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188Bet Review

188BET provides global services for its diverse player base around the world. Although it does offer a casino and poker room, its focus is on sports betting, and it started out as a dedicated Asian sportsbook, but quickly expanded to the UK and beyond.

The sportsbook was launched in 2006 so is a relative newcomer to the online gambling community. But, in its first decade of business, it made a big name for itself through its sponsorship programs in the United Kingdom.

In fact, the company received even greater attention right out of the gate by gaining recognition as the first betting company to sponsor two football teams in the same season as the official shirt sponsor of Premier League teams Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers. However, that recognition was given in error as NTL had actually simultaneously sponsored Newcastle United and Aston Villa from 2000 to 2002, but you take good publicity where you can get it, and they benefitted by the attention and name recognition.

The focus on taking their service right to sports enthusiasts has worked well for 188BET, and it has consistently provided funding to UK-based teams through its promotional endeavors. Just this past year, 188BET claimed official main sponsorship rights to the Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club and also supported the Gloucestershire County Cricket Club. Online bookmakers need to be recognized to build their client base, and 188BET’s endeavors seem to be working out well.

We do want to say that 188BET also made the news early in its operation through a little bit of controversy back in 2009. Along with its rival bookmaker, SBOBET, the companies were called out by the Premier League for offering college betting lines. The league’s point was that young people should not be exposed to international gambling.

The situation was newsworthy, and both bookmakers were eventually commended for suspending their college games practice and for their willingness to work with the League and the Professional Footballers’ Association on appropriate markets.

Device Compatibility : iOS Android

Sports Betting in the UK

We’re focusing on sports betting in the UK instead of Asia as 188BET is firmly ensconced in the Asian market but has worked diligently to claim some of the highly desirable UK punters who are proven to be loyal players who are apt to return again and again.

Gambling in the United Kingdom is much more prevalent due to parliamentary legislation that has not only allowed for in-person gambling through casinos and bookmakers, but the Gambling Act of 2005 stated that internet betting is also a legal and acceptable activity as long it’s not associated with a crime or disorder.

This view of online betting is a very liberal one and is not the most prevalent globally, so bookmakers servicing the UK market are open to advertise and market their services.

The UK did enact some relatively recent legislation that added a layer of protection for its citizens who use online gambling services. The 2014 Gambling Licensing and Gambling Act requires offshore operators to be additionally licensed by the UK Gambling Commission regardless of their primary licensing and regulation that’s already in place. This secondary (or even primary) licensing within the UK’s jurisdiction allows the commission to monitor these international businesses for fairness and security.

188BET has not only complied with all of the UK legislation throughout the years but has joined the roster of bookmakers who benefit local communities through their sponsorship programs. Promotional advertising provides much-needed funds to area clubs, especially when you look at an operation like the Gloucestershire County Cricket Club that doesn’t attract the big name sponsors as much as the football teams, and especially Premier League members.

How’s the Overall Experience?

When you compare this sportsbook to any of its direct Asian market competitors like Dafabet or SBOBet, it comes across as a more mainstream bookmaker. The colors are a bit more subdued with its primarily gray theme, and the site itself is modern and up to date instead of being bold and in your face.

The layout greatly resembles some of the big books like Coral, Betway or bet365 with its left side sports menu and right side Bet Slip. 188BET uses the featured area to showcase current in-play opportunities and Enhanced Price Specials.

The top menu includes:

Leading off the left side, before the menu of various sports begins, there’s an In Play, Starting Soon, and Asian View option. Switching to Asian view is straightforward but, if you change and then want to return, you need to click “International” at the top right of the Asian view homepage.

You don’t need to search diligently to find that the website offers a good amount of markets for each game or match. All you have to do is just look at the current in-play events in progress, and the market number is indicated by the gray box to the right of each line. The online sportsbook averages around 30-35 markets per football (soccer) match, but can come in as high as 80 for some of the events.

Although you will soon find out that this is not a bonus-heavy sportsbook, it does offer some daily specials for its players to take advantage of and they’re located just to the right of the in-play roster. This “specials” column is a good daily resource as it also promotes final scores for prominent events in addition to the specials that are continually being updated.

188BET is an overall attractive and comfortable website. It doesn’t overkill with too much information, but it provides enough of the most interesting news and betting updates for its customers who enjoy keeping up with all of the sports and betting news and trends.

Thumbs Up

188BET kicked off its betting service with a few goals. It wanted to provide its players with better odds and to abide by a “winners are welcome” policy. We think it’s commendable and recognize that 188 has done an excellent job in meeting those goals.

Asian handicaps on a massive amount of football betting accommodate players looking to place wagers on one of the most popular sports and, through this sportsbook, they’re getting one of the best deals around. Asian handicaps on the English Premier League, and the top level leagues from Spain, Italy, and Germany have margins less than 1.5%.

They self-promote “Odds at 188BET are up to 20% better than those on offer from a betting exchange (after you’ve paid commission on your winnings).” They also claim to offer higher and earlier liquidity so punters can place bigger bets thereby receiving better prices and better service. This prompting is a big selling point for sharp bettors who know and understand where the value lies in sports betting.

In addition to overall competitive odds, they also offer Enhanced Price Specials. These limited opportunities are listed on the sportsbook homepage and provide for better value on select bets. For example, one match that was originally listed at 7.90 was raised to 9.7 odds as an Enhanced Price Special. Another was increased from 4.30 to 4.70.

Winners are welcome here. There is no history of limiting or even outright restricting winners or players proven to be more experienced. It offers high payout limits with no reported account closures. High rollers or even lucky punters will greatly appreciate this policy. It’s highly discussed and debated amongst online gamblers, so 188BET made a good move in deciding to allow bigger payouts without consequences.

We also like the 188BET’s live in-play extra features that it provides for its customers. We’d much rather see live streaming of the games and matches, but 188BET does cover their in-play sports through live graphically-depicted play by play, commentary that is simply translated as written play by play, match stats, and updates on all games in progress.

The updates are the latest scores of all events currently in progress, but the match stats can be pulled up for one particular game at a time and include:

So, while there is no way to watch the actual game footage, there are several website tools to keep punters updated on their wagers in progress.

Kudos to 188BET for also offering primarily free financial transactions for both deposits and withdrawals. It’s quite frustrating for bettors to risk their own money, and then have to pay fees on top of their wagers just to fund and then cash out from their betting account. 188BET put together a good menu of various ways to conduct these transactions and, most of them are also processed quite quickly.

Areas In Need of Improvements

We’ll segue from the live betting area that is substantial and reflects positively on the sportsbook to the absence of live events streaming. Some of the bigger UK-servicing bookmakers provide a considerable video streaming schedule with hundreds of games weekly, and that additional service is of great benefit to punters staking their bets in-play. It creates a one-stop shop for sports bettors and sports lovers.

The Welcome Bonus of “Bet £10 and Receive a £20 Free Bet” that we will detail in the bonuses section is only available to residents of Ireland and England and cannot even be accessed through 188BET.com. It’s only listed on 188BET.co.uk. A globally focused sportsbook should be offering all players the opportunity to get in on free bet opportunities or value-add promotions.

Another area that could be improved is in the cashier area and specifically regarding deposit and withdrawal methods. The fee-free transactions and relatively fast processing are significant benefits, but customers outside of Asia are rather limited in their choices. That’s not to say that 188BET doesn’t have a slightly better menu that some of its direct competitors, but it still could elevate its status and appeal to European bettors by accommodating their needs further.

We would think Bitcoin would be an obvious addition that would be easy to implement as it’s not tied to any geographical area but rather is a virtual currency accepted around the world.

Also, if 188BET is tied to not having bonuses for its players, it could generate some more excitement and provide additional value for bettors by offering some of the pools and promotional games that other sportsbooks offer. Loyal players appreciate the opportunity to go beyond their regular betting habits and get in on some contests and tournaments that are fun and could also be financially beneficial.

What to Bet on?

Football is going to come in at number one, which is not unusual for bookmakers that cover the European markets. 188BET comes in high for football by offering over 400 leagues and being one of the best books for Asian handicaps. The bookmaker’s margins are less than 1.5% for these bets, making it one of the industry leaders.

Additionally, football is covered extensively in the in-play area, so the only thing missing are the live streaming matches.

Aside from football, punters will find some good value here. As a primarily Asian bookmaker, it appeals to European players with its better odds and high limits, the two things that these customers are discovering with many of the Asian-based service providers.

Although there isn’t another sport that stands out value-wise like football, 188BET promotes that it offers some of the best overall odds around, 20% prevailing over the betting exchange odds that also charges commission on winnings.

For extra value, customers can monitor its Enhanced Price Specials that provide better odds on a few isolated betting opportunities at a time. Enhanced Price Specials can provide for one or even two points better so, regardless of the particular team, these specials are ideal for sharp bettors.

The top featured sports are listed as follows:

The second tier sports menu:

The Financial Bets are reflections of 188BET’s global customer base as this bookie covers markets around the globe with the following current submissions.

Zip on over to Special Events and there is a handful of oddly different lines that include:

For anyone not familiar with Stranger Things, it’s a new cult favorite on Netflix that came out of nowhere in popularity but is now globally followed.

There are some sports that you won’t be able to wager on through 188BET. For example, lacrosse, water sports, handball, hurling, squash, table tennis, water polo, Futsal, Gaelic Football, beach soccer, badminton, and field hockey are all main menu items on rival SBOBET, but 188 has a much more abbreviated list.

Wagering Limits

188BET is known to have some of the highest payout limits amongst Asian bookmakers. It doesn’t implement a maximum betting limit per se. Instead, it has maximum payouts listed.

First of all, before we get to the maximum, let’s start with the minimum and the lowest possible wager is one Euro on everything aside from parlays and multiples.

Let’s get into that big money subject now. There is a very substantial maximum of $1,500,000 (US) listed as the amount that any customer can cash out in conjunction with one day’s betting activity.

The 1.5 million is in US dollars, but that number is converted to the customer’s designated currency.

Each sport also has a maximum payout. All of these are also listed in US Dollars.

$1,500,000 – Football (soccer) and Basketball

$300,000 – Tennis, American Football, Baseball, Ice Hockey, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Volleyball

$200,000 – All other sports

$25,000 – Novelty markets

Compared to some other sportsbooks, 188BET’s limits are quite simplified. It doesn’t break things down into different levels of play or specified leagues; it simply lists an overall limit. However, there may be lower limits applied on a case by case basis, so bettors need to carefully review the odds and their bet slip before finalizing anything. Additionally, parlays that involve multiple levels of limits are subject to the lowest applicable limit.

So How’s the Site?

188BET covers most of the bases for both experienced punters and novice players. The sports menu is plentiful enough to cater to international customers, and they are also accommodated through currency-specific financial transaction menus.

The website itself is upscale and nicely laid out for sports bettors with all information neatly filed into short menus that don’t overwhelm.

The most time-sensitive lines are front and center on the sportsbook homepage along with any available Enhanced Price Specials.

There are other features that also enhance the bettor’s interaction with 188BET such as “Starting soon” events, a comprehensive Help Center with detailed information regarding the 188 service, in-play commentary, match stats, and updates and an easy to find link to that “In Play” area.

On the flip side, players who enjoy bonuses and value-add offers will be disappointed with the 188BET service as most players, aside from English and Irish punters, are not even offered any welcome bonus let alone other promotional offers. 188BET relies on its odds and high payout limits to attract and retain its customers.

Any Bonuses?

This section is not going to be extremely lengthy as 188BET is not known for its bonus programs and promotions. It offers one basic welcome gift plus some ACCA insurance promotions and that about covers it.

The Welcome Bonus – Bet £10 on Sport or Racing and get a £20 Free Bet

This bonus is for brand new 188BET registered players and is a flat award amount. New players can receive a £20 Free Bet when they place their first bet that needs to be £10. The initial wager can be made on any sport or racing event. The bonus £20 free bet does come with stipulations, though. The customer must bet the £20 within 14 days with a one-time rollover requirement. Additionally, the stake must be on a bet with minimum odds of 2.00.

We do need to add one additional note regarding this welcome bonus. It is only offered to players from England and Ireland and is listed on 188BET.co.uk and not on 188BET.com. If you pull up the dot com website, you will notice that there are no sportsbook bonuses listed at all, no welcome bonus and no ACCA promotions either.

As we mentioned, aside from the welcome bonus, the only other listed promotions for sports bettors are ACCA Insurance offers.

These offers are good on accumulator bets only and come with a specified time frame as they are sport-specific. The clock ran out on the current 2017 ACCA promotions on 28 May so, currently, there is no other promotions or value adds for sports bettors, but there are several for casino and poker players.

The promotions area not only details each promotion including all terms and conditions, but it also has a countdown clock, so everyone knows what offers are current and how much time is left for interested players to participate.

How You Can Deposit

As a globally focused bookmaker, 188BET does provide transactions in multiple currencies and breaks down its deposit and withdrawal options according to those currencies.

The available currencies for residents of the United Kingdom (plus Gibraltar, Jersey, Isle of Man, and Ireland) are:

We’re going to take a look at the options for its United Kingdom based customers using the pound (GBP). All of these deposit methods are entirely void of fees. 188BET does not apply any charges to money coming in, and rightfully so.

Skrill
Minimum Deposit – £10.00
Maximum Deposit – £50,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – within a few minutes
Available through mobile depositing – yes

Visa
Minimum Deposit – £10.00
Maximum Deposit – £20,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – within a few minutes
Available through mobile depositing – yes

Direct Bank Transfer
Minimum Deposit – £50.00
Maximum Deposit – £2,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – one to five business days (typically two)
Available through mobile depositing – no

Neteller
Minimum Deposit – £10.00
Maximum Deposit – £30,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – within a few minutes
Available through mobile depositing – yes

Skrill 1-Tap
Minimum Deposit – £10.00
Maximum Deposit – £50,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – within a few minutes
Available through mobile depositing – yes

How You Can Cash Out

Some of the deposit alternatives are not available to use for cashing out, but 188BET does add some additional ways to withdraw funds.

Skrill
Minimum Withdrawal – £1.00
Maximum Withdrawal – £50,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – within two hours
Available through mobile requests for withdrawal – yes

Visa
Minimum Withdrawal – £5.00
Maximum Withdrawal – £20,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – one to three business days
Available through mobile requests for withdrawal – yes

International Bank Transfer
Minimum Withdrawal – £100.00
Maximum Withdrawal – £250,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – one to three business days
Available through mobile requests for withdrawal – yes

Cheque
Minimum Withdrawal – £10.00
Maximum Withdrawal – £20,000.00
Fees – $20 per cheque (posted in US dollars)
Processing Time – five to 30 business days
Available through mobile requests for withdrawal – no

Instant Payouts Net + (Neteller’s card)
Minimum Withdrawal – £1.00
Maximum Withdrawal – £30,000.00
Fees – zero
Processing Time – within two hours
Available through mobile requests for withdrawal – yes

Quality of Service

When it comes to customer service, the less you hear about it is better. In the case of 188bet, customer service is quiet. People aren’t complaining, and that’s a very good thing.

They don’t limit betting accounts, so the agents don’t have to deal with a lot of the complaints that come with disgruntled punters who don’t appreciate the restrictions placed on them, so this service department already has an advantage. Couple those non-issues with the lack of sportsbook bonuses that can be misused due to unclear rollovers, and you have a customer service department that isn’t inundated with problems.

188BET is a trusted website, and it doesn’t have the payment issues or player dissatisfaction that sometimes come up in conjunction with some rival sportsbooks, so that is reflected in the overall impression of the customer service department.

When assistance is needed, players generally regard the staff as friendly and very helpful.

Contact Details:
Email – support-en@188BET.co.uk
Phone (Asian Region) – +852 5808 3608
Phone (Euro Region) – +44 20 3608 4015
Live Chat – available 24 hours a day, seven days a week

You Can Do More Than Bet on Sports

The gambling opportunities on 188BET extend beyond sports betting. They host a casino, a live casino, and a poker room. Slot games are plentiful, but table games and live dealer table action is a bit more limited than some other online gambling sites.

The casino is divided up into:

The slot games are provided by 188BET and NETEnt and have a lot of fun and familiar themes as well as good graphics and sound quality.

The slots area divides up between regular slots, 3D slots, and some overlap with jackpot slots options that provide those bigger potential payouts for jackpot bettors. Most slot games can also be played for fun without the need to risk any real money. Of course, then there is no potential for winning money either.

Because the slot games are graphic-heavy, the menu does take a little while to load. You may initially think that the menu is limited but give it a minute two and hundreds of additional selections start to appear.

Regular slots – 241:

3D Slots – 22:

Jackpot Games – 15

For players looking for “big money” potential, there is 15 jackpot progressive games, ten of which have prize amounts over $500,000 (USD). Games and currently posted jackpots include:

The Table Games area provides 36 tables with all different games. These options don’t include the live dealer selections that are hosted in the dedicated Live Dealer casino.

Some of the casino tables include:

The next area of the 188BET casino is entitled “other games” and is exactly that, eight other games that don’t fit in anywhere else.

The final casino section is only two games full, but they’re unique in that they’re multiplayer online slots. These games are considered to be “social” games as they’re housed in a virtual room that’s usually six players maximum.

Players can chat amongst themselves and cheer each other on during bonus play. Everyone in the area can also play special bonus rounds together. It’s a unique concept that’s similar to the live dealer table games whereby online players can have some person to person communication instead of just playing against the computer.

The current casino promotion provides players with a 100% casino boost up to £50 every month. This bonus, just like the sportsbook welcome offer, is for residents of the United Kingdom only.

Live Casino

This area has Euro Live Dealer games with “real people” dealers running each table and also has a UK-only welcome bonus of 100% up to £50.

VIP Live Roulette – $1.00 – $75,000
Automatic Roulette – $1.00 – $75,000
Live Blackjack – $1.00 – $200
Live Blackjack – $2.00 – $5,000
Live Roulette – $1.00 – $75,000

The final table is a promotional table called Race Roulette. The buy-in is $1 – $75,000 and this live roulette game provides additional prizes like a VIP trip to Monaco.

Poker Room

Enter the poker room, and you immediately can tell how many players are currently seated and how many tables are live. When we took a peek at the poker room, there were more than 1,200 players at 155 tables.

We like the tournament schedule that’s also positioned front and center in the poker lobby. It details the various tournaments and freerolls available and the buy-ins and fees. Tournament play is affordable with some starting at just a €1.00 buy-in and €0.10 fee on up to a €30.00 buy-in with a €3.00 fee.

Poker play is accessible via download or the instant play option.

Racebook

Racing is available within the sportsbook, but 188BET also provides it with its own individual menu item, so we wanted to make specific mention of track betting.

The racebook is divided up between UK and Irish racing and then International racing with promotions applying to the UK and Irish racing only.

The promotions are appealing, though. Daily specials are posted, but three main offers are usually displayed:

1. Best Odds Guaranteed – on all UK and Irish racing from 10 am

2. Enhanced Place Terms – two races are increased from 1/5 odds to 1/4 odds

3. Lunchtime Treats – Price boosts/Faller refunds from 11:30 am

What’s a Better Bookmaker?

It’s been a relatively short time since Europeans have started using online Asian bookmakers. They’ve discovered that these books, like 188BET, have some distinct advantages such as lower margins, and fast and free payouts.

188BET is a good all around Asian bookmaker that provides extensive football coverage and plenty of markets for each match. Asian handicaps are the bet of choice, and payout limits of $1.5 million are significant. Even comparing 188 to a prominent UK bookie like bet365, they come out ahead with Asian handicap betting.

When compared to a direct competitor like Dafabet, 188BET is more popular with UK punters as it offers much higher payout limits and more financial funding options.

However, when compared to SBOBET, another rival, 188BET comes up short in the sports department as SBOBET has one of the largest sports menus around.

If we look at how the bookmaker compares to the UK or European sportsbooks, there are a few things that it could do to elevate its status. One would be to add the highly demanded live video streaming. Not only would that allow the site to compete with European books but it would also give it a leg up in comparison to Asian bookmakers who are currently not offering the live streaming product either.

Additionally, more financial options attract more customers. Europeans are used to so many different choices from which to select regarding their depositing and cashing out requests. They will find themselves much more limited on 188BET as well as its direct competitors. Additions like the Paysafecard, PayPal, Bitcoin, and easier to use credit and debit cards would help to match the services provided by Ladbrokes, Betway, bet365, William Hill, and more.

Final Thoughts

188BET is one of the newest kids on the block in the Asian market and has done well for itself in creating a name through extensive sponsorship efforts. It has a good all around product but is lacking in bonus offers and other promotions that could entice new customers to give it a try.

The Enhanced Price Specials and decent in-play options work in the betting site’s favor, but for players outside of Asia, it’s more beneficial as a secondary bookmaker as opposed to being the one and only choice for European bettors.

We do like the simplicity of the service, though. It’s a quality website that has a professional but comfortable feel to it, and it doesn’t go over the top to promote itself on the pages. It can be quite distracting to have ads for bonuses and other gambling areas in the way of the games and matches that players are trying to review.

This is a relatively quiet operator. You don’t hear much about issues with payments or customer service or any of the other negatives that seem to fill online gambler forums. It maintains good quality bookmaking at right pricing.

In 2015, the company did venture out into the Brazilian market with a new service hosted on 188BET.net. This site does not accept real money bets. It’s a predictor site or a contest-based platform whereby users can win prizes like gaming equipment and 188BET merchandise, but there’s no cashier area providing cash in and cash out services.

We would think that with the relatively new launch of this predictor site for Brazilians who enjoy the practice, that 188BET may have some other innovations in the works that could help attract more players whether in Europe or Asia.