Does a betting company consider their advert a success if it annoys the hell out of you, merely because it means that you’ve remembered it? If so BetVictor absolutely nailed it with their series starring Paul Kaye as ‘Morris’, continually interrupting ‘Victor’s’ day. In an industry flooded with irritating adverts they truly took the biscuit. They’ve upped their game in recent years, somewhat hypocritically taking the Mickey out of ‘banter’ filled adverts. Why have I begun a review of the bookmaker by talking about their advert? Because I believe their change in tack on that front is indicative of the company’s shift in attitude all round.
They’ve started to paint themselves as the ‘gentleman’s bookmaker’, leaving behind the laddie attitude that is so prevalent in the industry in favour of a more mature approach to betting. Not a bad approach to take, considering that’s very much where their history lies. The company was founded in 1946 by William Chandler, a man who had made his name owning Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium. The company has struggled over branding quite a lot during its history, briefly opting for ‘VC Bet’ and the more personal ‘Victor Chandler’ in days of yore. It became ‘BetVictor’ in 2012 and has stuck with the name since then.
The ‘Morris’ Advertising Campaign
Personally I’m a fan of considering a bookmaker’s key features before I look at the sports they cover. Given that the very best bookies in the industry all tend to cover much the same stuff, how they cover it can be key in deciding whether or not they get your business.
As I mentioned at the start of the review, BetVictor has changed direction in recent years and has begun to paint itself as a more mature bookmaker. That has reflected itself in a big way in the design of their website and you’ll notice it really clearly in the live betting section. It’s all very clean and crisp, which won’t be to everyone’s taste but which makes it easy to see what’s going on. The In-Play tab takes you to a new page that shows what’s going on right now on the lefthand side and what’s coming up later on the righthand side.
Choose a popular sport like football and you’ll be presented with the ongoing matches, separated out by leagues. The only market you’ll have access to immediately is 1X2 and you’ll need to click on the event to see how many betting choices each game has. This is different to sites like Bet365, where you’re told exactly how many events are available to bet on for each match without needing to click into it for more specific detail. A click on the match will bring it up in its own page, whereupon you’ll be able to scroll through the different bets and see a graphic at the top that lets you know what’s going on at any given moment.
If you want my opinion, BetVictor’s live streaming section is very hit and miss. For some of you it will be exactly what you like, with a clear explanation of what’s going on in the sport of your choice as it’s happening. The bets are kept separate from the ‘action’, if you like, so you can make a judgement call on how things are going before finding the event you want to place your bet on. At the time of writing I’m looking at a match between Guangzhou and Hebei CFFC in the CHN China Super League and here are some of the markets I could place a bet on:
- Correct Score – 90 Mins
- Both Teams to Score – First Half
- To Win and Total Goals – 90 Mins Win only
- 1st Half Goal Bands – First Half Win only
- Odd/Even Total Goals – 90 Mins
Compared to some other bookies the markets are seemingly quite specific, with more obvious markets like Next Goal Scorer missing completely. It’s a sign of the sort of betting that BetVictor think their punters want to do in the live format, suggestive to me of the fact that they are interesting in winning the custom of more than just a casual punter. There are plenty of sports covered in the in-play section, too, with the likes of road cycling, cricket and beach volleyball all having markets to offer.
BetVictor’s live streaming is one area that lets them down when compared to some of their competitors. You can watch live horse racing from the UK and Ireland as long as you’ve placed a bet of £1 or more on the race, but other than there’s not a lot going on. They try to make up for it with the graphics at the top of the in-play section, but it’s not even close to the same.
Something else that you’ll want to bear in mind when it comes to BetVictor’s live streaming is that they don’t make it particularly clear or obvious how to find the streams. There is no tab at the top of the page and if you head to the In-Play section you won’t see anything there, either. Instead you need to click on the Horse Racing tab and open up the All Runners page. At the top you’ll see a sign informing you to place a bet in order to see the live stream and it will become available surely before the race begins. An imperfect system, in my opinion.
If things aren’t all that clear when it comes to live streaming, BetVictor does its best to make up for that with its Cash Out function. A scroll through any of the bets you can place on the homepage will reveal a little symbol when Cash Out is available. Weirdly, just because there isn’t a symbol doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to cash out our bet, but if the symbol’s there then you definitely will be able to. You’ll know if you can Cash Out because your offer will appear in the tab next to your Betslip on the right side of the page.
The sports and events that you can Cash Out your bet on vary across the board, though football has the most options. You can Cash Out the likes of Win singles and accumulators with up to 20 legs. If you’re unsure if your bet will be valid for a Cash Out option then have a look for the symbol or search the site’s Help section. It’s actually pretty good for that sort of thing.
So you now know what features are available to you courtesy of BetVictor, but how is their coverage of individual sports? Are there any standout things that you should be aware of moving forward?
BetVictor is a company that very clearly loves football. In 2016 they reached an agreement to become an official partner with Liverpool Football Club and whilst this may put some particularly partisan supporters off using them, what it means is that they really know their market. They also offer Specials on Liverpool’s games, so they’re always worth looking out for if you’re looking for an edge.
BetVictor’s football coverage is one of the best in the business. There’s no messing around here, with plenty of options available for even the most random of matches and betting choices to please even the most discerning of punters. BetVictor was one of the first bookmakers to realise the potential of the Asian market, for example, so they’ve absolutely nailed Asian Handicap bets.
I know this is shallow, but one of the things I judge a bookmakers depth of coverage on is how many leagues I’ve never heard of that they let you place bets on. As I type this there are matches taking place in leagues that I either know a little about, such as the Danish Superligaen, or knew were a thing like the Chinese Super League. Yet there are also matches taking place in the Ligat Leumit, which is something I didn’t even know how to type, let alone know where it is. If I had to guess from the names of teams like Macabi Hertzeliya and Hapoel Afula I’d say it was an Israeli league, but I couldn’t promise you that’s right.
From games in the Thai Premier League through to matches taking place in the Ukrainian Under-21 League, it’s evident that BetVictor are keen to offer punters as many games as they can. Within each match the coverage isn’t always amazing, with the more popular teams and leagues getting significantly better coverage than random ones such as the Polish Ekstraklasa. Either way, though, you’ll find plenty of options when it comes to sticking a bet on a live football match if you’re hoping to do just that.
BetVictor’s odds are where the company really excels, in my opinion. I read somewhere that they operate at about a 3% profit margin when it comes to football, which is quite low compared to some competitors. That basically means that bettors are able to take advantage of some really great odds across a varied market. You might not be able to live stream matches as you are with some other bookmakers, but the odds may well be better through them. A good way to get around that is to stream via a rival but place your bets with BetVictor. Not that I told you to do that…
In seasons past BetVictor have had higher odds than their competitors in more than 70% of the market. That’s a lot. Odds comparison sites often have them near the top when it comes to the best companies to bet with and to me that is a sign that they’re trying to win as much business as they can. They’ll know that bringing people in via the football will allow them to introduce them to their other markets, so why not let punters win a few? That’s exactly the attitude you want a bookmaker to take, so make sure you seize your opportunity and get some bets on at the best odds possible.
As I’ll come on to talk about in a minute, BetVictor’s coverage of all sports is pretty decent. There’s no question that, like a parent with two successful kids and a few that still live at home, they love football and horse racing the most. Here’s a look at how they deal with Sport of Kings.
If you were looking for an indication of whether or not BetVictor’s horse racing coverage is any good then surely the fact that the only live streaming the company offers is for the sport should give you a reasonably good clue. As I write this there are bets available for races from Chester, Lingfield, Ascot and more in the UK, Kilbeggan and Dundalk in Ireland, Auteuil in France and Fairview in South Africa. The only one of those that has no live streaming is the French racing.
At the time I’m writing this review, the last few barrels of Guinness from the Cheltenham Festival have only just been drained. Even so, there are ante-post markets for the major races at next year’s Festival. Talk about planning in advance. The same is true for other major races, such as the Grand National, Epson and Ascot. Victor Chandler himself had some strong links with horse racing, so it’s really no surprise that the company named after him has such good coverage of the industry. You might not be able to bet on races in America or Australia, but the coverage they do offer is as good as it could be.
I’m not saying it’s never going to happen, but you’re extremely unlikely to place a bet on a horse race with BetVictor and then find out after the fact that you’d have got some rip-roaringly better odds through someone else. At the end of 2016 the company expanded its partnership with TimeForm, meaning that you can now get much better information about odds on races in the likes of South Africa. This can only be seen as a good thing, with an improvement in knowledge always likely to lead to an improvement in your winnings.
A quick look at odds comparison sites will, as with the football, show that BetVictor have the best or joint-best odds for around 50% of the horses in most races. That’s a decent chunk of the market covered, whilst the ones where the odds aren’t the best are still competitive enough to mean that there isn’t much in it unless you’re a major player. The one slight irony is that BetVictor appears to be appealing to the the high-rollers with its new look site and more mature approach, but even if you are a large bettor you won’t miss out on huge profits if they’re not the best out there.
One of the main reasons that you can place your bet with BetVictor safe in the knowledge that you won’t miss out on too much money is their Bets Odds Guaranteed promotion. This is something offered by any bookmaker worth their salt, but it’s still noteworthy as far as I’m concerned. The offer dictates that if you place an early bet with BetVictor and the starting price is bigger than the price you took, you’ll get paid out at the higher price. Bearing that in mind, you’d be mad to bet with a bookie that doesn’t offer it.
BetVictor also offer something else a little bit different to their competitors when it comes to their horse racing coverage – a Run For Your Money guarantee. The idea of this is that you get your money back as cash if the horse that you bet on doesn’t give you a ‘run for your money’. Say your horse pulls up, refuses at the start or doesn’t even get out the stall before the rest are on their way around the course, BetVictor will give you your money back. Better than wondering why on earth you bothered placing the bet in the first place!
Something else that BetVictor do that’s a nice little addition is they sometimes offer enhanced places on big races. If you’re a casual punter that only tends to get involved with the likes of the Grand National or Cheltenham Gold Cup then this is ideal. For example, instead of offering Each-Way returns on horses that finish in the first four of a big race they might offer it for five places or even six. In years gone by they’ve stretched as far as seven places in the National, though this isn’t a regular occurrence. Definitely worth looking out for when the biggest races come around.
It goes without saying that a lot of major sports aside from horse racing and football are covered by BetVictor. Tennis, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, boxing and more are all part of the BetVictor brand. There are some slightly more rare sports covered too, though, such as:
- American Football
- Gaelic Football
- Motor Racing
- Motor Cycling
- MMA / UFC
- Rugby 7s
- Winter Sports
On top of sports BetVictor also offers betting markets on the likes of major political events and television programmes. Big fan of Strictly Come Dancing or the X-Factor? Get out more. If you don’t want to get out more, however, then BetVictor will offer odds on who is likely to win. When it comes to depth of coverage of these more off-the-beaten-track sports and events, it’s very similar to the football – the rarer you’re talking about the more likely it is that the coverage won’t be quite as good. It’s always pretty decent, though, so that might just be a matter of splitting hairs.
One area that BetVictor might considering strengthening in the future is their promotions when it comes to other sports. At the time of writing their are none at all to speak of, with the only non-football or horse racing offers involving online gaming and slot machines. This is likely designed to fit in with their new mature style, but it will leave those of you that like a random bet feeling a bit short-changed.
Previously known as Victor Chandler International Limited, the company is now known as BetVictor Limited and they’re one of the biggest independent bookmakers in the industry. Part of the reason why BetVictor’s horse racing coverage is so decent is that the company was bought by Michael Tabor in 2014. Tabor is a racehorse owner and in his previous life he was one of the most influential high-stakes bettors in the business. During the 1980s, the bookmaker Ladbrokes had to stop taking Tabor’s bets, such was his success and ability to influence the market by going big. Little wonder the company he now controls has such close links with the industry!
In 1998 BetVictor became one of the first company’s to move their business to Gibraltar in order to avoid paying gambling tax in the UK. There’s an argument that this is why they’ve always been able to offer such good odds, with the tax savings in part heading back to the punter. When Gordon Brown decided to abolish gambling tax in 2001, when he was Chancellor of the UK government, many felt it was BetVictor’s move abroad that had prompted the decision. Whatever else you can say about the company you can’t declare them to be anything other than a success; at the time of writing they’ve got more than half a million bettors using their services in over 150 countries.