Guide To Online Betting
People have been betting on sports for thousands of years, going all the way back to Roman gladiator battles and beyond. The coming together of sport and gambling is a heady mix, and the combination has never been more available than it is in the UK today.
UK punters have more sports markets to bet on and more ways to place their bets than ever before. There are seemingly countless promotional offers to benefit from, and in the mobile age online betting is so convenient it can fit around the rest of your life.
On this page we’re going to run down the basics of sports betting, focusing on the following:
- Sports available
- Bet categories
- Spread betting
- Top sites
- Laws and regulations
Which sports can you bet on?
The answer to this one is pretty much every sport you can think of. Some of the most popular include horse racing, greyhound racing, football, golf, tennis and rugby, but if there’s sporting competition to be had at an elite level there’s a strong chance you can bet on the outcome.
When it comes to football you can find odds all the way down to the non-league ranks. These are games that you’ll never find televised or covered by the major newspapers, but the online sports bookmakers will offer markets and anybody in the UK can have a punt if they feel the urge.
What types of bets can you make?
Online betting 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Do you need to be a sports expert to bet?
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 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.
What are the best betting sites for UK players?
The good news for UK gamblers is there are some great betting sites to gamble on sports at. You’ll know some of the big names already, and there are always exciting new betting sites setting up to attract new business.
Our advice is to stick to licensed, regulated sites and be sure to compare the odds and look for the best promotional offers. Follow our recommendations for the best sites and you won’t go far wrong.
Is online betting regulated in the UK?
Yes it is. All online gambling is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, which set up as a directive of the Gambling Act 2005 and is attached to the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
All betting sites must have a valid license to serve real money gamblers in the UK. Thanks to a new law passed in 2020 that includes not just sports betting sites based in the UK, but those based overseas too.
What types of promotions should I look for?
Every online betting site will have a promotion of some kind running to attract new players. Most will incorporate free betting credit at the site, which is offered in the hope you’ll stick around afterwards and get depositing your own cash there.
It’s important to read the terms and conditions for promotional offers to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s also a good idea to compare and contrast all the best deals until you land on the one that works best for you.
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.