Football isn't the only thing SportNation.bet does well, yes, former player and talkSPORT presenter Alan Brazil brings a touch of football expertise to the mix (Sportnation is a re-brand of BetonBrazil) but that's not the be all and end all. Unlike many other sportsbooks, SportNation actually offers a better mobile website than its desktop site whilst offering as many markets as some of its more established competitors. Read on for the full Sportnation review.
Safety and Trustworthiness
Before we get into some of the more subjective trust markers present at SportNation, let's quickly take a look at the hard facts. Like every legal sportsbook in the UK, from Ladbrokes to Bet365, Sportnation is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) under the banner of its parent company, Argyll Entertainment AG.
In addition to guaranteeing a safe and fair betting environment being UKGC regulated means that Sportnation must incorporate various security features into its site, such as SSL encryption, as well as operating responsible betting protocols. Essentially, thanks to the UKGC, SportNation has to ensure it actively works to protect you physically (i.e. your personal details and bankroll) and mentally (i.e. offer you help if you need it).
Beyond these standard safety features, what makes SportNation standout from the crowd? Well, a potential trust marker is the fact the site is fronted by ex-footballer Alan Brazil. Now, we know a celebrity posing for a few promo shots doesn't mean a site is trustworthy, but Brazil does get more involved than that. Working alongside "TeamSportNation", Brazil provides regular commentary on the latest football matches.
Brazil is an active figure in the football world thanks to his show on talkSPORT, so it's possible to assume that he wouldn't want to risk his reputation or career by backing a site that's out to scam players. On top of this, SportNation has some of the best player protection features we've seen for a while. Going beyond the likes of William Hill, this betting site offers the following:
Reality Check – A popup box can bet set to remind you how long you've been active.
Gambling Self-Assessment – At SportNation you can take a quiz featuring nine multiple choice questions to see if you may have a gambling problem.
Self-Exclusion and Time-Out – If you feel your betting is getting out of control, you can either exclude yourself permanently or take a break for between 12 hours and one month
In terms of what the community think, our research found just one major complaint from a user who claims they couldn't receive a casino bonus. After speaking with a live chat representative, the player claimed he was told the deal was live. However, according to the version of events, the bonus wasn't credited to their account. Although we can't verify the full story, the biggest issue in this instance appears to have been that the support team wasn't communicating effectively. Moreover, two representatives were called Richard and gave conflicting information which seemed to confuse the situation further.
Deposits & Withdrawals
When it comes to moving your money around, there are some positives and some negatives at SportNation. Starting with the positives, you won't have to pay any fees on the way in or the way out. On top of this, all transactions (deposits and withdrawals) are processed instantly. Now, this doesn't mean you'll receive your winnings immediately because certain payment methods (i.e. debit cards and bank transfer) can take around three days to complete. It does mean though that SportNation will process the withdrawal request straight away.
As a first-time better Sportnation is also obliged via the money laundering requirements of the UKGC to verify a bettor’s identity (via two forms of ID i.e. passport or driver's licence plus proof of address such as a utility bill) before your first withdrawal. This can take up to five days and will therefore slow down your first cashout. In an effort to speed up the process, SportNation does though endeavour to process all subsequent transactions immediately.
Finally, when you choose one of the three available deposit/withdrawal methods (Visa, MasterCard or bank transfer), there are no limits on the amount you can put in or take out within a set period of time. Minimum deposits and withdrawals are also nice and low at £10.
On the minus ledger offering just 3 generic types of depositing methods (bank wire transfer, CC and debit card) in this day and age is very poor. We hope this is down to the teething problems that all new betting sites have in setting up accounts with the various e-wallets and payment processors. If you’re a paypal bettor only but like the sound of Sportnation stay tuned to this review for updates on their depositing methods offering.
SportNation doesn't offer a dedicated betting app, but that doesn't mean you can't ante-up via your smartphone or tablet. The developers have ensured the main site has been optimised for mobile use, which means you can place a bet with any device. As with all mobile sites of this nature, the odds, offers and options mirror those on the desktop site. This is great as it means you don't miss out on any betting markets or bonuses. Essentially, what you see on SportNation.bet via your PC or Mac is what you'll see via your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone handset.
One feature that stood out for us during our SportNation review was the way you're shown your betting options. Unlike many of the "traditional" online sportsbooks, SportNation uses a grid system similar to what you'd see in the casino world. For example, if you download the Paddy Power mobile app, you'll have to open a list of betting markets that runs down the left side of the screen. This set-up is fairly common across the major operators and, for the most part, works fairly well.
However, the developers at SportNation have abandoned this design and, instead, listed all the sports in a grid complete with text and icons. Much like a casino gaming grid that uses boxes to display the available games, SportNation's betting options are laid out in a square. This design not only looks more appealing, but it eliminates the need for scrolling and, therefore, gives you a quicker overview of the action.
Free Bet Offer
As a SportNation newbie, you'll be able to bank up to £100 in bonus cash when you join. Based on a 50% multiplier, this deal is open to all new customers who use the code SN100 before they deposit between £20 and £200. In comparative terms, the SportNation welcome bonus is fantastic in terms of size. £100 in bonus cash is a strong amount; especially when you compare to it a more established sportsbook such as 888Sport which offers just £30 in free bets.
Naturally, you will have to pay attention to the terms and conditions if you want to unlock this deal. Put simply, when you unlock this bonus, the bonus funds will be added to your account but kept in a separate balance. Using a combination of these funds and your original deposit, you'll be able to place bets and earn some profit. However, before you can withdraw your, bonus funds and any profits, you'll have to wager 7X the combined value of your deposit and bonus funds on wagers with odds of 2.00 or greater in a 30-day time period.
In this instance, it's fair to say that SportNation's new bettors bonus is great if you like size, but it's tough to unlock if you're a casual punter. Let's assume you deposited £100, received a £50 bonus and then won £50. At this point you'll have £200 locked under the bonus terms which means you'll have to stake £1,400 to unlock the full value of your first deposit. For many novices, this isn't a realistic sum of money to wager within the 30 day time limit. Based on this, we'd say that newbies shouldn't get hung up on the size of this deal. In contrast, if you're a high volume bettor, this welcome bonus has a lot of potential.
Beyond the SportNation welcome bonus, there are daily and weekly bets boosts. For enhanced odds on specific sports, the "Today's Best Boosts" tab is where you need to look. To receive acca boosts worth as much as 70% extra on your projected returns, you have to follow the link in the promo page and then set your football acca according to games listed that day/week.
Betting Markets and Odds Quality
Finding a bet inside SportNation is fairly simple. Unlike the mobile site, you'll find the familiar left-hand list when you login via your desktop. At the last count, SportNation had 33 different betting markets which, surprisingly, is more than established operators like William Hill (31) and Ladbrokes Sport (32).
A nice touch we appreciated during our review was the colour scheme. Instead of bright colours that can become garish when you're betting for long periods of time, SportNation mainly uses a black background and white text. This design is a lot easier on the eye and, in many respects, more conducive to an efficient search process. With regards to the betting markets on offer, SportNation has done a great job of covering everything from the standard to the exotic. As you'd expect, football is top of the agenda thanks to Mr Brazil's involvement, which means you not only thousands of weekly bets from 47 different countries, but expert insights and analysis.
Beyond football betting (which is actually called "soccer" at SportNation), you'll find a solid range of odds for less common sports such as surfing, volleyball and even eSports. On top of this, there is a casino platform with a full roster of table games and slots powered by Microgaming. Having an online casino isn't unique, but SportNation does offer more casino games than many of its peers that tend to keep their non-sports betting options separate.
Sportnation doesn’t have a real presence yet on the odds comparison sites so its difficult to gauge where it stands against the more established players but if does offer quite a few enhanced odds, price boosts promotions. Odds are shown in decimals and fractions.
In-play betting at SportNation is OK but it's not going to blow you away. Scrolling through the roster of options, we found all the usual suspects were there in terms of sports. From football bets and tennis to basketball, cricket and more, there were hundreds of options available at any one time. Unfortunately, this is where the action stopped. Unlike William Hill, Ladbrokes, Sky Bet and probably the live streaming market leader - Paddy Power / Betfair et al, there wasn't any option to stream live events. Yes, you could call up a computer generated overview of the action, it wasn't as engaging as a live stream. Fortunately, we did find cashout and partial-cashout options which is in line with industry standards.
SportNation does offer a support service via email and live chat, but you will have to wait. Emails have a 48 hour maximum response time while live chat is only available from 12pm to 10pm GMT daily.This isn't terrible but its far from what most punters would view as the benchmark for customer support -24/7 live chat and telephone support.
The Final Word
If you love football SportNation is one of the hottest new upstarts in the business. In fact, even though this operator doesn't have a dedicated app, there is a lot to like about its mobile site. While we might not be able to place it among our top rated mobile operators, the interface did catch our eye. By tweaking just a few small things on its mobile interface, you actually get a more efficient, cleaner looking experience. When you combine this with thousands of football bets from around the world and expert insights from a former player, this service really is impressive.
However, it's not all good news. Although the bonus is lucrative, the way it's offered is different from the norm and something seasoned sports bettors may not enjoy. Moreover, the interface is lacking a few of the expected sports betting functionality namely live streaming. Although these things aren't hugely negative, it's clear that if you want to get the most out of SportNation, the mobile site is your best bet.
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