfair, but players who trigger full self-exclusion will also be prevented from accessing Paddy Power, and removed from all marketing lists for the duration of their exclusion. Even better, the pages go on to offer “What next?” advice with links to third-party counselling services for compulsive gamblers.
Overall, it’s one of the most accessible and engaging Responsible Gambling areas of any online casino, and is always available via a link at the top-right of each page, not just buried down in the footer. Well done, Betfair.
What’s Your Welcome Bonus?
New members have a choice of welcome bonus, with option 1 being a 100% deposit match up to £100 on all games, and option 2 being a 200% deposit match up to £400 on slots only, along with 100 free spins. There are also 30 free spins for all new casino customers, and a £200 bonus plus five free chips for live roulette when you play in the Live Casino.
Of course, there are T&Cs attached to all of these – for example, the five free chips are only given to you at the rate of one per day – and it’s always worth reading them carefully so that you don’t accidentally forfeit any winnings.
It’s not the most lucrative selection of sign-up benefits, but it’s not bad, and it covers all of the main areas of the site. Be aware that Betfair Poker has its own promotions, including its own Welcome Pack of deposit matches, free tournament entry and even playable credit for the casino slots, so it’s worth checking the poker promotions page to see if you could get even more from there.
VIP Programmes for Everyone
Just as there are different promotions across the site, there are also different VIP programmes, which can be a little confusing.
To qualify for the Casino VIP programme, you’ll need to earn yourself enough Comp Points – loyalty points paid into your account according to how much you wager on different games – and then wait for an invitation from the VIP team. VIP status will not automatically activate until you accept your invite, so keep an eye out for it.
There are Gold, Platinum and Diamond levels – Diamond being the highest, which gets you a dedicated account manager, perks on wagering and Comp Points, and invitations to exclusive events.
The Betfair Poker VIP Club is much more complicated, with a total of ten VIP levels and three Elite levels to play for every month by accruing Status Points – the Poker equivalent of Comp Points.
Over on Betfair Bingo, there’s yet another loyalty scheme, this time with five levels, the lowest being Bingo Rookie’ which is the standard level that all members start at. Only the highest High Striker level lets you cash in your points for real money, and it’s invitation only, but at lower levels you can exchange points for bonus credit to play with.
Betfair Casino and its attached bingo, poker and sportsbook sites have a lot going for them, with familiar Playtech software, a good range of mobile apps and some of the best menu screens making it incredibly easy to find what you’re looking for.
The individual RTP percentages for each slots title help with transparency too, although it’s a pity there’s no clear third-party certification of those rates or of the RNG randomness of the games. That being said, it’s obvious that Betfair take security very seriously, and their information pages about this and Responsible Gambling are among the best we’ve seen, and certainly provide all the necessary details in a very clear and accessible way.
With excellent response times from Support (despite a very well-hidden direct email address), it’s a household name casino with plenty to recommend it.