Hollywoodbets began their story in 1986 as a small publishing company called Winning Form. Today, they’re known as one of the biggest local sports and horse racing betting provider, both online and with over 80 betting shops around the republic of South Africa. You’ve probably seen the striking purple shops, but what do you actually know about the game behind the name? We have taken a closer look to give you the scoop.
- Free welcome bonus
- 2 hour FICA Verification
- Cash withdrawals through betting shops
- No live chat
- Outdated product
- No responsible gambling tools
You might have heard of them on the radio, on TV or even seen their bright purple shops around town. What you might not know is that they also offer an online betting product. We have taken the time to examine the Hollywoodbets betting site and have found things we like, and dislike.
During our research, we found recent worrying news. These news were about allegations of conflict of interest, which Hollywoodbets denies. In the case of online betting operators, all PR is not always good PR. It’s important that operators create a safe environment for players where trust and fairness is displayed. Failure to do this will seriously impact the brand image.
Hollywoodbets is a licensed operator, regulated by the South African National Gambling Board. There should be a set of rules and regulation in place to mitigate against foul play. We have found no disciplinary actions taken against the operator from any regulating body. This should indicate that they are following the rules set in place.
Our job now is to test their product, interact with their staff. We want to make sure they live up to the standards of a modern African online betting operator.
Hollywoodbets offer a comprehensive sports betting site but fall short on many different aspects
It is like traveling back in time when first landing on the Hollywoodbets website. They highlight that they first entered the online space in 2006. And it seems like they haven’t updated their website since then. Nowadays a lot of operators have several different domains showcasing their different versions. Such as an old version, new version, mobile version and so on. This is the case with Hollywoodbets as well. The second image in the carousel below showcase their mobile product. Which is a bit less cluttered.
Much like their betting shops around South Africa, the product is presented with their striking brand color purple. When you get past the many banners, gifs, buttons and images on the landing page it might reveal some comprehensive features. In a world where minimalism is becoming the norm, Hollywoodbets seem to run their own race. The product could have been optimized with a well-structured menu with information. As it looks now, you are overwhelmed with information and content that would have looked neater hidden.
As this is a licensed operator regulated by the South African Gambling Board they only offer Sports Betting and Horse Racing. South Africans have an option of playing online slots and other casino games at offshore South African online casinos.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE REGISTRATION
The registration process is somewhat outdated with a lot of required details. This is due to the FICA requirements. Hollywoodbets could have made the process much easier. They should allow players to register with the bare minimum and then capture details from the documents provided.
Luckily they cater for foreign nationals living in South Africa by choosing to register with a passport number instead of ID number. Other than this, the registration process is pretty standard and quite painless.
Once the registration is done, an email will be sent to your email to request the relevant FICA documents. I had no access to the account until the account was verified. This is where I got a bit worried. I had read on hello peter and a few other review sites that the verification process can take weeks!
With low expectations, I took a photo of my ID book and got a bank statement from my FNB app to use as a proof of address. I was surprised as my account was verified less than 2 hours after providing FICA documents. On a Friday evening!
HOLLYWOODBETS PRODUCT EXPERIENCE
Now that my account was ready and loaded with my R25 welcome bonus I could get started. On the left hand side of the product is the betting menu. Much like the rest of the website this area needs some major improvements. After choosing markets you are presented with an Excel looking design with betting options.
On a positive note, Hollywoodbets offer a wide range of different markets and events. On a negative note, they are a bit difficult to find in the messy menu. You end up clicking away deeper and deeper to find the odds. At first you have to choose the sport, then country, then league, then event, then market. Once you choose the market you will see all the different odds. After selecting the odds you will be presented with the option to place your bet.
I am a avid user of live or in-play betting. I was happy to see the option to bet live on Hollywoodbets. However, the user journey to bet live was somewhat confusing. After selecting ‘Live In-Play’ in the menu I was redirected to a different domain with a different layout and design. It seems like the Live In-Play feature is hosted on the software that Hollywoodbets is powered by, SYX. On a positive note, the design and user experience was better there than on the main website.
When it comes to customer support, there is no live chat. The two communication channels available for support are telephone and email. Very poor email support experienced. No first contact resolution at all with short answers on queries. We sent simple questions that could have been resolved with some decent information. Unfortunately this was not the case and led to a lot of back and forth with the support.
All in all the Hollywoodbets betting experience was okay. There is a lot of options to choose from bu the actual user journey has a negative impact on the experience.
- Good Live In-Play feature
- A lot of international and local events
A recent addition of Ezugi and Evolution Gaming means that South Africans now have access to live casino games! This is quite huge news in terms of offerings as Hollywoodbets Casino haven’t had any action. All South African players will have access to live games from Evolution and Ezugi, such as:
- Deal or No Deal
- Monopoly Live
- Football Studio
- Super Sic Bo
- Side Bet City
- Dream Catcher
- Bet on Numbers
- And many more!
Hollywoodbets offer all new players a free sign-up bonus of R25. The bonus is credited after completing the account registration and comes with a few terms and conditions.
R25 Free Welcome Bonus
- The R25 bonus has to be used within the first 24 hours of account being activated. After 24 hour, if unused, the bonus will be forfeited and lost.
- The bonus also comes with a turnover requirement, also known as playthrough requirement and wagering requirement.
The last rule is a bit vague . “The account holder will not be entitled to withdraw the R25 out of their account until the funds have first been bet and turned over in full”. I assume that this means it only needs to be played once before any withdrawal can be made. Unfortunately I didn’t win from the free bonus so I didn’t get the opportunity to withdraw.
Stand A Chance to Win A Share of R500 000
- Customers stand a chance to win their share of R500 000 cash daily.
- The only requirement is that you play R20 or more on soccer after opting in on the promotions bets. For bets taken in-store, dial *120*46559*1*ticketnumber# to be entered.
Soccer Money Back Promotion
- Hollywoodbets also offer a money back promotion on soccer. You can win back your stake up to ten times if you go out in the last leg. Win double your stake back (maximum R1,000) when you have placed a bet with more than 8+ markets. Only three-way 90 minutes bets apply.
Irish Objection Promotion
- Should you back a horse on a single win bet that is objected against and the race is awarded to another runner, Hollywoodbets will refund your stake IN FULL.
- As always, it is very important that you read the full terms and conditions of all promotions you want to take part in.
As far as responsible gambling goes, it is very limited on Hollywoodbets. There are no options responsible gambling tools for the players. You cant set deposit limits, session limits, reality checks, self-exclusions or account closures. For us, responsible gambling needs to be on the forefront for all modern operators.
I contacted the support via email to inquire how I set deposit limits on my account and how I can close the account. The answer was: “Kindly note that you can control yourself and you can request for your account to be closed anytime”.
This left me at unease as it didn’t explain or answer my question at all. The first part of the answer allude me to believe that I can set my own limits under account options. Which is not the case. Upon requesting further information I was only informed that I can set daily and weekly limits. Only to later be informed that no such feature exists.
If you ever find yourself, a bit out of control, in terms of your gambling habits. We recommend you to seek professional assistance for your gambling behavior.
As one of the few licensed South African betting sites you would expect that they try their best in acquiring and retaining players. But the outdated product, poor user journey, no responsible gambling tools and bad support is not a testament of that.
There might be a strong strategy of improving and maintaining the physical Hollywoobets shops at the moment. This might result is a online product that suffers. There are huge opportunities in South Africa for operators to move over to the online betting world. And it is up for grabs, may the best operator win.
We hope that Hollywoodbets decide to invest in their online products. They already have a well established brand in South Africa. As a result, acquiring customers should not be a problem as long as they up their game.
In closing, Hollywoodbets offer a comprehensive sports betting site. However, they fall short on many different aspects. If the criticism we have mentioned in this review doesn’t bother you, then by all means sign up today and receive your R25 free sign-up bonus!
Is there a Hollywoodbets Mobile App?
Hollywoodbets does not have a mobile specific app. However, their mobile version of the website has been designed to work perfectly on your mobile device. All you need to do is access the Hollywoodbets website through your mobile device and you will get access to the mobile site.
How to register on Hollywoodbets online
- Enter the Hollywoodbets website and click on ‘Join now!’ in the top right corner
- Enter your personal details and fill in the one time pin
- Complete the registration by submitting FICA documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to withdraw Hollywoodbets funds
- Click on Deposit in the top right corner
- Click on Withdraw in the top of the page
- Choose between EFT and Cash Send To Cellphone
- If you choose Cash Send To Cellphone you will need to select ABSA Cash Send, Instant Money, Send-iMali or eWallet
- Complete the withdrawal by entering your details