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UK Friendly Sports Betting Sites – Everything You Need to Know

One of the greatest things about living in the UK is that you have TONS of options about where you can place your sports bets. Not only do you have a supportive government and legal system, but you have tons of different companies vying for your business. This creates the perfect storm where you’ll see better lines, better bonuses, and an all around better experience than players in other parts of the world.

The key to getting the most out of your sports betting experience is to be as well versed and up to speed on the industry and your choices as possible. We’re going to walk you through everything you could want to know and more about sports betting in the United Kingdom. We’ll also walk you through how you should approach picking a sports betting home and the pros and cons of the different options. Since we do know that too many choices can be overwhelming, we’ll also give you some recommendations of places to get started on your search. You will be a UK sports betting expert by the time you get done with this guide.

I’m Already Ready to Go!

We get it. Some of you aren’t here for a full education and are just ready to get started betting. Maybe you’ve already done your homework, or you have a hot tip that you’re ready to try and make some money on. If you’re already well versed on the UK sports betting market and are ready to get started betting, we’ve provided some of our favorite and most trusted online sports betting sites available to you in the UK. These sites were tested and vetted based on security, bet selections available, bonus promotions, user interface, and odds offered. We’re confident that one of these sites is perfect for you and will have you betting in just minutes.

RankBetting SiteDeposit BonusSign Up
#1Betway Sports Logo
Betway Sports
100% Up To €30Sign Up Now
#2Genting Bet Logo
Genting Bet
€10 Free BetSign Up Now
#3Bet365 Logo
Bet365
100% Up To €200Sign Up Now

Benefits of Betting in the UK

For the rest of you that are looking for a bit more information to get started, we’re going to take care of you. We want to start off by pointing out a few of the perks and benefits that you get just by living in the UK as a sports bettor. Being aware of these benefits can help you to properly pick the best playing option for you and also make sure that you get to take full advantage of everything that is available.

  • A Regulated Market

Many major markets in the world are a nightmare for sports betting and online gambling of any type. This creates fears of trustworthiness, security, and the overall experience. Other parts of the world have to look at safety and security first before they can even dream of looking at features and amenities. Luckily for you, this is not the case. Since sites are regulated within the market, you can begin your search with the features and amenities that you’re looking for. This might now sound like a huge deal but just ask anyone from other parts of the world, and they’ll probably tell you they’ve considered moving to get this benefit.

  • Aggressive Bonus Structures and Upgrades

As a market that is filled with sports betting fanatics, you can imagine that every company in the market is going to do everything they can to get you to place your bets with them. The real winner here is, of course, you because as the popular phrase goes, when companies compete, you win. There are a few ways companies go about enticing players to join their sites. The first is by offering a superior product. This means that companies servicing the UK market will constantly be trying to update their gaming experience to make it more enjoyable and easier for you. This means that the overall experience for UK bettors will be much better than most other parts of the world where competition is not as stiff amongst companies.

The second way that these companies will try and get your business is by offering tons of free stuff, free cash, and aggressive promotions. What these entail are all over the place as sites are constantly trying new things to gain and retain your business. You’ll see tons of deposit bonuses where you get free cash as well as awesome VIP programs filled with free gifts, trips, and money. The important takeaway here is that you need to shop around before you decide on a final place to play. The smaller niche online sites typically have the best bonuses and are willing to give up more of their profits to try and win and keep your business. Definitely, take full advantage of this. We’ll also talk later about how joining multiple online sites can be a strategically smart decision for getting the best odds as well as getting the most out of the bonuses available.

Online vs. Sportsbooks

One of the biggest decisions you need to make when choosing a sports betting home is whether you want to choose a brick and mortar option or an online option. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each.

Sportsbooks

Sportsbooks, or betting shops, are actual brick and mortar facilities that you can walk into and place your sports bets. The biggest perk of these is that payouts are the absolute quickest. As soon as the game is over, you can walk up to the betting window and turn in your ticket to receive your winnings. This is, of course, assuming that there is no line of other patrons. Some people also just like the experience of being in a sportsbook and being around other gamblers. While this is a positive for some, it’s also a negative for others.

There are drawbacks of using brick and mortar options. The first and most important is that you are not able to shop lines at all. Shopping lines means checking several sportsbooks to see what odds they are offering on the bet you want to make. Often times you can find better odds if ever only by a little bit by just doing a little homework. This is technically possible but requires you to drive to another sportsbook which could be hundreds of miles away. Therefore, it’s possible but usually not feasible or desired.

Piggybacking off of that, the fact that you actually have to drive to the sportsbook to make your wager can be a hassle. It costs gas, time, and money and you have to deal with traffic and parking before you even get in the door. After that, you usually will have to wait in line to place your wager which could be an issue if you’re putting in a last minute bet. The atmosphere is also usually loud, crowded, and smoky which for some is desired, but for a lot of people would rather be avoided.

Online Sportsbooks

As you may already be catching onto, we are big fans of the online sports betting options and for a good reason. They offer an immense amount of benefits and take care of a lot of the issues that brick and mortar locations are unable to handle. Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of betting online versus placing your bets in a brick and mortar location.

  • The Ability to Shop Lines

    This is hands down the number one reason to place sports bets online as opposed to brick and mortar. Shopping lines refers to the practice of looking at several different sportsbooks before placing a bet to make sure you are getting the best payouts or odds on your bet. It is not uncommon to find different lines at different sportsbooks as the book is just trying to manipulate the line to get the same amount of money on each side of the bet at THEIR book. They don’t really care what is going on elsewhere at other sportsbooks. While the lines are all usually going to be very close to similar, a small difference can be huge in the world of sports betting. If one sportsbook will pay you £150 for a winning bet, but another sportsbook will pay you £180 for the same bet, you’d be insane not to place your bet with the second sportsbook.

    This is just not possible with brick and mortar as each sportsbook is only going to have one line and the other books are going to be miles and miles away. Online, each book will only have one line, but you can check the line and “visit” several other sportsbooks in a matter of seconds. All you have to do is open another tab on your browser, and you’re instantly at another sportsbook that may have better lines. This is why we are strong advocates for placing your bets online as well as joining several different sportsbooks to make shopping lines much easier and quicker of a process.

  • Convenience

    It’s really hard to deny the convenience that being able to place sports bets online brings to the table. Without going into intense detail, here’s a list of just a few of the convenience benefits offered through online sports betting.

    Convenience of Betting Online
    Never actually have to leave your home or office to place your bets
    Never have to wait in line or risk missing getting a bet in
    Never have to deal with traffic, parking, or the logistics of the commute to the sportsbook
    Never have to deal with the smoky, loud, and crowded sportsbook environment
    Never miss part of the game if you have to travel back home after placing your bet
    Never have to convert odds or calculate your potential win as it’s done automatically online
    Never have to make arrangements for babysitters, dogsitters, or nagging significant others

    Not only the above, but what happens if a line changes from unfavorable to favorable on a game you were considering betting? You will have no way of knowing that the line changed unless you go back to the sportsbook to place your bet. Even if one of your friends calls you to let you know about a line change, you’ll still have to go through all of the above stuff to get your bet in. If that line moved right before the game, there is no chance you’re going to make it in time and get through the line before the game starts.

  • Save Money

    It costs money to bet at the brick and mortar sportsbook. You have to pay for gas and wear and tear on your car or for public transportation to get to the sportsbook. You usually have to pay for parking, and in some areas, there is an entry fee into the casino or sportsbook. If you end up being at the sportsbook for a while, you’ll have to pay to eat there which is usually more expensive. All of this cuts into your profits of a correct bet or exacerbates your losses. It can all be easily avoided by betting online.

    Let’s say you’re placing a £50 wager on a team to win at -110. You win the bet, and the sportsbook pays you out £45.45 in profit. But wait…Let’s add in the extra costs of using the brick and mortar casino. Gas is around £6.22 a gallon in the UK. The sportsbook was 25 miles away, and our car gets about 25 miles to the gallon. So one gallon of gas to get there and one gallon of gas to get home. We also ended up staying at the sportsbook to watch the game and had to get some food. We bought two slices of pizza for £8. Thankfully on this trip, parking was only £4. Let’s look at the math.

    £45.45 profit from our bet

    – £12.44 in gas (two gallons @ £6.22)

    –   £8.00 in food

    –   £4.00 in parking

    Total Profit: £21.01

    By placing our bet at a brick and mortar sportsbook instead of online, we cut our profit by 53%!!!

    Now, this percentage will go down for larger wagers, but it is still money that you shouldn’t be cheating yourself out of. Most recreational bettors will see significant hits from these expenses. This figure doesn’t actually account for wear and tear on your car as well as a few other expenses like road tolls for example. Unless you’re betting large sums, it will become nearly impossible to be profitable when you’re losing out on this large of a percentage of your profits.

Choosing a Site

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that placing your bets online is a much more convenient, strategic, and cost-effective way to sports bet. Once you decide that online is the place for you, the next logical and daunting question is where you are going to play online. Why did we say daunting? We use this term because at times picking an online sports betting home can be overwhelming because there seems to be an endless number of choices and it’s challenging to pick the best one. One of the big perks of being a UK based sports bettor is that the legislation and regulations of the gaming market make for a much safer and much more secure set of choices. In other parts of the world, bettors have to be overly concerned with the safety and security of the sites they are playing on. So much so that they have to disregard shopping features and really only look at security. Thankfully, UK bettors can focus more on benefits and amenities when shopping for a new online sports betting home.

Here is a quick list of questions you should ask when looking for a new sports betting home.

Does this site offer bets on the games and sports I am knowledgeable about?

It’s probably most important to make sure the site you are betting on offers bets on the sports you know the most about. One of the quickest ways to lose your money sports betting is to start betting on games and sports that you don’t know a lot about. All the experts agree that the only way to be a profitable long term with sports betting is to stick to what you know. Otherwise, you are just gambling and not leveraging your educated picks and predictions.

What is the user interface of the site like and do I like it?

Whether you’re planning on using sports betting as a recreational activity or more seriously to make money, the user interface is extremely important. For recreational bettors, sports betting is supposed to be an enjoyable and exciting experience. If you’re constantly pulling your hair out trying to figure out how to navigate the site or get your bets it, it’s going to suck all of the fun out of things. For serious sports bettors making a lot of wagers, you need a site that is user-friendly and allows you to make all of your bets quickly and efficiently. Sometimes you have to get bets in quickly before a game starts or really quickly if you’re doing live in-game betting. You need an interface that supports you and makes this seamless.

What are the bonus promotions offered?

One of the biggest perks of playing online is that they have significant bonus promotions. These include deposit bonuses, VIP programs, free stuff, free money, and more. Because the UK sports betting market is so strong, companies are going to compete harder for your business meaning sweeter bonus promotions. They’ll run promotions to get you in the door and then run promotions to keep you from going astray.

There are a few important things we want to add here beyond just picking a site based on bonuses.

Make sure that when you do select a site that you take full advantage of the bonuses offered.

Sometimes you have to opt in to get the bonuses and sometimes they have specific rules and stipulations that you need to be aware of. Opting in usually just means checking a box that you want to be part of a promotion or contacting support. They’re always free to be a part of, but for some reason, they sometimes need you to opt in. Also, we did say earlier that joining multiple sports betting websites was smart for shopping lines. It’s also smart when it comes to bonuses. Take full advantage of the different promotions at different sites. There is nothing unethical about this. It’s a lot like going to two different stores because you have a coupon for each.

Now that you’re equipped to know how to pick out the best site for you, it’s time actually to start looking through some options. As there are hundreds and hundreds of choices available, we have gone ahead and put together a helpful list of our favorite online sports betting sites for UK players. We’ve picked sites that knock the above criteria out of the park and are also dedicated to players in the United Kingdom. We’re confident that any of these sites would be a perfect home for you to start or continue your sports betting career.

Popularity of Sports Betting in the UK

Gambling and sports betting are massive industries in the UK. With over 1,000 brick and mortar betting shops, it’s clear that UK residents love to bet on sports. The last estimates we saw were that the sports betting market in the UK were worth somewhere around £650 million.

This figure is from several years ago and has probably grown immensely with the growth of online sports betting websites. It’s also unclear if sports betting websites are even included in this figure. Regardless, the point is that the market is huge in the United Kingdom. This market is only set to grow further as new bettors, and new technologies enter the market.

Gambling Taxes and Regulation in the UK

Gambling and sports betting in both brick and mortar and online casinos are fully regulated and completely legal in the UK. While this might not seem like a big deal to you, it’s actually something that most of the rest of the world envies. For example, players in the United States are forced to navigate a legal and regulatory situation that is unclear and not very supportive of the activity. Luckily for you, though, you don’t have to worry about this and are free to do as you wish with your money and sports betting activities. This regulation through the United Kingdom provides a much safer and much more controlled betting environment for UK bettors. In other words, sports betting online is much safer and “above-board” in the UK.

Before a gambling site is allowed to operate in the UK, it must be approved by the UK Gambling Commission. This commission is set up to protect all parties involved and create that safe landscape we were talking about earlier. Their main goal is to make sure that the industry is crime free, that operators and companies are fair and transparent, and that children are safe and protected. This sort of oversight is great for the industry and more importantly for the longevity of the industry.

It’s important to point out that some sites do disregard the laws and are servicing UK customers without the proper licensing. This is important to pay attention to because if something were ever to go wrong, you are limited in the recourse you have. When you have problems with a UK regulated site, you have governing bodies and authorities you can report the problem too. The site also stands to lose a lot more for unfairly treating patrons as they can have their licensing revoked.

For this reason, the ONLY sites we have recommended to you on this page are licensed and regulated by the UK Gaming Commission.

Taxes

Before we get into this section, we have to put out a disclaimer. Tax laws are always changing, and we are not tax experts. For a more complete picture of the tax laws for the UK, we recommend doing your own research or consulting a tax professional. That being said, we will do our best to present the information as we understand it in regards to taxation on sports betting winnings in the UK.

Until 2001, sports bets were taxed at a rate of 6.75% on every bet. In 2001, this was abolished and replaced with a 15% tax on gross profits. This was seen as a huge win for sports bettors and was done to get offshore companies to bring their betting operations back into the UK. Let’s break this down into simpler terms to make sure you understand it. Before 2001, you were taxed on every single bet at a rate of 6.75%. This never took into account if you were up or down on sports betting; you were will taxed. The change in laws now allows you only to be taxed on your gross profits. Gross profits are the amount you won minus all of your losses. While the rate is higher, you are only being taxed on what you win at the end of the year.

For example, let’s look at a sports bettor’s bets for the year under both taxing situations. For simplicity purposes, we are going to say the bettor only made five bets throughout the entire year.

  • Bet 1 – £200 – LOST
  • Bet 2 – £200 – LOST
  • Bet 3 – £200 – WON!
  • Bet 4 – £200 – LOST
  • Bet 5 – £100 – WON!

Under the pre-2001 laws, the taxes would look like this:

  • Bet 1 – No tax
  • Bet 2 – No tax
  • Bet 3 – £13.50 in taxes (Taxed at 6.75 %)
  • Bet 4 – No tax
  • Bet 5 – £6.75 in taxes (Taxed at 6.75 %)

Total Taxes Paid = £20.25

Under the new laws, the taxes would look like this:

  • Bet 1 – No tax at time of bet
  • Bet 2 – No tax at time of bet
  • Bet 3 – No tax at time of bet
  • Bet 4 – No tax at time of bet
  • Bet 5 – No tax at time of bet

End of year – Total gross profit = (-£300). Taxes owed = £0

Obviously, if you have a winning sports betting or gambling year you are going to be paying more in taxes, but this law now protects you if you are having a losing gambling year. You’re also able to include other gambling losses into this gross profit number.