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SBOBet Review

SBOBET was the not only the 2009 and 2010 Asian Operator of the Year awarded by eGaming Review Magazine but was also ranked number 11 on the list of Power 50 companies in eGaming’s 2011 ranking of the 50 most influential operators. You would have to figure that this bookmaker has been doing something right.

To start, it’s one of the best sportsbooks around for Asian Handicap betting for both the available betting choices as well as the value.

Compared to some of its direct competitors like Dafabet and 188Bet, SBOBET has an excellent in-play betting service that includes live video streaming of some popular games and matches that appeal to its customers.

It covers more than 1500 events on a weekly basis and players have leeway to place huge bets as the cap is set at a generous £100,000. There isn’t a lot of discussion out there about players being restricted or banned for being winners, so this sportsbook is certainly a viable choice for high rolling players looking for bigger action, especially when it comes to football.

Device Compatibility : iOS Android

As far as SBOBET’s climb to being one of the top Asian bookmakers, it took the similar route also favored by Dafabet and 188Bet through sponsorships of football (soccer).

For seasons 2009 – 2013, their logo was displayed on the shirts of West Ham United and was also Cardiff City’s official shirt sponsor in 2010. In 2013, the company signed Asian Betting Partnership agreements with five different Premier League teams as the new official Asian betting partner of Swansea City, West Ham United, Southampton, Hull City, and Norwich City.

In 2016, the betting site takes a bit of a turn and moves from its previous agreements with UK football organizations to involvement in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. SBOBET established primary sponsorship of the Wexford Youth and official betting partner status for League of Ireland Premier Division teams, the Dundalk F.C. and the St Patrick’s Athletic F.C.

This shift in targeted location is most likely a direct result of the company’s decision to terminate betting service to anyone residing in the United Kingdom. The UK’s 2014 Gambling and Licensing Act put more of a tax burden on gambling operators, and SBOBET decided to cut ties and run.

Not only did 2014 affect the site’s UK-based customers, but it also banned anyone from the Philippines due to the new Parliamentary legislation that essentially banned all remote gambling. The Remote Gambling Act states that operators need to be registered in Singapore, and not in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone.

Despite the loss of a good chunk of its bettor base, SBOBET is still a premiere name amongst Asian sportsbooks and does allow for global customers notwithstanding a handful of exclusions.

Before continuing and detailing the ins and outs of this bookmaker, we do want to make mention of a few publicized and controversial incidents regarding the online sportsbook. But, we also want to preface this information by saying that none of this is really detrimental to its brand and shouldn’t affect anyone’s decision to register and stake some bets on this sportsbook. These things just bear mention as they do pop up when you look for information on this bookmaker.

In 2008 and 2009, the sportsbook was involved in some match fixing allegations. In 2008 the match in question was The Football Association’s championship between Norwich City and Derby County. The Football Association asked SBOBET to turn over any evidence that it may have regarding any match-fixing that may have occurred.

SBOBET turned down their request citing that it could be a breach of customer privacy, and it was a wise decision as eventually the Football Association (FA) found that no match-fixing had taken place and SBOBET prevented a big internal issue that could have resulted from disclosing their customers’ betting activities.

In 2009, two Bulgarian News Agencies, Novinite.com, and 24 Chasa Daily publicly accused the sportsbook of fixing the Levski vs. CSKA Sofia football match. In fact, those agencies actually published incorrect information and had to correct those articles and issue a formal apology to SBOBET, as the information was untrue and inflammatory.

In both cases, the bookmaker was pulled into two different controversies and, in both cases, it came out on top.

In 2009, they were once again in the news, though. Along with 188BET, the Premier League criticized both bookmakers for offering live betting on academy football games. The premise, which did have merit, was that children and their activities should not be exposed to international gambling organizations. Both bookmakers did immediately suspend their betting on these events and worked one on one with the Premier League before moving forward with any questionable betting opportunities.

So, this time, the situation was accurate but SBOBET’s response was more than appropriate. Its staff handled the situation with class and to the satisfaction of the Premier League.

Sports Betting in the Philippines

Licensing and playing are two different things in the Philippines.

SBOBET has dual licensing with one held through the government of the Isle of Man and the other in the Philippines. And, yes, we’ve just mentioned that Philippine-based customers are no longer able to register or wager through the website, as they had previously all due to the 2014 Remote Gambling Act.

Before we continue, let’s just clarify that there are two main gambling regions with two types of licensing available in the Philippines:

PAGCOR – the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (state-owned)

PAGCOR is the sole authorized gambling operator with all land-based and online casinos, bingo, sports betting, and betting establishments and issues licenses to Philippine-based offshore gaming operators

CEZA and FCLRC – the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and the First Cagayan Leisure and Resorts Corporation

Cagayan is the only region in the Philippines that is not under PAGCOR jurisdiction and provides one of the licenses the bookmaker holds, the other being through the Isle of Man.

Getting back to the legalities in the Philippines, the 2014 Act essentially banned all online gambling. However, in 2016, restrictions eased up a bit and PAGCOR started issuing remote licenses through a program called Pogo (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators).

The licenses are only issued to Philippine-based operators and, here’s the catch, these companies are still not able to offer gaming services to Philippine customers. The license allows for remote marketing and sales only.

So, although PAGCOR provides for legal land-based betting, online sportsbooks operators based in the area can only legally provide services to punters outside of their own country.

How’s the Experience Overall?

Blue, blue and more blue. That’s what you’ll initially see on the website. It’s a lot of numbers in a sea of blue. But, despite it being a fairly simplistic website, it’s a good overall product that provides for natural interaction by its customers.

It retains that consistent sportsbook style with the left side sports menu, some featured lines in the center and then the bet slip and “what’s happening” on the right.

You’ll note that the top menu is concise:

“Games” is essentially the main casino that can be accessed by sports bettors and “Classic Games” takes you off the sbobet.com platform to https://games.waterbun.com/ and is an advertising page for the Casino and Live Casino.

The site is available for translation in a dozen languages, Burmese, German, Korean, Spanish, English, Indonesian, Portuguese, Thai, French, Japanese, Russian, and Vietnamese.

The odds default to decimal on the European platform, and there are handy buttons at the very top for the mobile format, payment options or new player registration.

Live Betting is available with a click taking the user from all events to purely in-play events that are divided up with Asian Handicaps warranting their own section. They also offer some live streaming on some of their betting options as long as you’re a registered player with some skin in the game.

A Tip of the Hat

SBOBET came right out of the gate as a top contender for Asian sports betting and it has done a lot of things right.

It has a sports menu with a focus on football, but more than enough other events to cater to a wide variety of customers. Futsal, Gaelic Football, Water Sports, Winter Sports, Badminton, Financial, E-sports, Entertainment, Lacrosse, and Squash all count amongst the complete menu of 33 sports and non-sports available for action. The website notes that it offers 1500 events per week, including an average of 20 daily live streaming feeds.

Speaking of those live feeds… We think a betting operator that offers live streaming to its customers gets a big gold star. Sports bettors are sports enthusiasts and want easy access to those games and matches for which they have money invested. The sportsbook puts itself heads and shoulders above some of its direct competitors by offering this additional service.

While the site covers the gamut of the types of events, it’s also one of the top bookmakers for Asian Handicaps. Asian Handicaps reduce the house edge with an ROI of about 97% for its punters. This type of betting is not only available through their extensive football offerings but also in most North American sports.

We also give these guys top marks for catering to their high rollers. A high maximum £100,000 bet allows for big money payouts. They don’t publicize their ceilings for overall winnings as it has determined them to be event-specific, it is known for being one of the go-to’s for players looking for hefty betting action without risk of restrictions.

Deposits and withdrawals are fee-free, something that should be expected but is not always the case with online bookies, so players not only have a good varied menu of options but don’t need to calculate hefty cash out charges into the equation.

SBOBET has put forward an overall good experience for its customers. Its odds are competitive and choices are plentiful. The financial end of things is covered well, and there are some perks like live streaming in the sportsbook and in the racebook that take this betting service to the next level.

We’ve Gone Over the Good; What About the Bad?

One of the biggest criticisms of SBOBET involves their bonus and promotions program that’s offered to their players or customers considering filling out that registration form.

Despite there being a publicized bonus, it’s not available to all players and it doesn’t provide considerable value to those that can claim it as the percentage is low and the rollover is high. The basic welcome bonus allows for a 15% deposit match of up to €200. This bonus comes with a play through requirement of 14 times, though. That’s quite a restrictive offer and not appealing to customers who see much great value through rivals.

As far as other bonuses and promotions, they’re few and far between. They do offer some tournaments and challenges from time to time that is fun for players and can result in some extra cash in their pockets, but the rollovers, again, are quite prohibitive.

A current 30% deposit bonus has an unbelievable 26 times rollover attached. That is one of the highest we’ve seen through a bookie and should be a red flag for players to accept a value-add that is so difficult to receive.

Players also recognize they could offer more markets on their events. It has a focus on the Asian Handicaps but omits some options that some of its bettors may be seeking. Some punters have noted that they would appreciate teasers and prop bets.

Lastly, although this is not in conjunction with their sports betting, for such an impressive sportsbook, Their casino is uninspiring providing just enough for the table game, slots, and dice game players.

Some of the Better Sports to Bet on Here

Unless we’re talking about an American catering sportsbook, you can be sure that football will be the number one sport, at least in the quantity and variety of betting selections and this one is no different.

They offer competitive odds pretty much across the board, but Asian Handicaps really give their players an advantage and are available toward many American sports as well.

As far as the overall favorites for European-based players, anyway, football and horse racing are at the top of their list, closely followed by tennis, ice hockey, basketball, and rugby.

Keep in mind that betting limits are not publicly posted across the board, but football should provide the best winning potential regarding payouts so, again, we need to give football the honor of “best sport to bet on” through SBOBET.

Their current sportsbook menu:

SBOBET also lists a menu of their sports betting markets that are available on a game by game basis:

They don’t list proposition bets and their entertainment and financials betting has slim pickings. On a few occasions that we’ve checked in, there haven’t been any opportunities for non-sports wagers whereas financials should consistently be posted.

Live Betting is also going to be a primarily football-driven section. Basketball, tennis, and volleyball show up with a small number of events, but football selections just simply can’t be matched by any other sport.

What are Their Maximum Betting Limits Like?

Most sportsbooks list a comprehensive list of maximum payouts that are attached to each sport and vary based upon the level of play for individual events.

Their policy is quoted as: “There are different minimum and maximum stake limits for each event offered. Each time you place a bet, the minimum and maximum bet amount for the particular event is shown at the bottom section of your bet ticket.”

We know, from player accounts, that they will accept wagers up to £100,000 and may even be higher on a case-by-case basis. The company’s reputation acknowledges it as one of the highest paying bookmakers, especially amongst its Asian-based competitors.

The minimum bet, on the other hand, is typically set at £1, which is also high in comparison to some sportsbooks and right on par with others.

So Should You Bet Here?

SBOBET is currently offering a few different contests for its sports bettors but, regarding actual on-going bonuses and awards, it only provides one ongoing award and some occasional deposit bonuses.

There is a 15% welcome bonus that’s good for up to €200 but the interesting thing about this bonus is that it’s based on redeeming an assigned code that’s only good for a month at a time. And, different months have different exclusions regarding the players who can participate.

For example, in March of 2017, residents of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam were exempt, but in June, there are different restrictions. Residents of Armenia, Australia, China, Indonesia, Kosovo, Latvia, Malaysia, Russia, Slovakia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam are ineligible for this exact same bonus just two months later.

This award does require a promotion code and, to cash out anything, there is a 14 times rollover that must be made within 60 days of claiming this bonus.

All in all, it’s not a very useful value add. To receive the maximum amount, over €1300 would need to be deposited and the 14 times rollover requirement is considerable.

There is a current deposit bonus also being offered for just a month at a time. This additional reload bonus is a 30% match but comes with an even larger 26 times rollover. No typo here. 26 times. This play through mandate also needs to be met within 60 days of claiming the bonus.

Aside from the deposit related offers, there are a few current contests they’re conducting. We’re going to give you a quick glimpse at the type of games they run as you’ll find similar types of tournaments throughout the year.

Deposit Methods

SBOBET conducts transactions in 16 different currencies:

We’ll take a look at transactions using the Euro for purposes of this review.

Visa – credit card and debit card
Minimum Deposit – €40
Maximum Deposit – Based on payment provider
Fees – zero

Mastercard – credit card and debit card
Minimum Deposit – €40
Maximum Deposit – Based on payment provider
Fees – zero

Skrill – e-wallet
Minimum Deposit – €40
Maximum Deposit – Based on payment provider
Fees – zero

Skrill 1-Tap – mobile e-wallet
Minimum Deposit – €40
Maximum Deposit – Based on payment provider
Fees – zero

Neteller – e-wallet
Minimum Deposit – €40
Maximum Deposit – Based on payment provider
Fees – zero

Telegraphic transfer – bank transfer
Minimum Deposit – €100
Maximum Deposit – Based on payment provider
Fees – zero

Entropay – virtual card
Minimum Deposit – €40
Maximum Deposit – Based on payment provider
Fees – zero

Withdrawal Methods

Cashing out takes the deposit methods and reverses them. SBOBET does not charge for withdrawals either, so the process is straightforward.

Players can make one withdrawal request within a 24 hour period and then, depending upon the initial mode selection, it could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the funds to be received by the customer.

SBOBET doesn’t have complaints about their financial system. In fact, they’ve had some players comment that it’s a good system, with a fast turnaround so, for the most part, they’re pleased.

Quality of Customer Service

This is another area that relatively quiet and free of feedback, which is actually a very good thing when it comes to customer service as it means that there are many major issues with the service the SBOBET is providing.

The only suggestion would be to add a few more agents to the department as SBOBET is known to be busy during peak hours so it can take longer for a representative to start interacting with a customer. Their frustration is more about the wait time rather than the level of service, though, so SBOBET gets a thumbs up in customer service.

There are a lot of ways to reach someone at SBOBET. Aside from the traditional email, phone or chat options, there’s Skype, WeChat, WhatsApp, and for the time travelers, there’s even a dedicated fax.

Contact Details:

What Else Do They Offer?

Although there isn’t a Poker Room on SBOBET, there is a Casino that we would best describe as having more variety than quantity. The games are all across the board with options that players won’t be able to find everywhere.

Adjacent to the regular casino, which is hosted in the “Games” area of the top menu, is a Live Dealer casino for players who prefer the personal interaction with Baccarat, Roulette, Sic Bo, and Blackjack.

To get to the casino, as we said, you need to select Games from the top menu. Classic Games is another option, but is SBOBET’s landing page for their casino and takes you off of the SBOBET site and on to games.waterbun.com that acts as an advertisement for the casino but doesn’t host the games.

Once in the games or casino area, you’ll note that it seems a bit dated. Compared to the sportsbook, the casino comes across as juvenile. The graphics aren’t sleek and modern but, on the flip side, casino players are looking for the games and that’s really all that matters so, let’s move on to those games.

There are 11 varieties of games or areas of the casino and, additionally, SBOBET breaks some of them down into New and Featured categories to provide an easier search for its players

The 11 areas are:

Virtual
Four virtual games provide some higher quality graphics and a different type of gaming experience for players who enjoy betting on sports in this manner. It’s a great training ground for new sports bettors who want to get comfortable with the process in a no pressure environment as they’re just playing against the computer.

They can choose racing or football:

Slots
Slot players love the themes and all of the little extras that accompany this type of gaming and SBOBET’s slot banks boast 52 different options making it the largest area of the casino. It continues to provide new games and has just recently added:

Other favorites include:

Instant Win
Instant Win games would also appeal to Scratchcard players, (and SBOBET also provides scratchcards), and this section hosts eight different Instant Win options including newly added, Fruity Fruits and Egg Mania.

Numbers Game
Two games are in this area but, as we said, you’ll find a lot of variety and not great quantity in SBOBET’s casino.

Djap Go
Yin Yang Treasure

Casino Games
Casino games would be called Table Games on some other sites and this area is divided up further into Royal games and House games with ten total tables providing the following action:

Royal Games:

House Games:

Hi-Lo
There are a few types of games that you don’t see much on European or North America casino sites and Hi-Lo and Dice are a few that aren’t widely available.

Hi-Lo is six games total:

Skill
You can hone your skills on one game and one game only in this particular section and that is Fruit Blast.

Cards
The cards section is an extension of the casino games area and provides players with six additional games:

Dice
Another form of gaming that you won’t find everywhere aside from most Asian gaming providers, but SBOBET does offer it in four different versions.

Bingo-Keno
Not a lot of introduction needed here other than to say that there are five bingo and keno games in this particular section.

Scratchcards
Last but not least, 14 different scratchcards should accommodate players who enjoy this type of game. Scratchcards have become increasingly popular and provide a good way to get in on some betting action without a lot of skill needed to learn the game. This is a basic “scratch off of a card and then check to see if you’re a winner” type of play.

We mentioned that there was a Live Casino as well and it is also divided up in similar fashion to the casino games that we previously mentioned.

The live casino has two different areas:
1. Royal Suite
2. 338 Suite

Similar games but a different feel are in these areas.

Royal Suite:

338 Suite:

We mentioned that SBOBET doesn’t currently host a poker room, but it does have a Racebook just called “Racing” in the top menu.

The racebook features UK and Irish racing and is also now available for mobile betting as well. Harness and Greyhound tracks are featured and, additionally, for those who have staked a wager, there is live streaming of the races, something that we feel is a huge benefit for punters as they can watch for themselves as their picks cross the finish line.

One other feature of the racing area is the Dashing Derby that players can get in on for fun.

Aside from areas of gaming that supplement the sportsbook, SBOBET hosts a blog providing players with news, picks and more. Sports enthusiasts enjoy keeping on top of the latest and greatest, so they make the best selections, so the blog is yet another feature that benefits their customer base.

Are There Better Online Sportsbooks?

When we take a look at some of SBOBET’s top competitors in Asia, like 188Bet and Dafabet, the pendulum swings back and forth regarding which offers the better services.

SBOBET is one the best books in sheer volume of events. Its sports menu is quite lengthy, especially compared to Dafabet that has a much more limited menu but more of an emphasis on American sports.

Proposition bets and non-sports opportunities are lacking, though, and can be found through 188Bet or Dafabet. 188Bet has a considerable financials section with a lot of opportunity for non-sports wagering. Dafabet has an entire e-sports area.

One of the big ones in our book, anyway, that also goes to SBOBET is the live streaming of the events that are posted for betting purposes. Live streaming takes the overall experience to the next level as punters are excited to watch the action and see the progress of where they stand with their winning potential.

The company’s direct competition does not provide any live stream services whereas these guys offer live racing and live sports. However, if a customer is looking purely at streaming service, they would need to go to a prominent UK book for the most viewing opportunities.

Getting back to the SBOBET vs. 188Bet and Dafabet comparison, SBOBET is the only one that opted to pull its service out of the United Kingdom. The others still market heavily to that area and provide financial options to accommodate those customers.

They can be best compared to 188Bet for maximum payout potential. They both cater more to the high-rolling clientele whereas Dafabet is geared toward recreational bettors and have much lower payout caps.

The same goes for the “winners welcome” policy. Dafabet is known to limit players whereas SBOBET and 188Bet allow for those big wins and are happy to have loyal players on board whether they win or not.

Bonuses are not great with any of the three. Dafabet is a bonus-heavy sportsbook but only offers bonuses to players using RM currency. 188Bet gears its bonus programs toward its Irish and British players. 188Bet does have enhanced price specials that can count toward value-add for its players but SBOBET does not carry many additional promotions outside of a few tournaments here and there.

Conclusion

Asian sportsbooks provide good value for punters around the globe due to the smaller margins and the great value of the Asian Handicaps that are offered, and this sportsbook is no exception. It lists the extensive sports menu that avid bettors are looking for with a focus on soccer from large and small leagues.

What elevates SBOBET to a level above some of its competitors is the availability of some live event streaming. This feature is appealing to today’s players and allows them to be more engaged with the games that they have some money riding on, and sports enthusiasts enjoy being able to watch right from their online bookmaker. SBOBET made a great decision in offering live streaming to accompany their in-play menu as other direct competitors haven’t added it to their list of benefits as yet.

Their publicized deposit methods are more than enough to accommodate players from different regions, but more information regarding withdrawals would be helpful, especially for brand new players who are still uncertain as to how online betting actually works.

All in all, we feel that SBOBET has put together an excellent service. It covers most of the bases to provide a comprehensive betting menu and easy to use interface for its customers.