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Founded by a Canadian born Swiss hockey player, Doug Honegger, Bet99 was launched in 2020 with a seemingly endless marketing budget. Canadian and Ontario sports fans will have noted brand placements along various Canadian NHL club rink boards as well as a frequent stream of TV ads for their dot-net domain with their spokesperson, MMA legend Georges St-Pierre. While their for-money betting site and online casino are regulated from Kahnawake, Malta and Curacao, some expect Bet99 to apply for an Ontario iGaming license. How does their offering compare to other potentially licensed Ontario betting sites? Not great, we're afraid. Let's get into it with our opinion on Bet99's offering.
|• Painfully slow betting platform|
|• Mobile site is not intuitive to use|
|• High odds margins outside 'big 4'|
|• Poor 'international' sports coverage|
|• Significant withdrawal limits|
When it comes to the most popular betting markets on the main four leagues for Canadian players, Bet99 has margins that are essentially equal to that of both bet365 and Betway for example. For typical NFL or NBA point spread markets, you will often see odds of 1.90/1.90 or -110/-110 when the odds figures are equal on both potential outcomes, which is a margin of just over 5%. These odds are essentially bang-average for these often highly competitive markets, except that with Bet99, you are not getting a top-tier betting platform. If you were getting lower margins and thus better odds, it might make up for a slow and wonky interface, but you don't get them at Bet99. If you are OK with these odds, we would play with essentially any other Ontario brand that we recommend, as they all have far superior platforms (we touch on this below).
But let's not move on from Bet99 odds just yet. For top soccer events like the EPL, find margins on the main 1X2 market between 5.5% and 8%. Especially when they are near 8%, Bet99 soccer odds margins are not competitive with top brands. For other reasonably popular events and the most important markets, Bet99 odds margins tend to be about average, at 5% or slightly above. Again, Bet99 is not providing the lowest odds margin or 'sportsbook hold' anywhere across the board in comparison to other Ontario providers. In other words, the value on offer is average or below average.
Can we sum up the Bet99 Ontario experience from a computer in one word? Yes: Awful. Bet99 is on the 'Dench' sports betting platform (find a link to 'Dench' at the base of the Bet99 site). Other than Bet99, the Dench platform is only seemingly used by a combination of Bulgarian & Latvian gambling brands. No top-tier international gaming brands use the Dench platform.
In general, just loading the site is slow. In our review, even the homepage took a full 10 seconds to fully render. Loading popular pages from the 'Top Leagues' links is also slow compared to any top Ontario sportsbook brand. Where Bet99 really falls down is if you decide to navigate through their sport icons in the middle of the page. From our PC, we simply tried to navigate around to find NBA pre-match markets through the main basketball icon. We clicked it, then were shown a huge list of countries with tick boxes. We ticked USA, then clicked 'Show events'. This gave us a little wheel that kept spinning. In all, it took over one minute to load the page. Once finally loaded, the page was so big and unworkable, we could not even scroll the page smoothly or even click the odds tiles to add a bet to the bet slip, or click on other links to navigate to another page. The site was essentially unresponsive.
Bet99 is just so poorly structured in comparison to the multitude of platforms that are available to Ontario players. If we expected to bet on any sports with our computer as our preferred device, we would find Bet99 very frustrating to use.
The Bet99 mobile experience is much like the one for computers - slow and poorly laid out. When we tried to replicate the above basketball navigation, where we loaded all the US basketball events, we were left with far too many events on screen, and as we scrolled, we would be met with a black screen space that had yet to render the events.
The 'Menu' or 'hamburger' button contains no A-Z sports list. So if you are on a page with too many events and you are way down the page away from the navigation elements at the top of the page, you have to open the 'Menu' button, then tap 'Sports' to get back to the main sports page, then try to navigate to your desired destination. You cannot just go in one step. It's just not an intuitive design at all for mobile users. There are so many better mobile sports betting options from leading companies that use top-tier sportsbook platforms in Ontario.
Bet99 does have a new customer offer for Canada, under their Kahnawake jurisdiction. Assuming they will enter the first legal provincial market, they will also be among many that offer Ontario sports betting bonuses. From the 'grey market', Bet99 has a general offer at 100% up to $500. It also has higher offers at 100% up to $600 at 'preferred' affiliate review sites. The minimum odds threshold for this offer is -125 or 1.80, which tends to be on the higher end of things, meaning bets on heavier favourites for a given event will not qualify for your wagering requirements. So for example, if you were betting on a puckline at 1.65 or -154, this wager would not count toward earning your Bet99 bonus.
Again, here is another area where Bet99 falls so far short of the competition in Ontario. This bit of our review is not for most Ontario players, it is for those players that care about cricket, rugby or other internationally popular sports, likely because they have come to Ontario from another part of the world where these sports dominate. Bet99 does not care about cricket betting. We reviewed their site while 'The Ashes' was being contested - and it was not even covered as an event. When we looked at the various leagues covered, like the BBL in Australia, Bet99 only offered a single betting market - the match winner. On that market, for various BBL matches, we found margins in excess of 6%. Compare this with most of our recommended sportsbooks for Ontario which have dozens of BBL markets for each match, and offer match winner odds margins closer to 4%, which means higher odds for you.
Rugby betting is slightly better at Bet99 as they had at least some selection of betting markets beyond the basic match winner market. However, their odds margins are again on the high side of things compared to top providers, at 7% or higher for match winner, handicap or totals markets. Most of our top sportsbooks have rugby odds margins near 5%. In the end, Bet99 just does not likely do enough wagering volume to offer more competitive odds margins or a more extensive selection of markets for these international sports.
Bet99 does cover esports. They do however use the incorrect spelling: 'E-sports'. While they offer a reasonable number of markets for each event, you might not even know it due to their poor site layout. When looking at a single event or match, you need to expand the details of the match by clicking the tiny down arrow near the right of the event, otherwise you might think they only offer a match winner market.
When it comes to Bet99 esports odds margins, you are looking at 8% to 9% on most markets, which again, is not particularly competitive versus the top betting brands that serve Ontario, especially the ones that specialize in esports betting.
Bet99 accepts Visa, Mastercard, Instadebit, Interac e-transfers, iDebit, EcoPayz and Flexepin among others.
Bet99 says they will send you all of your winnings. However, they have payout limits. The max. size of withdrawal is 20,000 CAD per week, 50,000 CAD per month and 350,000 CAD per year. Keep these in mind if you intend to play with big stakes. The maximum Bet Slip win amount is $100,000 as per the Bet99 sports betting rules. Compare this with some Ontario licensed betting sites that have maximum daily win limits between $500,000 and $2,000,000 per day.
Should they gain their iGaming licence, Bet99 will be one of many legal Ontario online casinos. Bet99 will offer RNG online casino games, live casino games, bingo and the ability to play international lottery games. They do not offer an online poker room vertical.
As we reviewed the Bet99 sportsbook offering, we think it's pretty clear that they need to spend less money on marketing, and invest more in improving their betting platform. Sorry, being on the same gaming platform as Bulgarian and Latvian brands 'Alphawin.bg' and 'Spins.lv' is not going to cut it when Ontarians can play at world-leading brands like bet365, Betsafe and Betway among others.
Bet99 clearly has a strategy. They want to acquire new players with big headline, if hard to achieve bonus offers and partnerships with an interesting group of athletes & personalities. But that's not going to keep players happy in the long term. What keeps players happy? A quick & intuitive betting platform with great sports coverage - and in our opinion, Bet99 does not have it. Given the news we heard on the March 3 2022 'the Parleh' Twitter Spaces event about Bet99 being up for sale by its owner, is that a company you should be keen to sign up with?