UK’s love affair with the betting shop goes back centuries as people cashed in on horse racing. Fast forward today, this readily available gambling market has led to an influx in the number of online bookies operating in the UK. While each of these bookies has its standout feature, deciding the ideal betting site can be difficult for punters.
Luckily for you, we have made a full list of online bookmakers in the UK for 2022 to help you access great signup bonuses and great odds. Even better, we discuss what we look out for when ranking these online betting sites – including knowing if a betting site is legal in the UK – and their unique features.
Online sports betting is legal in the UK. Hence you can play poker, bingo, lotteries, casino games, and sports betting as long as you are 18 years or older. However, while there are no restrictions on the gaming offered in UK sites, the country has one of the most tightly regulated online betting markets – the UK was among the first countries to regulate online gaming back in 2005.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is tasked with regulating online poker, casino games, and sports betting. Therefore, any online betting site operating in the UK must have a license from the UKGC. This is enacted by the Gambling Licensing and Advertising Act of 2014 – a law that also mandated all gaming companies, including remote ones, to acquire separate licenses for each segment of gambling they offered.
The UKGC provides an easy way to check if an online betting site has a legit gambling license. For starters, the bookmakers must display their license number on their website and provide a link to the UKGC website.
The UK gambling commission also lets you manually search a bookmaker on their data. You only need to visit the UKGC database and enter the bookmaker's name. They will display if your bookie has a license or not.
Besides, most online betting sites require punters to pass the Know Your Customer (KYC) checks to prevent money laundering or fraud. That said, here is a checklist to help you know if a betting site is safe;
As discussed above, any legit betting site operating in the UK must have a UKGC license. If you are placing wagers with a bookie without a license or, worse still, with a bookie who had a license revoked, this should be a warning sign your funds and personal data are not safe.
The top online betting sites use top-level SSL encryption to protect your data from hackers when you log in to the sites. To check if your online bookie’s site is secure, verify that the website’s address starts with https://. Avoid bookmakers whose sites aren’t encrypted for your data and financial safety.
Unsafe betting sites have one common feature – they make withdrawing your money a chore. Most betting sites running a scam will place major obstacles in the withdrawal process, such as placing minimum withdrawal clauses which exceed your deposits. Others will ask for multiple unwarranted verification steps.
A safe online bookmaker in the UK will ring-fence your funds to protect your deposits and allow for secure payouts. Besides, they enable a same-day payout for withdrawals done by e-wallet and a maximum of 3-5 days for bank withdrawals.
While there are plenty of safe new betting sites, the older a betting site, the higher its guarantee of safety. If you want to try out a new betting site, investigate its management team to check if they are experienced and reputable in the betting sector. Of course, if the new site has a license, that should help you trust them right away.
This checklist should help you verify the safety of any online betting site. That said, the only way to stay safe from betting site scammers is to stay educated on betting online and any emerging scams. What’s more, always be on the lookout for crooked bookies with rigged games and odds by comparing multiple sites offering wagers on similar events.
The UK betting industry is known for its impressive sign-up bonuses, making it even more difficult for new punters to find the ideal online bookmaker. Thankfully, our list of online bookmakers saves you the need to sift through this ever-increasing volume of new bookmakers.
To ensure only the best bookmakers make this list, we signed up and bet with every one of them. We also analysed each bookmaker based on the following criteria;
The safety of an online bookmaker is a no brainer – no matter the lucrative bonuses on offer. After all, no one likes losing their hard-earned cash to fraudulent online betting bookies. The best online bookmakers UK have a well-encrypted website, a license from the UKGC, fair odds and discrete terms and conditions.
For starters, we verify that each listed bookmaker is licensed by the UK gambling commission. We also go through the operator’s terms and conditions to ensure no loopholes for fee gouging. What’s more, with most old school crooked bookies now migrating online, we verify that each of the listed bookmakers doesn’t have odds software and casino games designed to rip off unsuspecting punters.
The signup process is a great indicator of what to expect from the site’s overall user experience. In the UK, the bookie will require you to provide the necessary information for the KYC process – this should be quite straightforward for a smooth user experience. Betting sites where it is easy to sign up are likely to offer a better betting experience throughout the platform.
Every punter loves free bets. Unsurprisingly, online bookies are constantly updating their signup offers to attract new customers. Most bookies provide wagering requirements that will trigger bonuses or free bets.
For instance, William Hill offers a £10 bonus for a £10 stake in Live Casino and £30 worth of free bets when you stake £10. Others, such as Paddy Power, offer new customers a cashback option for a £20 bet if you lose. Betway’s free bets club lets punters qualify to receive free bets each week.
On the other hand, most new online bookmakers in the UK also offer betting loyalty programs to help them retain customers. The most common loyalty promotions involve earning points and VIP bonuses.
We have come a long way from when bookies only offered the win-draw-win and over/under markets. Today, we have extra features such as the Asian Handicap market, Acca insurances, bet builders and Cashbacks.
The best online bookmakers in the UK offer a variety of betting markets. You want a bookie that allows you to place bets on any sport you wish, including football, horse racing, cricket, rugby or even special markets such as election betting.
Most UK founded online bookmakers focus on the football market – quite understandable due to the countries obsession with football. For instance, Betfair’s selection of football odds is great, while William Hill is famous for its special markets for reality shows and election betting.
The bet builder feature on Betfair allows you to create an accumulator within a single match from various events such as corners, shots taken, goals scored and cards issued, among other markets. Other bookies such as Coral and William Hill also offer the partial cash-out feature. Partial cash out allows you only to cash out a part of the potential winnings.
On the other hand, Bet365 is considered the holy grail when it comes to its range of live odds and in-play betting for games around the world.
Each bookmaker has its unique way of accepting deposits and withdrawals. When selecting an online bookie, you want one with the lowest deposit minimum done through e-Wallets and PayPal, among other payment methods.
On the other hand, the withdrawal process should be as simple as possible. Generally, you should check the bookie’s minimum withdrawal limit and how long the money takes to reach your account — ideally 3-5 days.
This factor is all about convenience when betting. You want an online bookmaker whose mobile and desktop betting experience is as smooth as possible. The website should have laid out homepages with the main sports such as football and horse racing at the top of the page and easily visible markets.
Mobile betting apps offer convenience in placing quick bets on the move. Desktop betting is ideal, especially for online bookmakers offering live streaming of games. Besides, desktop browsers allow you to open multiple tabs as you research and analyse info before placing your sports bet.
On the other hand, mobile casinos are changing the gambling world more than ever. If you are considering a bookie offering mobile gaming, ensure they offer both app and in-browser casinos.