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Paddy, Betfair & SkyBet Compared

We have picked three of the best online bookmakers for live sport streaming – Paddy PowerBetfair and Sky Bet – and outlined the sports and events they show and how to watch them:

Bookmaker Main Sports Events Offered Quality Good For
Paddy Power ReviewPaddy PowerFootball, Horse Racing, Tennis, Ice Hockey, Basketball, Snooker, Cricket, RugbySerie A, UK & Ireland Racing, SPL, Greyhound Racing, NHLVery GoodNHL Ice Hockey
Betfair ReviewBetfairFootball, Horse Racing, Tennis, Greyhound Racing, Volleyball, Snooker, Cricket, Darts, Basketball, Bowls, HandballSerie A, UK & Ireland Racing, SPL, Greyhound Racing, Bundesliga, EFL Championship, NBA, Euroleague Basketball, Intnl T20 CricketVery GoodNBA Basketball & European Football
Sky Bet ReviewSky BetFootball, Horse Racing, Tennis, Greyhound Racing, CricketATP Tennis, UK & Ireland Racing, Eredivisie, Bundesliga, Irish Premiership FootballExcellentGrand Slam Tennis

Technical Requirements

In most cases, you do not need to download any software for live streaming on an online bookmaker’s site. However, you will be prompted often to download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player if it is not already installed on your computer. In addition, the quality of your stream will be linked to the speed of your internet connection. Paddy Power, for example, will require a connection speed of 512 kbp/s or higher. Dial up internet connections will not be able to host live streaming.

As with streaming any kind of content, a stronger internet connection will provide better quality viewing. In terms of system requirements, as long as you have a fairly modern operating system – Windows XP right up to Windows 10 – you should have no problems. Paddy Power, once again as an example, state that for a web browser you must use IE6 (or above) or the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Devices Available

Generally, you can watch live sports streaming on desktop, mobile or tablet. In some cases, you may have to download the official app from iTunes or Google Play to get full access to mobile streaming from a particular bookie.

It should be pointed out that some bookies may offer certain live streaming events on mobile betting apps which are not offered on the desktop site. Sky Bet, for example, offer much more choice on the betting app than they do on the desktop.

There should not be a huge difference in the quality of the stream whether you are watching on mobile/tablet or on a desktop. Again, the quality can be impacted by your device rather than the feed provided. It is recommended to use a mobile phone with the latest iOS or Android operating system. However, Sky Bet forexample, claim that a smooth stream can be achieved on any Apple device and any Android 4.3 or above.

As the top bookmakers are putting a lot of emphasis on mobile betting, it follows that they are investing plenty of effort into making live streaming on mobile just as engaging as desktop. In truth, the difference lies with the size of the screen only. However, a modern handset with a good 4G or WIFI connection is a must to enjoy the stream without interruption.

Is Live Streaming Free?

This is where it gets a little complicated. First of all, yes, it is true that you can watch a wide range of sports for free on top sites like those mentioned above. However, in nearly all cases, you must have a registered account with that bookmaker as you must be logged in to watch the stream. Some operators, such as Betfair, require you to have a funded account – this means you must have a positive balance, even if it is just a few pence.

Most sports can be watched for free as long as you have an account. However, the exception comes with live horse racing streaming from UK and Ireland. Nearly all bookmakers require you to have a bet placed on the race you want to watch. The minimum bet amount is normally quite small, usually £2 or less.  If you have an accumulator bet (multiple selections), then this £2 minimum will apply to each race. For example, if you placed a four-horse accumulator with Sky Bet you would need to bet a total of £8 to watch all four races.

Bookmaker Racing Minimum Bet Other Sports
Paddy Power ReviewPaddy Power£1 per raceFree*
Sky Bet ReviewSky Bet£2 per raceFree
Betfair ReviewBetfair0.50p per raceFree (must have positive account balance)
BOOKMAKER
BETS
Paddy Power Review
Paddy Power
Racing minimum bet: £1 per race
Other sports: Free*
Sky Bet Review
Sky Bet
Racing minimum bet: £2 per race
Other sports: Free
Betfair Review
Betfair
Racing minimum bet: 0.50p per race
Other sports: Free (must have positive account balance)

*Paddy Power has a wider choice of live streaming events if you have placed a bet on them.

Other Points to Consider

The following important points should be noted:

  • If placing a horse racing bet  to watch the race, that bet should be placed on the same day of the race. Normally after 9.30am.
  • Live streams will have geographical restrictions. While live sports streaming is almost always available as advertised in the UK and Ireland, check restrictions when in other countries.
  • In some cases, the live stream can only be watched on the device that you have placed the bet on. A good rule of thumb is to always place your bet on the device that you intend to watch the race on.

How To Watch A Live Sports Stream

Here’s an example process with Betfair:

  1. Register an account with and make your first deposit (to fund the account). If you already have an account with a positive balance ignore this step.
  2. Select the live video tab
  3. Choose which event to watch by clicking on the options on the right-hand side. You can filter options by sport or by time/date.
  4. The stream will start playing once you click the event.

Available Sports for Live Streaming

Nearly every major sport is available to watch with live streaming. The choice varies from bookmaker to bookmaker, but most popular sports – football, tennis, horse racing – are covered by all bookmakers.

Football:

Wide range of European League matches, including Serie A, Serie B, German Bundesliga 2 and Belgian First Division. Wide range of Asian and Rest of the World matches, including Indian Super League. Moderate range of UK football matches, including EFL Championship, SPL and Irish Premiership (Northern Ireland).

Horse Racing:

Complete coverage of UK and Ireland horse racing. Coverage of US, South African and Australian meetings.

Greyhound Racing:

UK greyhound racing from Sheffield, Newcastle, Romford and other venues.

Tennis:  

Coverage of events from ATP and WTA Tours. Some Grand Slam Tennis coverage. Sky Bet offer over 5,000 live games each year for free, which includes plenty of Grand Slam tennis.

Rugby League/Rugby Union:

Some coverage of UK club matches.

Other Sports:

The vast majority of sports will be shown live on at least one bookmaker’s site, although not every site has the same choice. For example, Paddy Power shows live NHL ice hockey games, whereas Betfair has live NBA basketball games. This is where live streaming can have a distinct advantage over sports channels on TV, as you can often pick from a list of matches rather than one scheduled broadcast.