Bet365 Review: A quality app, but enough to compete in the US?

bet365 sportsbook review

Credit: Image created by XLMedia

Credit: Image created by XLMedia

A competitive market with evolving brands is good for consumers in any market, and in this way, the arrival of bet365 Sportsbook as a legitimate industry player will come as a welcomed development for sports bettors.

Although plenty of states have yet to launch online sports betting operations, the market has quickly matured and a few key players have gobbled up market share. In most states, it’s DraftKings, FanDuel and everyone else. Basically, most sports bettors either habitually use on of the two brands, while others may bounce between less popular options like BetMGM, Caesars and PointsBet -- often to scrape up odds boosts and other opportunistic offers.

We’re only a few years into the legal online sports betting experience, but if we’re being honest, there’s already a stagnant quality about the landscape. It’s one that could probably use an injection of some new players in the game. As online sports betting continues its gradual sprawl across America, bet365 -- along with the coming ESPN Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook -- is one of three apps looking to shake up the establishment and compete with the big boys at the top.

Currently, the brand is live in just six states (New Jersey, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio and Kentucky), but it has plans to launch in future sports betting states as well as get into the game in already-established ones.

The core question is this: Can bet365 actually compete? Yeah, it’s going to get downloads from bet365 bonus code hunters looking to grab some bonus bets or first-bet offers, but it can gain any traction beyond a one or two-time play?

Working in bet365 Sportsbook’s favor is precedent. It’s a wildly popular brand in Europe, considered a leader much the way a DraftKings or FanDuel is viewed here. It has also made strides in recent years in the U.S., including a successful Ohio launch and some early promise in Kentucky. It’s a quality app, offers strong odds and is doing some cool things on the tech side (like letting users watch low-to-zero latency) live streams while betting. That’s great and all, but does it have to chops to make a lasting impact?

One key factor will be how the brand continues to understand the American bettor. What they want, what they want to bet on, and perhaps most importantly, devising a marketing strategy that lands to the extent it can truly contend.

bet365 Sportsbook takes methodical approach in U.S.

Bet365 is well established in Europe, with a 20+ year climb as a leading sportsbook.

Since the company’s advent that came just following the turn of the century, it has struck major marketing deals along its march to becoming a dominant force. This includes a sponsorship with Stoke City F.C. that eventually matured into the brand buying stadium naming rights of the 30,089 capacity venue.

In the U.S., it’s been more of a slow play as they look to compete and slowly make moves on market share. While the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel operate in all legal online sports betting states, bet365 is just in slightly over a handful of markets. It first arrived in New Jersey and Colorado before expanding operations to Virginia and Iowa. Simply put, with little organic interest beyond those looking to grab bonuses, it took a clear backseat to other brands in its fist years stateside.

But bet365 has slowly ramped up its advertising presence as it looks to slowly gain notoriety, and the company experienced its first major breakthrough when it went live with the launch of Ohio sports betting.

Prior to the launch, it partnered up with former Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul to hit airwaves promoting the brand. The usual suspects continued to lead the way, but there was significant demand in the bet365 brand and there continues to be as the state rolls through its first football season.

Bet365 also came out of the gate with the late-September Kentucky sports betting launch, marking the second time it didn’t compete from a chase position. Further expansion is expected, with bet365 likely launching in at least a couple more mature legal online sports betting states as well ones on the horizon.

Can the app stand out?

If we’re being honest, the the ceiling on bet365′s success will likely depend on how it can differentiate itself in markets that are both established and competitive. Said plainly, why would someone jump over to bet365 when they’ve been with a DraftKings, BetMGM, or FanDuel for a few years. These are quality platforms with good boosts and ads pumping up these brands are constantly in the faces of sports fans.

It’s a daunting task, but bet365 will hope that ramped up campaigns, competitive odds and evolving technologies will bring in players.

One thing that has jumped out in my experience with the app is that its returning player offers have gotten better. This piece was created in mid-October, right in the midst of the MLB Postseason and NFL regular season. bet365 used to offer more generic odds boosts or promotions targeted around secondary sports that might not drump up a ton of betting interest -- like tennis. But when I hopped in on Oct. 18, I saw the following:

  • A 50% profit boost on Thursday Night Football SGPs
  • A 30% profit boost on an ALCS SGP
  • NCAAF and NFL early payouts: Get up 17, get your moneyline bet paid out
  • A 30% boost on the 2023-2024 NBA Championship futures bet

The other cool feature is a zero-latency live streaming platform that shows odds right on top of game action. This is a fun feature that’s still in its early stages. Right now, players can tune into niche events, but it’s expected that as the brand makes deals with major leagues that the offerings will rapidly expand.

As a fan, this makes betting a single-screen experience. So someone doesn’t have to make a bet and wait and minute to watch it unfold on television. Or worse, make a bet and then follow a bunch of bouncing balls and moving dots on a sports app.

Pros of bet365 Sportsbook

One thing working in the favor of bet365 is precedent. It’s already demonstrated the ability to compete at a high level in the United Kingdom and European markets.

The brand has already demonstrated top tier tech in its current iteration and if there’s a willingness to ramp up its marketing campaigns and spend its way into the forefront, there’s a quality product that could potentially support real retention.

While some of its market share numbers and general interest has been mixed over its first few years, its presence in Ohio has to be internally viewed as a promising development, one that could provide the brand’s decision-makers with confidence to go all-in in forthcoming states.

Cons of bet365 Sportsbook

Basically, I hinted at this above, but perhaps the biggest challenge bet365 faces is market saturation and the stranglehold of more popular sports betting apps. In theory, it’s nice to believe that a good product will always find a way, but here’s the problem -- apps like DraftKings and FanDuel are good productions -- and each has a healthy head start into the space.

It’s clear that bet365 has improved its feel of the American market and its understanding of what American bettors want. In the early going, it didn’t have the feel of a fun app, one that catered to actual sports fans. It wasn’t really an easily digestible platform. It sort of had a cold and vanilla feel about it.

The implementation of NBA, MLB and NHL logos give it a more comfortable feel. You would think these features would be somewhat overrated, as if to say a good bonus and functioning odds is all that’s really needed, but these branding points help create an element of comfort and legitimacy in the app -- like it’s not an imposter infringing in a market it doesn’t really know.

Our bet365 review, summarized

Here’s the bottom line, bet365 has some variables working in its favor: good tech, evolving bonuses, an increased understanding of its user preferences, and a big budget that can market with other elite operators.

While I’ve used the headstarts of rival apps as a check against the likelihood it ever leads the way, an optimist could tell you that potential complacency and stagnant offerings by the market-leading sportsbooks could open the door an opportunistic challenger. In that case, bet365 feels like a contender to seize that opportunity.

I had previously used the app on occasion, but never gave it any real consistent run to talk about it with any true detail. So, in an effort to get truly familiar with it, I spent a week working through some MLB postseason and NFL bets. Let me tell you what I found:

  • First of all, it’s huge that they added Face ID. I’m constantly bouncing in and out of Instagram, text messages, X, Facebook and Safari on my iPhone. The last thing I want to do is get bogged down by typing a username or password, so to open up the app, show face, and get in is nice. I’ll probably make and track bets 20-30 times per day, so I want to be jammed up waiting 2-3 extra seconds each time.
  • Making a deposit wasn’t any easier or harder than at rival apps.
  • I took advantage of the early payouts on NFL, NCAAF, and MLB games. DraftKings ran a similar early payout at the start of the NFL season but has since discontinued that. I’m not the biggest moneyline better so I had to pick my spots, but for those who are, early win payouts are awesome. This is especially true of anyone who is a high-volume better. Bad beats on backdoor covers and insane comebacks are common. Anything that mitigates that type of stuff is a good feature.
  • I was able to get into each individual betting market quickly and navigate the menus from open bets, to upcoming events and live-in game wagering. That’s good.

But...if we’re keeping it real, I came away from my weeklong run with bet365 essentially thinking this: It’s a good app. I’ll probably be opportunistic and leverage their bonus offerings when it makes sense with my gambling goals.

Just one problem -- I’ve used a rival app for five years now. I know the app inside out. I know how to get what I need out of it, how to do it quickly, and I’ve built up enough status that I constantly get awesome odds boosts and even bonus cash. A representative called me on my birthday with a $50 bonus bet. I just can’t bring myself to start over and grow my daily activity elsewhere.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not an online gambling operator or gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.