Ryan's Thoughts"You've made it here, so you'll already be well aware of online sports betting's massive popularity.
But how do you know which bookmaker to choose to gamble with, when there are so many options? Wouldn't it be useful to have some guidance and advice with this decision?"
Well - you're in luck! We've got objective reviews of all the big bookies right here, weighing up the pros of cons of each of them to help you decide which to use for your sports and horse racing betting pursuits.
Whether you're just out to find a free bet, or looking for site to frequent, you will find our that our expert reviews have all the information required to make a quick and informed decision without any unnecessary fanfare.
One obvious similarity between all the operators listed here is their UK Gambling License, but that is where it ends. Each has definite strengths and weaknesses and there is no such thing as a "one size fits all" UK bookmaker online. Even seasoned punters are likely to move around between a few different bookmakers.
The Best UK Bookmakers and Free Bets
Types of betting offers
Alwaus make the most of the myriad of free bets and bonus offers.
Operators will all frequently compete with each other to offer the best promotions, trying to get customers to use them for their sports betting rather than a competitor company.
Whether it's sign-up offers you're seeking or regular bonuses, we've got you covered.
Free bets are probably the most obvious way sports betting operators will try to tempt people into betting. Of course, their sneaky plan is that you lose with the bet you place for free and then continue to bet with their account. They are clever like that. But by shopping around for the best free bets - we can help with this - you can get a step ahead.
While everyone knows about free bets, cashback bonuses are slightly more advanced fare. The way that these work is that the bookies refunds a predetermined percentage of a player's net losses over a particular period of time. For example, if your chosen operator had a 20% cash back bonus and you lost £50 during the offer period, you would get £10 back into your account. Neat, huh?
Bookies love to come up with new promotions to tempt people to sign up for accounts, but plenty of them make a special effort to look after their regular customers too. Lots of the biggest bookies around have their own loyalty programs where you can earn rewards by using your account more.
How we choose the best online UK bookmakers
With so many betting options out there, it can be tricky to know where to start. We look at four key factors to help you decide which is the best online bookmaker for you.
The prices on offer across competing betting sites can vary by a surprising amount. While some websites are known for being tight with their odds, others are more generous. Some also offer better value on certain sports.
While all of the main UK bookmakers are predictably strong on football, if you want to bet on other sports you might find the options lacking. There's no point having an account with a betting site if they don't offer the bets you want.
One of the most underrated factors in what makes a good online bookmaker is reliability. All betting sites struggle at the busiest times of year - for example on Grand National day - but can you be assured you'll be able to access your account and winnings?
A lot can be forgiven about a betting operation if they have top quality customer support and if the vast majority of their users are still happy. If they often facing regular complaints from their users, this is usually a big red flag.
UK online bookmakers
With the UK having such a proud history of sports betting, it is no wonder the country has become a global powerhouse in the online gambling industry.
According to Gambling Commission data for October 2015 to September 2016, betting on football alone is now an industry worth £1.4 billion a year.
Bettign companies pulled in record profits of £333.4 million during that period, so you need every advantage you can get if you are going to avoid bumping that figure up even higher.
And that's what we're here to help you with! Whether you are just a weekend punter or someone who takes the pursuit of sports betting more seriously, the following points will serve as a handy guide when deciding where to bet:
Picking the right bookmaker
Before deciding where to open an account with, first consider what you want to get out of your sports betting.
If you plan to focus on one type of bet or one sport in particular, it makes sense to select a bookmaker that is good in those areas.
You might want to make the most out of offers like loyalty programs, or you might prefer to follow sports via live streaming while you place your bets. Different betting sites have different strengths.
But if factors such as reliability and customer service are at the top of your list of priorities, check out our reviews to see which sites score highly in these departments.
All of the major sports and racing betting in the UK will offer very similar deposit options.
For the most part, any major debit or credit card will be accepted to make a deposit into your account, while these days you can also typically make the most of an online wallet. That's good news if you are a regular user of PayPal, Neteller or Skrill, for example.
It is typically the case that you will have to withdraw money out by the same method you used to deposit funds, however, so keep that in mind when you're topping up your accounts.
Phone bill sports betting is also on the rise, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Deposits into your betting account are simply added to your mobile phone bill. Dead simple.
Regulation and licensing
Among the great benefits of sports betting in the UK is the protection provided by the authorities in the form of regulation and licensing.
This ensures you can be assured your money is being kept safe and sound, as all licensed sites have to adhere to a strict code of conduct within the gambling industry itself.
The government's UK Gambling Commission is responsible for the licensing of betting companies, while the presence of the European Sports Security Association is also useful to maintain order.
And, if you ever have a problem with a bookmaker, you can always raise a complaint with the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS), which acts as an impartial adjudicator.
Mobile betting is no longer a hot new trend but it is still growing quickly, with data showing 2.2 million people in the UK only access their bookmaker accounts via a mobile phone.
Betting on a mobile is fast and easy these days and thanks to public Wi-Fi you can almost always get a bet on while you are out and about, so you never have to miss the chance to win cash.
The fact that many betting destinations now offer live streaming means you can even watch the game you've placed a bet on from the bus, the office, the pub or wherever you are in the world.
In-play betting has proven to be a major driver of the rise in mobile betting. You can even have a flutter from a match you are watching from inside a football stadium now. What a time to be alive.
According to research conducted by comScore, 30 per cent of people with betting accounts in the UK access mobile gambling sites almost every day, showing just how popular this form of gambling is now.
Online betting and sports betting facts and figures
The total gross gambling yield of the UK's betting industry from October 2015 to September 2016. That's an awful lot of money!
The percentage of female mobile gambling users, but this number is growing as more women get involved with sports betting.
The number of people in the UK who have online gambling accounts. That's out of a population in the region of 65 million people - at the last count anyway.
The number of UK high street betting shops. This is down from 8,975 and a clear sign that mobile betting is having a strong impact on the affluence of traditional betting operators.
The estimated value of the UK's gambling industry. This figure is sure to continue rising in the years to come. Make sure you get your piece of the pie.
UK bookmakers growing diversity
The UK gambling industry is in rude health, but the times are changing and below the surface it is a sector that remains in flux.
Numbers of high street betting shops - previously the heart of the industry in the UK - are dropping quickly and that trend looks certain to continue in the coming years.
While most of the UK's most famous online bookies are traditional betting brands that have been able to establish a presence online, some new upstarts are entering the fray as well. Betway is a shining example of a bookmaker that has no roots in betting shops or on the racetrack.
From your point of view, the more people competing for your money, the better the conditions will be in the gambling industry for the customers.
While the majority of people find sports betting to be a harmless hobby, it is important to make sure you are always in control of your bets.
Sports bookies have controls in place to aid with this. For example, you can opt to set limits on your spending in your account settings.
Click here to check out our guidance on responsible gambling.
Sports betting in the UK FAQs
Not necessarily. In this modern era, some of the best sites around have never even had a single traditional betting shop. But the big brands often have great promotions on offer.
In short - loads! All of the UK betting websites have their own deals to tempt you to sign up. We can help you to compare them to make sure you're getting the best promotions available.
UK online bookmakers enable you to place deposit limits on your account so you can never bet more than you can afford to lose. If you are unsure how to do this, customers support can help.
Traditional big name betting brands are increasingly coming up with new ways to make the most out of their place on the high street.
Now, in many cases, you can place a bet on your mobile phone and then collect the winnings in cash from a shop rather than having to wait for the withdrawal to be processed out of your account, which can sometimes take a few days.
UK betting operators ask that you verify your account for security reasons. As the minimum legal age to gamble in the UK is 18, first and foremost you have to be able to prove you are old enough to take part in online sports betting. These checks are also key to help preventing fraud.
Typically there will be a wide range of deposit options available at your chosen bookmaker. They will take all major credit and debit cards, but remember you will have to withdraw any winnings on to the same card you used to make a deposit.
Online wallets such as Skrill, Neteller and PayPal are also growing in popularity for those who want to avoid using a card on their online betting accounts, while bookmaking companies increasingly offer the option to withdraw any winnings from a traditional high street shop.
Perhaps the next big trend in sports betting is phone bill sports betting. Once set up, this is arguably the easiest method of the lot to deposit money into a bookmaker account. Any deposits you make are simply added to your phone bill. It's dead easy and becoming increasingly popular.