With hundreds of licensed online bookmakers in the UK, separating the wheat from the chaff of UK bookmakers has become an arduous task. This is why we decided to carry the load for you and have gone ahead to weigh and measure all the UK bookies in order to bring you the very best. We are listing all the fundamental criteria that constitute a top online UK sportsbook, useful info on the new bookies that have been awarded a UK gambling license and the complete online bookmakers UK directory.
How to Choose the Top UK Online Bookmakers
Before we get started we’ll take a few seconds to explain how exactly our bookmaker ratings work. There is a set of key parameters that each bookie must pass before we eventually recommend it. These include:
- High odds: Pretty much a punter’s bread and butter when betting online. High bookmakers’ odds mean that you will earn more on every win, making long-term profit much easier.
- Easy to use site/app: Few things are more frustrating than having to spend half a minute searching a bookie’s platform to find your favourite markets. Not to mention having to tap your smartphone’s screen 10 times to find the withdrawal button on the cashier.
- Good bonuses and offers: A high joining bonus will enhance your starting bankroll allowing you to be more versatile on how you bet. A large amount of offers and a loyalty program is a welcome addition; as long as the UK bookmaker is not trying to compensate for poor odds by awarding free bets and bonus offers.
- High-quality live streaming: Let’s face it, betting live with no streaming is like drinking non-alcoholic beer. You might get a familiar taste, but there’s no kick in it. We don’t expect to watch the UEFA Champions League Final live on a sportsbook; but, the lack of streaming on Europe’s largest football league’s and Britain’s top racing events is a poor excuse for an in-play betting platform.
- Large amount of events & markets: The more markets you can find on a UK bookmaker the higher your chances to stick around. Having many choices on your bets, does not only allow you to pick a market you might feel comfortable with, but also lets you shop the best possible odds from a number of UK bookies.
- Top customer service: We’ve seen some travesties during the past years with some outsourced customer service agencies, as low-budget bookies will try and cut costs wherever they can. This is why customer support agents who are knowledgeable, fast and helpful get all five stars from us.
- Variety of in-play markets & events: Similar to pre-match markets, there shouldn’t be any limits on your market options when betting live. This means that apart from match result and goals markets, you should be able to find nearly every selection that was available before the start of the match.
- Early prices & odds: Shopping early for bargain prices means that you can find profitable opportunities before bookies decide to balance their odds. This is especially true on racebooks, as early prices can vastly differ from board prices. Obviously, a bookie that offers the best odds guaranteed gets bonus points from us.
- No limits on winning accounts: It’s a sad truth that winning players are bad business for online operators. Unfortunately, very few bookmakers in UK will allow winning punters to keep betting for long without placing any limits. There are however some trusted brands, like Betfair, that deal fairly with them through the years.
Key Characteristics to Identify a UK Bookmaker
The UK gambling market is filled with local and foreign bookmakers who claim that they offer the best sports betting product. However, a large number of them are not adequately optimized for the average punter, as they are more focused on markets of other countries. Before you decide to sign up on a new bookmaker UK, make sure to confirm as many key points as you can from the following list.
- 1 UKGC license: Your top priority is to check if you want to sign up for one of the UK-licensed bookmakers. This can be easily viewed at the bottom of the bookmaker's screen, where the logo of the Gambling Commission should be clearly visible.
- 2 British Pound accepted: It goes without saying that a bookie should let you deposit and withdraw with GBP. Thankfully, all legally licensed brands offer this option.
- 3 English customer support: By English, we mean native English. We’re not trying to play the blame game here, but some Asian operators have been at fault for hiring customer support agents that had a hard time understanding players’ complaints on their live chat.
- 4 GB payment localization: Apart from well-known payment methods like Visa, Mastercard and Skrill; a truly localized British bookie should offer payments that are really popular in the UK, such as PayPal and Paysafecard.
- 5 British sports: Obviously, most of us love punting on football, tennis and horses; however, we all know that there’s more than that. Darts, rugby union, cricket, netball, badminton, snooker and even drone racing are all highly competitive sports with dozens of markets.
- 6 Correct sports categorization: It might not seem that important at first sight, but being able to find your favourite football leagues and events at the top of the sports selection, can save up a lot of time and frustration.
- 7 Fractional odds: This one is pretty much self-explanatory. You might be able to understand the difference between -150 and -250, but trying to calculate the exact value of an odds set can be impractical.
- 8 Special betting markets: Politics, entertainment and Royal specials are quickly becoming player favourites as they let you claim a couple of freebets and offer a whole host of highly valued underdog options. Although not a necessity, they are a welcome selection when you want to place a small wager on a fun market.
- 9 Existing customer freebets: Apart from receiving Freebet Offers when you sign up on a new bookie, it’s always nice if you can get even more promos through your betting action. This is one of the key aspects of the best bookies UK.
- 10 Acca & odds boost offers: Special offers on your accumulators like Acca boosts and insurances are some of the favourite promotions among UK punters. Odds boosts and cashback bonuses are also welcome additions on the top UK bookmakers.
- 11 British terminology: Obviously, you can tell the difference between American Football and real football; however, few things can kill your immersion faster than a poorly translated bookmaker.
- 12 Other products: Casino, Bingo, Live Casino, Virtual Sports and Esports are all welcome especially if you are looking to expand your gambling knowledge.
Biggest UK Bookmakers vs New UK Bookmakers
Dozens of new sportsbooks are launched every year as the UKGC does not place any limits on the number of license holders. Given that the Commission is extremely strict on how they audit new bookies; there is no real cause of becoming suspicious of how safe new online bookmakers UK really are.
What cannot be denied, is that the biggest bookmakers in the world operate in the United Kingdom and have managed to gain our trust by keeping us happy through the years by offering fair and complete sportsbooks. Since we are creatures of habit, we will seldom switch a good bookie for a new one.
Our piece of advice is to always choose trusted bookmakers to place your bets and by all means, to do some research before you ultimately decide where to sign up. It is, however, important to keep an open mind towards new operators. By doing so you can not only get cool promotions and bonuses, but you may also find brand new game-changing features your existing sportsbook doesn’t offer.
Why you should use Multiple Bookmaker Accounts
We’re gonna draw a broad analogy here and compare shopping for odds and offers on various bookmakers, to shopping for groceries at your local store. There’s always the chance you might be lucky. You may find fresh vegetables and inexpensive spices, the same way you may have signed up on a bookie that has top odds and frequently showers you with freebets and offers.
Bookmakers, like any other vendor, want our money; plain and simple. This is why they will offer us first deposit bonuses and why they will award a freebet out of the blue when we have been inactive for a while. They want us to keep betting and they want so on their own sportsbook. Fret not though, as there is a way to beat the bookies at their own game.
Shopping on multiple bookmakers lets us choose from among dozens of different odds sets, allowing us to pick the very best ones. There’s also the case of finding various bookmaker sign up offers by joining new betting sites; letting us claim a bit more money simply by placing our bets as usual.
Online Bookmakers in the UK vs High Street Bookies
The reason UK online bookmakers are more easily accessible compared to bookmaker shops is obvious to everyone. What we’re looking into is if and how the best online bookmakers UK are superior to high street bookies, strictly in terms of betting.
First of all, you have more betting options. There’s no way you can find all the different markets and events that are offered on an online bookmaker when betting on a high street bookie. There are simply way more leagues and markets on different odds sets. Second is live betting. Unlike online bookmakers UK, you may find yourself stuck waiting to place a bet at the bookie’s desk and miss a profitable opportunity far too often.
There are also bonus offers. Betting shops, unfortunately, will not shower you with offers in the hope that you stick around; nor they will offer you a sign-up bonus when you place your first bet. Online bookies UK, on the other hand, will be more than happy to give you some kind of promotion as a reward for playing.
Moreover, payment options are really important. High street bookies apparently accept cash and card deposits, but what happens if you don’t want to tap into your bank account? Online bookmakers that accept Skrill, Neteller and even mobile payments let you deposit and withdraw with a few clicks.
On the other hand, betting shops have these big screen TVs. Betting on high street bookies is obviously more sociable. However, you must draw a line on why and how much you are betting. If you are doing it for profit, then you shouldn’t hit the bookies just to pass the time. If you simply enjoy betting with your mates, then it’s important to bet based on logic and not blind emotion.
Best Small and Independent Sites
Although the term small might seem a bit off, as it’s used to describe a bookie with annual revenue below £500,000; there are quite a few bookmakers that are focusing their efforts on offering a single brand to the UK market. Additionally, there are quite a few independent online bookmakers that have stood the test of time and mergers to make for about 20% of the total sports betting revenue in Britain.
BoyleSports is Ireland’s largest independent bookie, also holding a small stake within the UK. With a wealth of racing event sponsorships and brand ambassadors, but somewhat poor odds; they are considered an average option for football and horse racing betting.
BetVictor is one of Britain’s most well-known bookmakers partly due to their former chairman, Victor Chandler. They operate a number of betting shops in UK while betvictor.com and their subsidiary mcbookie.com are run from Gibraltar.
Betfred was formed by icon duo Fred and Peter Done and operates 850 betting shops within the United Kingdom. They also operate betfred.com and some Tote-focused domains where they mainly focus on football betting and horse & greyhound races.
If you are looking to bet on a budget then we’ve got you covered. Although most bookmakers UK will only let you deposit a minimum of £10; some bookies will go the extra mile and allow you to deposit half of that amount. These minimum deposit £5 bookmakers include but are not limited to: Bet365, Coral, Vbet, Ladbrokes and Betvictor. What’s even more amazing is that all these bookies will let you claim their registration bonus even if you deposit the minimum of £5.
Worst Bookmakers in the UK
Unfortunately, not every operator is dealing fairly with its players, as there have been a few instances of UK bookmakers who are quick to limit winning bettors, not honour bets or even not honour self-exclusion from all bookies. If you should happen to feel wronged by an online bookie, then you can access the UKGC-backed Resolver to send your complaints. If you are looking for a faster solution, then feel free to contact us via e-mail or on the live chat by mentioning the bookie, your complaint and when the instance took place.
Full List of the Top UK Bookmakers
Right below you can see a list of all the reliable UK bookies that operate in Britain. You are able to view all the helpful info such as their address, license number and the names of bookmakers.
Yes, sports betting on fixed odds and betting exchanges is perfectly legal in the UK, provided that you are at least 18 years of age.
Ever since 2001 and the abolishment of Gambling Duty, players are not required to pay any taxes on their winnings.
You can use nearly every local and international banking method you can think of, as UK bookies are extremely versatile when it comes to payment options. Some of the most well known and widely used include Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, Paysafecard and bank transfers.
Understandably many bookies are willing to get a piece of the UK betting pie; however, not all can be considered safe by the UKGC. These sportsbooks will, in turn, go rogue and accept British punters without holding a local license. Although in 99% of such instances the United Kingdom Gambling Commission will discover those bookies and block them, you must be extra careful not to fall victim to them.
Abbreviated as ABB, the Association of British Bookmakers is a loose coalition of some of the United Kingdom’s most influential bookies. These operators respect the rulings of the UKGC but also tend to support their own agenda; often in direct contrast to some of the government’s policies.
The top 5 British bookmakers based on revenue are the following: 1) 888 Holdings PLC 2) Entain plc 3) Kindred Group plc 4) Flutter Entertainment plc 5) Hillside Ltd.
As many as 58% of all UK bookmakers are based abroad according to UKGC’s industry statistics. The reason is the significantly lower taxes they are required to pay. Common destinations include some British Overseas Territories like Gibraltar, Alderney and the Isle of Man.
Seeing that the UK political landscape is highly volatile due to the recent Brexit and the rise of the alt-right in Britain, a UK election is surely on the cards. The best bookmakers for UK elections are without a doubt William Hill and Coral. The reason behind this is that both are well known for spoiling us with various freebets on special events.
The number of betting shops remained stable more or less during the past decade, amounting close to 8,500. Following the recent FOBTs stake reductions, there have been massive layoffs and shop closures; as fewer and fewer operators are willing to offer both online and land-based gambling. The number of betting shops per operator are: William Hill - 2264 / Ladbrokes - 1828 / Betfred - 1620 / Coral - 1529 / Other - 1079
Bookmaking in the UK took off during the 19th century. In 1845 the British Parliament decided to outlaw all forms of gambling, except for horse racing. As betting became illegal, punters turned to underground bookmakers. Things changed in 1960 when the government decided to legalize and regulate gambling, by allowing land-based bookies to operate. The most recent significant development concerning UK bookmakers took place in 2005 when the Gambling Act came into effect.
Like we mentioned above, in case you feel you’ve been wronged by a UK bookie you should either contact us through our live chat channel, or bring your case to the Resolver that works directly with the UKGC.
You can check all the licensed online bookmakers on our comprehensive list above. If you are looking for all the licensee holders (both active & inactive) including remote and land-based, you can visit the UKGC public registry page.
In terms of active remote operators, 125 licenses have been issued to real events betting remote operators. 41% of them are based within the United Kingdom (no British crown dependencies or Overseas Territories) bringing their total number to 51.
Once again, industry statistics tell the whole story as revenue goes hand in hand with popularity. The percentages of sports bettors per bookmaker are as follows: 1. Betfair 27% | 2. Bet365 23% | 3. William Hill 15% | 4. Ladbrokes 10% | 5. Coral 9% | 6. Others 16%
There are 10,808 non-remote gambling premises across the UK, 78% of which offer real events betting.
This is a bit tricky as the UKGC follows an in-camera approach towards the size and revenue of all UK bookmakers. Thankfully, nearly all online bookies are traded on the FTSE100 or London Stock Exchange where they need to publicly reveal their per annum financial gains. That’s where you can find all the info on each operator’s size.
Although countless persons or organizations have acted as bookies through the ages; Harry Ogden is the first ever recorded Brit to set up a betting shop close to a racecourse in 1790. He became renowned as he was the first bookie to start offering different odds on various horses instead of a fixed price for all horses.
There are many active horse racing UK bookies, however very few have managed to separate themselves from run-of-the-mill operators. These include, but are not limited to, BetVictor, Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Betfair.