Best Online Betting Sites for 2021

Online Betting is one of the most popular forms of remote gambling worldwide. Players wager money, also called “stakes”, on a (sports) event where the outcome is unknown. Today, you can bet on almost everything, from premier league games to who is going to become the next prime minister. Let’s have a look at the best betting sites to place your stakes.

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New customers only, min deposit and bet £10 from debit cards only. Min odds evens (1/5 per multi selection). 2 x £10 Free Bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned, no cashout. T&Cs apply.

How To Choose A Betting Site

At first glance, it can actually be incredibly overwhelming to have to choose a betting website. They generally all allow you to bet on the same events or games, but with minor differences. You may find that some websites accept a special form of wagering that others don’t, and it’s our job to inform you of this.

Now, when it comes to choosing a betting site, you should take several things into consideration. They are welcome offer aimed at new users, the promotions available for existing players, what different types of betting the site accepts, the site’s odds, the payment options offered and the layout and mobile-friendliness of the betting site.

Welcome Offer

Just like online casinos, betting sites offer special welcome offers to new registries, helpings entice new customers into joining the casino. Most of the welcome offers consist of cash bonuses or “free” bets worth a certain amount, often ranging between £20-40.

However, one thing you must understand is that there are requirements attached to all bonuses and promotions. Some of the most common requirements seen at betting sites include a minimum deposit amount, a wagering requirement and accepted payment options.

The bonus offered and the requirements attached to it all vary depending on the casino so it’s important to read through the terms and conditions to fully understand how the bonuses work.

Promotions for Existing Players

In addition to the welcome bonuses aimed at new users, online betting sites also run special promotions for existing customer. Some of these promotions can include bonus money or “free” bets, but they may also include offers that give punters money back or double winnings if something happens during the sporting event.

Just like with the welcome bonuses, there are requirements and restrictions attached to the bonuses and promotions. However, it completely depends on the betting site you’ve registered with.

Types of Betting

One of the reasons betting is so popular is because people can bet on the outcome of almost anything. Some of the most popular types of betting include wagering on sports matches such as basketball, football or tennis or wagering on horse races.

It doesn’t end there, however, as people also enjoying betting on whether it will snow on Christmas day, presidential and political elections, international events such as the annual Chess Championship, reality television show winners and some punters even bet on which celebrities will win at the Oscars, Emmys and Baftas. What’s even stranger is that some people have even wagered on the names or birth of celebrity children such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

While this may disappoint you, this handy guide will purely concentrate on sports, horse and other types of betting.

Odds

There are three ways odds are presented, as decimals, fractions or in the American style. The method of calculating odds depends entirely on the way they’re displayed as. Generally, fractional odds are the most popular and you’ll tend to see them more on betting sites. But it’s also important to learn the two additional formats.

Payment Methods

Most betting sites accept the same payment options found at online casinos, it just depends on the individual betting site as they may choose to only accept a handful of methods while another casino can accept many more. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be able to use your debit card and e-wallets, but more information on that later.

Layout

The layout and presentation of a betting site is also important to consider. You want to play at a website that is easy to navigate and is mobile-friendly, allowing you to make bets on any device anywhere and anytime.

All Bookmaker Reviews

Bookie Free Bets Min Odds
10Bet £50 £4/5 (1.80)
Bet365 £100 £1/5 (1.20)
BetVictor £30 £1/1 (2.0)
Betway Sports £10 £3/4 (1.75)
Expekt £50 £4/5 (1.8)
Mansion Bet £20 £Evens
MoPlay Betting £30 £1.50
SportPesa N/A N/A
Totesport N/A £1/1 (2.0)
Virgin Bet £20 £1/2 (1.5)
William Hil £30 £1/2 (1.50)

Welcome Offers

As mentioned above, most betting sites provide newly registered players with generous welcome bonuses. They can vary from “free” bets to bonus money that can be used to make bets. However, all promotions come with various restrictions and requirements that must be fulfiled before any winnings can be withdrawn so it’s important to read the terms and conditions.

Welcome offers are extremely popular and a great way to start betting as they provide you with a few ways to make extra bets. You’ll find that the promotions available differ wildly from each due to the fierce competition between betting sites, so make sure you search for the best bonus possible.

Generally speaking, the most common type of promotion available is a Match Deposit.

Match Deposit

As mentioned, match deposits are the most common type of promotions you’ll find being floated around at betting sites. This bonus generally sees the betting site giving you a bonus that matches the amount of your initial deposit.

For example, Ladbrokes is currently offering a match deposit bonus of up to £10 with a minimum deposit of £1. This means that if you deposit anything between £1-10, Ladbrokes will give a bonus of the exact same amount.

When you spot these bonuses, the terms and conditions may state that they can only be used for one specific type of betting such as sports. The T&Cs will also state how long the bonus is valid and any other important details.

Other Promotions

Match deposits aren’t the only promotions you’ll see appearing at betting sites. Other popular promotions include betting a certain amount of money and receive another amount as a bonus. For example, Ladbrokes is currently offering a welcome bonus of ‘Bet £5, Get £20’.

Match Betting

Match betting is a technique used by punters to profit from the incentives offered by bookmakers. Since the technique relies on maths rather than chance, match betting is regarded as being risk-free. Basically, match betting involves placing multiple bets to trigger the bonuses and take the money without losing anything via your bets. In fact, the reason users place multiple bets is to reduce the risk of losing money.

For example, if you see that a betting site such as William Hill is giving away a £10 bonus to anyone who bets £10 on a football match, you’d make a £10 bet on William Hill that Team A would win. You would then visit a betting exchange and make a £10 bet against the same team.

This means that regardless of who actually wins, you’ll receive your deposited £10 back along with the bonus £10 William Hill offered for making your initial deposit. You can then repeat the process. It’s important to note that while most bonuses are for new customers only, a lot of betting sites offer regular promotions users can claim.

Also, contrary to popular belief, matched betting is completely legal as long as you reside in the UK and are over the age of 18. It’s also tax-free. One thing you should know is that many betting sites and exchange sometimes shut down accounts of users who make matched betting.

Ongoing Promotions

Along with giving new players welcome offers, betting sites offer their existing users promotions in order to show that they care and like to reward them. Betting sites hope their exciting and competitive promotions will keep players interested in the website and will stop them from jumping to another bookmaker.

A popular offer is the Risk-Free bonuses, also known as Bet Refunds, in which the bookmaker credits you the amount of your bet back in cash or bonus funds if you lose the bet. They’re sometimes available as a sign-up bonus but are generally saved for existing members. However, it’s important to note that Bet Refunds bonuses aren’t completely 100% risk-free. There are conditions attached, such as entering a code to alert the bookmaker that you want the bet refunded. Most Bet Refunds also require players to make a bet at the minimum odds stated.

There’s also a Qualifying Free Bet bonus in which users must complete certain criteria in order to receive a bonus. The most common Qualifying Free Bet requires punters to place a certain number of bets to get their reward.

Though they’re rare, you may also come across No Deposit Free Bets in which the bookmaker will give you a bonus without you having to deposit any money.

All of the above promotions come with their own criteria and restrictions. You may only be able to use the bonuses on certain types of bets and you may be required to bet a minimum amount and complete wagering requirements, it all depends on the individual betting site.

Types of Betting

As mentioned above, you can bet on almost everything from sports to horse racing to politics and more. The three most popular types of betting are sports games (Such as football, tennis, hockey, rugby and more), horse racing and greyhound racing.

 Sports Games

This shouldn’t come as a surprise but betting on sports games is one of the most popular forms of betting. When it comes to sports betting, there are different types of bets that can be made. For example, you can bet on the overall winner of the game or match, the final score of the event or on specific occurrences in the game such as a dismissal.

Generally speaking, all sports can be wagered on including football, boxing, cycling, basketball, hockey, volleyball, baseball, rugby, running, and on individual tennis games or events like grand slam tournaments and more. You’ll also find that some unexpected events or activities come under sports betting such as Chess Champions. In fact, wagering on the 2018 World Chess Championship between Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen was hugely popular this year.

Also, many people enjoy taking part in large events such as The World Cup, The Superbowl, NBA Playoffs and the Winter and Summer Olympics.

Horse racing

Horse racing is popular all over the world, particularly in the UK. General horse racing bets in Europe, Australia and Asia, will see punters bet that a specific horse will finish in either first or second place at the end of a race. They’re normally paid out depending on how much they had wagered.

However, another popular form of horse betting in the UK is Tote Betting. There are various types of Tote Bets that can be made but the most popular is called a Placepot which works like a lottery. It requires a punter to wager on several horses over six different races and all wagers are placed into a jackpot pool. The punter must wager that the horse will finish in, depending on the number of horses running, first to fourth place. Punters must win all six races to win a share of the pool. To find out more about Placepots, check out our dedicated page.

Greyhound Racing

While it’s been on a steady decline since betting shops began opening in the early 1960s, greyhound racing was hugely popular in the UK. It was so popular that there were a whopping 5,750 meetings in 2007 alone! The sport remains popular in countries around the world and generally follows the same rules.

Greyhound racing is a competitive sport in which greyhounds race around a track and punters wager on the outcome of the race. There are two main types of greyhound racing, track racing (around an oval track) and coursing. Track racing, the most popular form of greyhound racing today, uses an artificial lure that travels ahead of the dogs on a rail to the finish line. Coursing, however, uses a stuffed lure. This form of greyhound racing had originally used live lure such as a hare or rabbit that could be killed by the dogs, but this has since been banned in the UK and US.

Non-Sports Betting

In addition to being able to bet on sports games and events, you can also enjoy wagering on various other activities. These vary between betting sites, but you can usually wager on political events like presidential elections, reality television shows, as well as award shows like the Oscars. This means that there’s something for everybody when it comes to online betting!

Betting Sites Variety

When you’re choosing a betting site, it’s important you take a look at which sports events can be wagered on in order to provide you with some variety and to meet your needs. It’s also worth looking at whether they allow you to bet on other things such as horse racing, greyhound racing and more.

For example, Ladbrokes allows users to bet on football, snooker, golf, cricket, greyhound racing, horse racing, politics and more. However, William Hill offers all of that plus winter sports, television, lotteries, eSports and more.

We suggest you take a look around and see what appeals more to you before registering anywhere.

Odds

All bookmakers have different odds so it’s important to select a betting site that has consistently good odds on the events you like to wager on. You wouldn’t want to register at a bookmaker, make a wager and lose only to find better odds for the same bet on a completely different website, right?

Before working out which betting sites offer the best odds, you actually need to understand how odds work and how they’re presented. Odds are basically the probability of something happening and how much you’ll win from your bet.

For any event, there’s a certain number of outcomes and betting odds present those probabilities as either a decimal, as a fraction or in the American style. What’s the difference? Let’s find out.

Decimal

You’re more likely to find decimals on betting exchanges like Betfair than on betting sites, but many betting sites do give you an option to view betting odds in this format. To many people, decimals are much easier to work out than other formats.  To calculate how much you’ll win with decimals, you simply:

Multiply the odds by the stake and then minus the stake from that total. 
So an odd of 9.0 is worked out as 9.0 X £10 to equal £90
You then minus your £10 stake for the total win
£90 – £10 = £80

Simple! You can do this for other odds too. For example, a decimal odd such as 1.75 is worked out as 1.75 X £10 (Your stake) for £17.50 – £10 to equal a win of £7.50. Does that make sense?

Fractional

Fractional odds, presented as something like “10/1”, are used most frequently in the UK. These odds show how much a punter is likely to win from their wager. For example, an odd of 8/1 means you’ll win £8 for every £1 you wager plus the return of your stake. An odd of 2/3 means you’ll win £2 for every £3 you wager and so on.

These odds also allow punters to work out the probability of an outcome or event with a simple calculation. To calculate the probability, all you need to do is:

Divide the wager by the money won PLUS the wager.
So an odd of 9/1 will be worked out as 1 ÷ by 9 + 1 = 0.10
This means there is a 10% chance that the event or outcome will happen.

You can calculate other odds this way too. For example, an odd of 2/3 is calculated as 3 ÷ 2 + 3 to total 0.60, meaning there’s a 60% chance the outcome will happen.

American

American odds work somewhat differently to the above. There are two types of American odds, favourites and underdogs.

Favourites are always shown with a minus symbol before them. A -150 favourite means you need to risk wagering $150 to win $100, meaning you either win $100 or lose $150.

Underdogs work in the opposite way. They generally have a plus symbol before them. A +100 underdog means you risk $100 to win $150, meaning you either win $150 or lose $100.

Basically, a negative number shows the amount you must wager to win $100 (Or the equivalent in your currency) and a positive number shows how much you might profit by betting $100.

Payment Methods

Most betting sites offer a variety of different payment options to suit users’ preferences. As mentioned above, you’ll be able to use debit cards as well as some e-wallets to make deposit and withdrawals at betting sites.

When choosing a betting site, it’s important you research which payment options the site accepts so you can always use your preferred method. It’s also important you research how long the betting site takes to process deposits and withdrawals.

If you’re unsure what the most commonly available payment methods are, we suggest you take a look at our guide on online casino banking methods to find out that suits you and find a betting site or casino that accepts it.

Regardless of whatever method you choose, deposits at betting sites are processed instantly and should appear in your account within minutes. Withdrawals, however, depend on the method used and the casino you’re registered at. For example:

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes accepts VISA / MasterCard, Apple Pay, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal and Paysafecard as deposit options, all of which appear instantly. VISA / MasterCard, Apple Pay and Paysafecard all have a £5 minimum deposit but e-wallets Skrill, PayPal and Neteller have a £10 minimum deposit.

Ladbrokes allows you to use the same methods for withdrawals, but they don’t appear instantly. E-wallet options take a minimum of six hours to reach you while VISA / MasterCard and Apple Pay take 1-3 days.

Bet365

Bet365 accepts VISA / MasterCard, Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, Paysafecard, Skrill, Neteller, Entropay, Bank Wire and Cheque as deposit options, all appearing instantly excluding Bank Wire (2-10 business days) and Cheque (5-28 business days). Most options have a £5 minimum deposit excluding PayPal, Neteller and Entropay (£10) and Bank Wire and Cheque (£100).

Bet365 accepts most of the same methods for withdrawals, but they work differently. VISA / MasterCard payment options take 1-5 business days to reach you while e-wallets take up to 24 hours. Bank Wire takes 2-10 business days and Cheque can take up to 28 business days.

Most betting sites will not charge you any fees for withdrawing or depositing money, but there may be fees for currency exchanges. However, it’s important you read through the terms and conditions to find out before registering at a betting site.

Layout & Functionality

Another factor you must consider when choosing a betting site to register with is the layout and functionality. When registering, you want to do so at a betting site that is easy to use and navigate and one that doesn’t withhold critical information from you.

You should look for a site that presents you with the main types of betting, providing you with easy access to your favourite sports or events. In addition, you should check that the betting site you’re considering registering with is mobile-friendly so you can load it up on-the-go or at home on your smartphone device. A website that isn’t mobile-friendly will be harder to use and may affect your overall enjoyment and experience.

In addition to this, you’ll want to use a betting site that works smoothly. You don’t want to be in the middle of wagering to suddenly get hit by a strange glitch of bug. When deciding on a betting site to register at, we suggest you navigate around the website, try out different menus and get a feel for how it works. And don’t be afraid to try out multiple sites too.

In-Play Services

It’s important you check out how a betting site’s in-play services work. In-play, also known as in-running, is a service that allows punters to take advantage of developments in events as they happen. Clicking on the bookmaker’s in-play section will provide you with live statistics and tips. Some betting sites even offer live commentary, radio shows like William Hill’s In-Play Radio and even live streaming!

In-Play services offer punters an advantage as they can keep up-to-date with the latest events as they’re happening. It’s important that the service works smoothly and doesn’t suffer from glitches or bugs if you enjoy using it.

Smartphone Apps

Most bookmakers have developed their own apps for Android and iOS devices. This means you can download the app directly to your phone and make your favourite bets seamlessly. You won’t need to worry about performance here as the apps are frequently updated (Unless you have an outdated phone. If you do, it might be worth upgrading!).

Searching through the Google Play and Apple App Stores, you’ll be able to find apps from Bet365, Betfair, William Hill, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and more. This is great for people who want quick access to their favourite betting site.

However, many people prefer not to use dedicated mobile apps as it takes up storage on your device which could rather be used for photos, videos or other interesting apps. Whatever you prefer, it’s completely up to you.

Summary

It’s easy to see why betting has become so popular in the UK. It allows users to make money while enjoying sporting and other fun events. Betting is exciting and thrilling and it’s so diverse you’ll probably find it hard to get bored.

We hope this guide has helped share some pointers about betting and what to look for when choosing a betting site. Whichever site you do select, we wish you luck!