The online betting movement has seen many changes since it first began, and these now come together to create an unbelievable platform for bettors. Things like in play betting, bet builders, coupons, cash out, tons of new markets, promotions, and exceptional market coverage. Few of these features though are more exciting than that of live streaming.
Betfair were one of the first to include live streaming back in the early 2000’s and since then its popularity has grown substantially, especially as streams have become more reliable. The concept of being able to watch live sport for free – providing you were going to bet on it anyway – and even whilst on the go thanks to mobile betting apps, is amazing.
Whilst football is going to be the focus for this article it’s worth noting that a huge range of sports are on offer via live streams, including tennis, horse racing, cricket, rugby, and plenty more.
How Does Live Streaming Work?
For the most part you are going to need either a funded betting account or to have placed a bet within the last 24 hours in order to view the live stream. This will usually give you full access to the live streaming channel at your bookie and then you can watch whatever sports you like.
Most of the live streams come with a full schedule, so you can pick and choose which games you want to watch and when. Bear in mind that there might be multiple games all playing at the same time, but to get access you may need to enter the live betting section of each game to see the stream.
Some interfaces will have a match graphic instead of a live stream. This will be there when a stream isn’t available, but may also be what you see by default even if there is a stream. Just look for a button that allows you to switch to the stream.
One of the main things to note about live streaming is the fact that the games will be shown on a time delay, and often quite a significant one at that. Some bookies claim there can be up to a 30 second delay, so it’s important not to base bets solely on incidents that you see from the stream.
If you were to watch a live stream and also track the in play betting market, you would see the odds changing before events happen. For example, as we have stated in our in play betting article, when a goal looks like it is about to be scored, the whole market goes into a “suspended” state, meaning that you can’t bet on it for a short time until the event has happened or the chance of it happening has passed.
You are probably going to see this suspended state occur before you see the action take place via the stream. The stream can still be highly useful for seeing how a match pans out and spotting possible bets based on how each team is doing, but you must be aware that a delay is in place. It does feel that this delay is exaggerated somewhat as the in play betting is almost instant, but even if you compare this to watching football on your TV you will notice a slight delay on that as well.
What Games can you Watch?
The range of games that can be streamed are determined by licenses that are obtained by the bookmaker for those specific leagues.
The number and range of games has increased massively over the last few years and it’s pretty common to see all games from the likes of Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and La Liga to be streamed. On top of this, many bookies have access to cup games from all over the world as well.
Games can come from pretty anywhere and everywhere though. You may notice that they have matches from places like Japan and South Korea on there, and then even lower league games, some of them seemingly played on school football fields. It’s a massive mix, but it makes the betting landscape so much more interesting for the bettor.
Licensing is obviously one of the biggest streaming issues that bookmakers have to deal with. They can’t just put any game that they want on as this would be illegal.
The first thing to note is that the bookies don’t often show games from the country where you live. We mentioned that leagues like La Liga in Spain are usually available, but if you were from Spain then you won’t be able to get access to these games. Same goes for Serie A in Italy where Italian residents can’t watch those games. It’s all to do with license deals signed elsewhere, like with TV companies.
The Premier League is probably the biggest omission from all streaming channels though, as it is unavailable from any bookmaker regardless of where you live. In fact, there are no Premier League games shown in the UK at all between the times of 2:45pm and 5:15pm.
The “3pm blackout” as it’s now commonly known came into play in the 1960’s when Bob Lord, the then owner of Burnley FC, spoke out about the increasing number of games on TV. His concern was that if you put 3pm games on TV then people would stop coming to the ground to watch the match, which meant less money generated for the club.
However, this only applies in the UK which is why you can watch Premier League matches in other countries such as the United States and UAE at 3pm on a Saturday. The ban obviously transfers over to that of live streaming channels within bookmakers as well, which is one of the reasons why any domestic football is not shown in the UK around that time.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are lots of little nuances when it comes to live streaming and we realise that a lot of you will have come to this page to find out a little nugget of info that needs answering. So, this FAW is designed to do just that.
Do I Need to Pay?
The streams themselves are free, but you will need either a funded betting account or you will have had to place a bet within the last 24 hours. If you are registering just to watch a live streaming then you could deposit the minimum amount, watch the stream, and then withdraw it, which would technically mean you can watch for free. But where’s the fun in that?
There is also nothing to stop you watching the stream at one bookie and betting with another if you find significantly better odds at a bookie with no streaming capabilities.
Do I Need an Account?
Yes. You will need to have a registered account to watch any of the live steams from any of the major bookmakers. You will also need to be logged in to get access.
Are Streams Linked to In Play Markets?
Most streams are linked to the relative in play betting markets, meaning that you can watch a stream and see how the markets react from the same screen. However, given the volume of streams this isn’t always possible on all bookmakers, so you would need to check with your bookmaker of choice on this.
Why is an Advertised Match Unavailable?
This will likely be to do with licensing issues in your country. The bookmaker will track your IP address to see where you are located and if it clashes with the licenses that they have been able to obtain then they will restrict you from watching those streams.
However, if you feel that you are eligible to watch the match and it’s not working, then we recommend getting in touch with the bookmaker directly as it could be a technical fault either on your side or on their side.
How Soon the Streams Start?
Each of the streams will start around 2 minutes before kick off. Bear in mind that some will have commentary, and some will not. Commentary is actually quite rare for the most part and usually only used on some of the higher profile matches. Commentary can come direct from the bookmaker or it can be provided by an outside broadcaster.
Can I Watch via the Betting App?
A lot of streams are available to view via the bookmaker’s betting app, but it needs to be noted that not all games can be watched this way, and some require you to watch from your computer instead. Generally speaking though, if it is available on the website it will be available on your device too.