We Review the Best Betting Sites in the UK for 2021 so You Don’t Have To
It would not be an exaggeration to say that sports betting in the UK is something of a national pastime, with football betting being of particular interest to so many members of the UK male population over the age of 18.
If you go into any pub on a Saturday lunchtime, you will see lads of all ages studying the fixed odds coupons from their local bookie or studiously looking at a bookie app on their mobile phone, trying to finalise their selections for that afternoon’s football matches from the best betting sites.
It used to be the case that placing a bet on whatever sports took your fancy had to take place within the confines of a betting shop, but with the advent of online betting, all of the top betting sites are desperate for your business, and that is obviously great news for punters, as they can take advantage of the many bonuses which are out there.
|1.||bet365 Review||up to £100 In Bet Credits||yes||yes||37||Visit SiteReview|
|Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. #AD|
|2.||Unibet Review||Money Back as a Bonus up to £40 if your first bet loses + £10 Casino||yes||yes||38||Visit SiteReview|
|18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #AD|
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|New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.|
What Punters Need to Know When Choosing Trusted Betting Sites
As you will probably expect, though, in this highly competitive arena, there are steps that should be taken before signing up with one of the top online betting sites. You should only choose to open sportsbook accounts with bookies which
- are fully licensed and regulated;
- have a solid background in offering their customers the best possible service;
- have first-class customer support in place;
- offer an attractive welcome bonus as well as ongoing promotions.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at what we consider to be the best online betting sites. We will also explain a little later exactly what we look for before recommending a sportsbook to our readers.
1. 10bet – This bookie made its name in the European betting markets, but now has a base in London and welcomes UK punters with open arms. They are one of the best betting websites with attractive odds and ongoing promotions worth taking advantage of. The sign-up bonus consists of a 50% matched bonus of up to £100 which is one of the best in the business.
*New 10Bet Customers; Min. deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Bonus amount is 50% of deposit up to £100; 6x deposit and bonus turnover (min. odds 3/5 on singles and 2/5 per selection on acca bets), in 30 days, for bonus release; Some bet types don’t contribute to turnover; Withdrawal before turnover results in bonus cancellation; Terms apply; 18+.
2. bet365 – This bookie is synonymous with the ‘best betting sites’ statement, and it would be fair to say that they have everything, from helpful customer support to a very attractive £100 welcome bonus. Few punters would argue that bet365 sets the benchmark in terms of offering their customers a first-class betting experience.
* Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. #AD
3. 888sport – This is the sportsbook which is connected to the iconic 888 casino. Having gone from strength to strength, it is now regarded as one of the top betting sites. An attractive welcome offer of “Bet £10, Get £40 in free bets” is proving to be extremely popular, and their overall service is of a very high standard.
*T&C apply, 18+!
4. Betfair – What can you say about Betfair apart from the fact that they shook up the world of online gambling with their involvement in the betting exchange market. Welcome offers are usually available on both the exchange and sportsbook but keep an eye out for what is available at the moment because the promotions change all of the time.
5. Unibet – Whilst this sports betting site cannot boast of the same kind of tradition in the UK such as Ladbrokes and William Hill, they can lay claim to being one of the big boys in terms of European betting, so it is great news that they welcome customers from the UK, and are now regarded as one of the most trusted UK betting sites.
*18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #AD
6. Paddy Power – What can you say about Paddy Power apart from the fact that they are not only a first-class sportsbook, but their media department are nothing short of geniuses. Their welcome bonus is only a £10 risk-free bet, but this is one of those betting sites which offers far more than the sign-up bonus when you have an account with them.
7. William Hill – There is not much to say about William Hill that you won’t already know. An iconic UK bookmaker which has been on the high streets of the UK since time immemorial. The online sportsbook is of the highest quality, and the present sign-up offer of depositing £10 and getting £30 in free bets is not to be sniffed at.
New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
8. Betway – Despite being a very good online bookmaker, Betway are causing something of a stir lately by limiting customers’ accounts. The sign-up bonus of a 100% matched bonus up to £30 is not bad at all, but keep an eye on our website if you are considering getting involved in any further offers because we are closely monitoring their attitude in this respect.
9. Mr Green – Predominantly known for its casino, the Mr Green sportsbook is another operator which is relatively new to the market, and it has been receiving favourable reviews from its users. A 100% matched accumulator bet to £10 is on offer, which is not the best in the business, but one that is worth taking advantage of.
10. Betfred – After more than fifty years in the business, Betfred still manages to offer an innovative approach to sports betting, and their numerous promotions certainly give punters what they seek, starting with a £30 welcome bonus. The bookie also offers some of the most diverse betting markets and high odds, and it’s all easily accessible on a contemporary, easy to navigate website.
11. BetVictor – BetVictor are one of the betting websites in the UK and seem to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to offering UK punters exactly what they want. Two £10 free bets and £10 to use in the casino as a welcome offer is quite an attractive welcome bonus by any description.
How We Monitor and Rank the Bookmakers
We not only hold accounts with every sportsbook on the market; we actually use these betting sites on a regular basis. If a sportsbook lowers its standards in any way, we make sure that our readers know exactly what’s going on, and whether this sportsbook should be avoided or if it is just a temporary problem.
We have strict criteria which have to be followed before we will even think about mentioning a sportsbook, never mind actually recommending that you go and open an account. To start with, a sportsbook has to be licensed and fully regulated before we even look at it.
And then there are the wagering requirements. It is not uncommon for some of the best UK betting sites’ reviews to rave about a sportsbook which is offering a hugely attractive welcome bonus. However, when you delve a little deeper, you will see that not only is the sportsbook not regulated, but the wagering requirements which accompany the welcome bonus are so staggeringly high that a punter will have little chance of seeing a return from their initial investment.
As you can probably imagine, though, that is just an extreme tip of the iceberg. There are many other aspects of a sportsbook which need to be checked before we can add it to our full list of UK betting sites and recommend it to our readers.
For instance, what about customer support? Or, what does a customer do when they have a problem? It could be anything from a query regarding a deposit to how the return from a bet is calculated. If the bookie’s customer service is not up to scratch, it can cause a great deal of frustration, and ultimately, the customer could end up losing money.
If you have a problem, it is no good at all having to wait several hours, or in some cases days, in order to get a response. You need a solution, preferably through live chat, which is delivered in a matter of minutes and in a friendly and helpful manner.
Then we have the odds which are on offer. Some sportsbooks are notorious for having really poor odds which could be described as being on the verge of insulting. If you are someone who takes their betting seriously – which you should – a bookie’s highly competitive odds will be high on your list of reasons why you should open an account with them or not.
We keep track of the odds available across the whole industry, and we share with you which betting sites stand out from the crowd in this respect. How easy the sportsbook is to navigate, how easy it is to place bets, and how long it takes to process withdrawals are all factors which we thoroughly investigate, and which we will share with our readers in the form of our reviews of UK betting sites.
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Let’s Talk About Licensing
If you live in the UK, online sports betting is perfectly legal. Something that you should bear in mind is that if you are betting from another country, you may find that your sportsbook account will be blocked, and you will not be able to place any bets. However, the biggest betting sites are available in numerous countries, so if you have signed up with a brand that has global coverage like William Hill, the answer to your question “how to access UK betting sites from abroad” is simple – just log into your account. We advise that you contact customer care before travelling, though, because even if a bookie accepts customers from the country you’re visiting, you may find that the number of markets has been reduced, and that some sections of the site are inaccessible when you log in from abroad.
Back in the UK, you will experience no problems at all, and the organisation which is responsible for making sure that any sportsbook which is open to UK residents is above board is the UK Gambling Commission. Checking that a bookie is licenced by the UK Gambling Commission should be the benchmark of the minimum requirements that you look for before even considering opening an account. It should be noted that a bookie displaying the commission’s logo is not necessarily licenced, so a few more checks need to be made.
To begin with, click on the UK Gambling Commission logo, and make sure that you are directed to the public license register where you will be able to see if the sportsbook is actually registered. Then, check to make sure that the details on the license match the details which are listed in the register (the sportsbook activities and website domain name for example).
Don’t worry if this all sounds a little complicated because we carry out these checks before we even start to review a sportsbook, so you don’t have to!
What About Safety and Security?
Whilst being licenced by the UK Gambling Authority is important, there are also other factors to bear in mind when it comes to the safety and security of your betting account.
Encryption, for example, is an extremely important aspect of a sportsbook account because this is what keeps your data safe. We have all heard the absolute horror stories of what can happen when someone’s personal data is stolen, so it goes without saying that you should be certain that proper encryption is in place.
Thawte is the name that you should be looking for when it comes to encryption, and the logos are displayed on the sportsbook but as with the UK Gambling Authority logo, always make sure that the sportsbook in question is actually associated with who they are claiming to be associated with by clicking on the link and checking.
It goes without saying that this is another aspect that we check for before even beginning to review a sportsbook, so every bookie that we recommend has the very best encryption in place.
What Happens If It Stops Being Fun?
Something which should be applauded regarding online betting is the bookie’s attitude to responsible gambling. For the vast majority of punters, online betting is something that is enjoyable and hopefully profitable but for some, their gambling has become something of a problem and as the television advert quite clearly says, ‘When the fun stops, Stop!’
It would be fair to say that some sportsbooks take a more helpful stance than others when it comes to helping people who are experiencing problems but how helpful they are can be a reliable indicator of how these betting operators treat their customers in general.
Some bookies think that merely displaying a link to an organisation such as Gamcare on their website shows that they are prepared to help, whereby other betting websites go to great lengths such as offering questionnaires so that punters can get an idea if they have a problem and by allowing customers to take a break from being able to log into their sportsbook account.
We look closely at the responsible gambling guidelines of every bookie which we review to make sure that they have the best interests of their customers at heart.
What About the Quality of the Site and User Experience?
Now that the boring bits regarding the reliability of a bookie are out of the way, it’s time to take a closer look at the website itself in terms of quality and user experience. If you take a look at the most successful online bookmakers on the market at the moment, you will see that they all have one thing in common: the layout is simple, easy to navigate, and without distractions.
Back in the day when betting online was in its infancy, there seemed to be a trend in which the betting site was full of flashing lights and made up of garish colours. Now, thankfully, if you look at bookies such as Bet365 and Betfair, you will notice that the main colour scheme involves only two or three colours and the layout of the site is very simple, which in turn means that it is easy to navigate and find your bets.
It is usually possible to investigate exactly what the sportsbook looks like in terms of the markets that it offers before signing up for an account but on saying that, registration should be relatively straightforward, and you will be able to delve even deeper before you make a deposit if that is what you would prefer.
A Quick Tutorial on How to Open a Sportsbook Account
- 1. Open the account
Most betting sites have a similar procedure when it comes to opening an account. The ‘Join now’ button can usually be found towards the top right-hand corner of the bookie website, and it is then just a matter of filling in your personal details. You will then usually receive a verification email, so you can then log into your account and get ready to hopefully win some money.
- 2. Claim a bonus
You will usually find that the welcome bonus will get added automatically, but you will sometimes have to claim it. If you do have to claim the bonus, it is all very straightforward, and you will receive the exact instructions about the steps that you have to take. Click on the button of the UK betting site’s review to claim an offer you’ve liked.
- 3. Make a deposit
When your account has been opened, and the welcome bonus claimed, Skrill will probably be the most attractive deposit method for you to use due to the speed in which withdrawals will be made back to your account, but for the initial deposit, a debit card would have to be the one which we would recommend.
- 4. Choose a market
Scroll down the left-hand side of the sportsbook, and you will see the different markets that are on offer and from there, choose the specific game or match that you would like to bet on. Normally, you will find numerous options for pre-match and in-play bets on different events, so all you have to do is find the game you’re interested in and click on it.
- 5. Check the odds
You should then check the odds of the selection which you would like to place a bet on. The odds do vary between bookmakers, and this is one of the main reasons why you should seriously consider opening a few bookmaker accounts so that you are in a position to get the best odds possible.
- 6. Place the bet
When you click on the odds of the selection which you would like to place a bet on, the selection will be automatically placed in the betting slip which can usually be found towards the top right-hand side of the website. Place the amount which you would like to bet, click on the bet button and your bet will have been placed.
- 7. Withdraw your winnings
If your bet wins, simply go to the ‘My Account’ section of the bookie and withdraw the winnings back to the same method from which you made the initial deposit. If you made the deposit by a web wallet, the funds should be back in your account within hours of being processed whereby most other withdrawals will take up to five working days.
The Beautiful Betting Offers!
Most punters will be only too well aware that online bookies offer incentives in the form of welcome bonuses in order to try and persuade you to open an account with them and reload bonuses which are offered to tempt you to keep on placing bets with them.
The online gambling industry is highly competitive, and it would be fair to say that this greatly favours the punter because there are absolutely no restrictions as to how many accounts they can open with different betting operators.
As you would probably expect though, all of the come with terms and conditions attached to them, so it is of particular importance that you take the time to familiarise yourself with the small print. The two main terms and conditions are the wagering requirements and the minimum odds.
As an example, a bonus might stipulate that the qualifying bet has to be placed on a selection with minimum odds of evens (2.0) and that it has to be wagered three times. There are also sometimes terms and conditions which mean that some deposit methods do not count towards the free bet so as long as you take the time to understand these rules, you won’t run into any problems.
More Promotions As You Come Back
Once your account is up and running, you will become aware of the many forms of reload bonuses which are available. You will find that these bonuses are sometimes combined with casino offers within the same sportsbook such as wager £10 on the casino and receive a free £5 accumulator bet.
Other betting offers and promotions include accumulator insurance bets whereby you will get a refund of your stake if one selection lets you down as well as various odds boost where the odds of a particular selection are increased for a short period of time.
The great thing about reload bonuses and promotions is that bookies are constantly looking at different deals which they can offer, and this is obviously great news for punters.
Reward programmes and VIP clubs are also in place with some sportsbooks, membership of the reward programmes is usually automatic whilst the VIP programmes are more often than not invite only. Both have their own attractions but don’t be tempted to wager more than you otherwise would in an attempt to get to a higher level of the programme, instead, just regard any rewards that you receive as an added bonus.
Depositing and Cashing out Is a Piece of Cake!
It is in the bookies’ best interest that they offer customers a wide range of options so that they can make deposits to and withdrawals from their account. Making a deposit into your account is just a case of adding the payment details and the amount which you would like to deposit, and the payment will instantly be made into your account.
The most popular payment methods are Visa/MasterCard, bank wire, web wallets such as Skrill, Neteller and Paypal, payments directly through apps on your mobile phone, and some bookies also accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bear in mind that most betting websites do not allow web wallet payments to qualify for their welcome bonus, but any future deposits with a web wallet is not a problem.
In the world of matched betting, most punters prefer to use Skrill as withdrawals are usually made back to their account within a matter of hours whereas most of the other methods can take up to five working days. The common consensus within the online gambling industry is that most bookies will accept cryptocurrencies in the not too distant future, so that is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Betting on the Move with Sports Betting Apps
The vast majority of betting websites in the UK now have a mobile app and due to the advancements in mobile technology, these apps are just as powerful as if you were betting from your laptop or desktop computer, and are still regarded as extremely safe betting sites.
The apps are available in both Android and IOS formats, and even those bookies who don’t have an app have a responsive mobile version of their website which can be accessed from the mobile browser. You should also be aware that some betting websites have promotions which are directed at mobile users in an attempt to persuade them to use this method when placing their bets.
The Joys of In-Play Betting
Many betting companies now offer in-play betting and live streaming so it would be fair to say that this adds a completely new dimension to the betting activities for punters. The benefits of live betting over pre-match betting are numerous so as an example, let’s say that you have placed a football bet with Paddy Power. Even though the team you have placed a bet on are winning 1-0, from watching the live stream it is becoming more and more apparent that the other team are on top and likely to equalise.
In the old days, you would have had to sit and nervously watch the match, hoping for the best, but with in-play betting, you can cash out and watch the rest of the match without worrying about the score.
The Betting Markets
The betting companies offer a huge range of markets for customers to bet on, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that you probably haven’t even heard of some of the markets that are on offer, eSports being a prime example. The most popular betting markets though are football, horse racing, tennis, and golf, with greyhound racing also popular with some of the more traditional secure betting sites such as William Hill.
The Most Popular Bets and the Odds That Accompany Them
The most popular types of bet on these secure betting sites basically depends on what kind of punter you are. The recreational punter will prefer combination and accumulator bets in the hope of receiving a large payout from a small stake whereas the more serious punters and matched bettors will concentrate on the simple win single bet.
Something that you should perhaps bear in mind when placing bets at these secure betting sites is that if a bookie is advertising a type of bet, it will be because it is profitable to them as opposed to the punter. This is why you will often see stories of players who have won thousands of pounds off a £5 accumulator bet plastered over the press and social media; because it is an attempt by the bookies to persuade other punters to place the same kind of bets.
If you are wondering about the different types of odds which are available at the betting sites we review, in the UK the odds are usually in fractional or decimal formats, and you can choose which type of odds you prefer in the setting section of the sportsbook which you are using.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Betting Shops vs Betting Sites
If you have an interest in sports and have grown up in the UK, you will more than likely have placed bets in a betting shop. Betting shops in the UK have become something of an institution and depending where you live, there will be several different bookies on the same high street, but it is a sign of the times how much these bookies have changed.
A typical bookie would open at around 10am and close its doors around 30 minutes after the last horse race but bookies are now open from early in the morning until 10pm at night, and the reason for this are the fixed odds betting machines.
It could be argued that some bookies are now more like amusement arcades because if you take the time to read the big bookie annual reports, you will see that these machines make a great deal of profits for the bookmakers.
Many punters would still rather place bets at a betting shop as opposed to online and vice versa, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that online betting is the medium that most younger punters prefer due the ability to place a bet without the need of having to go to a betting shop.
Something that is not widely known is that as well as a betting shop also offering various bonuses and promotions in order to tempt passers-by to walk into a shop, it is also possible to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities by taking advantage of fast moving markets. This is commonly known as sharbing (shop arbing), and it is where a bet is placed in the high street shop, and then laid off on a betting exchange in the hope of making a profit.
Something else to remember is that unlike online betting, it is possible to take advantage of promotions more than once with the same bookie. For example, let’s say that William Hill are offering a particular bonus on one of their horse racing markets, there is nothing stopping you from visiting a number of different William Hill shops in your vicinity and taking advantage. You could not do this with online accounts because if you tried, you would soon get found out and your accounts would be closed down as holding multiple accounts is something which is frowned upon.
It’s All About the Rep!
As with most things in life, reputation counts for an awful lot, and that is exactly the same with online bookies. The old stalwarts in the game such as Ladbrokes and William Hill have been in the bookmaking business for over one hundred years, but there are new betting sites which are coming onto the market who are shaking things up a little, to say the least.
To be honest, though, it would be a sad state of affairs if these older bookies were not challenged in any way and left to rule the roost so these new safe betting sites should be applauded.
As long as these new bookies meet all of the licensing requirements and offer a safe and secure betting environment, they will be worth investigating and don’t worry, if these new bookies meet out strict requirements, you will be first to know if you should open an account with them or not.
What About Customer Care?
We have already mentioned how important a sportsbook customer support is, and there are usually several different options available for the customers of a bookie to get in touch. In an attempt to take the load of their support staff, some betting sites will prompt you to work out the answers to any problems yourself.
There will be a list of FAQ’s which could include the answer that you are looking for, but you shouldn’t really have to go through that, if you have a problem, get onto live chat straight away and get it sorted out.
The usual contact methods are email, telephone, and live chat. Email is not really recommended, as it can take ages for the support desk to get back to you, telephone is OK, but you don’t really have a record of what has been said so the favourable option would have to be live chat.
Most customer care departments won’t leave you waiting for more than a few minutes so you should be able to get the answer to any problems and you will have a record of what has been said should there be any more problems further on down the line.
Innovative Changes to the World of Online Betting
If you had a time machine and went back ten years, there are certain aspects to the online betting world which would be almost unrecognisable. Live betting, for instance, has come on leaps and bounds, and the bookies have algorithms in place which mean that a large number of in-play markets can now be offered.
The volume of bets on betting exchanges such as Betfair have gone through the roof and live streaming is now of an extremely high standard. Who would have thought that you could place bets on eSports and that there would be an enormous demand for this type of betting?
So, what does the future hold?
Most industry insiders agree that Blockchain technology will play a major part in the future of online betting, and most sportsbooks are ready and waiting to embrace this kind of technology.
Bets will be able to be placed even quicker than they are now, and more and more peer to peer platforms will appear over the course of time.
There will be changes to the online betting markets which we can’t even imagine, so these are exciting times in which we live, to say the least.
Let Us Help You
The world of online betting with the top betting websites can be exactly what you want it to be. If you enjoy placing an acca on a Saturday afternoon to add some interest to the games which are being played, you will find that many of the sportsbooks such as Paddy Power will offer incentives so that you place your bets with them.
It could be that your interest lies in horse racing in which case betting companies like William Hill will offer you incentives to place your horse racing bets with them. It may be that you have discovered the highly lucrative world of matched betting where you take advantage of the huge number of bonuses which are made available by the best online betting sites.
It really doesn’t matter which camp you fall into, opening accounts at the best betting sites will enable you to get involved and take advantage of the many offers that are out there.
Due to our extensive research, we are able to present you with the best of the best so that you don’t have to worry about whether your personal details and your funds will be safe, leaving you to get on with the job in hand which is to win against the old enemy, because after all, that is what it is all about, isn’t it?
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