Stan James Bookmaker Review

Last updated April 7th, 2020

NOTE: The Stan James brand has been retired as the firm was merged with its parent company Unibet in March 2018. Stan James players had their betting accounts migrated to Unibet. Our review below is now redundant. Check out Unibet Bookmaker.

It is hard to know where to start with our Stan James review. This bookmaker used to have a great reputation in the UK market and then the previous owners started to run it into the ground. Before they sold out, they seemed to get very scared of taking a bet. They started to limit players and close customer accounts and many punters were squealing that they could not get a bet on. They did alienate a fair few bettors. Fortunately the firm was then sold to one of their rivals, the Unibet Group. It seems things have improved a fair bit, by quite how much it is hard to know. There are still some reports of players failing to get their bets on but we have found them to be OK. However if you are a punter who bets in three-figure stakes then maybe join another firm recommended by JustBookies instead, like Bet365. If you bet in tenners and twenties or less then Stan James will suit you fine, because the range of sports and odds is second to none.

Can You Trust Stan James?

As a Unibet company you can certainly trust this firm. Stan James Bookmaker is UK-facing but based primarily in Gibraltar, where it is licensed. It is one of the largest bookies, and its website is complimented by excellent casino and poker sections. The firm still has a big name in the industry and is honest. You will always get paid.

Stan James has a huge variation of sports betting markets and is rightly proud of its excellent in-running betting markets, a form of gambling they claim to have innovated. This online bookie is also famed for spending large sums in sponsorship, lending its famous name to many major sports events. They still sponsor the first two British horse racing Classics, the 1000 & 2000 Guineas at Newmarket racecourse and there has been a recent television advertising campaign as well. It all lends to their credibility.

Our Stan James Review’s Opinion & Verdict

As stated earlier in this Stan James Bookmaker review, they have a slightly wayward past. It is nothing serious, but at JustBookies we really don’t like to see firms run scared of taking bets. Things have improved on that score since its sale to Unibet, but this firm remains one for the recreational rather than semi-professional punter. So at JustBookies we continue to recommend Stan James Bookmaker for small stakes bettors.  If you already have an account with them then we invite you to give your Stan James review at the bottom of this page.

Review of Stan James’ History

Stan James Bookmaker was not named after the man of the same name. Instead it is a sort of neo-anagram as it is a mixture of the names of the founding directors and their spouses.

The company started with just one shop in South West England and grew steadily from there. Now they are a major world force and based out of the tax-efficient location of Gibraltar. The firm puts plenty back into sport with notable sponsorship deals across racing, football and snooker.

Nobody would ever accuse a bookie of being charitable, but this brand used to help the industry as a whole. The one-time independently owned company used to sell its services to other firms in the industry. More importantly it even bought and swallowed up the ailing arms of other businesses when noone else would touch them with a proverbial long pole.

The much sold hot potato of the Betdirect brand finally came to rest in peace with Stan James Bookmaker when noone else wanted that badly managed loss-maker. Similarly the under-performing online arm of Betterbet went the same way. They also did all Pagebet customers, and the credibility of the industry at large, a huge favour by taking control of the retail division of that broken firm. They have done some notable clean-up jobs.

However that is all history, because against the odds, the betting company began to falter and lose its way as shown in its reluctance to lay a proper bet. A bitter public spat with some of its affiliate partners, who felt the company treated them unfairly, did not help matters either.

Like the ailing firms it saved from the knackers yard, and as stated previously in this Stan James review, the firm was swallowed up itself. The new beginning under the financially solid wing of Unibet is exactly what they needed. The new owners have elected to allow the famous brand to trade on going forward, rather than absorbing it into the Unibet brand name.

The core business still has an excellent interactive website which is far easier to utilise than many that have lost the usability and simplicity plot in the name of the latest complex technology.

They may not have the biggest free bet or the highest level of brand recognition to the general public due to their diminished high street presence, but they have been concentrating on the internet business. As a consequence, and despite the wobbles they had to come through, they still have a strong brand loyalty among millions of online registrations. Stan James Bookmaker has enjoyed a rebirth since it consolidated with Unibet and the future is looking rosy for this sports betting company once more.

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Stan James Bookmaker
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 10 reviews
 by paul riddell

Total scum bags. I lost for ages the day after I had one winning day they closed my account. They only want people to lose, as soon as you win your account gets closed.

 by Chris

I want to give Stan James 0 stars but it won't let me - 1 star is 1 star too many imo. Opened an account 10 days ago with the bet £10 get £20 free bet offer. I'm just a small occasional punter. 1st bet £25 @ 8/1 horses - lost; 2nd bet £20 (free bet) @ 10/1 horses - lost. Didn't have a bet for 3 days - received an email - bet £30 get a free £10 bet. Had a £30 bet on footy @ the w/e - lost. Got an email yesterday - your account has been closed & your free bet forfeited. Onto CS for ages & all they say is 'it is a trading decision & based on your activity they have deemed your account will be unprofitable in the long-term.' How can they make that decision based on 3 bets in a week? Absolute jokers - Where do they get these traders from?

 by 56yr old housewife

Account opened 19/12/16 | First bet placed 5th Jan 2017 | Total number of bets 84 | Total amount staked £1,554.52 | Total returns £1,552.45 | Net Profit/Loss = - £2.07 | Account closed by Stan James 30th Jan 2017. They stated: "Betting patterns on this account" and "account will be unprofitable to the business." Clearly Stan James view anyone winning, or in my case not even breaking even, as bad business.
They obviously only want people who lose money. It speaks volumes about the utter contempt bookmakers have for the general public.

Thank you for this interesting information. Agreed, this is abysmal bookmaking and, speaking as a former bookmaker, stupid business practice. Join <a href="/go-to/bet365/" target="_blank">Bet365</a> instead because they are a good firm.

 by Phil Punter

You want my Stan James review? Improved for change of yard, has scope to get even better but a solid old nag that won't let you down.

 by Neil

I opened an account when Boylesport stopped taking my bets. You have to opt in to get best odds which I didn't find out for a few weeks. After a few months this offer was withdrawn. I believe the event that triggered this was a £1 EW bet on a 150-1 shot (placed at 66-1). Still use the site but only when I'm certain the price I'm taking won't lengthen.

Thank you Neil for your input on this and other bookies. You may be aware that Unibet bought Stan James towards the end of 2015. Just wondered if you noticed any improvements after they acquired Stan James?

 by jeffro

I rate Stan James very highly .

 by John Hobson
Not happy

Total crap. I have been ripped off, backed a horse they gave me 9/2 but it is 6/1 everywhere else total rip off never bet there again.

Did you take an early price of 9/2 and it drifted to an SP of 6/1?

 by Jamie
Used To Be Better

I have experienced & read about people having their stakes limited & accounts closed by Stan James. They seem to only want small-time players now, irrespective of if you are a losing punter or not. Shame, they used to be better than that.

 by C Agnieski
No problem

Nice site. I bet on the tennis a lot and no problems so far at Stan James.

 by Jamie Vaughan

I am a regular punter at this site. Happy with them. Seem to be as good as the more well known names in the business.