Big on Branding
Betway was founded in 2006, making it a relative newcomer to the online sports betting, casino, and gambling market, where many rival sites have been around since the late 1990s. But it has more than caught up with the competition, and has established itself as one of the biggest brands in the business. Examples of this include the Guinness-certified world record online slot payout of over £13 million in October 2015, and its club-record sponsorship deal with West Ham United.
The betting and casino group also supports West Ham’s charitable efforts – in the summer of 2017, for example, Betway donated their pre-season shirt sponsorship to the cancer charity, The DT38 Foundation, in memory of West Ham Academy player Dylan Tombides.
An entirely Microgaming site
It can sometimes seem like Playtech are the only software providers on casino sites, but Betway offers something different – with games powered purely by Microgaming. Despite sticking to just a single studio, there are still several hundred online slots to choose from at Betway, including the massive progressive jackpots of Mega Moolah, and a section dedicated to older-style Retro Slots like the hugely popular Break Da Bank.
No less choice on mobile
At first glance, if you own an Android mobile device, you could be forgiven for thinking Betway isn’t available to you. There’s an app for the sports betting side of the site, but nothing for the casino – although iOS users have a choice of Betway Casino and Betway Vegas apps.
But actually, if you visit the main website in your phone’s browser, it should work fine, with absolutely no change to the selection of games on offer. The page looks basically the same as on a desktop computer, just slightly rearranged to fit better on a smaller, taller screen, and any modern mobile device should have no problem with logging in and playing as normal.
Instant play but no client
The old style of downloading and installing a standalone casino client is much less common now internet connections are faster and always on, but some players still appreciate the option of downloading and installing a program, rather than logging onto a website every time.
At Betway, there’s a poker client but there doesn’t seem to be a casino client. With no Android app either, this makes the iOS apps the only option if you want to install Betway directly, rather than waiting for the few seconds it takes each game to stream from the website.
A great choice of slots
As mentioned above, the slots at Betway – all of them – are powered by Microgaming, so you won’t find the Playtech titles that are common to so many other online casinos.
What you will find is an excellent selection of modern video slots, with movie tie-ins like Jurassic World, original concepts like the very cute Emoticoins, and versions of old classics listed on the Retro Slots page.
The aptly named Legacy is one of these, and is very much in the old style, with Bar icons on the reels and real-world casino background noise rather than music. It adds up to a decent variety of games and styles, whether you’re looking for something branded or an original game concept.
Record-breaking progressive jackpots
The progressive jackpots at Betway speak for themselves, with a Guinness World Record under the casino’s belt in the past. The £13,213,838.68 payout to Cheshire player Jon Heywood on October 6th, 2015 was independently verified by Microgaming, Betway and eCOGRA, and confirmed by Guinness as the biggest online slot jackpot ever recorded at the time.
Mega Moolah and Mega Moolah Isis continue to offer eye-watering progressives, but there are a dozen other jackpots to play for, too.
One feature that’s always good to see are live running jackpot totals on the Jackpots menu screen, even if you’re not logged into your account, making it totally transparent any time you want to check out the current prize funds.
A range of roulette
All of the usual roulette rules are represented, including American, European and French wheels, as well as multi-wheel and premier versions. There are also live roulette rooms – more about those below – if you want authentic casino-style action.
One of the quirks of Betway is that games don’t necessarily scale to fit your screen, so when you load a roulette game, you might have to scroll down to see the full table. This is a minor nuisance but not a major problem, and at least it means that if you are playing in a smaller window, you know the game will still load at full size, even if you have to scroll around to get to the various parts of the table. It’s worth keeping in mind though, as some options – such as the value of chips you are betting with – are at the very bottom of the game screen and could be missed completely if you don’t scroll far enough down.
Big on Blackjack
Betway seems to offer an especially good choice of blackjack tables, again including live dealer rooms for this. But, even without the Live Casino, there are over 20 different rule variations to choose between, and that’s not including the several baccarat games you’ll find listed on the Tables tab.
The one thing missing is a progressive jackpot, which are not uncommon as side bets on blackjack games, but don’t seem to be included at Betway. Other than that, it’s a really strong choice, and the Tables tab just fleshes that out further with RNG poker games, baccarat and sic bo.
Evolution Gaming live dealer tables
If you’re looking for live dealer tables, you’ll find them on the Live Casino tab, with a good selection of professionally run table games from Evolution Gaming’s studios. They really are the go-to studio for live casino rooms, and you’ll get a Betway-branded table and a friendly efficient dealer.
Overall, the experience is much the same as at any Evolution Gaming casino – which includes most of the big names in the business – and in some ways that’s a big plus point, as it means if you came over to Betway for a different choice of slots, you can still rely on the live table games to be run to a high standard.
It’s also good to see Betway keeping up to date in this area, with the relatively new Dream Catcher listed alongside the more conventional live rooms, and offering a kind of instant, wheel-of-fortune-style win that’s like a simplified version of roulette.
Poker tourneys and wagering races
If you want to take part in a tournament, then as you’d expect most of these are to be found on the poker tables. Promotions on the casino site itself include wagering competitions though, and to win in these you just need to be one of the players who wagers the most on qualifying titles during the contest period, and the prize will usually be a share of comp points or a bonus payout depending on where you rank on the leader board.
Always in the running for awards
It’s been a case of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” for Betway over the years in terms of industry awards: a slew of nominations in the hugely significant EGR Awards has never quite converted into any major wins.
What you do get, though, is Microgaming’s multi-award-winning software, combined with that record-breaking payout in the relatively recent past. It’s a pity Betway hasn’t won more in its own right, because it’s a perfectly good casino site, and, if anything, it feels like only a matter of time until someone gives it the recognition it deserves.
Be patient when withdrawing
There will always be people who want their money faster than any online casino can release it to them, so be aware of the likely delays when withdrawing from Betway.
There’s a standard pending period of 72 hours, during which time you can request to cancel the withdrawal if you wish. There are also the standard processing times for different payment methods – and it can take several days for funds to appear in a bank account, compared with near-instant processing to e-wallet accounts.
But, in between the two, your withdrawal gets added to a queue for manual processing, and there’s no clear indication from Betway of how long this stage can take. First withdrawals may take longer, and you may need to provide extra ID, ranging from a passport or driving licence to a recent utility bill (sometimes a sticking point if you’ve switched to paperless billing for all of your utilities).
Big wins may also take longer or be more likely to get queried, so make sure you stay on the right side of any weekly withdrawal limits mentioned in your T&Cs to avoid any reason for your payment to be declined.
Safe as houses
The security at Betway is well documented, with SSL protection and a clear policy on storing personal data. You can opt out of marketing, although you may miss out on future promotions if you do, and you can request details of any personal information Betway have on file about you.
For their part, Betway also take steps to protect the integrity and fairness of their games; for example, if unusual betting activity is detected in the sportsbook section of the site.
As mentioned above, you may need to provide photo ID in order to make a withdrawal, although it’s easier to make a deposit into your account.
The Player Protection page, linked from the footer of Betway’s home page, is the place to go if you have any concerns or disputes, and provides contact details for UK management, including email and postal address, so that your query will go directly to them and not through the standard Support channels.
Quick response to support requests
Betway provide good options when you need support. There’s live chat when you need an immediate answer to your query – look for the text link in the page footer for this. It’s right alongside the Contact Us link, which confusingly doesn’t actually display any contact details, but takes you to the FAQ support pages instead.
If you search these for “telephone”, for example, there are no results, and it’s a shame that this doesn’t link you through to their (actually very good) Contact Us page at a www.casino.betway.com/help/contact/ this has all of the details you could want, but is seemingly impossible to find via the Betway homepage.
Fuzzy on self-exclusion
Betway are pretty good on Responsible Gambling and publish their policy on the issue in full on their site, but their page setting out tools for session reminders, deposit limits, Take a Break and self-exclusion is just a bit woolly around the edges.
This is an important issue and should be spelled out clearly, but you have to scroll past a lot of talk about what problem gambling is and advice, like “Don’t spend too much”, which, if you’re already looking for the problem gambling tools, is probably too little, too late.
Once you delve past all of this, though, there are the usual options for temporary and permanent self-exclusion, but listed in amongst them is advice on using auto-play with phrases like, “When you win a jackpot”, which again, doesn’t really strike the right tone for a problem gambling support page.
Where Betway do perform well though is in offering a self-assessment questionnaire to give an impartial opinion of whether a player has a problem, and contact details to the National Problem Gambling Clinic, an NHS-run service that’s good to see listed alongside the usual independent charities.
Hunting for promotions
Look at the Betway Casino homepage and you’d be forgiven for thinking only new members get any bonuses – the initial deposit match are quite clearly advertised, but beyond that, it’s not immediately obvious what other promotions are available.
Head over to the Plus page though and you’ll find plenty of promotions connected with Betway’s VIP loyalty scheme, and separated into sports, casino, Vegas, and bingo tabs for easy reference.
The Live Casino seems to be particularly well covered with bonuses and instant extra payouts, which is a nice touch as some other sites neglect the live dealer tables in favour of free spins on the slots.
If you’re only interested in the casino – not bingo or sports – then it’s still worth checking the Vegas tab as not all of the offers listed there are also mentioned under the general Casino heading.
What is Plus?
The loyalty programme itself is called Plus and is basically a traditional tiered VIP structure – the more you wager, the more points you earn, and the more you move up through the VIP levels.
As you go up from Blue through Bronze, Silver and Gold to the highest levels, Platinum and Black, you’ll earn more bonus points, and eventually personalised offers and invitations to sports and VIP-only events.
Initially though, it’s not too clear what the benefits are – everyone starts off at Blue level and Betway already promise dedicated support, exclusive promotions, and ‘best odds guaranteed’ to everyone from this level upwards.
It is, however, good to see a distinction made between Tier Tokens and Plus Points, rather than a single Comp Points total. In this way, your Tier Tokens – which determine your VIP level – just keep going up the more you wager, while your Plus Points – the amount of bonus credit you’ve earned – can be redeemed without taking away from your VIP status.
What is the difference between Tier Tokens and Plus Points?
Both are a kind of Comp Points system you’ll see in My Account, but while Plus Points go down when you redeem bonus credit, Tier Tokens just go up the more you wager. Your total Tier Tokens determine your VIP tier – so you don’t lose any status when you redeem some Plus Points for extra credit.
How long will my withdrawal take?
This is a good question, and like many other online casinos, there’s no direct answer. The total time will depend on your withdrawal method, proof of ID, and whether Betway query your win for any reason. There’s a 72-hour pending period to allow you to cancel your withdrawal, so nothing will happen until this expires. After that, the payment must be manually approved, which can add an unpredictable delay to the process. Finally, e-wallets will usually be credited almost instantly after that, whereas cards and bank accounts could take several days to process the payment.
Can I withdraw to my Maestro card?
No. Along with paysafecard, Maestro is one of the two valid deposit methods for UK players that is not also supported for withdrawals. This usually shouldn’t be a problem, providing you can select a valid alternative withdrawal method – and it should also mean you have a free choice of withdrawal method, rather than having to withdraw to the same card/account that you deposited from. It potentially makes it more likely that your withdrawal will be queried though, as using a different method to withdraw than to deposit is a hallmark of fraudulent activity and money laundering – so be prepared to submit extra proof of ID if you’re trying to withdraw a big win.
Where is the turbo spin option?
You might be used to seeing a Turbo button alongside the Spin or Play button, but on Betway it’s not as simple as that. If you want to speed up your game – by reducing the length of time that the reels spin – you need to click the Menu button on the left, and then activate Fast Mode in the settings for each game. It’s two clicks to get there and two more to get back to the game screen, which ironically makes Turbo Mode ironically slow to activate on Betway.
Betway is a bit of a break from the norm and a really pleasing casino to play at, with its pure-play Microgaming RNG games and Evolution live rooms bringing together two of the top names in the industry into a concise but still varied selection of titles.
The Retro Slots menu is a nice touch for a casino that arrived on the scene a few years later than most, while the progressive jackpots page offers some genuinely world-beating sums of money all in one place.
Betway can sometimes feel bigger on the inside, with sports betting and a good selection of specials from TV to politics, e-Sports that allow you to bet on virtual events, the Vegas page with its own games and promotions, a separate poker room, and a dedicated bingo site with instant-wizn side games.
The only things that are really missing are Android mobile apps and a downloadable casino client, but neither of those is a deal-breaker with fast-loading instant play software and a completely flexible mobile site that runs fine on any modern handset.
Look out for slow withdrawal times on your first big win, but as long as you stay within the weekly withdraw limits on your account and submit all the necessary proof of ID in good time, you should be well on your way to your first payout without any unnecessary delays.