The Best Betting Sites in the UK
What are the best betting sites in 2021? It’s not easy picking with hundreds of different options.
Whether it’s an excellent welcome bonus or the best odds – our experts will help you find what you’re looking for. Discover all you need to know.
Top 7 Safe UK Betting Sites
Bet £10 get £30 in Free Bets
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Up to £100 in Free Bets
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£20 Risk Free Bet
New customers only • Place your first bet on any sportsbook market • If it loses, Paddy Power will refund your stake in cash • Maximum refund for this offer is £20 • Only deposits using cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion • Qualifying requirements must be completed within 90 days of opening account • full terms apply • #ad
Double Your Winnings
New customers only • Deposit min £10 and claim in "My Offers" • 1x 100% mobile in-play profit boost • Max Bet £10. Max Winnings £100. Valid for 30 days • Skrill/Neteller deposits do not qualify • 18+ • begambleaware.org • #ad
Bet £10 get £30 in Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
New customers only • Minimum deposit of £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) • Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free bet stakes not included in returns • Casino bonus must be claimed with 7 days • 40x wagering on casino bonus must be complete within 14 days • Wagering will vary per game • Deposit method, withdrawal restrictions • Full T&C’s apply 18+. www.begambleaware.com • #ad
Up to £100 in Bet Credits
Open Account Offer Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365 • Min deposit £5 • Bet Credits available for use upon settled of bets to the value of the qualifying deposit • Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply • Returns exclude Bet Credits stake • Time limits and T&Cs apply • 18+ begambleaware.org • #ad
Unibet Sports Review
Up to £40 Money back + £10 casino bonus
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The UK Betting Market
Betting on sports in the UK is a big deal. Horse racing and football bets generate hundreds of millions of pounds a year, so it’s no joke.
Bettors in the UK are protected under the Gambling Act of 2005. This act outlines the key do’s and don’ts for betting sites.
Companies that operate in the UK must also attain a betting licence from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), before being able to take bets.
The licence provides a certain degree of security to players and is one of the first things we look for. The UKGC has the power to revoke licences and hand out fines – both of which they have done in the past.
In recent years the online sports betting market has boomed in the UK. More legislations have recently been introduced, but it is all positive for players.
Pros and Cons of Betting Online
At legit, we don’t simply point out all the good things about betting sites. We provide unbiased reviews and show the downsides too.
We’re a trusted site and strive to ensure we give a well-balanced view of all aspects. On this page we are looking at how to decide if a bookmaker is legit or not, but what are the pros and cons of betting online?
- Dozens of sports to bet on
- Greater market depth than shops
- Chance to take up promotions
- Never miss a bet
- Unlikely to be able watch UK football
- Winnings not returned instantly
What Makes a Betting Site Safe?
The best betting sites are safe ones. It sounds simple, but there are plenty of factors to consider when judging if a site is safe or not.
Furthermore, each player will prioritise different aspects depending on how they like to bet.
As a general rule, however, the best and safest betting sites will meet our key criteria. So, if you’re a seasoned bettor, or like a punt on the Grand National read on to find out what to look at before committing.
Before you even consider registering with a bookmaker, make sure it holds a licence to operate in the UK. It may sound obvious, but there are some bad sites out there looking to scam people.
If in doubt, you can check the UKGC page and search for the name of the company to see whether or not it is registered.
Having a licence is the first big tick for a legit site. They are difficult to get hold of, and stringent measures need to be met.
Protecting yourself online is of high importance, regardless of what website you’re on. Sports betting sites are no different.
Whenever you part with your personal data on a website, you are taking a risk so it’s wise to find out what companies are doing to help you.
Secure connections are imperative. SSL encryptions are a must for us. We wouldn’t recommend a betting site that didn’t have this.
Simply look for the s after the HTTP in the URL. If the HTTP has a line through it, this means that the site is not secure. Because of the risk, we suggest avoiding this.
On top of that, you’ll find a whole host of other security benefits. State-of-the-art systems are in place on the best sites.
Find out more in our dedicated review pages as we cover this in every review.
Player Funds Protection Level
As per the terms of a UK licence, all betting sites have to mention in their terms and conditions how player funds are protected.
But what does this mean? The Gambling Commission insist that players funds are held in a separate account to the bookmakers. This is essential in gaining a licence.
While this does offer a reasonable amount of security, further steps can be taken and the Gambling Commission awards a rating based on steps taken. There are three levels:
- Not protected (basic) – Funds in a separate account, but are not safe from creditors
- Medium – Additional insurance in place meaning you may receive your funds, but not guaranteed
- High – Held by third party and funds are guaranteed.
This becomes important in the case of insolvency and the likelihood of you getting your money back.
If you have £250 for example on an ante-post bet, and a betting site goes into administration – will you get your money back?
In all of our reviews, we’ll highlight what level has been awarded.
A Safe Site Will Have
Online betting and bonuses go hand in hand. Our advice here is that if the offer seems too good to be true – do a little digging into the terms and conditions. Unfortunately, there is likely at least one term that will show that the promotion isn’t very valuable.
Good bonuses do exist though, especially as part of new customer offers. All of the sites we review have a welcome offer that you can take advantage of. We closely examine the terms that could trip some players up.
We detail the different types of bonuses you can expect on our dedicated page. So, if you have a bonus in mind – check that out to find out all you need to know.
We rate these three betting bonuses especially highly. This is because they all offer good value, realistic requirements and trusted payment options.
While Betfair and bet365 offer a larger amount (£100), Paddy Power pays their bonus is cash, meaning that you are not required to complete any wagering before withdrawing. It’s important to pick a bonus that suits your gameplay.
What Does a Good UK Betting Site Offer?
In the UK, you can bet on almost any sport – or anything at all for that matter. Bookmakers will have events priced up around the clock, and in some cases, you can even request odds for a bet you fancy.
Number of Sports
By using one of our recommended sites, you can guarantee that you’ll be playing somewhere safe – and with a wide variety of options.
Having a number of sports to bet on means you are more likely to find the bet you’re looking for.
7 Most Popular Sports to Bet in the UK:
- Horse Racing
Betting Odds Explained
Bookies odds are created using tough probability calculations. For example, in tennis, the algorithms could create the expected chance of Nadal winning a game, how many games he will win in the match, how many strokes will be in a rally and so on. The possibilities seem almost endless.
Translating those numbers into odds is where it gets interesting, and it’s also where bookmakers add their ‘edge’. This is also sometimes called a margin.
We’ll take a real-life example with Paddy Power to show you how it works in practice.
|Outcome (Win)||Fractional Odds||Decimal Odds||Implied Probability (%)|
The percentage represents the likelihood of the outcome. So, basically, the bookies work with that and display it as a fraction.
The final row displays the bookmaker’s protection. In a perfectly fair world, the outcomes would all add up to 100% but the extra 5% is called the ‘edge’. As a rule of thumb 2% of an edge per outcome is an average amount to add on, so in this case, the odds should be considered competitive.
Of course, you can’t judge a bookie on one event. But if you check a few events or matches, and if the edge seems too high, then you might want to think about betting somewhere else.
For each of our betting reviews, we look at a real example and explain how competitive we consider the odds to be. To do so, we also test sites at different times over a number of markets in order to give a fair view.
What does this mean? Well, it means the number of markets on a specific event. Again, the more there are – the more chance you can find the bet you want.
Furthermore, it shows that the online bookmaker is savvy and knows how to price up events.
|Bookie||Number of Markets||Average|
This is an example of the number of markets for a Europa League match with five of our top bookmakers. As you can see, each bookmaker offers a different amount of betting options.
Of course, this is just a snapshot and it is possible that William Hill will have the most markets on another event. But if you look at the average number, they are not massively below that.
A good online betting site will promote a large number of markets and will be in-line with other top bookies.
Types of bets on offer are also important. Some bookies don’t offer certain bets such as forecasts on horse racing, and system bets can be blocked. See the table below for the most popular bets.
|Bet Type||Number of selections||Number of bets|
|Trixie||3||4 (3x doubles, 1 x treble)|
|Patent||3||7 (3x singles, 3x doubles, 1 x treble)|
|Yankee||4||11 (6 x doubles, 4 x treble, 1x four-fold)|
The combined odds for bets should be shown in the betslip when you place a system bet. This can be an accumulator where you need all selections to win, or you can also place something like a 4 from 6.
We recommend that if you’re not familiar with a bet type to avoid it or read up about it. There’s information out there and it could save you from disappointment.
Mobile and Betting Apps
The best betting sites have the best apps. Mobile web versions of sites are becoming slowly outdated as companies target apps. There is a growing trend with punters betting on the move, and owning a PC or laptop is no longer a must.
Apps will be available for download on both Apple devices and Android. Be sure that you’re downloading the correct app, and there can be some look-a-likes.
- Easy to navigate
- Secure log-in (fingerprint)
- Live streaming options
- Match statistics
- Bets eligible for bonuses
- The same markets as desktop
- Poor graphics
- Long load times
- Fewer promotions than desktop
- Fewer features than desktop
We test all the betting apps and the mobile set to see how they compare to the desktop version. There might even be a mobile-only promotion to let you know about.
Each of our reviews will detail what you can expect to get from the mobile app and if it’s worth downloading.
Betting Sites Platform Experience
The overall user experience of a betting site comes down to the platform. By platform, we mean a wide-ranging number of things including who hosts it, and what features it provides.
In our reviews, we’ll give an honest opinion about what we think of a bookmaker’s platform providing examples of what is good and what needs improving.
A slow loading site for example can be frustrating for players, especially for in-play betting when odds can take some time to update.
A bad platform can have a negative effect on how safe we rate sites too, so it is a key factor in our process.
We’ll look at:
- Is it a white-label?
- Are odds created in house?
- Does it include special features such as cash out, bet builder, tips?
- Is there anything out of the ordinary?
- Frequency of technical difficulties
You may be surprised to learn of all the ways you can deposit and withdraw into your account. Moving money efficiently and safely is key. In the days of being able to order something online for same-day delivery, players are looking for instant ways to deposit.
Getting money into your bookmaker account is with most methods, instant. You can do so with your normal debit card, an e-wallet such as PayPal or with your phone via Apple Pay. All of these solutions are excellent ways to fund your account as they are both safe and reliable.
Withdrawal times vary between sites. The likes of Paddy Power offering instant withdrawals to a debit card while most other betting sites can take up to five working days to process those types of withdrawals.
As with everything, however, all have their disadvantages too. We cover any fees that might be included and let you know what methods are eligible for claiming bonuses.
A positive customer support experience on a betting site can increase our trust in a company.
Furthermore, not everything goes to plan so being able to ask a question when one arises and get an answer is essential.
We look for what channels of support are open in our reviews and like to see around the clock live chat support.
This can be difficult for smaller operators but a solid 12 hours is reasonable enough.
How To Pick a Safe Betting Site
What Else To Look For
While all of the above criteria can be used as a guide to what makes a legit betting site, there are other factors to consider.
Not all bookmakers are equal and there will be occasions when there are special circumstances. Let’s look at a couple of other topics to be mindful of.
Are New Online Betting Sites Safe?
It’s understandable to be a little wary of a new kid on the block, but with betting sites – that doesn’t need to be the case.
If you’re signing up for a new betting site, use this quick checklist as a reference:
- Payment methods
- Welcome offer
- Fair terms
- Customer support
- Responsible Gaming tools
Being licenced in the UK Is a big vote of confidence. Companies have to work for these, and they can’t be bought. So, if you find a new bookie and can see it’s licenced, then you should be good to go.
As always, do a quick search to see what other players have been saying about it.
You may also come across a betting exchange. The main difference between betting on an exchange as opposed to traditional betting is that you bet directly against other players.
This means that instead of being offered a fixed priced set by an online bookmaker, you can bet on any outcome, as long as there is another player in the system who wants to take the bet.
On the flip side, you can also choose to ‘lay’ a bet. If you lay a bet it means that you don’t think that outcome will occur, but another player thinks that it will.
When a player backs an outcome that another wants to lay then this is called a matched bet. And the bet is on. Let’s take an example of what this means for each player.
|Player 1 (Back)||Player 2 (Lay)|
In our example player 1 is backing A Plus Tard at 4/1 meaning the person laying the bet could potentially lose up to £50 if the horse wins.
However, as there are eleven other horses in the race, they have a better chance of winning £10. Just be careful to know exactly what you could lose.
It’s actually very straight forward, although betting exchanges can look daunting to new players. Our advice is to read up on them before you take part.
There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of cash out before. It is a feature that almost all bookmakers in the UK promote now, and one that is enjoyed by players.
If you’re not familiar with cash out, it allows players to secure a return on a bet that is underway.
Bookmakers will offer a certain percentage of the potential winnings, based on the current odds of the outcome. Therefore, you will not receive a 100% pay-out. In a perfect world, the calculation would be:
- Potential winnings/current odds
Of course, this isn’t the case as bookmakers will add in a margin. But generally speaking, if you do the above calculation you could work out if the amount offered is reasonable or not.
Cash-out can be a useful tool, but we do advise you to use it only when needed. As explained, you’re not getting great value by cashing out.
Another aspect that separates the OK from the good is live betting. Betting in-play is a different way to bet with odds constantly moving.
The same rules for comparing competitive odds don’t really work as they will change so regularly.
Some betting sites will limit the number of live markets they produce because players do have a chance to grab the ‘wrong’ odds.
We’ll let you know what we think of our betting sites in-play offering and how it stacks up against others.
- Unique markets
- Quickly settled results
- Often specific promotions
- Can watch at the same time
- Odds can change often
- Quick decisions needed
The biggest bookies offer live streaming on thousands of sports events each year. It’s hard to say that just because of that they are safe, or legit, but to be honest if they have them then they are likely to be so.
Live streaming services can be expensive, so the smaller bookmakers might not have them. But that’s not to say they can’t be trusted.
It’s also worth noting that streams are not completely free for users to watch. In almost all cases you will need to have a funded account, or have placed a bet within a 24 hour period.
For horse racing, you may also need to have a bet on a specific race in order to stream it live.
All bookmakers have limits on the amount you can bet on a specific event. Maximum amounts are rarely ever mentioned on sites as they vary greatly.
Limits vary depending on the sport, the event and even the individual player. Our advice would be that if there is a sum that’s not being accepted is to contact customer support. You might find that they will allow the bet to be placed.
On the other hand, you may also be limited to how much you can place. Bookmakers can set maximum bet amounts on your account.
This is at the discretion of the bookie, and they don’t legally need to tell you why this is the case. While it can be frustrating, it is common practice.
It’s important to note that a minimum stake will also apply. These of course are easier to identify as they will be the same for all players.
- William Hill – 3p singles, or 1p accumulator
- bet365 – 10p, or 5p each way
- Paddy Power 9p
- 888sport 1p
- Betfair 1p
Betting Sites Guidelines
We at legit have years of experience with online betting and have prepared some simple guidelines that anyone can follow.
It’s important to know the basics before you get started and to bear in mind that while betting should be viewed as fun, there is still money at stake. Be sure to check out our handy tips.
How to Open a Betting Account
From one of our above links
Ensuring you don’t miss any steps
Via an eligible method (if you want to claim a bonus, check the terms)
If on offer and it suits your betting pattern
You’re good to go
Top 7 Tips to Stay Safe When Betting
Before you go ahead and sign-up with a new bookie, take a moment and consider the following:
If you follow those seven simple tips then you can help protect yourself when betting online. Some onus is on the betting site itself, but we have to look after our own data carefully.
To sum up, online betting sites can be safe places to bet as long as you follow some simple rules.
We trust that this page has helped with any queries you might have had, or given you something to think about before you register an account.
Remember that we offer free, impartial reviews of betting sites so if you want to know more about any of our sites – find them here.
What is the best online betting site?
At legit, our favourites are bet365, Betfair, and Paddy Power. All of our recommended betting sites, however, offer a great place to bet. They are both safe and packed with exciting markets.
Which online betting site has the best odds?
Not one betting site will have the best odds for every single market. But the good news is that player is king in this case. The betting industry is a highly competitive industry so many bookmakers will have special deals or top odds.
Are betting sites safe?
Yes, most are. We suggest that you use one the sites that we have given our seal of approval too, as this will mean they can be trusted. Check out our handy checklist to make sure your betting site is safe.
What betting sites offer cash out?
Most UK bookmakers offer cash out including bet365, William Hill and Paddy Power.