888sport is an integral part of Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited, in part a constituent of the massive global gambling conglomerate 888 Holdings Plc. The group is based in Gibraltar but has other offices in various other countries.
With sports gambling, poker, casino and games products, they have a large market share which they are keen to grow, as well as expanding into business to business products (through their Dragonfish brand). .
888sport itself – launched originally in partnership with Rank Group’s Blue Square – is a comprehensive sports betting product that incorporates all one would expect from a bookie of such renown and ambition – and a few extras besides. You can bet on everything from football to tennis, darts to cycling, along with plenty of more unusual markets including politics, the World Series of Poker and various television specials. They have also embraced live in-play betting in recent years and have produced a robust mobile version of their site and an iPhone app for punters on the move. At present they still use Blue Square odds, though moves are afoot to move market making in-house.
Horse racing live streaming
As do many bookies, 888sport uses footage from the Racing UK channel. Punters must stake a minimum of £1.00 in order to watch a race, with coverage commencing about two minutes before the specified race. The races can be viewed in the UK and Ireland only, and can be accessed through the Racing iCard from the main menu.
The quality of streaming is comparable to most rivals, and the Racing iCard offers a slick, informative suite of information to racing fans, including detailed stats, information on which horses have been most backed and also a predictor of race outcomes powered by the Press Association.
Using just Racing UK without the addition of At The Races (some bookies use both) limits the number of races covered, but the main meetings appear to be available.
Horse racing bet types offered
Industry standard each way terms are offered, though the number of places being paid is not displayed on the racecards or betting slips. Place only betting is also available as are forecasts and tricasts.
All the usual multiple bets are offered and are displayed in the betting slip after the appropriate number of selections have been added. The way the bets are displayed – in a pop out window as opposed to on the main page side bar as some bookies opt for – and the need to flick back and forth between racecard and betting slip may irritate some. Overall, though, there is nothing particularly lacking or exceptional in this area.
The website looks slick and clean with its black and orange design with markets down the left sidebar, general content and odds in the main body and various promotions in the right sidebar. The white text on various shades of grey backgrounds can be a little difficult to focus on at first, but once you get used to it, the site is easily navigable and offers excellent Help and FAQ sections.
As previously mentioned there is a Racing iCard section specifically for racing punters. This is a useful and nice-looking addition to the site, though the fact this section opens in a new browser window could be a point of frustration for some who like to keep things nice and simple.
Overall 888sport have massive potential to increase their market share by increasingly addressing the needs of racing punters. They have made strides in the right direction with the Racing iCard and the stats and features contained within, along with a decent live streaming system for many UK and Irish races.
There is room for improvement, however, with both the customer service – they should definitely have some kind of live 24 hour support in our opinion – and, importantly, the racing-specific offers available to punters.
All things considered, though, the pretty generous £88 free bet package for new customers is a welcome boost to racing punters who have a regular flutter. With the financial clout of their parent organisation behind them, we predict 888sport will continue to kick on with improvements and when they take the odds in house they could become even more competitive than they already are.
Promotions, free bets and bonuses
888sport offers a free bet bundle to new customers that is worth up to £88. It is more complicated than the free bets on offer by many rivals and requires punters to make a series of bets with their own money in order to qualify for seven £10 free bets and a final £18 freebie (available after the 22nd bet of over £10 has been placed, all at evens or above). If you have the stamina to take full advantage of this one, it works out as pretty generous, especially if you like to bet relatively small stakes, but quite regularly.
They have intermittent offers and bonuses available, most frequently on football matches. One example of a recent racing-specific offer gave a free bet (equal to the initial stake up to £50) to punters whose horse won by eight lengths or more and was backed at odds of 2/1 or greater. In other words, not an everyday occurrence. There are regular enhanced odds specials on horses in certain races which can sometimes offer some great value.
You do get a free £5 bet when you make your first bet on the mobile site or iPhone app, which is a bonus, but we do feel 888sport could offer more regular promotions to racing punters to be up there with the best bookies.
What are their prices like?
The odds at 888sport are still provided by Blue Square and have been since their tie-up partnership of 2007. Blue Square – and hence 888sport – are rarely market leaders in the racing odds, but they do have the occasional standout price on mid-market runners, especially in feature races. They also like to go out on a limb on a big money favourite from time to time, but in general the prices are more satisfactory than spectacular.
Customer service and contact methods
Unlike many of the leading bookmakers, 888sport offer neither an online chat customer support option, nor a 24 hour phone support service. Emails are answered ‘as soon as possible’ but this can be up to 24 hours, while the phone support is available between 09.00 and 22.00 UK time. Interestingly, 888 do offer 24/7 live chat support on their casino product, so perhaps the same will be added to the sports book in the future.
The phone support staff are friendly, though more detailed knowledge of specific racing bets could be better.
Email – [email protected] Phone – 0800 096 4780 Post – Cassava Enterprises Limited, Europort 601-701, Gibraltar 11111, Gibraltar
Deposit / withdrawal
You can deposit using a variety of methods including credit cards, debit cards, E-wallets (such as Neteller and PayPal) and bank transfer. The minimum deposit for most methods is £10 (or 10 Dollars or Euros if applicable), but £100 if using a wire transfer.
In order to withdraw funds, it is usually necessary to provide copies of photographic ID and/or credit and/or proof of address. In the name of fraud prevention this is a necessary inconvenience many bookies have had to embrace so we won’t penalise them for it.
There are no fees for withdrawal but the cash will be returned to you only within six business days of the request for a credit or debit card, which is a fair bit slower than many.