Smarkets is excited about its United States launch, but something is going to be missing. The claim to fame for Smarkets in the UK is that it is a betting exchange. In the US, because of the Wire Act, Smarkets has to launch as more of a traditional sportsbook with the SBK App.
Of course, when you are an innovator and an industry leader, being traditional isn’t good enough. That’s why Smarkets has touted “industry-disrupting odds” based on the prices from its exchange across the pond. To make up for the lack of peer-to-peer betting that you would get with an exchange, Smarkets has incorporated a strong social component to the SBK App.
This is a sportsbook experience that we’ve never really seen before. When SBK launched internationally in November 2019, it was branded as a “new social betting experience”. How that will play out in Colorado remains to be seen, especially up against a lot of big names with reputations and clout in the United States, but SBK is well on its way to being different from the other betting apps.
Here at ATS, we really like the SBK App and love the Smarkets concept of a betting exchange and would love to see it in the United States. For now, we’ll look at the SBK App and review that for you.
One of the most attractive elements of a betting exchange is that you bet against other people instead of the sportsbook. Instead of the usual margins that a sportsbook needs to maintain in order to make money, Smarkets makes money with a 2% commission taken out of the winnings.
SBK is still bettor vs. sportsbook, but the odds are taken from Smarkets. Because Smarkets doesn’t need to do -110 vig in hopes of a 4.55% theoretical hold percentage, reduced juice odds are basically the standard at SBK. The SBK Price+ feature shows users the percentage of bets compared for that event that beat the odds of their competitors.
Shopping around for the best odds to enhance your bottom line is imperative for all bettors. With the SBK app, that appears to be pretty dang easy.
Betting With Your Buddies
If you are going to make a bet, you better be ready to stand by it, right? Well, you can share your betting tips in the SBK App and other users can leave feedback on your wager. Users can select whether they bet with your side or bet against your side and you can see the results in real-time as if you had posted a poll.
This also allows you to see how you stack up against your friends and other followers by having a leaderboard that shows you are doing all-time or over your last few bets. Talk trash, talk smack, support each other, discuss the games, take a victory lap. You can do it all with the social features of the SBK App.
Challenging the Status Quo
Smarkets has always wanted to challenge the status quo. It can’t happen in the United States with an exchange, but they have found ways to do it with the SBK App and will continue to push the envelope as it gains traction in the uber-competitive Colorado market.
That is why getting in on what we could consider the ground floor is important. If you sign up for the SBK App now, you are going to already have the full-fledged experience before enhancements, upgrades, and improvements make it even better. You’ll have already beaten the rush to the best prices. This is a really important concept. With more volume and more users, it may be harder to get the best odds. For right now, SBK wants to be competitive and stand out among the crowd and the way to do that is to offer something that other sportsbook apps cannot. That includes live betting odds as well.
Turning a betting exchange into a sportsbook app is no easy task and Smarkets has done it brilliantly with the SBK App.
Deposits, Withdrawals, and More
SBK operates much like the rest of the sportsbooks with its financials. Tons of deposit methods are available, including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, ACH transfer or e-check, and bank wire. Withdrawals are typically via bank wire or transfer. Fees are a little bit higher for Smarkets than some of the other operators, but you’re also getting the best odds in the business, so there is a trade-off there.
Something else that stands out about SBK Powered by Smarkets is that Smarkets has always adopted a very strong stance on customer service. That carries over to the SBK App. If you have questions, concerns, or problems, they will be handled in a very timely fashion. The online help section of FAQs in the SBK Help Center is also extremely useful for anything that arises.
Promotions are a little bit hit or miss with SBK. The only promotion consistently offered is the one for signing up, but Smarkets will have to keep up with the other operators and will have to offer more perks and bonuses as time goes along.
SBK is trying to build something special in the United States. Everybody with Smarkets knows that they are entering a US market dominated by much larger, more recognizable names. That means that they are as motivated as anybody to push the envelope and keep innovating.
SBK offers a different kind of user experience with its social betting capabilities. That may or may not be your cup of tea. It is everybody’s cup of tea to get the best odds. The betting exchange background for Smarkets could not be completely carried over to the SBK App, but enough elements are there with the “industry-disrupting odds” and the sleek interface to make this an app that you want to have as part of your sports betting portfolio.