Top Sports Betting Sites & Bookmakers in the UK 2021
Start betting on your favourite sports at top-rated online bookmakers. All our recommended sites offer great odds on a range of sports, including horse racing, football, rugby, golf, tennis and more. Start betting now or read on for our expert guide to online sports betting in the UK.
While there are many outstanding bookmakers available to UK punters, you’ll also find some sites where the
betting experience is not so good. Whether they have a reputation for poor customer service or limiting your
account after a big win, it’s best to avoid the bookies on our blacklist below.
2.1 / 10
Bettors have reported issues withdrawing funds
Poor customer support
1.3 / 10
Have been known to withhold winnings
Failure to respond to complaints
1.7 / 10
Reports of accounts being suspended with no explanation
Payout process can be extremely slow
Popular UK Sports to Bet On
British betting fans enjoy gambling on a huge variety of sports in 2021, but there are some that always prove particularly popular online.
Horse Racing Betting
To say that football betting is popular in the UK would be an understatement. From Championship and Premier League betting, to European leagues and top international tournaments – any UK bookmaker will have markets on every match you can imagine.
Horse Racing Betting
No sport has a richer betting heritage in the UK than horse racing. British punters have been piling into classic events like the Epsom Derby or St Leger for centuries! Away from elite thoroughbred flat horse racing, the National Hunt scene also attracts huge betting interest – especially the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National at Aintree.
UK bettors love Wimbledon, but the grass court Grand Slam is just the tip of the iceberg these days. A full betting service is available on all the other majors, as well as ATP and WTA Tours right through from junior challengers to the Tour Finals.
Golf has been a popular sport for centuries in the UK, so it’s no surprise that this also applies to online betting. With numerous competitions and tournaments taking place all around the world, you’ll find plenty of golf events to bet on year-round.
The UK is the home of darts as we know it today and the popularity of darts betting is on the up. Fans enjoy numerous professional and amateur tournaments throughout the year, culminating in the World Championships at the famous Alexandra Palace.
Cricket is another sport that dominates the UK betting market. The Ashes tournament is one of the most popular sporting events for cricket, with the likes of the T20 World Cup and IPL following closely behind.
Whether it’s Union or League, rugby has dozens of competitions for UK bettors. The most popular tournaments are undoubtedly the Rugby World Cup which comes around every four years, as well as the annual Six Nations Championship. There’s also a growing interesting in the Rugby Championship which is focused on four southern hemisphere teams: Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
Fans of pro-cycling will know that cycling betting is an up-and-coming market. The sport covers a number of tournaments with the Olympics, Tour de France, Grand Tours and World Cycling Championships gaining huge betting interest. UK bettors can expect a range of betting markets for all of the most popular competitions.
The Advantages of Sports Betting Online
While bookies still have a presence on the UK high street, more and more punters are now placing their bets online. Below, we’ve picked out the key benefits to online sports betting in the UK.
Receive a welcome bonus when you register
Cash-out bets early to minimise losses
Redeem online exclusive promotions like odds boosts
Use betting apps and access live fixtures and data
Place bets anytime and anywhere, including at matches
To get a top spot on our shortlist, a UK betting site has to live up to our strict criteria. We independently review every bookmaker based on the below.
Sports, Markets and Bets
Top UK betting sites will have a variety of sports, markets and bet types. Some bookmakers fall into the trap of offering hundreds of markets on the Premier League alone. We expect to see all the major UK events covered, as well as markets for international sports like NBA, NHL and NFL too.
Free Bets and Bonuses
Bonuses are key to any great betting site. We’ll be looking for a strong welcome offer as well as regular free bets that reward loyalty. On top of that, we expect to see features like odds boosts, money-back deals and best odds guaranteed as standard.
Online bookmakers in the UK should offer a range of payment options. We want to see debit and credit cards accepted as well as more modern options like e-wallets, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Top bookmakers will also offer speedy withdrawal times with no fees included.
Safety & Security
Each betting site on our shortlist has undergone extensive background checks. We make sure each recommended bookmaker is fully certified and licenced by a reputable authority. We also factor in a betting site’s reputation and assess if the security measures in place are reliable.
Competitive odds are crucial. We compare odds across every online bookmaker we review to make sure they live up to the industry average. If an online bookmaker isn’t offering competitive odds, we won’t recommended them.
UK Sports Betting Apps
The best online bookmakers in the UK will have a quality betting app. We expect to see a full range of bets and markets as well as access to live streaming, in-play markets and more. Bonus point will go to betting sites that offer virtual sports like horse racing.
If a betting site scores highly in each of these categories, then it’ll find its way to our list of the best betting sites for the UK. Our review team regularly update the scores and information about the sites we assess to make sure they are still among the top bookmakers.
When using different sportsbooks, you may have the option to toggle the odds format. This is simply a matter of personal preference in most cases, but your options may also depend on the type of sport you’re betting on. Broadly speaking, you’ll encounter one of the three types of sports betting odds listed below. If you’d like to know more about the different odds formats, visit our sports betting odds page.
What are Fractional Odds?
Fractional odds indicate the ratio of profit to stake for a wager. They are displayed as two numbers separated by a slash: the number on the left indicates how much a bettor can win, while the number on the right indicates the stake needed for a payout. For example, if you place a £1 bet at odds of 3/1, you would receive £3 in winnings plus your stake back. Fractional odds are widely used in UK sportsbooks and are the standard odds format used.
What are Decimal Odds?
Decimal odds are shown as two figures separated by a full stop. To figure out how much you could potentially win from decimal odds, simply multiply your stake by the odds shown. For example, placing a £1 bet on 2.00 odds would give a return of £2. Decimal odds are also known as European odds and are popular in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
What are Moneyline Odds?
Moneyline odds refer to which team is more likely to win a game. The odds for the favourite to win are indicated by a minus (-) sign while the underdogs are represented by a plus (+) sign. The minus number is the amount that a bettor would have to wager to win $100, while the plus sign shows what a bettor would win if they bet $100. Moneyline odds, also known as American odds, are typically only used at North American sportsbooks.
Markets and Bet Types Explained
Betting online has resulted in huge development when it comes to the bet types and range of markets available. The choice of wagers you can place has never been larger for UK punters, so let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of sports bets and markets available.
Each Way Bet
Same Game Multiple
This is the most straightforward type of bet you can place. A single bet involves selecting just one market for one event. By predicting the outcome of that one market correctly, you’ll win the bet. This type of bet keeps things simple, with a win not being dependent on any additional factors or events.
An accumulator is a multiple bet, where you can back different selections from different events, all on the same betting slip. Also known as an acca for short, this combines the odds of each individual selection to give you a large return. Note that all legs must win in order for you to receive a return. You might also see accas consisting of three and two-bet multiples referred to as trebles and doubles.
Each Way Bet
When there are more than two teams or individuals contesting a sports event, notably in horse racing where there are five runners and above, then you can also bet each way. This is in effect two wagers in one. Half of your stake is for the horse to win a race, while the other half is for it to place (usually to finish in the top three). A fraction of the outright win price - depending on how many runners and the type of race - is available on two, three, four and sometimes more places. This means you can receive a return even if the horse you back doesn’t come in first place.
Same Game Multiple
This is essentially an accumulator bet, but all selections are from markets within a single event, rather than multiple events. Combine several selections from that event on your bet slip and the bookie will give you odds based on those selections. As the likelihood of each selection you make occurring can be directly influenced by your other selections, this will be factored into the odds that you’re given. You can be offered some great odds with this type of bet, but it’s important that all of your selections are successful. Losing just one will mean losing the entire bet.
Over and Under
This is as traditional as sports betting gets. You place a bet predicting the outcome of an event (home team to win, away team to win or a draw). If your prediction is correct, you win the bet. As this bet type is fairly straightforward, it’s particularly suited to new bettors.
Over and Under
An over/under bet, also known as a totals bet in some parts of the world, involves correctly predicting the total score of an event. The bookmaker sets a total number of goals/points to be scored by both teams, and bettors predict whether the actual total will be over or under that number. To exclude the option of the bookmaker’s total being correct, they will usually include a half point in the total, e.g. a total of 4.5 goals.
Handicap betting, also known as spread betting, levels the playing field by giving an imagined deficit to the favourite team or player at the start of the game. The team or player with the deficit will have to overcome that in order for a bet placed on them to win. If the favourite wins the event but the deficit is not covered, they will still be the losing team in the eyes of the bookmaker. A handicap bet gives bettors the opportunity to back either the favourite or the underdog.
A correct score bet is a prediction of the exact final score of a match. As this can be quite a tricky bet to predict, you’ll find that the odds are usually quite decent. You’ll find this option available for most points-based sports, with football being a particularly popular choice at UK sports betting sites.
UK Sports Betting Facts
Online sports betting in the UK is now more popular than ever. We’ve noted a few key figures here, to give some insight into what UK gamblers prefer and how often they’re betting.
of the adult population in the UK place at least 1 bet per year
of all UK sports bets are on football
The UK Gambling Commission has granted about
to operate in GB and Northern Ireland
of all tennis bets are placed on in-play markets
How Are Sports Bet Winnings Calculated?
How to Calculate Returns on a Single
The simplest way to calculate your winnings with fractional odds is to first convert them into decimals. To do this, follow the steps below:
Add the first number (numerator) to the second number (denominator) of the fraction
Divide this number by the denominator to work out your decimal odds
Multiply the decimal odds by your stake to work out your return
For example, if you bet £8 on a team to win at odds of 11/4, then for every £4 you put on at that price you would receive £11 back in winnings, plus your stake. The total return on this wager is £30 – £22 of profit, plus the £8 original stake.
How to Calculate Returns on a Double
Doubles and accumulators are calculated in a similar way to single bets. Again, you start by converting your fractional odds into decimals:
Convert the fractional odds to decimal odds for each bet
Multiply all of the decimal odds together to find out your total odds
Multiply your total odds by your wager to find out your return
For example, say you’ve backed two horses both to win at 4/1 and 5/1 with a £5 stake. You get a predicted return of £25 from the first leg, then that rolls onto the second leg as the stake. This double thus returns a total of £150, with £145 of that being profit.
Best Free Bet Offers & Sport Promotions
Online bookmakers offer bonuses and promotions to enhance your online betting experience. The most common offer is a free bet. The table below gives a quick introduction to all of the biggest promotions to look out for and how they work.
Find this bonus at
Sign-Up and Welcome Bonuses
Most betting sites will offer a sign-up promotion. Typically, this includes a free bet or bet credits just for registering a new account or making a deposit. Sign-up bonuses usually have minimum odds but are free to use against any bet.
100% bonus up to £100 with your first deposit1
So-called "free bets" are available to both new and existing customers, often when
sportsbooks offer a promotion on a leading sports event. Remember, you will not receive your stake back off
a free bet bonus token.
Get up to £30 in free bets
This type of promotion is designed to mitigate loss. Acca or fallers insurance are popular
examples of this for UK sportsbook customers. This can also overlap with a free bet refund, which you may
be offered instead of cashback.
Enhanced Odds/Price Boosts
Extra value can be had on certain bets via this promotion. Usually accompanied by a strict
maximum stake, these can either be singles or multiples and are also known as Flash Odds because they’re
often only available for a short while.
Most commonly found in the UK as a VIP or Free Bet Club, if you meet the terms by placing a
certain number of bets over a specified amount of time, then you qualify for additional bonuses.
T&Cs apply to all offers – please check at the relevant sportsbook website.
Best Sports Betting Tips
If you’re new to sports betting sites or are just interested in improving your strategy, our simple betting tips can really help to transform your online betting experience.
Sign Up and Receive a Welcome Bonus
Any bookmaker worth their salt will incentivise you to sign up, and they'll most likely use a welcome bonus to do this. Simply register for an account with the sportsbook of your choice, then follow their instructions to qualify for the sign-up offer. This may give you free bets or bonus tokens to use before risking further capital.
Stick to a Budget
Being reckless with your balance is not a good strategy. If you want to be successful long-term, then you need to be sensible and gamble responsibly. That means operating within and sticking to a defined budget. You should never bet more than you can afford to lose - remember, when the fun stops, stop.
Get on Early
It sometimes pays to take an ante-post bet or long-term punt. These do however require patience, as cash out options may or may not be available. Placing wagers as early as possible may also see you get the best of the odds, especially if the traders behind a sportsbook haven’t yet cottoned on to something you’ve realised. Whether it’s a gut feeling, based on what you’ve seen previously or discovered through extensive research, the key is to react quicker than the bookies. Nothing tastes sweeter than beating them at their own game!
While some sportsbooks will do more than others to reward your loyalty as a customer, you are not obliged to place all your bets online with just one firm. Explore your options and open another account elsewhere, especially if they are offering an attractive welcome bonus or promotion on a sport that interests you. Holding multiple accounts is common sense - accessing as much of the market as possible means you’re more likely to get a better deal or price.
Best Betting Apps and Mobile Sites
Mobile play is an important part of our criteria when assessing an online sportsbook. All good bookmakers should offer apps for iOS and Android devices as well as mobile-optimised websites so that you can bet on the go.
Whether you prefer to download a betting app or play using a web browser, any sportsbook from our shortlist above will offer something for a smaller screen. Provided you’ve got an internet connection, you can place sports bets anytime and anywhere.
The sportsbooks that offer the quickest payouts include Betway Sports, 888Sport and Mansion Bet. Each of these sportsbooks promises a payout within 1-2 days of the bet being settled and can be withdrawn through most popular banking methods. The fastest withdrawals are usually made through methods such as Skrill, Paypal or Neteller which can be processed in as little as 24-hours.
UK Sports Betting FAQ
Is it legal to wager online in the UK?
Absolutely. The Gambling Commission regulates all kinds of real money wagering in the United Kingdom. This is done through the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under the Gambling Act of 2005. Of course, you must be aged 18 and over to have a betting account on any British site.
Which sports can I bet on?
There is no limit to the types of sports you can bet on. British sportsbooks accept wagers on anything from football to horse racing, rugby, basketball, tennis and much, much more.
Which sports do British people like to bet on the most?
Football betting is by far the kingpin with British bettors. Horse racing is also a firm favourite at the bookies, with certain events such as the Grand National even attracting thousands of punters who don’t usually bet.
Can I get a sports betting bonus?
You'll be pleased to know that just about all UK wagering sites offer special rewards, bonuses, and promotions to those who have just become members as well as existing members. If you come across a sportsbook without any betting offers, then it's not worth your time.
What is the best UK betting site?
You’ll find a list of the best betting sites in the UK right here on this page. Make sure to check regularly - we update this page to bring you all the most recent information about the best betting sites, as well as the ones to avoid on our blacklist.
How do I place bets into a bet slip?
The format of most sportsbooks is the same. A sports menu, usually listed from A to Z, appears down the left-hand side of the screen. In the middle, meanwhile, are the markets and odds for the sports. Click or tap the price on the bet you like the look of, and it should appear on the betting slip on the right-hand side. Now enter your stake, view potential returns and hit place bet. It’s as easy as that.
How do betting odds work?
Betting odds indicate the likelihood of a particular outcome of an event. From betting odds, you can figure out the payout you could get from a bet you place, should it win. You’ll find betting odds displayed in different formats at different sportsbooks, with common formats being fractional, decimal and moneyline. Regardless of which format you prefer to use, each format will indicate the same potential payout.
Which app is best for betting?
The best apps for online sports betting include Betway Sports, 888Sport and Mansion Bet. Head to our shortlist to find more of the best apps for betting in the UK.
Who sets the odds for sports betting?
Odds are set by the bookmakers themselves. The odds are typically calculated by taking into account insights such as player data, form, history, public opinion and more.
How does a spread work in sport betting?
Spread betting is where a team needs to either win or lose by a specific number of points or goals. Spreads will come in American odds and are only typically attached to North American sports such as American football or basketball.
What does SU mean in sports betting?
SU is an abbreviation for ‘straight up’ and refers to if a team has won a game regardless of the point spread.
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