Top UK Online Betting Sites 2018
UK punters have been enjoying online gambling on sports for decades. Its popularity shows no sign of waning in 2018. British gamblers can place bets in high street bookies, at hundreds of top online betting websites, and even via their tablets and smartphones.
But with so much choice out there on the web, how do you choose the best online betting sites? That's where our crack team comes in. We only select the biggest and best online gambling rooms to get you the best deal. Our shortlist of great sports betting sites boasts top companies with years of experience in the industry. You can gamble on the web in safety, and even earn a juicy bonus when you play.
On this page we’re going to run down the basics of sports betting for real money. We'll focus on:
- Getting started: software and sign-ups
- Available sports, bets, and markets
- How to get into spread betting
- Choosing top-rated online gambling sites
- Earning sportsbetting bonuses for the web
Our top Recommended UK Online Gambling Sites
Beginners' Guide: Getting Started
It's easy to get started gambling on sports online. With a few procedures you can be up and running in no time. As long as you are over 18, you're free to open an account and load it with real-money funds. All you need to worry about is choosing a sport to bet on. If you love a bet, sport is a great way to win money.
Choosing a Site/Signing Up: Picking the right sportsbetting website is crucial. It needs to have markets that suit you, and decent odds across the board. Start off thinking about what sports you might want to bet on. If you're only interested in American Football, there's no point gambling at a site that only offers football/soccer.
Understanding Odds: When you get started betting, you can choose the way odds are displayed. Fractional odds are most familiar to UK gamblers (2/1, 10/1, 20/1 etc) but you can opt to see odds in Decimal (e.g. 1/1 = 2.00) which shows you how much you will win back in total. Some sites display odds in the American style too.
Placing a Bet: Making a wager is simple. Click on a sport you want to bet on, and find the right match or market. Selecting an outcome will add it to your online betting slip. Once you have selected all the bets you want, go to the on-screen betting slip and select your stakes. This simply requires typing the amounts into the corresponding betting slip boxes. Most betting slips will automatically calculate any valid accumulators (doubles, trebles, etc) for you.
Collecting Winnings: Any winning bets will be paid out straight after a result. You can also visit your account and view your betting history, including a list of pound wins and losses. Withdrawing winnings can be done at the Cashier.
Advantages Of Real Money Sports Betting Online
It's easy to walk into a bookies and place a bet. Every high street has at least half a dozen bookmakers, but what if you're out and about, or you want to get a bet on quick before the match starts? That's where the advantages of having an online bet come in.
Wide Range of Stakes and Payment Options: UK sports bets can be made from as little as 10p, but most online sites allow bets much smaller. You can also load up your online account via multiple options: choose from a card, e-Wallet, or bank transfer to fund your online gambling.
Convenience: While land-based bookmakers still dominate the UK, finding a betting site to use on your desktop or mobile is super-easy. You don't need to leave the house to place a bet; just tap or swipe the mobile and hit the 'Submit' button.
Better Markets & Special Features: When it comes to online betting, UK sports fans have a massive range of bets and markets to access on the net. You can choose from a list of possible sports or novelty markets, and even enjoy added features like early Cash-Outs and 'money back' on losing bets.
Sign-Up Bonuses & Offers: Sports betting online gives players the chance to access all sorts of bonuses. A general welcome sign-up offer gives players a little free cash to gamble with. However, you can also enjoy things like Enhanced Odds on selected horse races, money back on losing accumulators, or refunds on matches that end 0-0.
Bet In-Running: When you gamble at a betting site, you can usually bet on games while they're in motion. 'In-running', or 'live' betting is a recent development, and lets you place bets as a football or tennis match changes.
Online Sportsbetting For Mobiles
Real-cash bets can also be made via mobile phone in 2018. Gambling on the move is quick, safe, and reliable. The best thing is you don't even have to download an app. Most networks and operating systems can handle the latest sportsbetting sites.
Tablets are also a great way of accessing touch-screen betting websites. The apps are tailored for the smaller touch-screen: just find the markets you want, tap the 'bet' button, and add everything to your betting slip. You can even access a Cashier and enter your card details safely and securely.
Apple/iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc): Apple's devices are used around the world. And the latest iOS8 is capable of handling the slick betting apps and clients you'll find in 2018.
Android (Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung, HTC etc): Android's ease with Flash and HTML5 make it the perfect operating system for online gambling. Betting is a breeze with Android devices, especially when you log in via your phone's browser.
Windows phone (Surface Pro, Nokia Lumix, etc): While Windows phone users won't find too much in the way of download apps, they can still log in via their Google Chrome/IE browser to access betting sites.
HTML5/Instant-Play/Flash: Like casinos online, most betting sites work with some kind of Adobe Flash/HTML5 set-up. Just log in via your browser and browse your favourite betting site in seconds.
Markets & Popular Bets In 2018
The beauty of having a bet online is that you can bet on pretty much any sport. Football, horse racing and tennis are three of the big markets, and you'll find hundreds of bets available on every major game.
The larger sites will spread a bigger range of markets. It's not uncommon to find online bookmakers offering bets on everything from ice hockey and NFL to golf, politics, and even the next X Factor winner.
Football/Soccer: Football dominates most online gambling sites' lobbies. The UK Premier League will easily outweigh any other league in the world with hundreds of markets available every weekend. You can often place bets on lower-league footie in the UK, however, as well as bets on leagues in Australia, South America, or Europe.
Tennis: Big Grand Slams like Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open are always massive draws for tennis gamblers. You may even be able to watch live streams as they happen.
Horse Racing: Horse racing is as popular as football at many online betting rooms. You can see a full card for all the day's UK and Irish races, plus find bets on major overseas markets like the Kentucky Derby or Melbourne Cup. Watch out for changing odds: sometimes it's best to opt for the SP (Starting Price) when placing your bet.
Rugby: Rugby is popular in the UK and southern hemisphere, and big events like the Six Nations or Rugby World Cup will feature heavily in UK-based bookmakers' lobbies.
US Sports: Most UK sportsbetting sites will carry markets on US sports. Whether it's ice hockey, basketball, baseball, or American football, you'll find something to bet on. Many sites allow bets on MMA and boxing too.
Special Events: Always look out for special sporting events to bet on. The sportsbooks crank up the action, with extra bonuses or money-back offers. Champions League or World Cup football, Wimbledon tennis, or the Olympics will attract plenty of interest.
Novelty/Politics: The next US President, the winner of the Best Picture Oscar, or the winner of Big Brother: if it's a novelty bet, you'll find real-cash odds on it.
Online betting and gambling is a lot more varied than just betting on the winner of the match, or the team or individual who’ll lift a trophy. There are endless nuanced markets and different things you can bet on these days. Here are some of the most common types of bets:
Ante-Post: Whether it's the FA Cup, Grand National, or Wimbledon, ante-post bets let you place wagers on who will an event days or months in advance. Bet on the winner of the next World Cup or Grand National, and enjoy decent odds some way before the event happens.
Win/Draw: Win bets are where you select the outright victor of a match, or the winner of a sporting event, or indeed any action of event that might happen. These bets range from predicting the winner of a football match, to betting on the horse that will fall first at the Grand National.
Place/Each-Way: A place bet is not so handsomely rewarded, in terms of odds, but pays out if your selection wins or comes within a set range of places. These are safer bets to be made if you’re not convinced your pick is outright winner material. Each-way bets are where you double down and bet twice your amount for a combined winning bet and place bet. Pick a winner and you collect on both bets.
Accumulators: Accumulator bets are where you predict a number of outcomes and see the odds multiply. You only win if all the outcomes come to fruition, with high potential rewards but a lower chance of success than a single win bet. A great example is picking the result of six football matches on the same weekend.
Double and treble bets incorporate the outcomes of two or three outcomes respectively. You’ll need everything you bet on to happen to collect.
First/Last Scorer: Bet on who will score the first or final goal in a game.
Next Scorer: You can also bet on who will score next. Rugby bettors will find plenty of markets on the scorer of the next try or drop-kick, or winner of the next scrum.
Scorecast: A scorecast blends two results: the first scorer and the score. The two odds are then multiplied to come up with your final wager.
Asian Handicap: Found at most UK betting site providers, the Asian handicap gives one team a 1-goal disadvantage before the game starts. You then bet on the outcome of the match given the deficit involved.
Finding a top UK sports betting site is absolutely key to your enjoyment. Pick a good one and you’ll benefit from generous bonuses, intuitive user experience and round-the-clock customer service should any questions pop up.
Sports Betting Site Special Features
At first sight, online sportsbooks look and feel the same. However, the best rooms go that extra mile when offering markets and software. Let's look at the common features you'll find at the best websites.
Quick Betting Slip: When you add bets to your virtual slip, confirming the bet is easy. Some sites make it easier by 'remembering' your past wagers. If a similar bet comes up again (a correct score or first scorer bet, for example), it will be added to your Quick Slip.
Cash-Out/Partial Cash-Out: When you place a bet, it has a 'final' outcome: someone wins, draws or loses. But many UK betting sites now let you cash the bet out early. Perhaps you're worried about that away team scoring a late goal or equaliser. The 'cash-out' amount will be smaller than your potential winnings but it acts like a saver on losing your original stake.
Automatic Cash-Out: Some online betting websites now let you set an automatic cash-out amount. For example, if the cash-out amount reaches £50, it will automatically end the bet on your behalf.
Live Betting /In-Running: In-running betting is available in the UK. It lets you place wagers while a game is still running. The odds will change in real time, and canny gamblers can act quickly to make a good profit.
Live Streams: Some gambling sites carry live streams of key matches, games, or horse races. You can also watch in real-time the stats and figures associated with a tie.
How We Rate The Best Online Gambling Websites
Our team has been gambling on UK and world sports for years. We have been around since the first online gambling rooms appeared and we love betting on everything from football and greyhounds to NHL, NFL, and NRL. In fact, there isn't a sport out there we haven't bet on!
Here's just a few of the criteria we look for when forming our online betting guide:
Good Bonuses For All Levels: Online betting offers help you boost the bankroll. A small welcome bonus will offer customers free bets to use on matches or games (with the minimum odds set). Earning a little free cash is great for giving your bankroll the perfect start.
Great Range of Markets & Bets: From football, hockey and rugby to politics and TV, great sportsbetting sites for UK players should have hundreds of possible bets to put on.
Easy and Safe Software: You don't need a dedicated client to download to get betting. Even 'instant-play' sites should let you log in, deposit, and make a bet in seconds.
Good Customer Support: If you run into problems, or you want to dispute a payout, the Customer Service team is your first port of call.
Fast And Accurate Banking: If you have three minutes till the start of a race, and you want to get a bet on, having access to a swift Cashier is essential. A 'quick deposit' function will also skip the laborious process of entering an entire card number.
Interesting Features: Sportsbooks online can get lost in a sea of betting sites. It's important to stand out, therefore. Interesting bonuses and features like Enhanced Odds, guaranteed prices, and partial cash-outs can make the difference.
Expert Gambling: Sports Spread Betting Online
Spread betting is a more complicated business and potentially carries a greater risk-and-reward element. It’s a type of sports betting that has become very popular in the UK, with reports speaking to as many as one million devotees of the format.
In spread betting, gamblers are presented with the “spread”, being an expert take on a particular score or outcome. Let’s say the market is the total number of Premier League points to be won by Chelsea this season, and the spread is 80.
Punters will bet a set amount per point on whether than number will be higher or lower. If they predict higher and Chelsea accrue 90 points, they win 10x their original stake. If Chelsea only collect 70 points, however, they lose 10x their stake.
Expertise: Getting Ahead Of The Pack
The more you know about the sport you’re betting on, the better chance you have of being successful. But it’s important to know the type of knowledge that’s useful for online betting is not always the same as you need to get a good debate going down the pub.
The most successful online betting and gambling pros analyse statistics and constantly study shifting patterns and trends. Some create their own systems for weighting markets and they all spend hours reading through results and odds.
The Internet is packed with stats these days, so it's become easier for gamblers to get ahead of the bookmakers. Studying form is the easiest way to do some easy analysis and exploit the sports betting and gambling odds online.
Is Online Betting Worth A Punt?
If you’re a sports fan and you want to add some extra buzz to your enjoyment then online betting could be for more. There’s real money to be won for UK players and some of the world’s best betting sites are desperate for your action.
Don't forget to shop around. Open up several betting accounts and find which sportsbooks have the best odds for your chosen market. By constantly comparing betting sites you can get an advantage and make a bigger profit.
Sports Betting FAQ
Need some more answers? Let’s see if they can be found right here…
Is sports betting legal?
Yes it is. UK laws permit sports betting, providing it takes place through a licensed bookmaker and the person making the bet is aged 18 or over.
What sports can I bet on?
What sports can’t you bet on? The most popular sports for UK punters to bet on have traditionally been the likes of horse racing, greyhound racing, football, rugby, boxing, rugby and tennis, but there are markets for far more.
If the event you’re interested in is even reasonably high profile, there will be a market to be found somewhere.
Where can I find a good welcome bonus?
Play at the sites we’ve recommended and you’re guaranteed to find the best welcome bonuses on the market.
Can betting be profitable?
Absolutely. Some people are so good at sports betting they treat it as their fulltime profession. It takes a lot of research and hard work to get to that level, but even for the casual punter in the UK there are big wins to be had.
Do the odds change?
Odds are always fluctuating, based on betting patterns and all the factors that can influence the outcome of a sporting contest. It’s important to keep a close eye on how odds develop to get a sense for what might be a smart bet.
Are the odds different site to site?
Odds will differ slightly from site to site, but usually they’re pretty consistent across the major outlets. Some sites will offer especially attractive odds for a certain market as a special offer.
Should I use a system?
Some do, some don’t. It’s a question of personal taste, but know that you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching a system to have any chance of making it a successful one. Even the most accomplished sports betting experts in the world still lose a lot!
Ready to put a bet on? Follow the links we’ve posted above and you could be counting your winnings in no time. Need more info? Check out our sports betting guide for everything else you may need know.