In the busy world of sportsbooks, it’s actually rare to come across something truly different. Bookies are naturally trying to attract the widest possible audience, and so follow the same general patterns in terms of tone, layout, business model, and so on.
Fitzdares is completely different. For starters, it can trace its history back – one way or another – to the late nineteenth century. Marketing itself as the ‘World’s Finest Bookmaker’, it exudes class. Users are referred to as ‘Members’, for example; there’s a high quality biannual sporting newspaper, called The Fitzdares Times; and they host a series of ‘Members Events’ throughout the year, including at the Cheltenham Festival.
That’s all well and good, of course… but what’s this sportsbook actually like to bet on? Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to find out, in our comprehensive Fitzdares review! En route, we’ll look at the bookie’s promotions, mobile features, security measures, and plenty more besides. Let’s get started!
Fine selection of markets
Excellent mobile apps
Innovative member benefits
Fitzdares Sign Up Offer
The classy tone and appearance of Fitzdares, combined with a fairly innovative business model, do create an excellent first impression. Unfortunately… this impression is not backed up by any actual welcome offer!
That’s right – at the time of writing, there is no Fitzdares new customer offer whatsoever. How big of a deal is that? Well… it depends entirely on you! Lots of people want an incentive to join up with a bookie – something that immediately delivers them value – which is fair enough. You’re being asked to spend your hard-earned with this company for months, perhaps years to come, after all. The counter, of course, is that if you are being given a good service for all that time… isn’t that worth foregoing a one-off welcome offer?
For our part, we do find it disappointing there’s no opening Fitzdares offer. Setting up a basic ‘Bet £10, Get £10 Free Bet’ style promotion is pretty easy to do, after all, while still being an excellent deal for the bettor. That said, between the members events, Fitzdares Times, and so on, you do still get plenty of bang for your buck with Fitzdares.
Fitzdares Ongoing Promotions (Updated On: July 2020)
As noted in our introduction, this site does things a little differently to most bookies, and this is the case with the ongoing Fitzdares promotions too. Technically there’s only one actual ‘promotion’ at the time of writing… but that doesn’t really tell the whole story.
That sole traditional promotion is actually pretty good. It’s a classic ‘cash back’ deal, giving you 10% of your losses on in-play tennis bets back per week. Those bets can be singles or multiples, the minimum cashback amount is a lovely low £1, the maximum amount is a mighty £5,000, and the money is returned as cash, rather than a Fitzdares free bet.
So, that’s it for your typical promotions, but Fitzdares members do get some other interesting benefits. For starters, all members automatically become part of ‘The 25 Club’, which nets you 25% discounts on a series of luxury brands. The specific brands are listed each month in the members newsletter, but they sell anything from tailored suits, to holidays in bespoke luxury villas.
Fitzdares also run a series of events throughout the year – usually lunches or dinners – which sometimes feature special celebrity guests. At the time of writing, for example, an upcoming lunch will be hosted by former F1 champion Damon Hill. Not everyone can automatically get tickets – instead you must email the membership secretary to apply – but those who do should be in for an unforgettable experience.
Finally, Fitzdares are also heavily involved in the Cheltenham Festival each year. In addition to receiving expert tipster’s notes, members will also have the chance to watch the races from Fitzdares’ own private box at the racecourse.
Fitzdares Football Features
For the vast majority of sportsbooks, football is far and away the biggest priority. That makes sense, of course… because it’s also the biggest betting market by far! In the case of Fitzdares, though, it won’t take you long on their website to see that horse racing is actually the main focus. With that said, this unusual bookie has still taken the time to provide a full suite of football features.
Football has its own section on Fitzdares, which is always a good start. The layout here is simple but effective, displaying a list of ‘Featured Competitions’ at the top (Premier League, Champions League, etc.), and ‘Featured Games’ (the biggest upcoming matches) below that. Scroll down further, and you’ll also see a ‘Live Now’ area for ongoing games, which can be accessed in the dedicated ‘In-Play’ section of the website too.
While relevant competitions for British bettors are rightly shown most prominently, delve a little deeper and you’ll find a massive range of football markets here. Everything from La Liga down to the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League is represented, and you can place both short-term and outright bets for many of those too. When it comes to single-game bet types you’ll also find an excellent selection, from the usual Match Result and Over/Under Goals through to Exact Score, Handicaps and so on. There’s also a nice Bet Builder, to help you craft your multiples.
As touched upon, in-play wagering is supported here, and there’s a Fitzdares cash out tool too. We must say, though, that these aren’t the strongest live betting features we’ve seen. There’s no visualisation tool for ongoing games, for example, and the stats you get are minimal; basically just the number of corners, substitutions and yellow cards which have been given.
Overall, the Fitzdares football section is just about good enough to get the job done. It is clear, though, that their focus lies on other sports markets.
Other Betting Markets
Horse racing really is the name of the game with Fitzdares. It’s the first thing you see on their home page, and – generally speaking – it’s the main focus of their members’ benefits.
It’s no surprise, therefore, to find an excellent horse racing section in place. There’s some live streaming, you can bet on races from all around the world – including the USA – and a few unusual ‘Specials’ wagers are usually available too.
Elsewhere, there’s also a respectable range of other betting markets. Cricket, golf, boxing, tennis and rugby are all well-represented, as are the likes of American football and basketball, and there aren’t really any notable absences to speak of.
Mobile Betting Options & App
It’s fair to say that Fitzdares appear confident in their mobile features. Scroll down on their home page and the first thing you’ll see is a section on this topic, describing their app as ‘smart, fast and intuitive, with a pioneering live-chat feature’.
That Fitzdares app is available on both iOS and Android devices. The Apple version currently has an excellent 4.4/5 rating (admittedly based on very few ratings), while the Fitzdares Android app – available directly from Google Play – doesn’t yet appear to have any ratings. We tested the iOS app for this review, and really liked what we found.
The interface has been very intuitively laid-out, meaning that you can start navigating around the app with confidence almost immediately. The five most important sections – Home, Betslip, Chat, Casino, and Account – are always accessible via a menu along the bottom. On the main sports page, there’s another menu near the top which allows you to flick between the major sports (such as horse racing and football), Live Now (ongoing events), and All Sports (containing the rest of the markets). Basically, you can get wherever you like with the touch of a button.
In general, the user experience is excellent. Everything loads quickly, including the markets for live games, and the simple yet effective appearance makes everything nice and easy to read. All this can be said of the Fitzdares mobile site too, which has an almost identical layout and feature set, lacking only the live chat tool that you’ll find on the app.
For a brand which has been around for as long as this, in one form or another, the question ‘Is Fitzdares legit?’ might seem redundant. If you’ve never heard of them before, though, we’d say it’s a perfectly reasonable concern.
Any such doubts can swiftly be put to bed by Fitzdares’ license with the UK Gambling Commission, which ensures this sportsbook is held to the highest standards for security and fairness. Unfortunately, Fitzdares offer almost no information on their actual security measures, aside from the fact that customer funds are kept in a separate account from the company’s. We’d certainly welcome more details in this respect, but – thanks again to that prestigious license – we’re willing to give Fitzdares the benefit of the doubt here.
Opening an Account
Fitzdares market themselves as having ‘members’, rather than regular users. Functionally-speaking, though, the sign up process is still pretty standard.
In this case, everything is arranged onto two screens. On the first one, you enter a series of personal details, including your name, date of birth, and – strangely – your job title and the company you work for. You can also list a ‘proposing member’ here, if you have been referred to this sportsbook by an existing member. Next you set a username and password, then you finish off by deciding your notification settings (including news about upcoming member events). On the second screen, you simply enter your home address.
While you will be invited at this stage to enter some payment information too, your account has actually been created anyway, and you’re free to log in and start browsing the sportsbook.
Despite its historical background, Fitzdares generally still offers a modern betting experience. We were surprised, then, to find a massive lack of choice when it came to banking options.
Right now, you can literally only deposit using a credit or debit card. You can’t make a simple bank transfer, nor are any digital wallets like Skrill or Neteller supported, which could alienate a lot of potential users. Still, the minimum deposit amount is a standard £10, and no fees are charged.
As you might have guessed, the only option when making a Fitzdares withdrawal is also credit/debit card. No fees are incurred here either, and the minimum transaction amount remains £10.
As we’ve established, Fitzdares do a put a lot of effort into caring for their customers, whether that be via the members events, the newsletters, and so on. The actual Fitzdares customer service offering, though, leaves a lot to be desired.
For starters, there aren’t any reliable direct Fitzdares contact options through which you can get an immediate response. There is supposed to be a live chat tool on the app (though not on the desktop site, for some reason), but this is described as a way to get odds on a bespoke market, so it’s unclear whether it’s supposed to serve as a general help avenue. We did try testing it for this review… and received no response whatsoever, which isn’t a great indicator. Elsewhere, while there is a phone number which ‘Private Office Members’ can call, regular members can only text a different number, or send an email.
This issue is compounded by the fact that there’s no ‘Help Centre’ whatsoever; not even a simple FAQ. This is a pretty disappointing omission, and – while the Terms and Conditions page does offer some more details – it’s hardly a user-friendly solution to customer service.
Fitzdares Company Details
While Fitzdares itself was launched in 2006, it really found its identity after acquiring another bookie, called Sunderlands. One way or another, Sunderlands could trace its own heritage all the way back to 1882, meaning that – as Fitzdares say themselves – they ‘inherited a wealth of experience’ after the acquisition. This has certainly helped to lend Fitzdares the prestige which it enjoys today.
Fitzdares was originally founded by Balthazar Fabricius (his real name, apparently), whose father was the longtime Managing Director of Goodwood Racecourse. It remains a privately-held sportsbook, and is based in upmarket Mayfair, London.
Fitzdares Bottom Line
At a basic level, we’re always in favour of something different amongst sportsbooks. After all, the more genuine choice bettors have, the more likely they are to find the right bookie for them.
Fitzdares is, indisputably, ‘different’. From its tone of voice, to the way it treats members, this is an unusually high-class offering. The extent to which it’s a successful sportsbook, however, is debatable.
On the one hand, its fine selection of markets, innovative member benefits, and excellent mobile app impressed us during this Fitzdares review. But there are indisputably some big areas in which it lags behind what we’d expect from a modern bookie. The lack of promotions is somewhat excusable, but the lack of payment options certainly isn’t, and the customer service (for non-premium members) leaves plenty to be desired too.
If you’re a big horse racing fan, Fitzdares remains a solid option, especially because of the perks membership brings. If you’re more of a general sports bettor, however, or like to particularly focus on football… there are simply better options out there.