Best Online Sports Betting Sites in the UK: Where to Bet Online

The sports betting market in the U.K. is among the most mature in the world. Some U.K. betting brands have been in business for several decades, like Paddy Power and Sportsbook, and have developed a strong reputation for reliability, quality products and excellent customer service.

Regulated at home by the U.K. Gambling Commission, many betting websites also have operations offshore, where they are licensed and regulated by governing bodies of the countries in which they operate. This page will give you an idea of what to look for when choosing online betting sites in the U.K., including how to identify established and trusted brands, and how to make sure your deposits are secure.

Is Online Gambling Legal in the U.K.?

The legalities surrounding online gambling in the U.K. are very simple: As long as you’re of legal betting age, you can visit an internet gambling website. The legal gambling age in the United Kingdom is 18. Online wagering, in accordance to the law, refers to all possible gaming activities you put money on with the hopeful outcome of winning. These gaming activities include sports betting (on- and off-line), bricks-and-mortar and online casinos (slot machines, or table games like roulette and blackjack), bingo, and virtual horse and dog races.

The U.K. has lax gambling laws compared with the rest of the world. Unlike in North America and Asia where online wagering is still illegal in certain states, the United Kingdom legalized betting in 1961.

How to Ensure That a U.K. Betting Site is Legitimate

Often the greatest concern facing sports bettors from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is making sure the site they choose is legitimate. Reputable betting sites in the U.K. are licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission.

Set up under the U.K.’s Gambling Act of 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain, the commission is an independent body overseen by the U.K. Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and provides transparent directives of all commercial gambling operators. U.K. betting brands regulated by the Gambling Commission typically provide details of their license on their website. If you cannot find licensing information, you can contact their customer service department.

Many reputable U.K. betting sites also have operations offshore in Europe, the Caribbean and Central America. These sites are regulated by governing bodies in the jurisdiction in which they operate. While such licensing provides no guarantee as to the integrity of an online betting site, the absence of such licensing should immediately raise concern. Choosing betting sites that have been in business for two years or longer is also suggested. Establishing a strong reputable online brand is hard work and takes years, with only the best surviving the long haul.

It is also very important to look into a brand’s betting policies and customer service capabilities should you have an issue with your odds bet and payment method. As with any online company you choose to do business with, you will want an open line of communication, whether it’s a chat feature, email option or phone call.

What to Look for in a Sportsbook

When evaluating any online sportsbook, we examine the criteria listed below.

  • Type of bets: What kind of wagers are offered? This is important because you want a variety of wagering options besides straight-up bets.
  • Trustworthiness: Does the site have a great reputation? Status is everything when it comes to online betting. Any website that isn’t in good standing with its customers or the U.K. Gambling Commission is a site to stay away from.
  • Bonuses and rewards – What incentives does the site offer customers? Do bonuses expire after seven days? How long is a free bet valid?
  • Usability – Is the site responsive? Does it work on desktop and mobile? Ideally, the gambling site will be usable on all your devices.
  • Deposit and withdrawal options – What is the minimum deposit? What is the maximum deposit? How long does it take for your bet to be settled once you’ve won?
  • Customer service availability – Does the site provide quality consumer service 24-7? Should something go haywire with your account, you want to be able to reach the customer service department at all times.
  • Languages – Does the sportsbook offer multiple language options, including English?
  • Currencies – Can you bet with GBP or do you need to use a currency converter before you place your wager? The majority of online Sportsbook sites that cater to bettors from the U.K. allow you to use pounds for your wagers. However, there are a select few that will only accept bets in American dollars (USD) or euros (EUR).
  • If a sportsbook for U.K. bettors does not meet that criteria, we deem it unworthy and would bet against it.

Online Wagering in the U.K.

The U.K. market has been licensed and regulated in sports betting for several decades. As a result, some of the world’s most reputable online gambling brands are based in the United Kingdom and service punters across the world.

U.K. betting sites place a primary focus on sports popular in the four countries that make up the kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Europe. These include football – what some people call soccer – darts, cricket, rugby and tennis. However, in recent years, brands have dramatically improved their coverage of North American major league sports, including American football (NFL and NCAA college football), baseball (MLB), basketball (NBA and NCAA college basketball), and hockey (NHL).

Of course, U.K. betting sites would not be complete without horse racing. Most of the U.K.’s top brands offer daily odds and lines on races in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and the United States. Extensive coverage and promotions are dedicated to major equestrian events including the Grand Nationals, Royal Ascot, Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown races.

Types of Bets Available

Comprehensive betting lines such as point spreads, moneylines (straight up), parlays (also called multiples, accumulators or three-ways), totals (OVER/UNDER), futures and teasers are available for all major sports. You’ll likewise find props – a popular bet type for special events like the World Cup – and live in-play wagering is also offered for most sports, especially football.

Promotions and Bonuses

U.K. Sportsbooks provide promotions and incentives to both new and existing customers. Cross promotions encourage players to combine wagers on sports that they don’t normally play. For instance, you could make a three-way bet (parlay) that involves betting on Man United, Liverpool and Arsenal on one ticket.

All sportsbooks are different when it comes to deposit bonuses and loyalty programs. Some books make you use your bonus within 14 days of account creation, whereas others have longer time frames. Some Sportsbooks offer “odds of evens 2.0” or “2.0 or greater” on free bets while others do not. Sportsbook has a specific loyalty program that involves bet credits based on how much a customer’s initial deposit is. Other sportsbooks have special rules for what bettors can use their credits for. For instance, some wagers will exclude bet credit stake, or some of their returns exclude bet credits.

Check out the Sportsbook’s site to see when your bonus or free bet expires, and make sure to read the terms and conditions surrounding any rewards offered.

How to Deposit at U.K. Betting Sites

Making a deposit at U.K. betting sites can be done via credit card (Visa, MasterCard), debit card, bank transfers, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller and paysafecard. Simply visit the Cashier section of the sportsbook and select the deposit method you wish to use.

After your shrewd wagering pays off, you will have several options for making a withdrawal. In addition to having a paper check issued and mailed to you, there’s the possibility of having your funds directly deposited to your debit or credit card.

There’s also another option that could prove to be convenient for many punters. A number of U.K. sportsbook sites also operate physical betting shops and provide you with the chance to create an online voucher that can be redeemed in person, over the counter, at the shop. You can also place your wagers in person at the betting shop. Often referred to as off-course wagering, these shops have been legal in the U.K. since 1960.

There are roughly 9,000 shops in the United Kingdom from trusted names like Sportsbook, Sportsbook, Coral and Betfred. Bet shops do not offer the most innovative wagering platforms, although some provide punters with coffee and tea in an atmosphere akin to an American sports bar. However, you don’t get the convenience of lounging in your favorite chair in your sitting room, placing bets on your mobile.

Do U.K. Punters Pay Taxes on Their Winnings?

Some countries tax bettors on their winnings. Luckily for U.K. punters, you are not taxed on your gambling wins. Whether you bet online or at a bricks-and-mortar casino, you do not have to declare your winnings when you file your taxes.

This wasn’t always the case. Before 2001, winnings were not tax-free. In 2001, Gordon Brown – remember him? – when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, as a member of the Blair government, abolished what was known as the “betting duty.” Removing this 6.75 percent tax was done as an incentive for Sportsbooks to keep them from moving their operations overseas and taking jobs and revenue away from the U.K.’s economy. There is a point of consumption tax (POI) that relates to gambling activities but it’s only for bookies and sportsbook operators. This POI tax is not passed down to punters.

The only taxes related to bettors in the U.K. are on appearance fees related to gambling. For example, if you were a professional poker player and were asked to make an appearance at a certain tournament, the money you’d receive for the appearance would be taxed as it is considered part of your total income.

Finding the Right Betting Website for You

The U.K. is home to many of the world’s most reputable wagering sites. Your betting experience will be most enjoyable when you choose one of the brands we recommend. We’ve taken care of the vetting process to save you precious time you could spend placing wagers on EPL matches. Moreover, we recommend creating an account at several sites to test the waters. This allows you to not only line shop, but determine which site is your favorite.

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