Betting in the UK
Sports betting has long been a popular pastime for those in the UK, with activity here being regulated by the Gambling Commission, a governing body which has been in operation since 2007. In fact, the gambling industry now generates an annual revenue of over £14 billion in the UK, with online betting and casino games making up 30% of this figure.
Meanwhile, bets specifically on football matches and tournaments count for 40% of all sport wagers, with horse racing also still being a major contributor. It is estimated that over 50% of all bets are now placed online in the UK, demonstrating just why the best betting sites are able to achieve such levels of success.
Is Betting in the UK Legal?
Any betting site looking to cater for punters in the UK must hold a license from the Gambling Commission, with all bookies found at Online-Betting doing just that. The Gambling Commission helps to ensure that all bets are placed securely, whilst also protecting any potentially vulnerable individuals, including those who are underage. Punters must be aged 18 or over in order to register with an online bookie, with the body also constantly monitoring sites in order to ensure that standards do not slip.
Is it Safe to Bet Online?
Bets placed on a site which is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission can be regarded as being safe, with bookmakers having to meet high standards in order to earn their seal of approval. State of the art technology is used to ensure that betting sites are safe to operate on, whether it be Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption, firewalls or dedicated anti-fraud teams. Punters signing up at one of the betting sites listed on this page should have no concerns when it comes to safety, with all bets and payments being processed 100% securely and reliably.
How We Rate the Best Betting Sites
With there being so many betting sites available to punters in the UK today, selecting the best from the rest can be tricky. However, fear not, with our experts taking into account the following factors when reviewing bookmakers, which add up to make some of the most popular betting sites on the web:
Markets – The best betting sites will cover all major sporting events, along with an increasing number of upcoming disciplines. Sports including football, horse racing, tennis, cricket and golf are among the traditionally popular betting sports in the UK, however the best betting sites score highly when it comes to upcoming markets, whether it be eSports, UFC or cycling. As a result, the bookmakers on this page will more than likely provide betting markets which meet your needs.
Odds – The prices found on leading betting sites should be fair, offering punters the chance of earning winnings on a regular basis, without investing huge amounts of money. While some bookies choose to specialise on a particular sport or range of sports, the best betting sites will offer appealing odds across the board, including both pre-match and in-play markets.
Bonus/Offers – While factors such as markets and odds are of greater importance, punters are likely to be drawn to a particular betting site because of the bonuses in which they offer. Welcome bonuses, free bets, price boosts, money-back specials and accumulator insurance offers are just some of the promotions in which customers are likely to find on betting sites today, which can all be utilised when bidding to maximise profits and minimise losses. The best betting sites will also deliver realistic bonuses, coming with wagering requirements which are less strict.
Design + Mobile + Website Usability – Top online bookmakers make it easy for their customers to place bets by delivering efficient websites, both on desktop and mobile. All sports markets should be accessible from the off, with clever graphics and imagery being used sparingly in order to separate features too. A bookmaker can offer the best markets, odds and features, however if they are difficult to access, then this is almost pointless.
Payment methods – With the use of credit cards for funding gambling activity in the UK having been banned from April 2020, betting sites now have to offer a variety of alternatives when it comes to depositing and withdrawing cash. E-wallet, bank transfer, Pay By Phone and debit card payments are readily accepted on the majority of the best betting sites, with transactions being processed quickly and without incurring additional fees.
Security & License – We have already eluded to the fact that any betting site targeting players in the UK must be licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission, as well as the need for leading security measures. The best betting sites put their customer’s minds at ease surrounding safety, reliability and trustworthiness.
Costumer Service – Ideally, punters should be able to communicate with bookmaker representatives 24 hours a day, whether it be to receive technical support or the answer to a question regarding an active bet. The best betting sites today provide customer service via the telephone, email, live chat and social media platforms.
What Makes a Betting Website Good?
It should come as no surprise that the best betting sites on the web today perform well across the board in terms of the factors discussed above, with our bookmaker reviews outlining just which platforms stand out from the crowd in particular aspects of their operation.
However, the best betting site for you will be the one which best suits your needs, whether you are looking to specifically place bets on the English Premier League or in-play tennis tournaments, watch the action unfold through live streaming services or cash out bets using the relevant features.
It is becoming easier to separate the best betting sites from the worst however, with poor bookmakers offering disappointing odds, a lack of promotions, slow withdrawal times and difficult to use sportsbooks.
The Best Sports to Bet On in the UK
Sport is big business in the UK, with events and tournaments taking place up and down the country on a daily basis throughout the year. The best betting sites cover all major UK competitions, along with events from around the world, catering for the needs of all punters in the process. With that being said, the following are the most popular sports when it comes to betting in the UK:
Football – The Premier League, Champions League, World Cup and European Championships are just a sample of the football leagues and tournaments that punters can bet on today, with bookmakers covering the sport in great detail due to its popularity. Both pre-match and in-play football markets are available online, with bet types including 1×2, over/under goals, first goalscorer, total goals and Asian Handicap being among the most utilised. Meanwhile, football-specific promotions are regularly introduced by the best betting sites, including enhanced match odds, accumulator insurance and money back specials, making wagering on the sport all the more appealing.
Horse Racing – Horse racing betting has long been a popular pastime in the UK, with meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National attracting the interest of millions. Ante-post and pre-race markets are offered by leading bookmakers, with odds often being uploaded months in advance. Races are available to bet on daily at betting sites, including meetings from across Europe, Australia, the United States and South Africa, with many bookmakers also offering live streaming, meaning that punters can watch their favourite runners and riders. Meanwhile, best odds guaranteed is also a popular horse racing promotion, allowing punters to receive the best possible winnings, no matter when it was that bets were placed.
Tennis – It is not just once a year during the two weeks in which Wimbledon takes place in South West London when betting on tennis is popular, with tournaments taking place throughout the year, attracting the attention of punters in the process. All WTA and ATP Tour events are available to bet on, along with less high-profile matches from the Challenger and Futures, with customers being able to back their favourite players with a bet on the match winner, correct score and total games, with the number of markets only increasing when in-play comes into play.
Cricket – Following England’s success at the 2019 ODI World Cup, betting on cricket has seen a significant boom, with T20, One Day and Test matches taking place across the globe on a daily basis. Tournaments including the Indian Premier League and The Hundred have only added to the popularity of cricket betting, with punters being able to bet on markets such as leading batsman, top wicket taker, to score a century, total runs and even to win the toss.
Free Bets, Bonuses & Promotions
Promotions are available on the majority of betting sites, which are often viewed by punters as a method of reaching their objectives. New customers signing up with an online bookie are likely to be in a position to take advantage of a welcome bonus, whether it be a risk-free bet or matched deposit offer.
Meanwhile, ongoing promotions are also available to existing customers in many cases, including best odds guaranteed, free bets, insurance offers and money-back specials.
While we do not recommend registering on a particular betting site simply because of the bonuses in which they offer, promotions can certainly aid punters in reaching their goals. However, it is easy to get carried away here, with only punters who fully understand the way in which promotions work being able to make the most of them.
Why Are Bonuses and Promotions Important?
Bonuses and promotions are introduced by bookmakers in an attempt to entice their customers into depositing funds and placing bets, however the best offers are certainly useful for punters too. Depending on their format, a bonus can provide a platform for beginners to build upon, while also allowing them to test a variety of markets, with relatively little risk. Bonuses can often separate one bookmaker from another when the rest of their operation is similar, making them hugely popular in the industry today.
Punters operating on betting sites in the UK today are likely to come across a number of different promotions, with the following being the most common and popular bonus types introduced by bookmakers on a regular basis:
Welcome Bonus – Punters are often attracted to a particular betting site because of the welcome bonus in which they offer, which is likely to require an opening deposit in order to qualify. The most common form of welcome bonus is a matched deposit offer, which will see customers see their opening deposit doubled, up to a particular amount, up to £200 in some cases.
No Deposit Bonus – Despite being more common in the world of online casinos, no deposit bonuses are something of the holy grail for sports betting customers. As the name suggests, no deposit is needed in order to claim bonus funds here, however the total amount on offer is likely to be relatively low as a result.
Free Bet – Available to new and ongoing customers, free bets are often delivered to reward loyalty or meeting certain requirements, with funds then being available to use on a variety of markets.
How to Find the Best Bonus Offers?
Here at Online-Betting, we are constantly on the lookout for the latest bonus offers, with our experts and writers uploading such promotions on a regular basis, perfect for punters searching for a helping hand in their attempt to beat the bookies. Be sure to keep a regular eye on our site, while those registered on betting sites already can opt in to receive updates surrounding promotions, whether it be via email or text message. However, with any bonus, it is key that customers take on board that terms and conditions which surround them, with the following being the most important factors to consider:
Depending on the bonus type, punters may have to meet particular wagering requirements before withdrawals can be made using this cash. Such requirements will differ from bookmaker to bookmaker, with the total bonus amount, along with the potentially the winnings made from it, having to be turned over a certain number of times.
Qualifying bets or wagers placed using bonus funds are likely to have to meet minimum odds requirements, with prices once again differing between betting sites. This rule has been put in place to ensure that punters can not simply use bonus funds on overwhelming favourites, making things fair for both parties.
Betting customers must use their bonus and meet the wagering requirements within a particular period of time, whether it be 7, 14 or 30 days, with those failing to do so potentially losing these funds.
What is a Fair Bonus?
Now that you are aware of the terms and conditions surrounding betting bonuses, it should quickly become apparent as to just which promotions are fair and which are not. Simply put, a fair bonus provides punters with a good chance of ultimately withdrawing winnings off the back of it, with the bookmaker having made their wagering requirements realistic. The bonus on offer should also reflect the qualifying process, with earning a £10 free bet through depositing £100 upon signing up unlikely to attract the interest of many punters.
A significant number of sports bets are now placed using handheld devices, including mobile phones and tablets, meaning that bookmakers must work hard in order to ensure that their sportsbook is available on such platforms. All of the best betting sites are fully functional on mobile devices, having been optimised for all screen sizes and strengths, while some bookmakers take the step of developing and making available a dedicated mobile app.
Either way, punters should be able to place bets, deposit and withdraw money, cash out, watch live streaming events and contact customer service agents using their device, whether you are an iOS, Android or Windows user. Be sure to check out the “Mobile” section of out site, which discusses some of the leading betting apps available to punters in the UK today.
Sports Betting Odds Explained: NetBet vs 888Sport
In order to help readers in understanding how betting odds work on the best betting sites, we will take a look at an example of a market from bookmakers NetBet and 888Sport, two of the leading names on the web today.
Manchester United vs Arsenal: English Premier League
1 – 8/13 x – 2/1 2 – 3/1
1 – 2/5 x – 3/1 2 – 4/1
When comparing the odds offering by betting sites ahead of an upcoming sporting event, it is generally simple to find where the most appealing prices lay. Using our above example, those looking to back Manchester United to beat Arsenal in the Premier League with a £5 will earn themselves a profit of £3.08 at NetEnt, compared to just £2 at 888Sport. However, the odds on both the match finishing in a draw or an Arsenal victory are more appealing at 888Sport, demonstrating just why odds comparison is so important.
Comparing the odds ahead of an event will help punters in uncovering what they believe to be value bets, with a number of platforms helping to make this process easier than ever.
In terms of UK bookmakers, the likes of NetEnt, 888Sport, Mr. Play, Bet365, 22Bet, William Hill and Ladbrokes are regularly among the market leaders when it comes to odds offered, meaning that it comes as little surprise that they are also among the most successful operators around today. Be sure to check out our individual bookmaker reviews for more detailed information surrounding sports betting prices.
The best betting sites in the UK
Certain betting sites will cater for the needs of specific sports fans better than others. Here at Online-Betting, we have our favourites surrounding the most popular UK sports, which come in the shape of the following:
Football – Punters are unlikely to find a betting site catering for football fans better than Bet365, with their market coverage, odds, live streaming and additional features being hugely appealing. Registered users can watch matches from across Europe, including the Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1, while matches from the English Premier League come with 200+ bet types. The bookmaker also regularly introduces promotions relating to football, including early payout, accumulator insurance and bet boost offers.
Tennis – Meanwhile, NetBet is one of the market leaders when it comes to tennis, with their pre-match and live betting markets here being among the most in-depth on the web today. Their customers can bet on tournaments from around the world, with odds surrounding matches regularly being among the most generous. The live streaming of matches only makes NetBet all the more appealing for tennis supporters, while the bookmaker also performs well when it comes to promotions, which cater for both new and existing customers.
Cricket – British bookmaker William Hill has long been a favourite for punters based in the UK, meaning that it perhaps comes as no shock that their sportsbook is a leading option for those looking to bet on cricket. William Hill cover all international matches, whether it be a T20 between the West Indies and Sri Lanka or the Ashes between England and Australia, with their site being easy to use and entertaining.
American Sports – With basketball, American football, baseball and ice hockey now being followed by many in the UK too, all bookmakers must offer such markets, with 22Bet undoubtedly being one of the standout sites. Their sportsbook is packed full of American sport markets, while the bookie also regularly introduces promotions specific to such events.
Esports – A number of betting sites now cover the phenomenon that is eSports, with Mr. Play’s markets catering for those looking to bet on CS:GO, League of Legends, Dota 2, Starcraft 2 and Rainbow Six. Both pre-match and in-play eSports markets are available at Mr. Play, with punters even being in a position to bet on the outright winner of eSports tournaments.
Horse racing – Horse racing remains the preferred sport for many betting customers, with our recommendation here being Ladbrokes. The bookmaker offers best odds guaranteed and extra places on many meetings, while punters can also easily access their preferred races by clicking on “Next Races”, “Future” and “Specials” tabs. Customers at Ladbrokes can also watch all UK & Irish races on desktop and mobile, with their live streaming service being one of the best on the web today.
Which Betting Sites Should I Avoid?
We have put forward a number of appealing betting sites on this page, however there are undoubtedly some operators which punters should avoid at all costs. While we will not name specific names, any bookmaker which is not licensed by the UK Gambling Commission should not be utilised, while those with poor reputations when it comes to security, payouts and customer support are also worth dodging.
Best Betting Sites – FAQ
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding best betting sites, along with our expert answers, providing a clearer breakdown surrounding some of the most important points in this area:
What makes a good betting site?
A good betting site is one which performs well across the board, including odds, markets, promotions, features and usability, catering for a large number of punters in the process.
Which betting site is the best for me?
While we cannot say exactly which betting site is best for you, we can state that the leading operator for you personal will be the one which best suits your list of demands, whether you are looking to focus specifically on football, in-play or outright bets.
What can I bet on online?
Betting sites today make it easy for punters to wager on a large number of sporting events, along with entertainment and politics. The number of markets is increasing rapidly, meaning that everyone is likely to find something to suit their needs with online bookies nowadays.
Is betting legal in the UK?
Betting in the UK is legal for those aged 18 or over, while betting sites must be licensed by the Gambling Commission in order to target such customers.
Why should I bet online?
Betting online, as opposed to with a high street bookmaker, brings about a host of advantages, including being able to easily view all available markets and odds, utilising a variety of promotions and having the ability to cash out bets.
How can I deposit money at betting sites?
Despite credit cards having been banned in the UK for gambling-related activity, deposits at betting sites can still be made using debit cards, eWallets, bank transfer and Pay By Phone, with such transactions being processed instantly in most cases.
Are my details safe at betting sites?
Both personal and financial details on the betting sites listed on this page can be trusted as being safe, with bookmakers using best in class technology to maintain this. All information is encrypted, defending against the threat of fraud and third parties.
Can I win real money on betting sites?
Yes! Those placing successful bets will receive returns in cash, which can then be withdrawn or used to spend on future bets.
Can I place bets using my mobile?
Yes. Betting sites today are available on a variety of mobile internet browsers, while a host of apps are also available to download.
How do I sign up with an online bookmaker?
Signing up with an online bookmaker is a process that can be completed quickly and easily in most cases, with a small amount of personal information having to be completed, before accounts are verified by uploading a relevant form of identification.
5 Sports Betting Tips for Beginner
Whether you are looking to place your first bet or having been wagering on sports for a number of years, there are certain points that must be taken into consideration beforehand. As a result, we have put together the following tips, helping punters to get the most out of their experience:
- Rather than placing bets with a scattergun approach, take the time to research potential markets, giving yourself the best possible chance of being successful in the process. Placing a bet without the required knowledge is never recommended, as odds have been produced based on a range of factors, including form, head to head records, player availability and motivation.
- On a similar note, we also recommend sticking to what you know when it comes to the sporting world, with those with a good knowledge of football wagering on the Premier League and World Cup, rather than attempting to predict an encounter from eSports.
- Do your research before signing up on a betting site too! A huge amount of information is available at Online-Betting, as well as on other platforms, making it easier for punters to select just which bookmaker best suits their needs. Be sure to take into account the key points discussed on this page in the process.
- Only register with a betting site that is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, with their seal of approval meaning that such bookmakers are safe, fair and reliable. Failing to do so opens up the possibility of being on the wrong end of fraudulent activity.
- While it is easy to be swayed by the welcome bonus found at a particular betting site, do not sign up for this reason alone. In the long run, odds and available markets and features will be far more important!
Why to Trust Our Rankings
Having read all of this information regarding sports betting and the use of online betting sites, you may have been left wondering as to just why you can trust our bookmaker reviews. We are all about transparency, as we understand that trust is a major issue when it comes to bookmaker reviews and betting tips.
However, it is important to remember that we have a vast amount of experience within the industry, as well as a great level of knowledge in terms of the services and features offered by bookmakers.
Best Betting Sites Bottom Line
We have years of experience when it comes to delivering the best betting sites, with the operators mentioned on this page being among the leading platforms available to punters in the UK today. All are nothing but 100% reliable, trustworthy and legal, while they also score highly when it comes to areas including markets, odds, bonuses and customer service. So, check out these betting sites for yourself, before deciding just which is best for you, remembering at all times to gamble responsibly and within your means.