There are about 8,000 different sports in the world and hundreds of betting sites, so you need to separate the wheat from the chaff. In fact, there are more than 80 betting websites licensed to operate in the UK alone.
The betting sites you enjoy will depend on which of those 8,000 sports and other features you like, and which online bookmakers offer markets on your favourite sports. But there are so many other reasons to choose one bookmaker over another, and we discuss them in this article. And if you’re looking for sports betting, don’t forget live casino games, like poker and blackjack. Many online bookmakers have table game selections to add flavour to your betting sessions.
How to choose the best betting site for you?
What separates the best betting sites from the rest? Well, it is partly down to personal preference. Do you care more about having a wide selection of bets, amazing user experience, the best in play markets, or maybe an excellent mobile app? If you’re lucky, you can find a bookmaker that offers everything you want.
Odds will follow a similar pattern across popular betting sites, but some bookmakers give special offers that make their odds more interesting. For instance, William Hill have ‘price enhancements’ every day. As with most betting offers, terms and conditions apply, such as stake limits and a single bet restriction.
Sky Bet was one of the first bookmakers to offer enhanced odds. They have price boosts, like 10/1 on Chelsea, Tottenham and Aston Villa to score at least two goals. Sky Bet’s enhanced odds often follow this theme of including two favourable options and one underdog. On the other hand, enhanced odds are sometimes given on the most eye-catching events to attract new registrations.
Variety of Betting Markets
Betting markets range from the basic home, draw, and away, to the Asian handicap and each-way. Plus, there are in-play bets, and cash outs where you can take your money and run. There are lots of special bets you can also find, from the fun to the improbable.
The most user-friendly online bookmakers are usually those by established brands. For example, sites like Sky Bet, Unibet, Betfred and Betfair are designed so it’s easy for punters to navigate to the games, sports and markets they want. When you’re putting your money on the line, you want to feel in control, and good user experience (UX) where everything is clear helps you feel more relaxed.
Good website design and UX usually give the best betting sites a more professional feel, which makes it easier to trust. You will probably prefer the way certain bookmakers look – Betfair is quite colourful, while Bet365 is simple, uncomplicated and clean. Whether the impressive UX translates to mobile is another question.
Live Betting & Inplay Interface
Betting sites tend to have similar in-play interfaces, with the different sports along the top of the page and betting markets in a list that you can scroll. For example, at Betfred you have your favourites, football, tennis, cricket, esports, golf, ice hockey, table tennis, upcoming and watch live options. In comparison, Betfair has similar options plus basketball, handball and beach volleyball, but no favourites, upcoming or watch live options. Betfair Live Video sometimes requires punters to bet before gaining access.
Bet365 has an admired in-play betting interface which some players use to keep track of changing odds and the latest in-play markets. You can add a star to fixtures to add them to an accumulator at the top of the live view page. Bet365 also has a schedule so bettors always know what events are coming next, and clicking on an event brings up relevant information, like results in previous match-ups.
Mobile Site & Mobile App Betting
Why would you download a mobile betting app when the desktop sites are so good? Well, the obvious reason is that you can bet via mobile wherever you are, as long as the app is allowed in your country. Some apps, like Sky Bet, will block you if they detect you are accessing their app from a country where betting is illegal, even if you use a VPN.
One of the first things you need to consider when finding good mobile betting apps is, do they even exist? Some apps are only available on iOS, like Unibet, but most leading brands are available on iOS and Android, including 888, Ladbrokes, Betway, Paddy Power, Betfair, MoPlay and Coral. Betfair was the first mobile app in the world!
You can get offers that are exclusive to mobile play. Bookmakers offer these deals to encourage more people to download their app, so why not take advantage? William Hill has a mobile-only welcome offer where players get £30 when they deposit and bet £10 via the mobile app. The best betting sites also offer Casino Game offers for mobile apps, like TonyBet’s 10 Free Spins on the Finn and the Swirly Spin casino slot, when you download the app and open the slot game.
TonyBet also give a €5 bonus for Roulette and a 100% bonus up to €200, plus 50 free spins on the Universal Monsters: Phantom’s Curse slot, just to mobile players.
Payment & Withdrawal Methods
PayPal Betting Sites
Betfair, Bet365, Paddy Power, Betfred, 888, William Hill and Coral all accept PayPal [link to Best PayPal Betting Sites page], not to mention Betvictor, Boylesports, Sky Bet and Virgin Bet. In other words, all the big betting sites accept PayPal, so choose your favourite.
Live Streaming Options
If you want to watch the action in the same place you bet you will probably have to at least wager on the event, have bet in the last 24 hours, or have funds in your account. Betting websites don’t let players watch live streams for free!
Best Betting Sites for Football Streaming
Some of the best betting sites for football live streaming are Unibet, Coral, Betsson, Bet365 and Betsafe. One of the most popular betting sites, partly due to its excellent user experience and interface, sports and markets coverage, is Betfair. They also have a great casino and live casino. They also provide ‘Live Video’ from football and other sporting events to users who have opened and funded an account. You can view odds before events or choose an in-play event to follow the action.
Betsafe has a live streaming calendar full of matches from different levels of the English football pyramid, plus international football and games from around the world.
Live Streaming Tennis
You can also find tennis live streams at Betsafe. They stream the ATP, WTA and Davis Cup, plus the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the Federation Cup and ATP Challengers. To access live streams at Betsafe, just go to the LiveBet section and click play in the top right. You can watch live streams as long as you have funds in your account or bet in the last 24 hours.
Bet & Watch Horse Racing
You can live stream and bet on every horse race in the UK and Ireland at Bet365. They also have races from the USA, Brazil, South Africa, France, Dubai, Singapore, India and Australia. Unibet also offer racing live streams, and have an offer of up to £40 back as a bonus and £10 for casino if your first bet loses.
You never know when you’re going to face a problem you need help with and most of the big names in betting have 24/7 customer support via telephone and email. Paddy Power exchanges an email service for Twitter support @AskPaddyPower which is available from 8am to midnight, seven days a week. You can tweet @AskPaddyPower with a bet request and any other betting issues.
Bookmakers with Live Chat Support
It is common for the best betting sites to have a 24/7 live chat service and this is available at bookmakers, such as Betfair, Bet365 and Paddy Power. Any bookmakers that don’t have all three customer service options; live chat, telephone support and email, risk falling behind the rest.
Best Sports Betting Sites
Football/soccer fans might be surprised that it isn’t their favourite sport, but American football, that attracts more betting money than any other sport in the world. Even European and British-centric bookmakers cover NFL markets. Whatever your preferences, there’s a betting site for you!
Popular Sports to Bet on Online
American football, football, tennis, horse racing, then basketball are the world’s most popular sports to bet on. Then there are sports that appear on many of the leading betting sites, like golf, esports and volleyball. Much of American football betting happens on one special occasion – Super Bowl. Billions of dollars are spent on the showpiece even though sports betting is illegal in large swathes of the US.
In the UK, it’s hard to look beyond football as the most popular sport to bet on online [link to best football betting sites article], with many bookmakers designed around the beautiful game. There are as many markets and specials for football as any other sport.
Best Betting Sites for Tennis
As tennis is one of the world’s major sports, you won’t have to search far for a bookmaker that offers tennis betting. Bet365 and Unibet have a good range of tennis markets, as do Betfair and William Hill.
Golf Betting Sites
Paddy Power has a nice little welcome offer for golf, football, tennis and racing bettors. Bettors get their first £/€10 bet back as cash if it loses. Ladbrokes offer specials, in-play and major competition betting coverage on golf.
Betting on Horse Racing
Horse racing is one of the few sports that can compete with football in terms of the number of specials [link to horse racing article]. However, the most common bets in horse racing are betting to win and each way bets. An each way bet gives the bettor two chances of winning; if the horse finishes first or places. The place part of the bet usually gives a return of a half, a third, a quarter or a fifth of the odds for winning.
NFL/American Football Betting
American football attracts more money than any sport in the world. The sport presents an opportunity for lots of fun special bets. Some examples include Comeback Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
You can bet on the NBA and WNBA on most major betting sites and, apart from the regular markets like Miami Heat to win, you can bet on specials like, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo to each score over 30 points and Chris Paul to score over 20 points in Houston Rockets versus Oklahoma Thunder. Basketball fans can get a welcome offer at William Hill of £30 in free bets when they bet £10.
Betting on Virtual Sports
The best betting sites will host virtual sports markets of football, horse racing, basketball, tennis, dog racing and motorsports. One of the advantages is the increased bets coverage, plus the faster pace allows you to get an outcome in just a few minutes. Also, you never have to worry if you’ll be able to watch the event!
Virtual Horse Racing
One of the beauties of virtual horse racing is you can bet on virtually any market you want at times when no such real-life event is happening. No matter what sort of bet you want to make, it’s probably available via a virtual game. And there’s no chance of the weather stopping the fun.
At Ladbrokes, there’s a virtual football match every three minutes! You can also get £20 in free bets when you bet at least £5.
You can get odds on every point in virtual tennis, experiencing all the drama of in-play betting. Playing virtual tennis bets is even more action-packed than real tennis, with the games lightning-fast. You can even choose a ‘quick betting’ option at Unibet if you want to place bets even faster.
Top Betting Sites for Betting Bonuses & Welcome Offers
Bet365 is one of the best betting sites around and their new player bonus is one reason why. Bet365 offer one of the best welcome bonuses: up to £100 in bet credits when you deposit at least £5. That’s a great way to get started! Plus, you can get bonuses that include perks for casino games as well as sports betting. Betfred offers a £30 free bet plus 30 free spins.
What to Look for in a Free Bet Welcome Offer
Note that you usually have to deposit or bet a certain amount, often as low as £5, to claim your free bet welcome offer. Also, you must usually claim the offer within 14 or at most 30 days.
Offers for casino usually include wagering requirements. For example, LeoVegas’ casino welcome offer [link to casino offers?] requires you to wager your bonus amount 15 times before you can claim it. In contrast, Betfred have a welcome bonus of 30 free spins with no-wagering required, which is rare.
Minimum Odds Requirements
Online bookmakers will make you work a little for your welcome offer. Free bets often come with minimum odds requirements, for example, Titanbet have a €25 free bet offer which you have to place five €5 bets at odds of 1/1 to claim.
Bonus Expiry Date
Many bonuses expire within 30 days of being activated in the new player’s account (Bet365). Sometimes they expire in 14 or even 7 days (Virgin Bet and 888 Sport) so don’t sleep on that juicy bonus.
Minimum/Maximum Stake or Deposits
Virtually all welcome offers have limits, for instance you might have a free bet up to £10. And most bet offers include a minimum deposit amount – £5 to £20 is common. Some free bets come with maximum stakes to limit the amount you can win. For example, Grosvenor Sports Betting have a £10 stake limit with their free bet offer.
Best Bookies Welcome Offers
One of the ways to choose the best betting sites is to look at the welcome offers available. Here are some of the best we found.
Bet365 £100 Free Bet
New players will receive bet credits to the same value as their first deposit, from £5 to £100. You must wager the money you deposited and wait for the bets to settle before gaining access to your bet credits.
Bet 5 Get 20 With Sky Bet
You get two £10 free bet tokens when you bet £5.
£30 Free Bet & 30 Free Spins with Betfred
Betfred’s welcome offer is multifaceted in that you get a bonus to use on sports and in casino. It’s a sign of vision from Betfred who have taken different players into account.
Best Existing Customer Betting Offers & Free Bets
If you are searching for a nice bet boost to help you get familiar with a new betting site, these are some good options.
Betway Free Bet Club
This special club gives players £10 in free bets every week if they bet at least £25 on trebles or accumulators. Qualifying players get two £5 bets, one on Saturday and one on Monday.
You can get a reward of a free bet and a power up, a free bet, or a £5 bonus for slots. To get the respective rewards, bet at least £5 on sports, track five bets of at least £5 on a self-service terminal on five days of the week, or wager at least £20 on slots.
Unibet Inplay Free Bet Club
Unibet’s free bet club gives players a free £10 bet every week if they place at least five in-play bets worth £10 on football, tennis, cricket, darts or basketball.
Top Ten Betting Sites
Out of all the places you can bet online, these are some of the best betting sites you should explore. They have individual strengths and weaknesses, so read on to see which interest you.
Bet365 provide up to £100 in bet credits when you deposit at least £5. Not only do they have one of the most eye-catching welcome offers, they attract more than 53 million customers, feature around 500,000 sporting events each year, and guarantee the best odds.
Coral’s selling point is the opportunity to bet on any sport that exists. However, they focus on football, horse racing, golf, basketball, greyhounds, rugby and tennis. They do in-play betting and have a welcome offer of £20 in free bets when you bet £5.
Ladbrokes call themselves the UK’s top bookmaker and they offer live betting and top betting odds. They are well-known for horse racing odds, football and online casino. Their welcome offer is bet £5 and get £20 in free bets.
4. Paddy Power
Paddy Power are unequivocally the jokers of the betting world. They infuse their marketing with banter and this fun even creeps into their specials. New customers get a £20 risk free bet and a £5 free bet. If you bet up to £20 and lose, you get your money back in cash.
5. William Hill
William Hill are one of the kings of high street bookmakers. If you live in the UK or the States, there’s a good chance you’ve walked past one of their shops. But their online product brings the flavour of the high street bookie to your personal computer or mobile device. New customers who bet at least £10 get £30 in free bets.
6. Sky Bet
Sky is one of the big names in sports broadcasting and they show their expertise in their online betting products. Sky Bet is one of the best betting sites and apps. Sky’s sports betting app has a 4.5 star rating on Android and a 4.7 star rating on iOS, which gives players the chance to bet on numerous markets, on the biggest events, wherever they are. New customers who bet £5 get £30 in bet tokens.
7. Virgin Bet
The mighty Virgin landed in the online betting world in 2013 and their financial muscle and reputation have helped them become one of the most polished betting products on the web. There, you can live stream horse racing from the UK, Ireland, the US, France and South Africa, and benefit from price boosts on the biggest occasions in tennis, boxing, cricket and football. Their welcome offer is bet £10 and get £20 in free bets.
Unibet are an all-rounder. Although they started off as a sport-focused bookmaker and still have an excellent sportsbook, they created a fantastic live casino too, with top roulette and blackjack games. New players who bet at least £10 can get £10 back to use on casino games, and if their bet loses, they’ll also get their money back up to £40.
New players get up to £30 in free bets. Deposit at least £10 and Betway will match your deposit as free bets up to £30. They are specialists at in-play sports betting markets and have super football, horse racing, esports and cricket markets. What’s more, they pride themselves on their casino games.
New customers who deposit and bet at least £10 within seven days of opening an account get a £10 free sports bet and a £10 casino bonus. BetVictor have a reputation as a sports bookmaker and have in-play bets and a bet builder. They also have casino and live casino products with more than 2,000 games.
Best Betting Sites for Casino & Games
One of the best and most versatile betting sites is Unibet, because it is strong on all fronts, with excellent casino, live casino and sports betting products. Unibet Casino has more than 600 games and new players can get a 100% bonus up to £100.
If it’s exciting bonuses you’re after, 888 Casino gives new players 30 no deposit free spins then 100% up to £100 after their first deposit. That’s right – you’ll get free spins just for signing up. 888 Casino also has big names of the slot universe, such as Starburst and the jackpot game Mega Fortune, on which you can win millions of pounds! And beat ‘em up video game fans are in for a treat with the Street Fighter 2 slot.
Live Casino Sites
Many of the best betting sites have an excellent live casino section. The beauty of Betfair is they have awesome welcome offers for all betting fans, whether they like live casino, casino, slots or poker. Other live casino sites worth checking out are LeoVegas, Videoslots and Sky Vegas.
H3: Poker Betting Sites
We’ve already told you about many of the best poker sites around, but there are more diamonds to uncover. You should check out PokerStars, who offer a £400 first deposit bonus. Also, Coral Poker run world championships online where you can win a share of €100,000.
Best Bingo Betting Sites
Some of the best bingo sites are:
- Mecca Bingo
- Foxy Bingo
- Gala Bingo
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What is the best betting site?
There isn’t an outright best betting site but you should look into some of the bookmakers we have mentioned in this article. The big names are famous for a reason and are probably a good place to start if you’re new to betting. Otherwise, welcome offers and specific markets might help you decide who to bet with.
Which betting sites offer live streaming?
Some of the best betting sites for live streaming are Unibet, Coral, Betsson, Bet365, Betfair and Betsafe. Normally, have to be a member to watch live.
What is the best betting site for free bets?
Bet365 offer up to £100 back in bet credits. Sky Bet give £30 in bet tokens when new players bet just £5 and William Hill give £30 in free bets when new players bet at least £10. As you can see, it is worth shopping around for a welcome bonus that suits you, or sign up to several online bookmakers.
Which betting sites accept PayPal?
Betfair, Bet365, Betfred, Betvictor, Boylesports, Coral, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, Virgin Bet, 888 and William Hill all accept PayPal.
What is the best betting site for cash-out?
Unibet, Betfair, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Boylesports, Coral, Betfred, William Hill and Paddy Power offer good cash-out options, however, cashing out isn’t possible with every market. Betfair even let you cash out just part of your bet, leaving some of your initial stake in play.