The following is an in-depth review of the betting agency SBOBET. This review covers the history, features, interface, sports & racing markets, upsides and downsides of the service.
This review is part of our comprehensive Bookmaker Reviews section. The Betting Agencies page provides information and reviews for other sports betting agencies that are suitable for Australians. The following details are updated periodically to keep them up to date.
History, Location and Licence
Founded in 2004, SBOBET is operated by Celton Manx Limited, who are based on the Isle of Man in the British Isles (a tax haven). Their European operation is licensed by the Government of the Isle of Man while their Asian operation is licensed by the First Cagayan Leisure & Resort Corporation in the Philippines. SBOBET was rated the best Asian Operator of the year in 2009 and 2010 at the eGaming Review Magazine Operator Awards in London.1
SBOBET claims to offer “the most competitively priced odds among the major sportsbooks worldwide.” While SBOBET has not yet been included in our bookmaker margin survey, a basic survey of SBOBET odds suggests they are more competitive than the majority of bookmakers, with only Pinnacle Sports offering superior value.
In addition to its sportsbook product, SBOBET offers casino and online games. You can wager across all three products using the same wallet.
Services and Features
|New member offers||Sign up using the promotion code DEPBON11 and receive a 15% first deposit bonus of up to $225. Your account will be automatically credited with the bonus upon completion of a 10 times rollover of the qualifying deposit amount. The rollover requirement must be met within 60 days of the activation of your account before withdrawals are permitted. Any request to cancel the bonus or withdraw funds prior to meeting the required rollover will result in the withdrawal of any bonus and a 10% administrative fee levied on total winnings. Only 1.50 odds wagers on non-live sports markets will count towards the rollover requirement.|
|Deposit options||For AUD accounts: ClickandBuy, Diners, Envoy, Visa, Mastercard, POLi, Skrill/Moneybookers NETBANX, NETELLER.|
|Withdrawal options||For AUD accounts: ClickandBuy, Diners, Envoy, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill/Moneybookers NETBANX, NETELLER.|
|Currencies||AUD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, MYR, RMB, SGD, THB|
|Languages||English, Chinese (Simplified), Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai, Russian, Japanese, German, Spanish, Burmese|
|Odds formats||Decimal, Malay, Hong Kong|
|Minimum deposit||AUD $100|
|Minimum bet||Generally AUD $2.00, however we have seen $3.00 minimum wagers in some markets.|
|Maximum bet/payout||The maximum wager is conveniently displayed for each selection as it is added to the bet slip. The maximum depends on the market and the odds. We have observed in-play maximums in the $200-$850 range and pre-game limits of up to $2,000. For multi betting the maximum payout is AUD $83,333 for football and AUD $16,667 for other sports.|
|Deposit turnover requirements||None that we’re aware of|
|Bonus credit turnover requirements||10x at 1.50 odds or greater for the qualifying deposit|
|Bookmaker margin||4.4% (see below for more details)|
|Forbidden Jurisdictions||Not officially stated, although Hong Kong and the USA are not listed as options on the sign up form.|
|Mobile betting||A mobile version of the website is available|
|Identity checks||Australian residents can confirm their identity by entering their Medicare number after signing up. You may be asked to email them scanned copies of your Medicare card and driver’s licence.|
|Dormant account fees||None|
|Support||24/7 live chat, email, Skype and phone support (UK and Philippine numbers) are available|
Betting Interface and Website Layout
The SBOBET interface is more customisable than most other bookmakers. After signing up you are given the opportunity to tailor the website layout and features to suit your needs. Some of the options include the ability to accept better odds should the odds fluctuate when your bet is processed. You can also modify the order in which sports are displayed on the site.
The betting interface follows the ubiquitous three-column layout with sports displayed on the left, odds in the centre and the betting slip on the right. The sports list can be re-ordered to suit your needs and the number of events available is displayed in brackets next to each sport. A ‘My Favourites’ box at the top enables you to add your favourite events and leagues for easy access later.
The odds area displays the markets and odds concisely, with icons to view stats and add events to your favourites list. One unique feature is that only markets for today’s events are displayed initially. A row of dates are displayed at the top with the number of events listed for each date. To display all events for a selected league you must click on the ‘More’ button at the top right. The feature works perfectly well but may throw off novice punters.
The betting slip is highly functional with the excellent feature of being able to automatically lock in higher odds should the odds shift in your favour before the bet is processed. One feature we really like is the display of the minimum and maximum accepted wagers for each selection in the slip. This avoids the disappointment of setting up numerous strategic bets only to find out one or more stakes are outside accepted limits.
To create multi bets you must first select ‘Mix Parlay’ above the bet slip before placing selections. Exotic multi betting does not appear to be supported.
Overall, the interface is highly functional, however a few of the design features that are unique to SBOBET may throw off some punters.
In our most recent bookmaker margin survey, SBOBET had an average bookmaker margin of 4.4%, which is significantly lower than the survey median of 4.9%. From a punter’s perspective, the lower the margin, the better. SBOBET’s biggest strength lies in line and Asian Handicap markets, which often have 3.7% lines, compared to its head-to-head markets, which are typically offered with margins around 6.3%.
SBOBET states that it offers “over 500 sporting events every week, with extensive coverage of all major football leagues and international sporting events.” The selection isn’t as deep as some of the larger bookmakers (bet365, etc.), however the major sporting events are covered, which will meet the needs of most punters.
Because the bookmaker has a strong presence in Asia, Asian Handicap wagering is strongly supported. Such is the heavy use of Asian Handicaps that many head-to-head markets for in-play events are displayed as 0.00 Asian Handicaps. Click here to learn more about Asian Handicaps.
At the time of review the NRL and AFL weren’t in season so we can’t comment on the depth of coverage for the leading Australian codes. The A-League is covered (19 markets per event), as are major cricketing fixtures. Note that rugby union and rugby league markets are both contained in the ‘Rugby’ category.
Limited coverage is available for events in South Africa, the UAE, the UK and Ireland. Horse racing is not a prominent feature of SBOBET.
Live Sports Betting
According to the Interactive Gambling Act, bookmakers can’t offer live online betting to Australian residents – they can only do so over the phone. International services either ignore or aren’t aware of this law, and continue to offer live betting services to Australians. Adherence to the Act is the responsibility of gambling operators and not individual Australians. It is not an offence for an Australian resident to bet in-play (live) online.3
The in-play betting service at SBOBET fits in seamlessly with the rest of the sportsbook. In-play stats are available for selected sports along with a visual representation of the game in progress. At the time of review the live tennis scores weren’t updating so we recommend you use a third party website to track live scores while betting. In-play and pre-game wagers can be combined in the same bet slip.
The NRL and AFL weren’t in season during this review so we can’t comment on the coverage of those leagues. A recent ODI between Australia and Sri Lanka was not covered live.
One impressive feature of the live betting service is the competitive margins. We’ve observed markets with equivalent lines of 1.91 and greater, which is very good for in-play betting.
- Live online betting
- Competitive odds
- Customisable display and betting options
- Good selection of deposit methods, including POLi
- Head-to-head statistics for upcoming fixtures
- Self-exclusion features, including deposit limits and the ability to set a budget to limit your total wagers
- Courteous email support
- SBOBETv broadcasts various live basketball (not NBA) and football events
- Good help section
- Harsh turnover requirements to receive the first deposit bonus
- AUD $100 minimum deposit
- Stake amounts can only be in AUD $1.00 increments
- Exotic multi betting not supported
SBOBET is a solid all-round performer, although its interface idiosyncrasies and AUD $100 minimum deposit make it more suitable for serious punters than novices. Its biggest drawcards are the customisable interface, highly competitive line odds and online in-play betting. The deposit bonus turnover requirements are incredibly harsh, making the service unsuitable for bonus bagging. For the simple fact that SBOBET offers online in-play wagering and competitive odds, we recommend you give the service a look. An SBOBET membership would make a great complement to an Australian bookmaker account.
Notes and Sources
- 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SBOBET
- 2 POLi facilitates online bank transfers that are acknowledged by the bookmaker instantly. This enables you to log into your banking provider, transfer money to the bookmaker, and place bets immediately.
- 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_Gambling_Act