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When you click on a sport from the menu, this quickly loads the relevant page, although the customer still has to scroll down to view the latest markets (with any In-Play events featuring at the top again). There is the option to select different tabs, which is not dissimilar to the Ladbrokes website, although Hills would benefit from having the Daily Match List as a default option for football. That said, the pages are very quick to load and the Betting Slip is integrated nicely.
Like several other top bookmakers, William Hill offer Best Odds Guaranteed on UK and Irish horse racing, and their odds on this sport are generally a touch better than Ladbrokes. They also offer competitive each-way terms on many high profile meetings.
With regard to football, William Hill offer a unrivalled number of markets on top matches, with 179 pre-match propositions available for a recent game involving Manchester City and Arsenal in the Carling Cup. In addition to all the regular markets you'd expect to see available (WDW, Correct Score, 1st Goalscorer), they also have a wide range of bets relating to goal markets and corner markets, bets you might have thought didn't exist! They are no slouches with their In-Play range either, offering around 25 live markets for the top games.
In addition, William Hill have struck a deal with Perform which enables them to show live football and tennis on the site. Typical events include Serie A and selected tournaments from the ATP tennis tour, something which requires no deposit on the part of the customers.
The website is available in an impressive 23 languages, with the company listed on the London Stock Exchange. As with miapuesta.com, Sporting Bet plc like to create specialised URL's for different countries, with www.greatodds.com launching in South Africa in 2009. Live streaming was launched across their portfolio of sites in October 2008. Those with long memories may recall that they acquired Sporting Odds in the summer of 2002, with the company continuing to operate an aggressive buying policy ever since.
The horizontal menu on the homepage doesn't just include a list of products such as sportsbook, poker and casino. It also has a tab devoted to 'Offers' and 'Rewards', highlighting the extra value that customers can get from playing regularly at Sporting Bet. The many sports covered are listed in a left-hand menu, with the company wisely creating a mini-list above this which focuses on the more popular things taking place such as Premier League coupons, next five horse races and other big football matches.
The company claim to have the 'best racing prices every day', although it depends which horse you are backing! It's also possible for Sporting Bet to stick their neck out a bit more than many competitors as they don't currently offer 'Best Odds Guaranteed' on UK and Irish racing. Nevertheless, ever since their acquisition of Sporting Odds in 2002, the company have had some talented traders when it comes to racing, tennis and basketball. It's for these sports that customers will really feel that they have the chance of getting an edge.
Sporting Bet's racing homepage shows the latest special markets for this sport. Their excellent traders have priced up Cheltenham Festival, Grand National and 2010 Flat special bets such as whether Kauto Star and Denman will be the first two home in the Gold Cup. They are one of the first firms to go live with racing prices in the morning, something which reflects the talent in the trading department.
It was in 2002 that Paddy decided to launch in the UK with a series of controversial adverts. While they weren't to everyone's tastes, it got people talking, with the firm following their campaigns up with some huge early pay-outs which prompts more and more customers to take their business to this company.
The site's In-Play offering is probably in the top five out of every bookmaker in the industry. The only drawback is that you can't tell from the console how much of a match has been played, although there is an excellent range of various sporting events covered. Placing a bet runs like clockwork, with the user simply needing to click on the odds and a neat little bet slip pops up alongside where the click has been made. Although Paddy have a decent gaming offering, it's nice to see so much of the sportsbook site devoted to sportsbook bets.
If other bookmakers are offering Best Odds Guaranteed, then it's no surprise to see Ireland's finest doing the same, with the promotion covering UK and Irish racing. While their prices are solid rather than spectacular, there's often a money back special involving an Irish-trained horse which essentially makes the price more attractive with these boys than anywhere else.
The same applies with the horse racing, where you will often find a bunch of specials accompanying the regular prices. As you might expect, Paddy provide excellent coverage of several Irish sports, including Gaelic Football and Hurling. It should also be noted that they have just about the best financial betting product out of any leading sportsbook player in the UK and Ireland. Paddy Power Trader is a great way for any novices to have a punt on closing prices of the FTSE and such like.
Finally, we should mention the excellent each-way terms being offered for events like the Grand National and the British Open golf. When it comes to big fields, these guys often stretch down to seven places and it's to their credit.
In addition, there are nearly always money back specials on the big matches, eg if Didier Drogba scores last for Chelsea, then all losing correct score bets are refunded. The same applies for horse racing, eg if your horse finishes second to Cousin Vinny, you will be refunded.
Customer Service Lots going on as far as customer service is concerned. Full marks for having live support, but some taken away for only being available between 8am and midnight. However, it's a good overall package with a well-constructed online form available along with email and phone options. There's also a dynamic help centre available.
According to its own website, in 2008 it took £16 billion in stakes and 740 million bets with Group revenues of over £1.1 billion. Benefiting from its brand strength, the Company offers an all-embracing range of betting and gaming services via its retail, online and telephone operations, supported by 16,000 skilled employees and state of the art technology.
Ladbrokes are also known as the Magic Sign, especially on UK and Irish racecourses, with folklore suggesting that their people have always been adept at pricing up events correctly.
The main body of the homepage includes In-Play betting at the top (if there's any of it going on) and then presents a list of upcoming betting highlights with accompanying thumbnails. Underneath are a series of 'quick links' which will take you directly to some selected sporting markets. Strangely, there's little mention of football, with Ladbrokes instead keen to including boxing matches some way in the future and the next Formula 1 winner.
Navigation-wise, it takes the customer a few clicks to find the market that they're interested in. Clicking on 'Soccer' brings up a long list of matches by date but no real semblance of order. However, you can use one of the tabs to view a match coupon by country and league and the markets are very neatly presented.
Ladbrokes would probably admit that they are strongest when it comes to pricing up horse racing. They didn't get that nickname for nothing and continue a tradition of offering punters good value and early prices. They have recently gone Best Odds Guaranteed on all UK and Irish racing where you'll get paid out at SP if it turns out to be bigger than the price that you took on a horse.
For Premier League football matches, you might expect around fifteen markets available, including all the old favourites like match winner, correct score, first goalscorer and HT / FT. In addition, Ladbrokes offer Asian Handicap betting which illustrates where a decent chunk of their customer base are based. The Handicap and Goal Line are offered for a half-time and full-time outcome and actually offers a tighter margin than the more westernised markets.
For other sports such as tennis, cricket and rugby, you can expect a solid range of betting propositions. The In-Play betting generally features up to ten live markets on any particular event.
If you fancy trying your hand at the dynamic casino, there is £25 free with no deposit required, while you can bet £5 or more on horse racing and get a 10 dollar poker chip for free.
By clicking on the 'Help' section, you can view a list of helpful questions and answers, along with various betting rules for each sport and market. The CS staff are available on email and telephone, with someone generally contacting you back within an hour on the former.
Navigation is a little fiddly, with one needing to hover the mouse over 'All Events' in a horizontal menu to view the available sports being offered. Several sports in the menu then have more multiple choices attached to them, although clicking on any will load the relevant page. The lay-out of markets and odds is impressive, with the colour scheme of the website meaning that the selections and prices are clear. The betting slip functionality is fine, although you have to manually add your pick to the slip rather than it automatically populate it.
Compared to Laddies and Hills, you will also see Coral taking on more of the favourites in the football, cricket and tennis. Expect them to regularly offer 4/7 when others are going 1/2, while they often dominate the best odds landscape as far as First Goalscorer is concerned. Talking of which, they are yet another bookmaker who now offers Best Odds Guaranteed on all UK and Irish racing.
There's also a decent service for customers wanting to bet on US sports, with a section of the site devoted to a mixture of NBA, NFL and NHL. Many might also be interested in the Winning Distance and Multi Trap betting on greyhounds, with rugby union also getting some good coverage as Coral are a big sponsor in this sport.
Coral also offer something called Enhanced Odds Multiples, where they will quote a big price on a particular double or treble. It usually involves the favourites in a football match so if you are about to place a multiple bet, it is well worth checking this site first. The company also have some top-notch gaming products, with £50 in free chips currently available at the live casino.