NOTICE: Unfortunately we can no longer recommend Vernons. The company that bought the historic British brand, Betsson, have failed to update the site and products in several years and will most likely close the brand in the near future. Vernons is no longer a top brand and we can't in good faith suggest you should bet with them.
This is a great shame given the ties the name had to the great British institution the Football Pools, without which we wouldn't have our love affair as a nation with betting that we do today.
The online bookmaker with the famous old name. Vernons, owned by Betsson through their subsidiary NetPlay Malta Limited, offer an impressive sportsbook for fans of traditional sports.
The betting site has a strong market range for their size both pre-event and in-play, and odds stay competitive. For regular bettors on sports such as golf, tennis, football, darts, snooker and rugby these guys give huge value over time. Very good for all-sports accumulator insurance too.
A lack of mobile betting options, live streaming, and a few other tools is currently a slight problem but a fantastic stats and live results service alongside cash out capability shows they are a bookie ready for a scrap.
- Large Sportsbook – Punch well above their weight for market range and depth.
- Trusted Old Name – Steeped in history.
- Gaining Ground – New features and improvements being added at pace.
We all remember the football pools don’t we, the first ever British working class gambling craze? Well Vernon’s were a part of that, and have now been around for over 90 years, first established all the way back in 1925 and becoming famous through the big prizes offered on the pools alongside Littlewoods, Britten’s and Zetter’s. The football pools remained Britain’s biggest betting pool until the formation of the National Lottery in 1994.
Based in Liverpool initially, along with Littlewoods, both companies were a pioneering employer of women, paying thousands to check the pools returns each week. Back in the early 1930’s the football pools were seen as a great threat to the fabric of society with government ministers speaking out against it and the football league even attempting to keep fixtures secret to prevent weekly forms being created. In hindsight this was possibly more to do with the fact that the pools were making around £20 million a year in profits, because as soon as the football league realised it could strike a deal to get a share of these profits and the government realised it could tax the betting suddenly all was fine for the football pools. In 2007 Littlewoods, Vernon’s and Zetter’s came together to create the new football pools which is still available today online.
Vernons, recently known as BetVernon, were acquired in 2013 by the Netplay TV plc Group who were based in the Channel Islands. From here on in Vernons becomes a sportsbook brand so we will drop the apostrophe for the rest of the review. Netplay are a broad entity listed on the UK stock exchange, initially a games and interactive TV based company they have expanded their portfolio into brands like SuperCasino, Jackpot247 and now Vernons who head up the UK sportsbook brand.
Although an old school brand, Vernons have needed to build a whole new relationship with punters in the modern world of online betting, many of whom may never have even seen a physical football pools coupon. Fortunately, Vernons have made a successful transition to the online world and now provide an attractive book with lots of features. They claim to have a focus on the user and don’t take themselves too seriously, with a drive towards fun and entertainment.
Using the Site
The Vernons site is powered by Playtech, a reliable and respected brand in the industry, and this means they have access to some great functions and features. Despite having this advantage, on the whole the site is unremarkable and feels like a chimera of many other online betting sites, and it can be painfully slow at times. I haven’t seen this from a Playtech site before so it’s difficult to know where the problem lies.
To begin with, the design feels 15 years old, and while it is quite fun and bouncy there is nothing contemporary about it – I keep thinking of AOL. The blue branding is welcome amongst an otherwise grey and off-white colour scheme, which displays odds very clearly but is bleaker than a wet Wednesday afternoon.
The layout serves the punter well, in that useful quick links, featured bets, and customer favourites are immediately accessible, along with a search bar function which is incredibly useful as you can search for teams or players and immediately pull up any associated markets. However, Vernons are guilty of overcrowding pages with a large range of markets and even duplicated information (the homepage has two sections showing the same in-play info), and even though collapsible menus allow customers to hide certain categories it still feels bulky.
The betslip is well put together with a dedicated tab for Bankers and some useful little features to make organisation and planning smoother, but a few too many of the extra features open in pop up windows that can quickly become overwhelming if you are trying to do a few things at once.
Sports List & Betting Lines
A decent sized sportsbook is on offer at Vernons with just shy of 30 sports markets; quite impressive considering they are fairly recent entrants to the online bookie game.
Football is a particular focus as you would probably expect, with a good range of specials. All major European, world-wide and international football leagues are covered in depth as well as unders and women’s matches from around the globe, albeit with fewer betting lines. Vernons also cover a good range of American sports and specials that some larger online bookies don’t – basketball is a particular strength.
In terms of market depth you can find 150+ football markets at the top end, but this dies off significantly in other categories, with NBA games around 75+ and Major League baseball sitting around 35+. Obviously, the minor sports enjoy even fewer options often offering just single figures.
Non-sport markets and specials including TV shows, sports personality of the year and UK and US politics are available but not with any degree of detail; specials within sports markets, however, are better than many other bookies.
Is The Price Right?
Vernons odds seem quite good to me. They don’t really rank in odds checking websites yet, possibly because they are fairly new to the scene. For their size Vernons offer a good range of odds on an impressive selection of markets. You can request odds with them if they don’t have what you are looking for.
One thing that is distinctly lacking is promotions and offers. This was once a strong point for Vernons as they tried to attract new customers but at the time of writing there is virtually nothing on the table to add value.
Odds are available in American, decimal and fraction formats, easily adjusted at the top of the screen.
Cash Out is a welcome addition to Vernon’s sportsbook and shows the progress they are making in the industry since it was only readily available at the big brands up until a few years ago. Now it is an available feature it pops up regularly so bettors have plenty of opportunities to use it. The small orange icon will tell you when and where it is a possibility.
In brief, cash out allows the punter to settle their bet before the event has come to its conclusion. So if you bet on Leeds Utd to beat Middlesbrough 2-1 pre-match, and with 15 minutes to go the score is indeed 2-1, you could choose to settle your bet there and then. This would allow you to lock in a profit and eliminate the risk of your bet losing if Middlesbrough managed to bang in an equaliser.
What’s the catch? Well, the price you cash out at will not be the same as the one you took pre-match, it will be lower. So you are sacrificing a percentage of your original potential return in order to guarantee a smaller one.
This can be an incredibly exciting way to bet and can save you from a loss (or a heart attack) if you time it right.
All About the Money
Vernons have only a limited number of payment options currently but Paypal and entropay are among them which is a bit of a saving grace.
The payments system itself feels just as dated as the rest of the site, and the cashier pops up in yet another new window, although the security is up to date so it’s completely safe to use. Obviously, being an online only bookie there is no cash option or high street presence.
It was a bit of a shock to see fee’s on deposits via Paypal. They charge 3% which might not sound like much but the fact that they pass this charge on to the punter at all is a black mark in my book, and feels archaic nowadays. On the up side there are no withdrawal fees.
It should also be pointed out that although the maximum deposit is £3000 per transaction, there is no limit to how many times you can do this, which means there is technically no maximum. The same is true for withdrawals which are set at £5000 per request. It’s a bit of a pain in the proverbial but at least it’s not too restrictive.
They aim to process all withdrawals within 24 hours at their end too, which is good going and means no horrible pending period.
Maximum Bets & Payouts
Maximum and minimum payouts vary a great deal between bookmakers so please make sure you are aware of these limits if placing big bets or even small bets on lines with high odds. This is particularly the case for obscure markets where payouts may have a low cap.
Minimum and maximum stake limits vary by market but in general minimum bets as low as £0.07 are available with maximum bets defined by the maximum payout. No telephone or SMS betting is currently offered.
Vernons actually have some of the lowest maximum payout limits around. Most of these limits are still way beyond what most people will encounter but do bear them in mind for big bets and big multiples. The highest maximum payout is set at £50k on horse racing, major football matches, golf (tournament winner only), international cricket, major tennis and American sports. To put that into perspective, the highest cap from any other bookies is currently £2million.
You can get between £10-25k on other sports but a measly £5k on non-sports, politics and any other sport not listed in the payout limits list. So don’t wager more than necessary to hit these ceiling prices.
Always bear in mind when placing multiples bets that your winnings will be capped by the line with the lowest maximum payout. This is particularly important with Vernons where some of the limits are quite low.
Betting As It Happens
The live betting selection offered through Vernons is quite impressive considering their recent entry to the market. Most events are available all the way down to beach volleyball and handball, and there are a great range of betting lines available on some games. This can be hit and miss, however, for example, there are currently 85+ markets available on Gyeongnam FC vs Kashima Antlers, but only 5+ on many other equally obscure fixtures. You will be absolutely fine with big games.
The interface itself is rather less impressive than the range and depth of markets, in both appearance and usability. It’s horrible. To be fair it runs better than it looks, and the split between live and upcoming games is useful and there is plenty on match information on display, but once a fixture is selected things go downhill, especially if you want to use the live graphic which takes an absolute age to load and then leaves the page feeling half finished.
On the flip side, the availability of stats is fantastic both in terms of their depth and how easily you can open them from the in-play interface. The live results service is another useful companion, and Vernons also offer great promotions for using in play too.
Not available. If you like live streaming then go somewhere else. Remember though just because you watch live streaming through one online bookie it doesn’t mean you have to place the bet with them. You can bet with whoever offers the best odds.
The live graphic is often good enough to take the place of a live stream and while this isn’t really the case at Vernon’s if you look at the whole package, if you only take into account the graphic itself then it does the job. It’s just a shame that they make you load it up separately and that everything else around it looks dreadful.
Sportsbook In Your Pocket
A mobile app is not currently offered which is a bit of a blemish for Vernons, and they may struggle to hold on to customers long term if a mobile app is not soon made available.
It’s not the end of the world since Vernons do have a mobile optimised website running and it contains all of the markets you can bet on from the desktop site, but it isn't as smooth as a bespoke mobile app could be.
In actual fact the mobile site has all of the same issues as the desktop site; it feels tired, has the potential to grind along at a laborious pace, and isn’t particularly intuitive to navigate. It would have been brilliant a decade ago, but times have changed.
Saying that, it also has the same qualities such as the great search bar, and the payments system feels less cumbersome.
In-play betting is also available and the downscale has forced Vernons to incorporate a few little operational and design features that help the mobile site tease at what it could become, such as a betting slip that floats in from the side of the screen, a more responsive interface, and scrolling menu bars that offer more options without taking up any more screen space.
There is plenty of work for them to do here.
Being a Playtech site, Vernons have some of the best online slot games in existence, and if you like jackpots you will be in good company here. This side of the Vernons operation is no less dated than the sportsbook, but the quality of entertainment on offer is fantastic.
You will have to jump across to the Games section to play titles from other providers but there is a full complement of tables, slots, games and jackpots with good regular promotions. You can see the resources of owner Netplay shining through here.
Are Vernons for You?
The Vernons online sportsbook is very much still finding its feet and they have not yet found their niche. They have focused initially on developing a wide ranging sportsbook which, although there is still room to improve, they have achieved.
Those of you who bet on American sports especially may feel prioritised here over other bookies, and the football markets are vast and show Vernons are willing to elbow their way to the front where they can.
Sports bettors who like to spend an equal amount of time spinning the reels on a slot or playing table games could well find a home here, as the casino package is well rounded and fully stocked with top quality titles.
Mobile betting isn’t a particular strength so if that sounds like you then maybe you should pass Vernons by, but then again, getting in with a bookie towards the beginning could position you well for when things improve. Yes, you will have to put up with reduced functionality, but they have already added cash out to their operation so an app could well be on the way.
Impressively for their size and age, Vernons offer a range of customer service options and they almost never close. The opening hours are from 7am to 3am leaving just a 4 hour window where help isn’t available. It’s such a short period of time it seems a bit silly not to make it 24/7, but there we go.
A freephone number is available, plus live chat, email and a Twitter account. There is no conventional customer services postal address but you could try their registered address in Malta if you want to send them a Christmas card. Agents are quick to respond and knowledgeable so there is nothing to complain about thus far.
There is a Help/FAQ section that opens as a new window but they could do with providing a more obvious link to it. I had to access it via the tiny Contact Us option at the very bottom of the page. From there I could get to the information I needed but I had to go around the houses to find it which was annoying. It’s not particularly user-friendly once you find it either, but it does contain some useful info as well as a link to live chat. Like the rest of the site, this could do with being brought into the modern age.
Phone, Email & Legal
- Name: Vernons
- Registered name: Netplay Malta Limited
- UK Licence ref/No: 50721
- URL: www.vernons.com
- Customer Services (sportsbook): 0800 484 0044 (UK), +44 1481 201779 (overseas)
- Phone betting: Not available
- Text betting: Not available
- Twitter: @BetVernons
- Registered Company address: VAT MT25187806, Experience Centre, Ta' Xbiex Seafront, Ta' Xbiex, XBX1027