Choosing an Online Betting Site
The Playright sports betting UK review team has researched and reviewed some of the country’s leading online bookies to bring you up-to-date rankings. Choose your favourite, and start betting with the best markets, best odds, and best free bet offers today.
Sports betting is the most popular form of gambling in the UK, with millions of bets placed with British bookmakers weekly. Increasingly, many of those bets are being placed with online sportsbooks as punters discover the convenience, flexibility and new possibilities that come with online betting.
These are some of the most recommended best betting Sites on the market:
How We Choose the Top Betting Sites
We’re very serious about our role in guiding you towards the very best sports betting sites. When assessing a bookie, we always consider the following criteria.
When it comes to recommending an online sportsbook, your safety is our primary concern. For a bookie to make our list, it must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The commission is overseen by the UK government and is one of the most reputable licenses a sportsbook can hold.
The UKGC will regulate and audit the betting site, ensuring it adheres to the strictest player safety and data protection protocols. The UKGC requires its licensees to promote responsible gambling policies and ensures your money is ringfenced in your account to guarantee safe deposits and withdrawals.
Safety and Trustworthiness
We don’t just take the bookie’s word when it says it’s a trustworthy site. We spend time examining individual user reviews and the overall reputation of the sportsbook to get a complete picture of how it operates. If the sports betting UK site does not score well with the public, it gets booted from our list.
As more and more punters place their bets online, UK sportsbooks are having to up the ante to attract this influx of bettors to the site. Since so many bookies are fighting for your custom, you don’t need to settle for less than the highest quality.
One crucial element of a high-quality sportsbook is the betting markets it offers. Gone are the days when British bettors only wanted to wager on the Premier League; there are so many more exciting sports events happening all over the globe. For a bookie to make our recommended list, it should cover a wide range of popular and niche sports markets.
Of course, the most popular sport in the UK is football (with ACCAs the most popular football bet type). Other sports that are highly popular with British bettors include rugby, tennis and golf. Cricket is already the highest wagered sport per capita, and with the 2023 Ashes taking place in England, it’s its popularity is expected to soar even higher in the sports betting UK market.
Another essential factor we consider is odds quality. There’s no point in having many markets to bet on if the odds are worse than the competition. UK bookies try to retain customers through regular odds boost promotions. You will find daily and weekly odds boosts for specific sporting events at several sportsbooks in the UK, so you can shop around until you find a bookie with the best odds quality.
There’s nothing worse than going through the effort of finding a good sportsbook, settling on a bet with great odds and heading to the cashier to fund your account, only to be faced with a dismal selection of payment methods. Or, even worse, winning your bet and then waiting two weeks to receive your winnings.
That’s why we only recommend sports betting sites with a good range of payment methods, fast withdrawal and deposit approval periods and the highest level of security technology.
If we want to bet on the bus, we should be able to! Mobile betting is a must, alongside a user-friendly website. If the sportsbook doesn’t have a dedicated mobile betting app, it will have a fully-optimised website compatible with Android and iOS devices. The UK sportsbook apps we recommend are the cream of the crop, and most have exclusive features like mobile-only bonuses and alerts.
Speaking of bonuses, every bettor likes to be rewarded for their loyalty. Alongside a generous welcome offer, we expect to see regular reload bonuses for existing players. These bonuses include boosted odds, free bets, ACCA insurance, in-play bonuses and cashback offers, as well as loyalty and VIP programmes.
No matter how good the sportsbook is, there will come a time when you encounter an issue and need to contact customer support. In this day and age, the quality of customer support can make or break a sportsbook. The best bookies will offer 24/7 customer support via live chat, email, phone support or a combination of the three.
Recommended Betting Sites
Of course, one of the most important things to a lot of punters is the quality of the new player welcome offer and this often will help you identify the best betting sites UK.
Free Bets and Sign-Up Offers
Of course, one of the most important things to many punters is the quality of the new player welcome offer. This will often will help you identify the best sports betting UK sites. Most UK sports betting platforms offer free bets or bonuses when you first open an account with them. This is a win for both the player and the sportsbook; you get a boost for betting online while it gets a new customer.
Some bookmakers’ offers are activated when you make your first deposit on the site, while others come into effect when you place your first bet. There are various offers, each with its terms and conditions, so it’s essential to know what you’re getting before you sign up.
Remember that many bonus offers, free bets and refunds come with terms and conditions that will affect what you can do with them. Some incentives are better than others, so thoroughly read the terms and conditions before taking the offer and only bet at the best sports betting sites.
Below are some of the most common bonuses currently offered by UK bookmakers.
Deposit a specified amount of money, make a bet and get an extra amount as a free bets bonus from the sportsbook. The bonus you receive is usually calculated as a percentage of the amount you first deposit.
One of the most common types of offers, free bets, are usually activated once you make your first bet with your own money. They can come in two basic varieties:
- Stake-Refunded Free Bets (where you receive both the original free stake and your winnings)
- Stake-Not-Refunded Free Bets (which return only your winnings and not the stake provided by the bookies)
This type of free bet is usually directly tied to the value of the first wager you make with your own money. For instance, if the bookmaker has a 100% matched bet offer and you place your first bet of £20, you would receive a bonus of £20 in your account to make your next bet.
An Intro to Sports Betting
Of course, knowing the top betting sites is one thing. Yet, knowing how to understand odds, markets and how to place a bet is another equally important factor. So, let’s get started.
Generally, UK sports betting odds are displayed on a fractional basis, and there are many ways to wager at the best sports betting UK sites.
Let’s first look at how odds are displayed and then dig a little deeper into the different types of bets you can place.
Fractional odds are harder to explain than they are to understand. Fractional odds show you how many times the stake you will get back if you win. The odds are displayed as a fraction, and the first number represents the winnings if you stake the second figure on the bet. So if the odds are 5/1, for every £1 you stake, you’ll win £5 plus get the £1 stake back.
But this doesn’t mean you can only wager £1. You are welcome to bet more, and you will get 5x whatever you stake. If you stake £2, the sportsbook will still display your odds as 5/1, and you’ll get £10 winnings and your £2 stake. If you are betting on the odds on favourite, the odds will be displayed 1/2, meaning for every £2 you stake, your winnings will be £1 plus your stake.
These are more popular in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It’s a reasonably simple way to calculate your potential winnings. If you take the decimal figure shown and multiply it by your stake, it will show you the total amount you will receive back if you win (your stake and your winnings combined). If the odds are 5.00 and you bet £1, you will get back £4 winnings and £1. So, 5.00 in decimal is equivalent to 4/1 in fractional odds.
Don’t worry if you’re finding it all a bit hard to calculate. All sports betting sites will work out your returns for you and show your stake and potential returns clearly in the betting slip. It will also become much more apparent once you’ve had a little experience and got to know your sportsbook.
Most online sports betting UK sites will let you choose to display the odds fractionally or decimally, so you can bet using whichever system you prefer.
Multiple Bets and Accumulators
When you place a single bet, everything is straightforward. If you win, you’ll get your winnings based on the odds displayed. If you are looking for something more exciting, you can try double, treble or even five and six-fold accumulator bets.
This is when you wager on several games in one combined bet. If all the results come in your odds, the returns will be significantly higher than if you bet on them independently. However, the drawback is that you will lose the entire bet if just one of your results doesn’t come in.
Some sports betting UK sites will offer you the chance to cash out early. For example, if you have won four out of five bets and the 5th one is still to come, they will pay you a lesser return than what you’d get for correctly betting five. Though you are taking a smaller payout, you are still securing a win and removing the risk of losing everything in the 5th game.
Examples of multiple bets and accumulators include:
- Double Bet – The bettor bets on two selections only.
- Treble – The bettor bets on three selections.
- Accumulator – The bettor bets on four or more selections. Accumulators are often named after the number of selections they contain, for instance, a five-fold or a six-fold accumulator.
Sports Betting Markets
From football to Formula 1, you’ll typically find a huge range of sports betting markets at the top UK bookies. No matter your preference, whether you favour international sports like American football or niche markets like TV and novelty, you can find an exciting sports betting market to wager on. Take a look at some of the most popular UK markets below.
- Football – You’ll find tons of accumulators and other types of bets at the best UK bookmakers. You can also wager on the top UK and European leagues, including the Premiere League, Bundesliga, Serie A, and more.
- Rugby – You can wager on the rugby union or rugby league at our top recommended sports betting UK sites. You’ll uncover dozens of bets, and you can even wager on matches live when betting in-play.
- Cricket – As one of the most globally bet on sports per capita, you’ll also spot great cricket bets at our top bookmakers. You can find both UK and international matches, including the Ashes, ICC World Cup, and more.
An Intro to eSports Betting
Many sportsbooks now offer eSports betting as part of their market coverage. What started as a niche market of small-time gamers wagering against their friends has quickly grown into one of the most popular and innovative wagering options for online bettors.
While some sportsbooks offer a small range of eSports markets, others have sections entirely dedicated to eSports betting. UK sportsbooks that provide the most expansive selection of eSports markets, odds and betting options include bet365, 888 Sport and Ladbrokes.
Thanks to the growing popularity of eSport gaming, there are often multiple eSports markets available to wager on. Much like betting on football or basketball, you can wager on various skill levels, such as the Champions and King Pro Leagues.
Popular eSports markets include:
- Call of Duty (CoD)
- League of Legends (LoL)
- Rainbow 6 (R6)
- Starcraft 2
- Dota 2
Just like regular sports betting, several sportsbooks offer in-play betting for eSports. The games are typically streamed on Twitch, which sites like Unibet then stream live on the sportsbook. Alongside footage of the game itself, you can take advantage of live updates, odds and statistics.
Online Betting Apps – What You Need to Know
The move online has been hugely successful for the sports betting industry, helping them to expand into new markets, introduce innovative and popular features, and bring in a whole new generation of punters. The next step, which is already well underway, is the move to smartphone-first gambling via betting apps.
Online betting apps are available from almost every major UK bookmaker and should be one of your key considerations when choosing a sports betting site to join. When we’re judging the best betting apps, here’s what we look for:
- Easy download and setup
- Ability to sign up, deposit and claim bonus via the betting app
- A wide range of sports to bet on
- Live betting featuring all of the markets available on desktop
- Cash-out facility
- Intuitive design and a stable user interface
- We only recommend the best online betting apps, so check out our reviews, choose your favourite, and start playing on the go today.