If you’re on the look out for somewhere to bet online, then you’ve come to the right place. Our researchers have decades of experience with bookies both online and offline and have compiled the following guide to the very best betting sites in the UK. In order to keep things simple we’ve limited the number of websites we cover to ten, hence the name. Every single site in our top 10 not only come highly recommended, but are also licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
|Bonus (Terms Apply)
Six £5 Free Bets
|BetVictor Terms: 18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 6x £5 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. 7 day bonus expiry. Debit Card / Apple Pay payments only. Click for T&Cs. Please Gamble Responsibly. #ad
Bet £5 For Four £5 Free Bets
|Ladbrokes Terms: 18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #ad
See bonus terms below
|Bet365 Terms: Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365.Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Registration required. #ad
Min deposit is £15
|10bet Terms: New bettors; Code PLAY10; Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; Valid 60 days; Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply; T&C apply; 18+ #ad
Given as 4x £5 Free Bets
|Coral Terms: 18+. UK+IRE only. Min first bet £5 at odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 4 x £5 free bets. Not valid with Cash Out. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. T&Cs apply. #ad
Min Odds Are Evens
|Betfred Terms: New UK 18+ only. Register with promo code WELCOME40, Bet £10+ on Sports in one transaction. Get £30 Free Bets & £10 free spins within 10hrs of bet settlement. Bonuses expire 7 days after issue. Min odds, eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply. #ad
Important: Offers are for new customers only. Terms and conditions will apply, check the relevant bookmakers website for full details of minimum deposits, odds and staking requirements. You can see a larger list of betting sites on our sister site.
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Best Betting Sites For UK Customers
The table at the top of the page is meant to give you a tool to quickly compare the different betting sites that we recommend. As we mentioned earlier, all of the sites are worth betting with so you can pick from the list safe in the knowledge that there are no bad apples mixed in with them.
However, we realise that some people like to read a little more about a website before signing up with them. If you fit into this category then you can find our more about each of them in our detailed reviews which you’ll find below.
The Beginner’s Guide to Online Betting Sites
Betting on sport dates back more than a century, and as you can probably imagine ladies and gentlemen of the 1920s weren’t loading up their favourite betting apps and websites on their Apple iPhone – in those days, an apple was a delicious fruity treat and nothing more!
And so we should feel pretty lucky in this day and age that technology has advanced so far. We can register for an account with countless bookmakers, securing the best odds across a huge range of sports and political/novelty betting markets.
We can even bet on the move wherever we are, be it at home, on the train or while enjoying a nice soak in a hot bath – disclaimer, using your phone in the tub does not always end well.
But if you are completely new to sports betting, often the terminology used can be confusing, and if you don’t read up on the subject you might miss out on some fantastic bonuses and end up joining a rogue bookie – sadly, these do still exist.
So, consider this your beginner’s guide to betting. In this article we will reveal everything you need to know when seeking out an online bookmaker, including:
- How to claim a welcome bonus
- How to deposit funds into your betting account
- How to withdraw funds from your betting account
- How to verify your identity, and why you need to
- How to know if your money is safe
- How to know if a bookmaker is legit
And much more besides!
How to Claim a Welcome Bonus
In the vast majority of cases, a bookmaker will be only too happy to serve up a welcome bonus to reward you for registering a new customer account.
So, as you go through the process of signing up for that account, you may be asked to enter a bonus code – this acts as a trigger, ensuring the promo is waiting for you when your account is live.
On other occasions, you simply click on a link which then redirects you to the registration page of the chosen bookie – with the welcome bonus locked in once your sign up is complete. You can find many options for this format on this very site.
There are a few different types of welcome bonus that the bookies hand out, and it’s worth knowing a bit about each – that way, you can make a more informed decision on which to claim.
- Deposit Bonus – When you make your first deposit, the bookmaker will hand you a percentage of that on top as bet credits, e.g. 100% up to £50
- No Deposit Bonus – More commonly offered by online casinos, a no deposit bonus hands you a free bet or two without needing to part with a penny in advance
- Refund if You Lose – In essence, this ensures that your stake on a losing wager is returned to your account – either as cash or as a free bet token.
There are, occasionally, other types to look out for, but the four named above are typically the most common welcome bonuses.
Welcome Bonus Terms & Conditions
Of course, it would be unlikely that the bookies are ever going to give money away willy-nilly.
There are terms and conditions which you must satisfy when placing your qualifying bet, and usually that will mean placing a wager at a minimum odds – otherwise, you could place all of your free bet funds on a 1/100 shot and win ‘free’ money!
Look out for the minimum deposit amount too that might be attached to an offer, as you will need to satisfy this in order to claim any bonus that might be linked to it.
There could be other terms to consider too, including a minimum bet amount for that initial qualifying wager, and you should always consult the T&Cs of any offer before accepting its terms.
How to Make a Deposit
If you want to take advantage of a welcome bonus, you will more than likely need to make a deposit into your betting account. And if you want to start placing your bets, of course you will need to make a deposit.
The good news is that this process is quick, easy, secure and free of charge, with your funds hitting your account pretty much instantly.
Here’s a selection of payment methods you can use to fund your betting account:
- Debit Cards – Visa, MasterCard etc
- E-Wallets – PayPal, Skrill, Neteller etc
- Mobile Payment – Apple Pay, Google Pay etc
- Bank Transfer
- Postal Cheque
- In Branch (Coral Connect, William Hill, Paddy Power etc)
It should also be noted that there are some payment methods that CANNOT be used to fund your betting account. In the UK, it is now prohibited to use a credit card to add money to your account, and any possible workarounds – such as adding money from a credit card into an e-wallet or prepaid card – have also been banned .
Deposit Limits & Restrictions
The limits on deposits – both the minimum and maximum amounts – vary according to each payment method and even per bookmaker.
Generally speaking, the minimum deposit limit is £5, although you should note that to qualify for some welcome bonuses you will need to deposit/stake at least £10 to qualify for the offer.
The maximum deposit can differ rather wildly, but in some cases you can deposit as much as £100,000 into your account if you wish.
Here’s a list of sample deposit limits per payment option:
And one final thing to note as far as depositing goes – for some welcome bonuses, a specific payment option(s) may have to be used in order to qualify for the bonus. In other instances, specific payment methods may not qualify for the bonus, so always read the terms and conditions closely.
How to Make a Withdrawal
The beauty of online sports betting is that you don’t have to power walk into town to collect your winnings – using a bookmaker’s website or app, you can action a withdrawal within a couple of taps of your screen.
In fact, it could not be any easier to make a withdrawal from your account:
- Step 1 – Login to your account
- Step 2 – Click on your account name or the menu button
- Step 3 – Head to the ‘bank’ option
- Step 4 – Click on ‘withdraw’
- Step 5 – Select your withdrawal amount and payment method
And then it just becomes a waiting game – depending on the payment method you have used, it can take anything from 24 hours to five working days for your winnings to be in your bank account.
Withdrawal Limits & Restrictions
There are some restrictions in place when making a withdrawal that you should consider, although these only affect the small minority.
The first thing to note is that, in the majority of cases, you will need to withdraw your funds using the same payment option that you used for making the deposit. This is to help betting firms fight money laundering, and it should be a consideration when you make that initial deposit.
There are minimum and maximum withdrawal limits per day too, and as mentioned the length of time it takes for a transaction to be completed depends on the payment method used.
As a general guide, this is how the average withdrawals platform looks at the time of writing:
|1-5 working days
|up to 24 hours
|up to 24 hours
|1-5 working days
|5-28 working days
Happily, your withdrawal will normally be processed completely free of charge in the absolute vast majority of cases.
How to Verify Your Identity
It is a legal obligation for betting sites in the UK and many other international countries to verify the identity of their customers – if they don’t, they will be investigated by the Gambling Commission and could lose their licence.
And so the process of verification requires for you to prove your age and address, which ensures you meet the minimum requirement of being 18 or older to gamble while confirming you are a legal citizen. This latter process is to help combat money laundering and fraud.
Often known as KYC – Know Your Customer, the majority of online bookmakers will request appropriate verification before you can place a bet with them.
What I.D Does a Bookmaker Need?
Often times the verification process can be done via your payment method, since your bank has to have done stringent ID checks in order to open your account.
However that won’t always be enough, and if you want to use a payment method like an ewallet you will definitely need to go through the site’s own checks.
Bookmakers have different rules on what constitutes I.D and when you might need to supply this to them, but as a general rule you will need to verify your account with two or more of the following:
- Photo I.D – the usual suspects, such as passport, driving licence or I.D card, apply here
- Proof of Address – a bank statement, council tax bill, utility bill, phone bill etc, with a recent date published on it
- Proof of Payment – occasionally, you may be asked to send a photo of your debit card if this is your chosen payment method
These days, bookies are aware of the inconvenience of providing this information, and so many firms have created a secure upload portal which lets you share your sensitive data without fear of it being misused or being stolen.
Can a Bookie Perform a Credit Check On Me?
The answer, in short, is yes.
However, note that these are classified as ‘soft checks’, and as such they have no impact on your credit score.
The bookmakers that perform soft checks on you typically request no/less I.D when registering for an account.
What About Affordability Checks?
Here’s an interesting topic for debate.
There are currently consultations involving the Gambling Commission and the UK government regarding the use of affordability checks, i.e. how much can you afford to wager based upon your earnings, bank balance etc. It has been rumoured that you may have to prove your income to essentially lose more than £100 per month.
Those feelings of outrage you have are legitimate – this feels like an incredible breach of privacy and liberty – so the industry awaits with interest what the outcome of the review may be.
Is Your Money Safe with an Online Bookmaker?
One of the questions that punters often ask is ‘what happens to my money if a bookmaker goes bust?’
The honest answer is that it depends….
The first question is in knowing whether the bookie is licensed or not. If they have approval from the UK Gambling Commission, then they will need to declare whether your deposit is protected or not.
The Commission doesn’t dictate which level a bookmaker sets their protection at, but they can intervene when they believe an operator hasn’t correctly identified themselves.
The three levels of deposit protection are:
- No Protection – If this bookmaker was to go bust, you can more than likely kiss your money goodbye
- Basic Protection – If this bookmaker goes bust, there are measures in place to protect your money, e.g. insurance cover
- High Protection – If this bookmaker goes bust, your money is safe because it is held in a separate account from the company’s. This fund is protected by an independent auditor
As you can see, there’s a pretty considerable difference between the three levels! As a consequence, we highly recommend that you only bet with firms that have Basic or High protection – you can find this information out in their T&Cs prior to registering.
It’s rare for a bookmaker to go bust, but that’s not to say it hasn’t happened and won’t happen again.
How Do I Know if a Bookie Is Safe?
The level of deposit protection offered is just one of the factors that feed into how trustworthy a bookmaker is.
Again, we implore you to only register with bookmakers that are licensed with the UK Gambling Commission. This gives you a much greater assurance that the bookie in question is held to higher standards of service and care.
If they are licensed with the UKGC AND they have Basic or High deposit protection in place, you can bet with them with complete confidence.