Head-2-Head: Paddy Power vs bet365
Gambling is an exceptionally popular pastime in the UK, with millions of people participating in activities ranging from splurging on the occasional lottery ticket to studiously examining odds on football. Controlled and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, the market is closely monitored to ensure gamblers are as protected as they can be.
Two of the most visible brands today are Paddy Power and bet365. These two green giants both go back over two decades and both are closely associated with sports betting. These established bookmakers then took their products online and into our living rooms, thanks to their seemingly limitless marketing budgets that puts their logos everywhere.
So without further ado, we introduce the contenders, battling it out in the RightCasino Head-2-Head ring for the coveted title of Best Sportsbook Casino!
The weigh in
In the white and green corner, representing one of the older gambling brands around and a storied past rife with mischief, controversy and, above all, top betting options, we have Paddy Power!
From humble origins to sports betting titan, in mellow yellow we have bet365 – an iconic, homegrown brand that shows no signs of stopping!
Here are the vital statistics for our two competitors in this fight:
Paddy Power Betfair
- Founded – 1988 in Dublin, merged with Betfair in 2016
- 2017 revenue – £1.7 billion
- Presence – 613 locations in Ireland, UK plus online
- Games – sports betting, in-play, casino games, bingo, live casino
- Founded – 2000 in Stoke-on-Trent
- 2017 revenue – £2.3 billion
- Presence – online only
- Games – sports betting, in-play, casino games, bingo, live casino
Sports betting options
Even if you have never placed a bet in a bookmakers before, you will likely associate both of these competing brands with sports betting. Both Paddy Power and bet365 have online casino products (and they’ll be doing battle over those in a minute!) but both started out by offering sports betting.
Paddy Power currently operates a whopping 613 locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Intentionally located in prominent, high-traffic areas, Paddy Power eschewed the traditional choice of setting up in side streets. This means the Paddy Power brand is as familiar to the general public as high street names like Marks and Spencer or Greggs.
Here at RightCasino, we like a fair fight. As bet365 doesn’t operate bookmakers at bricks and mortar venues, we have decided to pit these two against one another solely on the basis of their online sports betting offering. Of course, Paddy Power’s provision of betting shops does count in its favour but an even playing field is a crucial part of every sport.
So let’s take a look at these online sports betting specialists, starting off with bet365. The website offers bets on 44 different sports, with esports counted as one category. Within this category, there are 17 individual games represented, each with one or more tournaments.
Bet365 also offer a Specials section, which is organised by country and a ‘World’ category. These include all kinds of events specific to that region, including general election outcomes, televised contest results and awards. In the ‘World’ category, we find that all-important stalwart of culture and talent, the Eurovision song contest.
Over to Paddy Power now. This site offers 35 categories of events though it should be noted that they are more broadly defined than for bet365. For instance, the Special Bets category includes bets on things like the outcome of The Voice, the name given to the next Royal Baby and so on.
In the Esports section, 8 games are covered, with a multitude of matches available to be on every day. One thing that really stood out at Paddy Power is the Hit The Spot betting feature.
This is a free-to-play, penalty shootout style game that players can have a go at. There’s a points target set daily and players that reach that target in their 10 allocated shots will share in the cash prize! A practice area is available to help hone those aiming skills as well.
And at the end of round one, a winner has emerged! While bet365 offers a few more events to bet on, Paddy Power has come out on top thanks to its Hit the Spot game and also because of its hundreds of betting shops around the country.
Round one goes to Paddy Power!
Online casino and user experience
Round two is all about the online casino and, crucially, the casino experience. For players who are not all that interested in sports betting, the online casino provision is the true measure of quality for these two brands. And while both have clearly honed their sports section to perfection, do they stand up to casino scrutiny?
Starting off with Paddy Power, we can see a fairly familiar casino offering. The important game types are all there – slots, live casino, table games, poker and bingo. This covers the majority of players’ interests, which strengthens the brand’s broad appeal.
A recent addition to the Paddy Power stable is the Vegas product. This looks suspiciously like it might just be a fancy name for a slots section but in fact, it’s a tournament-focussed platform. Players can compete against one another with prizes up for grabs. It’s hardly groundbreaking tech but competitive players will probably appreciate having a dedicated space for tournaments.
Bet365 offers an almost identical online experience. It too offers slots, live games, table games, poker, and bingo, and it also has a Vegas product. The latter, though, is slightly harder to pin down. It seems to draw on games in other sections and bring them together under a different title, which is a little confusing when you just want to play a round of blackjack.
That said, bet365 has a tidy, slick appearance with easy navigation. Category confusion aside, it looks professional and performs as it should. The Paddy Power online casino looks a smidge less refined than its competition but we are just nitpicking here. The site is well designed and the categories are easier to understand.
On to mobile! Both Paddy Power and bet365 offer mobile apps and both are accessible through mobile browsers. We took a look at the apps for each. Paddy Power only offers one, which lets players access the full range of its products. It’s nicely designed, with a layout that is familiar to the online site.
Bet365 offers 4 different apps, one each for sports betting, poker, table games (under the title ‘Casino’) and one for Games, which is dedicated to slots. There’s also a bet365 News app that’s all about sporting news. No shortage of apps then! Players who enjoy more than one bet365 product are looking at a lot of mobile memory real estate being dedicated to this one brand.
Between Paddy Power’s slightly less slick appearance and bet365’s bewildering range of mobile apps, there’s only one possible outcome.
This round ends in a tie!
Reputation and controversy
Big, visible brands have to be careful – no tiny misstep will go unscrutinised when your audience is this big. Bet365 and Paddy Power have both courted controversy in the past and some might argue this is par for the course. But this is a Head-2-Head and we are ready to dissect these brands’ deepest, darkest secrets!
Bet365 is often portrayed as a real British success story and in truth, it is. Its founder, Denise Coates, is one of the most successful businesswomen around and she started the company from a portakabin in Stoke, in 2000. Since then, bet365 has become a leading employer in Stoke-on-Trent and has over 4,300 employees in total. Definitely a win for British business and a powerful role model for women hoping to make it in traditionally male-dominated spaces.
Of course there have been mess-ups too. In 2009, for instance, there were accusations of political manipulation through generous donations to the Labour party, which coincided with policy changes that benefitted gambling operators.
In 2014, there were reports that bet365 had used spoof websites to take bets from Chinese citizens, bypassing the country’s tight controls on web access. Chinese citizens are not allowed to gamble online and risk jail time if they are caught.
Bet365 is no stranger to the courts either, facing fines in Australia for misleading advertising and public outcry on a number of occasions it has refused to pay out big wins to punters. Bet365 may be a a credit to British business but it’s got no shortage of skeletons in its closet.
The Paddy Power powerhouse began in 1988, with a merger of forty shops owned by three Irish bookmakers. The brand actively promotes its ‘Irishness’ through its choice of brand name and brand colours, a decision which paid off as a way to differentiate itself from English competition. In 2016, Paddy Power merged with another gambling giant Betfair, though both still operate separate products despite being essentially the same company.
Paddy Power is something of a divisive figure in the gambling industry, mostly thanks to its very unpredictable attitude towards controversy. It’s offered odds on some seriously suspect events like which species would be the first to die off following the devastating BP oil spill of 2010 or whether Barack Obama, US president at the time, would serve the full term of his presidency. In other words, they were taking bets on whether he would be assassinated.
These unsavoury odds aside, Paddy Power has also done some positive, surprising things. Ahead of the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup, for instance. Four days before the New Zealand vs France match was due to take place, Paddy Power paid out early on the All Blacks winning, arguing that given New Zealand’s performance thus far, another win was inevitable and so, “punters might as well collect now”.
Truth be told, it is impossible to operate within the gambling industry for any significant length of time without dropping a few clangers. Both bet365 and Paddy Power have shown how companies can mess up and redeem themselves many times over. Both have had entanglements with the law and have done some dubious things in pursuit of getting their name out there. From that perspective, these two brands are quite equally matched.
But this is RightCasino, and we have a mischievous streak. Despite bet365’s impressive origin story and higher revenue numbers, we unilaterally and arbitrarily award this round to Paddy Power. Because it takes stones to offer odds on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorious trial. It may have been less than tasteful but it was brave. We like that kind of attitude around here.
Round three goes to Paddy Power!
And the winner is…
These two gambling Goliaths are closely matched in their offerings to players and truth be told, we sometimes had to check which site we were looking at when putting this article together so as not to confuse them.
Bet365 put our winner through their paces, with an online gambling product that covers all kinds of games and offering a consistent, high quality player experience. But, after three intense rounds, Paddy Power takes the crown and the title of Best Sportsbook Casino!
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