UK has a fast-growing gambling industry, and the UK players have plenty of options to choose from. If you are looking for the best bookmaker for your online bets, get a list with the TOP companies according to our fair rating.
TOP Betting Sites in the UK
As previously stated the UK market offers a vast number (over 1000) online gambling operators, but as in any industry the products and services provided by some brands simply rise head and shoulders above those of their peers. Below we highlight a few of the leading brands most preferred by UK players.
Denise Coates founded Bet365 in 2000, initially seeing humble beginnings having survived an operational start from a portacabin in Stoke-on-Trent featuring a sportsbook developed by Ms Coates herself.
The company continued showing a massive YoY growth of 34% in 2013, at a period when even the leading bookmakers in the UK struggled to show a profit continuously. It also developed and implemented several innovative concepts hereto unseen in the industry before. This includes the option that allowed punters to edit their betslip and a veritable host of others.
- Top-notch sportsbook
- Superb betting features
- Clear and easy bonus terms
- Secure platform
- Slow support
At a period when English bookmakers made a serious attempt to penetrate better the Irish market Paddy Power unashamedly stuck to its Irish roots. In 2000 Paddy Power further expanded by going online with the purchase of PaddyPower.com which exposed the company to the international bookmaking arena and in record time overcoming startup issues to establish itself as a bookmaker of global renown. Any media coverage is a useful marketing tool, tongue in cheek the company also takes great pride in the speed at which its controversial ads get yanked off the air. These are what makes Paddy Power a unique force in the industry.
- Trustworthy brand
- The UK favourite sports supported
- Good odds
- Various additional betting sections
- Great Fantasy League
- Lagging in-play section
Acknowledged as one of the gambling industry’s oldest operators, the company adopted the Ladbrokes name with their move to London in 1902 where it established itself as one of the UK’s most popular bookmakers. In keeping with its promise for quality the operator mainly features a gaming selection widely offering quality products from the world’s foremost developers, which includes Microgaming as well as Playtech but also features a limited range of games from NetEnt, IGT, and Nextgen.
- Best odds guaranteed promo available
- Superb horse racing odds
- Excellent betting features
- Extremely reliable and reputable brand
- Cross-linked promos between the platform and the local shops
- Limited paymet options
Located at an address in Park Lane, London, William Hill opened the doors of its first off-track betting store in 1934 during a period when the state disallowed gambling within UK borders.
It briefly exceeded Ladbrokes for owning the most significant number of betting stores in the UK, despite its involvement in several widely publicised controversies. It continues to iron out the potential problem and remains one of the largest bookmakers in the UK.
- Famous and secure brand
- Superb football betting options
- Great odds
- Excellent betting features
- Exciting Vegas section
- Old-fashioned design
Bwin is one of the most popular betting brands in Europe. Found in 1997 in Austria, nowadays, its name is a synonym for quality and security. This operator stands out because of its complex betting experience. Customers of Bwin an enjoy not only the typically preferred sports in the UK but also various other disciplines.
- Great betting features
- Various sports
- Boosted odds available
- Superb bet builder
- Poor welcome bonus
It’s safe to say that Betfair is a name that each and every bettor in the world recognises. During the years, this operator succeeded in becoming the best betting exchange in the world. In addition, it offers low margins to many of its bets in the regular sportsbook. Good odds and regular promotions are the factors which make Betfair one of the best bookmakers in the UK.
- Reputable and experienced brand
- Low margins
- Superb exchange section
- Top-notch in-play section
- Great bingo games
- Limited payment options
888Sport is known for its cross-linked platforms, which offer a perfect betting experience to sports fans, casino enthusiasts and poker players. The design of these three websites is genuinely exceptional. Aside from being easy to navigate, the 888Sport platforms are a portal to great odds, a superb casino and various additional betting sections.
- Complex betting experience
- Excellent poker section
- Good odds
- Dynamic in-play section
- Missing sports disciplines
Why Choose The UK When Betting Online?
Gambling is not only completely legal in the UK, but historically, it is also an entrenched part of the citizenry’s culture. The UK is one of the safest countries on earth for gamblers to engage in their favourite pastime, mostly due to its controlling body’s hard-won reputation for establishing one of the most strictly regulated and heavily enforced markets in the industry.
In contrast to the legal systems in most other countries, despite having a basis founded in the usually hard to understand legalities, UK gambling law is relatively simple and straight forward with a goal to keep crime out of the system and protect the UK citizen. Moreover, the UKGC is quite protective of its jurisdiction, generally displaying a shallow tolerance threshold toward rogue unlicensed operators attempting to transgress within its borders.
Gambling Facts at a Glance
Naturally, the most commonly accepted form of fiat currency is British Pounds Sterling (GBP) and similarly, the Euro (EUR). Due to the extremely high-quality of games and legally assured blanket, across the board fairness, many punters and players from other international regions view the licenced bookmakers as their first choice.
The UK is currently home to over 67 Million people, ranked as the 21st most populous country in the world.
A notable 50% of UK adults regularly engage in gambling activities. A UKGC survey shows 97% of people who gamble online do so from home, of which more than 50% prefer doing so via a mobile smart device.
After its founding in 2005, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) assumed full power over the regulation and enforcement of Britain’s gambling activities on the 1st of September 2007, effectively replacing the Gaming Board for Great Britain. As per the UK Gambling Act of 2005, the UKGC’s enacted scope of powers included control over all aspects and types of gambling activities within the country with its authority encompassing both land-based casinos and main street betting shops as well as the UK’s massive online gambling industry. Today, the UKGC is currently recognised as the world’s foremost word ineffective gambling control.
Licensed gambling products
UK law provides for three types of licences from the UKGC and one from a local licencing authority:
Types of operators
The UKGC issued licences and currently oversees more than 1000 remote gaming firms which includes numerous acclaimed brands such as Paddy Power, William Hill, Bet365, Ladbrokes, and 1XBet. In addition, the regulatory body lists over 200 gaming development companies, which includes pioneering industry leaders NetEnt, Microgaming, iSoftBet, Playtech, Play‘n GO, Evolution Gaming, and Ezugi.
Gambling has, for centuries, been one of the main recreational pursuits in the UK, with horse racing at the forefront as one of the country’s oldest sports betting activities for over three centuries. Established in 2005, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) assumed full powers on the 1st of September 2007, taking responsibility for the regulation and control over all aspects of gambling in the UK.
Its powers included enforcing the law in the online gambling arena, and despite the UK being relaxed towards gambling, the UKGC continually ensures it maintains a strict and controlled environment to keep crime out of its regulated jurisdiction.
Why Do Some Bookmakers Impose Membership Restrictions On Players From The UK?
Due to the popularity of betting, sports are explicitly betting, and its widespread cultural acceptance within the United Kingdom, operators of gambling establishments throughout the industry, see the UK market as an increasingly enticing prospect. However, unless backed by one of the highly experienced major international gambling brands, new operators entering the hotly contested waters of the local market has generally found it a daunting task.
Also, the UKGC was quick to establish a reliable reputation for its thorough, fair regulation, and heavy-handed application of the laws governing the purpose for its existence. These combined factors discouraged operators who considered themselves not ready to fully commit to such a significant undertaking to refrain from offering their services within UK borders. This also serves as a firm level of discouragement to online operators of dubious morals from attempting to enter the local market via illicit means.
How to Choose the Right Online Betting Site
The UK sportsbetting industry holds a massive number of online sportsbetting operators many of whom specialise in providing specific types of entertainment and each year the industry sees many new betting sites enter the market, however, not all become successful and fail to survive.
In your first consideration, you must give a most serious nod to legalities, since gambling at an unlicensed online venue may land you in serious difficulties with the law. A UKGC licenced casino provides you with an assurance of fairness, stability, honesty, and a method of conflict resolution should you run into a decision you’re not happy with. This assures you that you will at least receive your winnings and have continued access to your deposited funds, betting at an unlicensed venue robs you of all such safeties.
The second most important issue is safety and security. This aspect is all important since you will need to submit a fair bit of personal and financial information to the operator upon registering an account. A UKGC licenced venue remains subject to a host of local jurisdictional, international, and strict industry approved personal data protection laws and requirements that protect all communications between yourself and the operator.
There are other areas to consider such as their level of customer services, the variety of sports types they offer, odds they offer, mobile compatibility, the type of products they offer and how comprehensive is their range of sports betting markets and betting options. All factor in when choosing the right betting site.
Bonuses for UK Players
In the highly competitive environment of the UK’s sports betting market punters are literally spoilt for choice when faced with the option of selecting an excellent promotional bonus or special offers explicitly aimed at attracting punters to its Sportsbetting range.
Promotional bonuses and other specials include deposit matching welcome bonuses, first deposit welcome bonuses, money back as a Free bet, improved odds bets, Free bet bonuses, cash back bonuses, and reload bonuses. All combined ensure you have a quite exciting time finding a bonus best suited to meet your needs.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in the UK
A 2017 report compiled by members of the UKGC revealed some fascinating facts about online gambling in the UK. The independently conducted research shows online sports betting in the UK delivered a Gross Gaming Yield amounting to £2.2 billion for the period October 2016 to September 2017 of which betting on football netted £786 million, placing the sport at a 40% contribution of the overall figure for online sports betting, with horseracing’s £569 million a not too distant second place finisher.
The figures broken down by sport revealed the following:
- Football – £786,000,000
- Horseracing – £569,000,000
- Other Sports Combined – £340,000,000
- Virtual Sports – £175,000,000
- Tennis – £143,000,000
- Dog Racing – £53,000,000
- Cricket – £27,000,000
Are Online Casinos Popular in Great Britain?
The UK represents one of the world’s most lucrative gambling markets with its proceeds, delivering a Gross Gambling Yield of £14.5 billion from October 2017 to September 2018. The online casino industry contributed a whopping £2.2 billion to a total figure of £5.6 billion for the remote (online) gambling sector. The facts confirm online casinos are indeed an exceedingly popular activity amongst Britons, with brands such as William Hill, 888Casino and Ladbrokes, establishing themselves as the UK’s largest and most favoured brands.
The title library in each of these industry leaders offer a gaming range stretching into the thousands but in the entertainment industry people vote with their wallets which inadvertently causes some titles to come to the fore due to their high ratings in the popularity stakes. This range of blockbuster games incorporate titles like NetEnt’s Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Rich Wilde and the Book of the Dead, Immortal Romance, Twin Spin, Mega Moolah a progressive slot responsible for creating multiple new multi-millionaires each year.
Trivia/Did you know that…
- The Queen’s love for horses netted her over £7.7 million after her horses won more than 500 major race meets during the past 31 years.
- Only four-horse owners in the world ever achieved the distinction of owning a winner at both the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies and one of them is Michael Tabor from the UK.
- In 1996 Frankie Dettori defied impossible odds, statistically calculated at 25,000/1 when he won all 7 races at Ascot that year.
- 2008 saw Fred Craggs placing a 50p stake on an 8 horse accumulator that collected him £1 million in winnings after Racer Forever, A Dream Come True, and Isn’t That Lucky, all long odds runners that lived up to their names and won at Wolverhampton, Dubai, and Sandown.
- In 1998 a young Lewis Hamilton’s natural carting skill impressed a motor racing fan that he placed a £100 wager on the likelihood of Lewis winning an F1 championship before he turned 25. That faith netted the bettor a cool £125,000 when Hamilton won 2008 championship.
Available Mobile Apps
In the UK all leading online sports betting and casino entertainment venues offer a variety of fantastic mobile access methods, with many still offering dedicated installable mobile apps for use in specific mobile software environments such as Android and Apple’s iOS. However, the most recent trend amongst online sportsbooks is to simply offer an excellent mobile portal or virtual version of their full website specifically aimed at creating an environment fully compatible to all makes, models, and preferred mobile operating systems. These offer a betting experience quite similar to that of a PC but with the added convenience of continued access even while in transit.
Mobile access has become one of the UK’s most preferred methods of engaging in online sports betting activities. This is due to it offering a full range of sports, betting markets, and supportive features such as banking methods, Cash out options, promotions, live chat support, slots and live dealer gaming. It also provides punters access to full video streaming options that previously only available via PC.
Supported Payment Methods
UK sports betting venues offer a vastly extensive range of finance methods that cater to meet the requirements for members residing in regional jurisdictions covering all areas of the globe. These internationally recognised and trusted finance brands include card facilities from the likes of Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Visa Debit, and Visa Electron that offer instant deposit transaction times with a day or two delays to process withdrawals. Alternative finance options comprise of e-Wallets, Bank Wire Transfers, Cheque, other electronic payment options.
UK resident does not have to pay taxes on their winnings resulting from wagering. A 2001 amendment to UK gambling law saw to the abolishment of all tax duties on winnings derived from gambling.
Why would an online bookmaker hand out free bets, what is the catch?
There are various legitimate reasons for doing this. The reality is, bookmakers that fail to offer free bets will generally suffer from zero brand awareness and no exposure if they do not employ some method to attract your attention actively, and Free Bets are simply one of those that grabs punters attention.
How do I go about rating the value of a bonus or promotional offer from an online venue?
This depends much on your personal requirements and expectations. Offers that represent excellent value to some hold little or no meaning to others. If you doubt its value, refer to one of the leading online affiliate sites such as Efirbet as they contain invaluable advice and insight on such decisions.
What exactly are wagering requirements?
Wagering requirements are a tool used by online betting sites to ensure fair play between you and the casino. Its purpose is to prevent those who hope to get bonus monies without playing in good faith by forcing you to wager and play with the free funds for a while before it becomes yours to keep.
What would be the best method to conduct regular transactions online when funding your account safely?
All licenced online gambling venues go to great lengths to ensure the safety of their clientele’s banking details and other personal data. This simply means use whatever method suits your individual circumstances best!
Is it legal for my wife to fund her personal account at online sports betting venue using my credit card details?
Yes, she may but the industry as a whole frown upon and advise against utilising any such practices. This could in the wrong context see you face a host of severe, potentially ruinous, charges both in the UK and internationally.
Will online sports betting sites allow me to use a variety of banking methods?
Yes, you may most operator actually encourage such practices.
I want to know if there are sites that allow people to gamble without any age verification requirements?
Yes, such as cash play and cryptocurrency accepting sites do exist but are not available in the UK.
While some sites still shy away from offering UK citizens a membership account, there are no other places in the world that offer the levels of freedom to gamble, yet still makes such a concerted attempt to protect the rights of its citizenry. A last piece of advice, I highly recommend entirely avoiding any site that does not wish to accept a UK resident, it usually means the website does not meet the stringent requirements of the UKGC or has a morally dubious goal.