- Betting Sites
If you’ve ever even looked into online betting in the UK, I’m sure you can agree with us when we say that the online betting landscape can look confusing to newcomers. There are so many questions about the legality of betting, tax, what’s available and so on.
Luckily for you, this is why we’re here. Not only do we answer all of those questions and more, but we even provide you with a list of the top sites for online betting in the UK!
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|🏆 → back to our list of the top sites for online betting in the UK|
|⚖️ → find out if betting is legal in the UK|
|❌ → why we don’t recommend matched betting|
|🧠 → learn about how betting odds work in the UK|
|❓ → head straight to our online betting in the UK FAQs|
Yes, online betting in the UK is perfectly legal as long as the betting operator possesses a licence from the UK Gambling Commission. From traditional sports betting, to betting exchanges, to even spread betting in the UK, it's all legal as long as the betting site is licensed. The UK betting market is one of the biggest, and one of the most saturated, but is also home to some of the best sportsbooks known around the globe.
If a betting site has the UKGC logo on the bottom of it’s page, the it means it’s a fully regulated UK bookie with the correct licence, and this should be the first step for you trusting a bookie.
Any bookmaker with a UK betting licence has to adhere to the rules of the gambling commission, which amongst others, include ensuring that problem gambling is addressed, that measures against money laundering are covered and that strict KYC processes are in place.
They also need to adhere to advertising standards that are set and regulated by the ASA within the UK. This is to protect underage gamblers in particular, as well as problem gambling.
Online betting in the UK became legal in 2005, with the introduction of the Gambling Act. It was then that the UK Gambling Commission was formed. Prior to this, sports betting could only be made in brick-and-mortar betshops, and eventually over the phone.
Fast forward to today, and now punters can enjoy online betting in the UK from the comfort of their own homes, or even while out and about on their smartphones through either betting apps or their mobile browsers!
No, you do not have to pay tax. Whilst all regulation is subject to change, it’s been a long while since UK betting customers have had to pay tax on their winnings.Pretty much until 2001 you paid tax either on your stake or on your winnings at 9%, depending on what you chose as a punter. This all changed and the tax was put on to the betting operator, at a 15% level - meaning that you didn’t have this charge to worry about.
For UK bettors, what this really meant is that betting sites had to look to balance out this charge and would have tightened up around promotions and free bets. Thankfully in such a competitive market, the best bookmakers still have to make sure there’s plenty of value on offer.
Punters in the UK are in a truly enviable position. Betting in the UK is widely popular, and bookies have taken notice of that. This is the main reason that UK sports betting is at such an advanced place. Punters in the UK have access to the world’s biggest and best sportsbooks, as well as interesting features like live streaming for in-play betting.
If a sports event is managed by any sort of reputable institution, it’s more than likely that you can bet on it in the UK. From huge, British events like the Premier League, to obscure esports tournaments in Asia, to even UK election betting, the options are almost limitless.
Some of the more popular sports in UK betting are exactly the ones you’d expect. The quintessentially British pastimes of football, rugby, and much more, like you can see in the table below:
|⚽ Football||🏉 Rugby||🏇 Horse Racing|
|🎯 Darts||⛳ Golf||🎱 Snooker|
|🎮 Esports||🎾 Tennis||🥊 Boxing|
When it comes to betting in the UK, one thing is clear: football betting rules supreme. This isn’t just Britain’s most popular sport on TV, but football is the most popular sport for online betting in the UK too. While the UK isn’t unique in its love for football, very few other countries take the sport quite as seriously as us Brits do.
Online football betting in the UK is vast in terms of the leagues, betting markets, and types of bets that are available. Whether you want to place an outright bet on the Champions League winner before the tournament starts, or to enjoy some spread betting and get into the fine details of a specific match, the variety of options available to you is vast.
We recommend taking a look at our page on football betting to learn more about the types of bets available, our recommended football betting markets, the biggest football events to bet on, and more.
In the UK horse racing betting is perhaps more popular than anywhere else in the world. Though, with events like the Cheltenham Festival and the Royal Ascot, it’s hardly a surprise. Britain has produced some of the finest horses and jockeys to ever hit the racetracks.
Horse racing betting is a little different than many other types of sports betting, and we definitely recommend that any punters who are new to horse betting to take a look at our page on UK horse racing betting. You can learn about the different types of bets that can be placed, horse racing betting markets, and we even include some expert tips to help you pick winning horses.
When it comes to online betting, long gone are the days when punters were at the mercy of clunky CRT monitors and desktop systems. The internet has gone mobile, and betting operators have followed.
Mobile betting in the UK could be described as more advanced than in some other places across the globe. Thanks to the laws and regulations that govern betting sites in the UK, betting apps can be found on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. With such a high amount of betting apps in the UK, though, we thought it would be best to recommend the three apps we consider to be the best betting apps available in the UK:
When they say “age is just a number”, it’s bet365 that they’re referring to. Even though they’re one of the oldest online bookmakers in the industry, bet365 is always one of the front-runners when it comes to tech and features.
When it comes to betting in the UK, bet365’s customers can enjoy their Android and iOS apps which have almost all the same features as the desktop site. Whether you’re looking to cash out your bets, live stream a match, or set up multi-leg accas, the bet365 app has you covered.
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There’s no way we could leave LeoVegas out. This is one of the only online sportsbooks and casinos that was specifically launched to provide an amazing mobile experience. They definitely deliver on that, which is why they’re one of our top picks for mobile betting in the UK.
Their user interface is nothing short of phenomenal. It’s smooth, fluid, and it doesn’t take more than a few taps to find exactly what you’re looking for. LeoVegas Sport are another bookmaker that make all of their desktop features available through their smartphone apps, and plenty of punters prefer the app interface to the desktop one. LeoVegas Sport have even been known to have the odd promotion that’s exclusive to app users in the UK!
Up to £100 Extra Winnings on your first LeoVegas SPORT bet.
Luckily for punters in the UK, 888Sport’s Android and iOS app is only available in the UK. Being part of such a huge network of online gambling companies, 888Sport benefits from the resources of their larger holding company. This means that their app receives regular updates and is generally considered to be top-notch.
While the 888Sport smartphone apps don’t include any mobile-specific bonuses or features, punters can do anything on their phones or tablets that they could do on the desktop site. Combined with 888sport’s amazing array of betting markets, their great value odds, and features like cash out, 888Sport’s mobile betting experience is truly head and shoulders above many other bookies out there.
Those who have never used one before may be wondering what a betting exchange is. In simple terms, while a bookmaker allows punters to place bets against the house, a betting exchange allows punters to place bets against each other. This means that punters offer odds to other users, or request odds from other users.
With a betting exchange, each bet is actually two different bets. For example, if a punter bets on Manchester City to win the Premier League final against Sheffield in a betting exchange, it means that they’re betting against another punter who placed a bet on Sheffield to win (i.e. someone who placed a bet on Man. City to lose). This means that instead of betting against the house, you’re betting against a punter whose wager is basically inverse to your own.
|✅ Betting margins near 100%||❌ Not included in “Best Odds Guaranteed” promotions|
|✅ Quick bet settlements||❌ No “First Past the Post” payouts|
|✅ Unique betting markets|
|✅ Low commission rates|
|✅ Opportunities for larger profits|
While there are a number of betting exchanges available to punters in the UK, there’s one that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Betfair.
For starters, Betfair is the most reputable betting exchange out there. Not only is Betfair fully licensed to operate in the UK, but Betfair have a near-spotless UKGC record. Beyond that, though, Betfair offer far more markets than any other betting exchange we’ve seen in the UK so far. The most popular sports on Betfair’s betting exchange are football, horse racing, tennis, and golf, all of which we mentioned above in our section on which sports you can bet on in the UK.
If you’re interested in using a betting exchange, there’s no one we recommend more highly than Betfair for exchange betting in the UK.
Matched betting is when punters take advantage of things like free bets that bookmakers offer punters and use them to place two different bets: one with the bookmaker, and the opposite bet with a betting exchange, while only wagering a single stake with real money.
This isn’t illegal in the UK yet, as we said in our section on the legality of online betting in the UK, but we still don’t recommend that any of our users try it out for themselves. Some blogs and websites peddling “matched betting software” go on and on about the benefits of matched betting, but they often fail to mention the very many drawbacks, such as:
Like we said above, matched betting in the UK is perfectly legal, but that doesn’t stop it from breaching the terms and conditions you agreed to when signing up to a betting site. Bookmakers will, and do, limit or suspend accounts on the basis of bonus abuse. This includes, in many cases, forfeiting the winnings gained from the bet or bets that breached the terms and conditions.
One thing you’ll almost never see on blogs that promote matched betting is that it’s actually quite difficult to pull off due to the wagering requirements and other terms and conditions that come with free bets and bonuses. As we mention on our free bets page, the vast majority of these offers in the UK require punters to turn over the value of the bonus or your free bets winnings several times before allowing you to withdraw your winnings.
This means that if you win £100 using a free bet, you might have to bet that £100 three or even four times over before you’re allowed to withdraw it. This is how plenty of people end up losing money when trying to engage in matched betting in the UK.
This one might not be applicable to every reader, but there are plenty of people out there who have gotten carried away with the idea of matched betting. Thanks to a number of irresponsible blogs and sales websites, many have assumed that it wasn’t possible for them to actually lose money, and thus ended up wagering far more money than they could actually afford to. As you can imagine, they did, indeed, end up losing that money. As you can see on this page on GamCare’s official site, the results can be devastating.
Whenever you apply for a mortgage in the UK, the lender is going to go through your bank statements with a fine-tooth comb. In today’s economy, many lenders might find it off-putting that there are an extremely high number of gambling-related transactions on your statement. Failed attempts at matched betting have been the downfall of more than a few mortgage applications, which definitely makes this “get rich quick” scheme not worth the risk.
Whether you’re betting in the UK or elsewhere, odds mostly work the same way. Betting operators, both online and offline, put a lot of work into basing these predictions off of data sets, though they don’t always get it right. Odds are just numerical representations of of how statistically likely an outcome is. The key word there being “likely”, as odds aren’t always correct.
For example, if a bet on a specific team to score 2 goals by halftime is listed as having odds of 2/1 (or 3.0), then there’s only a 33.33% chance of the punter breaking even on that bet according to the analyst’s predictions.
The less likely the outcome is supposed to be, the higher the payoff. That same bet, with odds of 2/1, would net a punter a 200% return on their stake. A £10 bet would reward the bettor with a £30 win (their original stake + 200% return).
Similarly, when we look at bets with odds like 1/4 (or 1.25), that means that the outcome is pretty likely to happen (around an 80% chance, according to the people who come up with the odds). The more likely a bet is to win, the lower the return. That 1/4 bet is only going to yield a return of 25%. This means that if you put £10 down on odds of 1/4, you’d only get £12.50 on a win (your stake + 25% return).
The more likely a bet is to succeed, the safer it is, though punters who only stick to safe bets like the one above don’t get to experience the kind of massive wins that most punters secretly hope for.
If you’ve ever tried online betting before, it’s likely that you’ve seen odds represented in a at least two different ways. The most popular odds format for betting in the UK is fractional, though plenty of bookies who offer online betting in the UK also cater to other markets, so it isn’t uncommon to see decimal odds nowadays either.
The main odds formats are:
While it might look like a collection of random numbers to those who are new to betting, those odds listed above all indicate the same thing: a 33.33% chance of breaking even, with a 200% return on stake if winning.
This is where odds are represented as fractions, like in the examples used above. The fraction is actually pretty easy to understand. The first number represents how much a punter can win, and the second number is the amount they need to stake to win it.
For example, odds of 2/1 mean that for every £2 you want to win, you need to wager £1.
Only whole numbers can be used in this format. For example, odds will never be displayed as 3.5/1, but as 7/2. Meaning that for every £7 you could win, you need to stake £2.
A lot of European and other international betting sites also display odds in the decimal format. Again, the format is designed to show punters how much they can expect to get in winnings. The decimal represents your return on a win including your stake.
For example, odds of 3.0 means that staking £1 would net you a win of £3, which is your original stake plus your winnings of £2.
This means that calculating your return is really easy, as all you need to do is multiply your wager by the decimal. For example, you know that on odds of 2.5, a £10 wager will return with £25, which is your original stake and your winnings of £15.
American odds are a little different than fractional or demical odds, as these can be both positive and negative numbers. Where they’re similar to the other odds formats is that the numbers indicate how much punters can expect to get on a win per £100 wager.
Positive numbers indicate that bettors get a return of more than one unit, with one unit being your stake. For example, odds of 200 mean that for every £100 you wager, you can get winnings of £200 (total return of £100 wager + £200 winnings).
Negative numbers indicate that your winnings per wagered unit are less than one unit. For example, odds of -200 mean that you need to wager £200 for £100 in winnings. Odds of -200 in American format are the same as 1/2 in fractional or 1.50 in decimal.