There are dozens of betting sites I used to use from the UK that are no longer available. Pinnacle Sports, SBOBet, 12Bet, 5Dimes, and countless others left the UK market in 2015 or 2016 due to our gambling law changing. Back then, the UK Gambling Act, 2005 was amended. Under the new law, websites accepting bets from UK customers must have a UK gambling license. The tax on net receipts for fixed odds betting became 15%. Some websites such as Pinnacle Sports applied for a license. They later withdrew their application. They realised it would not be profitable to operate at that tax rate.
Still, little has changed for the casual bettor. Betting shops remain located every few street corners. We still have many online betting outs. We still have sites like Betfair, PaddyPower, BetVictor, Ladbrokes and William Hill. Those bookmakers are all staples in our market. They are best suited to recreational players. For those readers, I soon address which sports betting sites are best. As this often depends on which sport you plan to bet, I’ll be adding articles on the following sports.
Football – Motogp – Snooker Cricket – Darts – Hockey Tennis – Boxing – Basketball Rugby – UFC / MMA – Volleyball
Also, if you’re a fan of Formula 1, our website has a detailed section on F1 Betting well worth a read. We also have recommendations for betting tennis online.
Of course the most logical choice UK residents to bet online in Pound Sterling (GBP) is UK bookmakers. Although others such as PaddyPower and Victor Chandler have shops in the UK, the most popular retail betting shops are William Hill, Ladbrokes, Tote, Coral and Betfred, who together account for over 80% of all betting shops in the UK market. It should come as no surprise each of these has a website available for taking bets over the internet.
Free Bet Offers
The most popular form of bonus at UK online bookmakers is free bets. How this works is the online bookmaker will generally offer a £10, £25 or £50 risk free first bet. You simply make your first wager and if it loses you get a refund. Visit any UK bookmaker mentioned on this page and you’re likely to see a free bet offer for opening an account. Then, using an e-wallet such as PayPal or Neteller, it is possible to recycle the same money time and time again.
Best Odds and High Limits
As already indicated, there are many website for recreational players to place bets. The challenge comes in that most UK bookmakers are not friendly to professionals. Players who chase promotions often get emails informing they are no longer eligible. Those who bet only the best odds might have their limits cut or their account closed. Those who bet too large and win, might also get shown the virtual door. This is acceptable in the industry so long as the bookmaker pays out the player’s balance timely. The UK Gambling Commission allows operators to utilise risk management. They can set personal limits or decide to not service a certain customer. Even recreational players that wager high-stakes might find themselves having issues. The solution here is to instead bet with an exchange or turn to Asian bookies.
Peer to Peer Betting Exchanges
Betting exchanges allow bettors to wager against one another. This is simpler than it might sound. As someone new to exchange betting, you only need to navigate to the market you’re interested in. You will see odds available and an amount available. You can place a wager on those odds for up to any amount shown as available. Your wager is then matched. There is though a commission deducted from each win. When you are more advanced you might choose to post offers at the odds you’d like and wait to see if others bet them. To learn more, read my detailed article How Betfair Works. Though there are other exchanges such as Matchbook and BetDAQ, Betfair is by far the most popular in the UK.
Many UK punters feel Asian bookies are for Asians and thus don’t consider betting with them. This is a huge mistake! The most followed sports league in Asia is English Premier League. Bettors from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Singapore, Vietnam, etc. wager massive volume on EPL and Champions League. Asian bookies also cover football leagues from more countries than any other site. If you bet football, you’ll want to use at least one Asian bookie while shopping around for the best odds.
The biggest reason to use Asian bookies is they tend to operate on much smaller margins than UK bookies. In other words, they offer better odds. They also have high limits and don’t generally limit players. Pinnacle and SBOBet are the two best Asian bookies. Both restrict UK residents from joining. Thus, you will need to use an agent to access their service. SBS management does not to allow me to recommend any agents here in this article. To learn more, Google search terms using Pinnacle in UK, Asian Bookies in UK, SBOBet Agent for UK and similar. The results should show you a lot of good forum posts as this topic has been often discussed.