Active players: 1.563.000
Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)
Regulated gambling products: Sports betting, horse racing, casino games, lottery, bingo
Operator types: Licensed online bookmakers & betting shops, land-based & online casinos
Designated authority: United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and has a rich gambling history that dates back to the 16th century. It is the birthplace of the iconic football manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the great striker Kenny Dalglish and the former world no.1 tennis player Andy Murray. It is also home to the legendary football clubs Celtic and Rangers. When it comes to online gambling, Scotland leads the UK in online betting participation, as 65% of its population wager on a regular basis. As of July 1, 1999, Scotland has its own devolved government. Nonetheless, all gambling-related activities are regulated by the UKGC under the Gambling Act 2005. Due to the liberal approach that the Gambling Act brought to the Scottish market, local players are allowed to bet on any bookie they prefer. Football, horse racing and golf are the most popular sports and punters opt for legal betting sites in Scotland, like Bet365 and Betfair, in order to place their bets on their favorite events.
Betting in Scotland - 5 things to know
- Betting became legal in Scotland in 1960
- The legal age of gambling online is 18
- The UKGC oversees land-based & online bookies
- 900 betting shops and 12 casinos operate in the country
- Around 65% of the population are active gamblers
Best betting sites in Scotland
The following shortlist comprises the best bookmakers Scotland has to offer. We brought them together since they offer high football odds, a great variety of betting markets and appealing promotions.
Online Scotland betting: The gambling law framework
Throughout most of the 19th-century betting was considered illegal in Scotland. In 1845 the Gaming Act came into force and it was followed by the 1853 Betting Act, which outlawed betting shops and prohibited gambling all across the country. Everything changed in 1960 when all forms of gambling became legal under the Betting and Gaming Act. Betting shops opened in May 1961 for the first time after 108 years and casinos were also legalized. Within the next four years, 16,000 betting licenses were issued and the business began to boom.
Today, all online gambling activities are legal in Scotland under the 2005 Gambling Act and the market is regulated by the UKGC, which assumed power on the 1st of September 2007. Therefore, both land-based and online operators in the country come under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Currently, there are 900 betting shops in Scotland and twelve land-based casinos. Moreover, there is a wide array of online sportsbooks that operate legally and all of them hold licenses issued by the Gambling Commission. 888sport, Betfair and Bet365 constitute the most prominent Scottish bookies.
Football is by far the most popular sport in Scotland. Scotting football has its origins back to the 15th century and the Scottish Cup is the oldest national trophy in the world. So, it comes as no surprise that football betting is the favorite pastime of Scots. The Scottish Premiership is the top competition and punters love to place their bets on the Old Firm derby on the bookie that is the main sponsor of the league and comes with a 94% football payout, namely Ladbrokes Scotland.
Horse racing is also considered very popular among local bettors and the Scottish Grand National is the top domestic event. William Hill Scotland is a great choice for horse racing enthusiasts in terms of odds, markets and promotions. Golf is yet another sport that is very popular in the country. Scotland is known as the ‘Home of Golf’ and Scottish Open betting is very widespread among punters.
The most popular deposit methods among Scots punters are debit cards, bank transfer, Paysafecard, PayPal and e-wallets, like Skrill and Neteller. Major bookies in Scotland, such as Unibet and Betfred, offer a wide range of deposit options, including the ones mentioned above. This means that bettors are free to choose the payment that suits them the most, in order to fund their betting account.
Since the establishment of the Gambling Act 2005, the Scottish betting market has become liberalized and punters are totally free to bet on any sportsbook they want, including those that are not licensed domestically. It is worth noting, though, that the most decent operators are the ones that hold a valid license issued by the UKGC. Therefore, since the top bookmakers in Scotland, such as Betvictor and Coral, are regulated by the Gambling Commission, the future of betting in the country looks promising.
The complete list of Scottish betting sites