Betting has been around for a long time, some say for as long as the competitiveness of humans – and we all know, competition is in our nature. Bystanders would probably bet on the hunter fighting the tiger, patricians place bets on one or another gladiator fighting in the arena, noblemen placed bets on their horses winning a race or their friends and enemies fighting duels. Modern man doesn’t place bets on such bloody attractions anymore, but there is something else they can wager their money on – sports.
Sports betting was popular for a long time, but it has become the widely popular phenomenon it is today only after it has found its way to the very homes of people, helped by the internet.
Surely one of the oldest online betting gaming operations I know is Betsson, a Swedish company that administers a series of online sportsbooks, casinos, bingo halls, poker rooms and others. Their best known operation is Betsson.com – some consider it a sportsbook, but I like to think of it as an online gaming and entertainment center due to the high quality of all of its gaming operations.
But who is Betsson, and how did it become the company it is today?
The history of Betsson AB (Swedish for Corporation) stretches back to the 1960s, when two entrepreneurs have founded the AB Restaurang Rouletter, a business that provided various entertainment venues – restaurants, clubs and others – with winning machines. If at first the company was active only in the Southern parts of Sweden, later it has extended its operations throughout the country.
The company was re-branded into Cherry – a brand and logo well known for Swedes and later for many online casino users. Initially only active in Sweden, Cherry later extends its operations across Northern and Eastern Europe, operating winning machines in establishments in several countries. In the early 1990s the company is reorganized after its Eastern European business fails to be as successful as needed, and turns its interest towards the internet.
Few casino players know that we have Cherry (later Betsson) to thank for Net Entertainment, one of the finest online casino games developers of the industry. The company was founded in 1996 by Pontus Lindwall, son of one of Betsson’s founders (Bill Lindwall). Cherry has invested a great deal into this company, until it distributed it to its shareholders in 2007.
At the beginning of the new century, internet gaming becomes an increasingly popular and profitable business, so Cherry directs lots of its profits towards companies active in this domain.
It was around this time – in 2002 – when Fredrik Sidfalk, Henrik Bergquist and Anders Holmgren finish the development of a new online sports betting platform, name it Betsson and launch it on the internet. Betsson gets a gaming license in the UK, and starts its operations online (in Swedish and English at the time). Betsson was among the pioneers of live betting, being one of the first to offer such services to its customers.
In time it has grown into a notable presence on the internet gaming market, adding other services like casino games and such to its product range. In 2005 it had over 100,000 registered customers – the same year it was taken over by Cherry. Later Cherry has abandoned its long time brand and logo, and was transformed into Betsson. (cherrycasino.com was later distributed to the company’s shareholders).
After a series of acquisitions and a notable organic growth, Betsson has become one of the leading online gaming operations on the North European market. It owns a series of well known brands – like Betsson.com, BetSafe, NordicBet, Casino Euro, and two recently acquired ones, Oranje Casino and Kroon Casino. Its main focus is the Scandinavian market, but it has customers from many other countries all over the world.
When it comes to betsson.com, their flagship brand, it would be a mistake to consider it just another online sportsbook. Instead, it should be seen as a full featured online gaming operation, offering sports betting, casino gaming, poker and other online gaming services to its customers.
Betsson.com – the sportsbook
Betsson.com was launched as a sports betting operation at the beginning of the new century, and certainly this is still one of its most important operations. It offers its customers the opportunity to place their bets on a series of sporting events, but football and tennis seem to be its main markets – these are the sports with the most complete coverage at the sportsbook.
The company’s focus on Scandinavia becomes clear when we take a quick look on its football section. At the time this review was written, it had a little over 3,000 football markets available, of which a little over 600 were on the 2014 World Cup and about the same number on Swedish football, plus a series of other events from Finland, Denmark and Norway. It also covers England football and the leagues of a series of other countries, not to mention important international competitions, but the focus is clearly on Scandinavia. This might make it a less attractive destination for those in search of other betting opportunities, but clearly a favorite for Scandinavians…
Besides football, it also covers a series of other sports – tennis, baseball, volleyball and other ball games, combat sports, motor sports, rugby, snooker, water polo, cricket, boxing and others. A great variety of events is also available for live betting. (Although it has the option to filter the events by their availability for live streaming, the filtered list doesn’t contain any events – possibly a feature yet to be introduced).
The odds? Well, they are not the best in business, I must say. For some events the odds on the favorite are below the industry average and the ones on the underdog (or draw, in case of events that can have that outcome) they are much above it. For players visiting Betsson exclusively for betting on sports it might not be the best choice of them all. But, as I said before, Betsson.com is not just about sports betting – it’s about online entertainment as a whole…
The Betsson App
This is one of the features I appreciate the most at betsson.com – its mobile betting and casino gaming platform. I haven’t seen any others created with such style and attention to detail. It’s beautifully designed, it’s available for Android and iOS, and it covers all the betting opportunities available at the sportsbook, plus a number of mobile casino games offered by – who else – Net Entertainment.
This is a truly excellent piece of software.
Sportsbook promotions at Betsson
While the bonuses offered to its players are enough and various – it has an attractive welcome bonus for punters, plus a series of promotions tied to the 2014 World Cup, under way when this review was “inked” – they are quite restrictive when it comes to the country of origin of the user.
The Welcome Bonus, for example, is restricted to residents of just a handful of countries – the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
Clearly Betsson is not about incredibly looking promotions that would attract loads of new players.
The Betsson casino
Another thing I appreciate a lot about betsson.com is its online casino. As the rest of the website, it has a crispy clear and light, yet professional looking design, which is really easy to navigate, allowing players to find their game of choice easily. On the first page of the casino players can find the latest games available, followed by the list of the over 160 titles available both for free play and for real money gaming.
The casino doesn’t have a downloadable part, as it offers games provided by multiple developers, including the one which was helped to be born by Betsson itself – Net Entertainment. Besides, players of the casino can entertain themselves (or attempt to win some extra cash) with games provided by Microgaming, Williams Interactive, NextGen Gaming and Play’n’GO.
The games are grouped in several main categories – Video Slots, Slot Machines, Table Games, Video Poker, Jackpot Games and Others, plus a special category that has a series of Betsson Classics like Spin and Win, Hunt for Gold, Mr. Toad, Gem Drop and others. Truly a fine selection of browser-based online casino games, for hours and hours of entertainment and / or wins.
The casino features over 20 jackpot games, all provided by its former subsidiary Net Entertainment. There is no clear statistical data available on this, but I have noticed a trend: NetEnt games tend to be more “giving” when it comes to progressive jackpots. According to their website, Net Entertainment has paid out over 20 million euros this year in progressive jackpots only. The latest lucky winner was a 50 year old Betsson player from Sweden, who has played the developer’s popular Hall of Gods progressive slot machine. He is now richer by an amazing 7.4 million euros. Hall of Gods is an excellent slot machine (one of my favorites) based on the Norse mythology, and is very much fun to play even when no real money is involved…/
By the way, Net Entertainment holds the world record for the largest ever progressive jackpot payout in an online casino – 17.9 million euros in January 2013.
Betsson casino promotions
Betsson rewards its new players for their first deposit with an attractive welcome bonus: a 100% match, up to Â£100, on deposits of at least Â£10/ â‚¬10/ $10. The bonus amount has to be rolled over 35 times in the next 30 days before making a withdrawal. Credit units wagered on video slots, slot machines, lottery games, scratchcards and other games count 100% toward the requirement – other titles count in different proportions, click here for a full list.
Unfortunately this bonus is also quite selective – it is reserved for residents of the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand only.
Besides the welcome bonus, Betsson‘s casino offers a series of other promotions to its players, that are changing constantly. I won’t list them here, but you can find them on this page.
Promotions don’t mean just bonus cash added to the account of the player, though. Betsson offers its players a series of specials each day – casino races and casino tournaments that provide them with the possibility to win extra cash to play with or to withdraw. Visit the casino for more information.
Actually, it’s a bit inaccurate to speak of Betsson’s online poker room – as it has not one, but two.
One of them is provided by casino software developer Microgaming, and is a member of the MPN poker network – a smaller, but popular network with hundreds of players, great tournaments and achievements to be fulfilled.
The MPN poker room at Betsson is available for download or for browser play through its Java-based client, plus players can take it with them wherever they go through – it is available for playing in a mobile browser window, too. Users of the Betsson mobile poker room can play Blaze Poker or Hold’em, edit their account or deposit or withdraw funds using their internet-capable mobile device, and earn loyalty points at the same rate they would be at the desktop or downloadable version.
The other poker room available at Betsson.com is one on the OnGame network. It also offers a series of ring games and tournaments to its players, not to mention its specials and cash back offers available on a daily basis.
Poker players can find their favorite game on Betsson.com – if it’s not there in one poker room, it will surely be available in the other.
Poker room promotions
Poker players at Betsson.com have the possibility to choose their preferred welcome bonus in the Microgaming poker room. Depending on the amount they intend to spend at the poker table, they can choose to receive â‚¬100 (MPOKER100), â‚¬300 (MPOKER300) or â‚¬1,000 (MPOKER1000) in bonus funds, that will be released â‚¬1 at a time after generating â‚¬5 in rake in the next 60 days,
The Microgaming Poker Room also features a promotion for players of quick fold Blaze Poker during the 2014 FIFA World Cup (this bonus might not be available when you are reading this article). Players of Blaze Poker who win 20 hands in a row (after the flop) will activate a mini game that can bring them bonus amounts between â‚¬1 and â‚¬100.
Their most beautiful promotion is a recurring monthly offer, though – the possibility to win an adventure trip for two in a marvelous location. Betsson sets a mission to be completed every month, and one of the players who completes it will be the month’s great winner. In June the grand prize is a trip for two to Bali, including 6 nights in a 5-star hotel, â‚¬1,500 in travel expenses, spa treatments and more. The missions to be completed are not limited to the poker room – they include placing sports bets, playing casino games and participating in various special freerolls or promotions. The details of the promotion can be found here.
Other Betsson.com services
As I mentioned repeatedly above, Betsson.com is not just a sportsbook, not just a casino or a poker room, but a full featured real money online entertainment center. Thus, its services are not limited to the above, but they include several other online gaming opportunities.
The Games section at Betsson contains a series of “soft games” – mostly casino-style titles, but also a series of other games that can also be played either for fun, or for real money. The list includes jackpot games, video slots, virtual betting games, virtual sports, table games and more.
Scratch cards are a popular product at Betsson.com – there are tens of them available, in several categories, like sports, fantasy, casino, and classic titles to choose from. These are among the simplest forms of online gambling – you wager, you scratch (virtually) and see if you have won.
On top of all the above, Betsson.com also features a full featured virtual bingo hall, with games of 75 and 90 balls bingo (with the attached chat rooms for the added social component of the games), casino style side games for even more entertainment and possibly wins, and a 100% match on bingo players’ first deposit, up to Â£30.
Betsson is surely one of the best places for poker players, casino games and sports betting enthusiasts – especially those located in the Northern part of Europe. It has a great variety of high quality services, with the single goal to entertain. It covers all options of online gaming – sports bets, casino games, poker, scratch cards, you name it. It is a place where every online gamer can find something for his or her taste.
Betsson.com is considered a trusted operator throughout the internet. Some users consider the amount of documents they ask for at the first withdrawal request by players to be “ridiculously” big. Complaints are most of the times sorted out in favor of the player, and if not, the security department of the operator is usually right when suspecting something fishy to be going on.
Overall, Betsson.com is a trustworthy operator, serious about its business – a place where customers can bet and play with peace of mind.