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What We Look for in a Good UK Bookmaker
We know that loads of UK bookies claim to be the best and it can be hard to know which one to choose.
The Most Popular Betting Companies
There’s a reason why certain big-name bookies sit at the top of the pile and regularly out-do their competition. They can afford to offer the most competitive odds and biggest bonuses because they are well established. If most sports bettors have an account with a particular bookie, there’s probably a reason for that.
There are some other really important things that many people take for granted at bookmakers, but we always check. These include:
- Customer Support
- Licensing and regulation
- Average odds offered
- Range of sports and markets
- Payment Options
- Registration and verification process
- In play and streaming
- Site speed and usability
- Statistics and information available
- Cash out
Genuine Free Bets at UK Bookies
Nearly every bookmaker offers attractive looking welcome bonuses and promotions to persuade you to deposit. But what actually are the best ones? Are some better than others? Are free bets actually free?
Some bonuses are too good to be true. Huge sums are offered but often you have to ‘playthrough’ loads of times. This means that you have to bet the money you were given on numerous occasions before you can withdraw any winnings – this obviously increases your chances of losing.
With so many different types of offer available, it can be hard to know what’s best. That’s why we’ve selected the bookies below. They each offer you actual free credit to make bets with – you don’t have to lose and there aren’t ridiculous playthrough requirements.
With these bookies it’s simple, after your first deposit, you get to make some risk-free bets on your chosen sports.
Choose Your Free Bet
UK Bookmakers Licensing & Regulation
All UK online bookmakers must have a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) licence to operate. But what does this actually mean?
Ultimately the UKGC is there to protect players from fraud, unfair gambling or problem gambling.
Licenses can be taken away or fines issued if a site doesn’t adhere to the UKGC rules. All our recommended UK bookmakers are licenced by the UKGC and observe their strict regulations.
New Betting Sites
New online bookmakers pop up all the time. But how do you know if you can trust a site that doesn’t come with a long-standing reputation? Ultimately there are pros and cons to each online bookmaker and it’s up to you to choose whichever one suits your needs. But, we can help.
When it comes to discovering new betting sites in the UK, we have our finger on the pulse. We track the latest bookies coming to market, review them and let you know the score. We will tell if any new UK bookmakers have brilliant welcome bonuses and how easy the sites are to use.
Below we have selected 3 of the best new bookmakers that have outstanding bonuses to welcome you to their site:
The Main Sports at UK Betting Sites
2 sports dominate UK betting – football and horse racing. Despite the rise in popularity of betting on other sports, these 2 favourites are still the most important for bookmakers and punters alike. That’s why the UK bookies we recommend have the following features for football and horse racing.
Range of Markets, Leagues & Promotions
The UK bookmakers we recommend offer multiple markets on leagues from across the world. They can cater to your football betting needs, no matter what you’re looking for. You’ll be able to get Asian handicap odds on the J1 League or a free bet offer for next round of Premier League fixtures.
Cash Out & In-Play
The ability to cash out if your bet isn’t going how you planned is crucial to modern sports betting strategy. So is betting in-play, where you can bet on live odds as the action unfolds. All the sites we recommend offer these features for football.
A football accumulator or acca is when you combine more than one bet together to increase your odds. If all your picks come in, you can win big, but the odds are often high. Many bookies now offer acca insurance which gives you a payout even if one of your selections doesn’t win.
The best betting sites let you place bets on hundreds of races from around the world. You can bet on daily meets in the UK and Ireland, as well as on big races overseas like the Kentucky Derby.
Enhanced Odds Offers
Our partners offer enhanced odds on big races at major horse racing meets such as Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot. Special prices are usually reserved for a selected race of the day.
Non-Runner No-Bet (NRNB)
With a Non-Runner No-Bet offer, you win your money back if a horse doesn’t ride. That’s one advantage the best horse racing bookmakers provide online when compared to betting shops.
Guaranteed Starting Price Odds
The Starting Price, or SP, can change considerably before a race begins. As our recommended sites are industry leaders, they will guarantee the best possible SP available that day.
How to Make Deposits & Withdrawals
Once you are used to a site, it’s easy to deposit, withdraw money and use different banking methods. However, if you are new to online sports betting or are trying a new bookmaker, there are a few important things to remember.
Firstly, UK betting sites now accept a wide range of payment options.
It’s important to choose the deposit method that is right for you. If you want to find out more about the benefits of each deposit method, take a look at our guide.
There are no guarantees when it comes to sports betting, but at some point, you will likely want to withdraw funds from your account following a successful flutter. This can also take a bit of getting used to with your preferred site, but the option to withdraw should be available in the cashier.
When you withdraw your money from an online bookmaker in the UK, it’s important to be aware that you may be asked to verify your identity before you get your cash. The verification process is called Know Your Customer (KYC) and is used by UK bookies to combat fraud, under age gambling and money laundering.
If you are asked to provide information as part of KYC, you usually have to send a copy of an ID and document to a customer support agent. These can include:
- Driving Licence
- Birth Certificate
- Utility Bill
- Bank Statement
These checks don’t happen for every withdrawal but be aware that you may need to send proof of your identity to receive your winnings from UK bookies. It shouldn’t take too long and rest assured that the bookmaker and the Gambling Commission are trying to protect genuine UK punters.
Choosing the Right UK Bookmaker for You
We have years of industry experience and have reviewed countless online bookies from around the world. The point of this page is to give you our advice on how to choose a good UK bookmaker, but ultimately the final decision is up to you.
It’s important to consider all of the things we have mentioned within this page. When signing up to a new site its helpful to ask yourself things like:
- Does this site offer the banking option I want to use?
- Can I get odds on specific markets and on my favourite sports?
- Is this welcome offer actually worth taking or should I look elsewhere?
The bookmakers we have suggested on this page each score highly on important factors such as free bet offers and customer support.
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UK Online Bookmakers FAQ
Legal sports betting has been available in the UK since the 1960s. The 1960 Betting and Gaming Act legalised off-course and fixed odds betting. The Gambling Act 2005 allowed licensed online bookmakers to operate. Since the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 was introduced, only UK online bookies carrying a Gambling Commission licence can operate in the United Kingdom.
Yes. Tax on bets was removed in 2002. Customers can enjoy tax-free winnings on all sports betting.
A cash out service is available at all the best sites for sports betting. Many of them also include a partial cash-out.
New bookmakers provide the latest software and apps. New customers may also receive a special welcome bonus on signing up, so always try to register with bookmakers that offer something to the user.