Online Bookmakers

Ryan's Thoughts about Online Bookmakers

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.

Good to know: We believe the bookmakers we recommend offer the best service, security and honesty. We back our recommendations through our unique £1,000 deposit guarantee under the King'z Seal.

The Best UK Bookmakers and Free Bets

888 Sport

£50 free bet promotion - earned as you wager at 888 Sport, the online gambling powerhouse.

William Hill Sport

William Hill is one of the most recognisable betting brands in the world.


Bet365 is UK licensed and should be part of your portfolio of bookies. Get a £200 match bonus.


Bet £20 and get a free £20 bet at Play international lotteries, casino games and poker using one account.

Titan Bet

£50 free bet promotion - earned as you wager at Titan Bet, the online gambling powerhouse.


Get a £10 free sports bet when you join Totesport.


Betfreduses the Dynamite Idea, Finsoft and Electracade software and offers £50 in free bets as a 100% match of your first bet.


Bwin is a sportsbook offering new players a £25 matching bet.

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

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.

Cashback bonuses

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?

Loyalty programs

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.

1. Odds value
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.
2. Sports and markets available
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.
3. Reliability
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?
4. Customer support and satisfaction
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.

Online betting and sports betting facts and figures

£13.8 billion

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.

21.57 million

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.

£650 million

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.

Online betting stats
Bookmaker industry stats
Image property of the UK Gambling Commission.

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.

Responsible gambling

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

Should I just trust big name betting brands like Ladbrokes, Betfred and William Hill?

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.

What sign-up bonuses are on offer at UK bookmakers?

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.

How can I control my gambling?

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.

What links are there between bricks-and-mortar betting shops and online bookmakers?

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.

Why do I need to verify my account?

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.

What deposit options do online bookmakers accept?

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.