The eternal list of best bookmakers & what to look out for

In the world of online sports betting, there are so many options of bookmakers for people to choose from. Here you can find the perfect steps on what to look out for when joining a new bookie.

Operators

#1
9
Bonus varies by country
  • 35 million customers globally
  • Huge esports collection
  • Optimized for mobile
#2
9.5
£100 FREE
  • Largest betting exchange
  • Includes traditional Sportsbook
  • Merged with Paddy Power
#3
10
3 x £10 in Free Bets
  • Founded in 1934
  • Over a dozen promotions
  • Best odds guarantee on UK and Irish horse racing
#4
9.8
£50 Free Bet
  • Launched back in 2011
  • Weekly and VIP promotions
  • Two mobile apps
#5
9
Bet £10, Get £30
  • Extensive mobile app
  • Multiple payment methods
  • Licensed for Gibraltar and UK
#6
9.8
£40 Money Back Offer
  • Part of the renowned Kindred Group
  • Event specific bonuses
  • Huge betting selection
#7
9
£30 in Free Bets
  • Huge sports selection
  • Live Stream on horse races
  • Includes commentary, stats and visuals
#8
10
Bet £5, Get £20
  • Established by Joe Coral in 1926
  • Well over a dozen promotions
  • Over 1845 UK stores
#9
10
Bet £5, Get £20 in Free Bets
  • In business over half a century.
  • 15000 plus employees
  • Over 30 sport categories
#10
10
Bet £10, Get £40
  • Excellent mobile app
  • Worldwide streaming
  • Founded in 1988
#11
9
  • Among the first online bookmakers
  • Operates across 100 countries
  • Best odds and lowest margins
#12
8
£100 welcome bonus
  • Over 50 sports available
  • 24/7 Live Chat coverage
  • Sponsors Blackburn Rovers
#13
7.2
50% up to £50
  • Licensed by UK Gambling Commission
  • 24/7 customer service options
  • Four million users worldwide
#14
9
Bet £5, Get £30
  • Best UK/Ireland horse racing odds
  • Includes Virtual Sports
  • Multiple licenses
#15
9
Bet £10, Get £10
  • Includes live casino
  • Several deposit options
  • Mobile app/site available
#16
8
50/100% Deposit Bonus
  • Wide variety of promotions
  • Works on tablet and mobile
  • Available in 20 countries
#17
9
£10 Free Bet
  • App available via Google/Apple
  • Many instant deposit methods
  • Owned by ASG technologies
#18
7
£120 Welcome Bonus
  • Available in 30 countries
  • Exceptional Football betting options
  • Utilizes SSL encryption
#19
8
12,000 Volt Points
  • Comprehensive reward system
  • Licensed in Malta & UK
  • Earn bonuses by spending points
#20
8
£100 welcome bonus
  • Nigeria's most popular betting site
  • Bet on non sporting events
  • Live streams daily
#21
9
£25 free bets
  • Founded in 1982
  • Updated mobile app
  • 250 retail locations
#22
9
Bet £10, Get £10
  • Includes live casino
  • Several deposit options
  • Mobile app/site available
#23
9
Free £10 Bet
  • Online since 2004
  • Includes podcast and insight section
  • World class betting app
#24
8
£25 Free Bet
  • Deposits fee free and instant
  • Licensed in UK and Malta
  • Includes live casino
#25
9
£10 Free Bet
  • 2% commission on winnings
  • Unique bonuses including 0% commission.
  • Mobile app includes two click betting.
#26
5.0
£20 Free Play
  • Launched in 1973
  • Comprehensive mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service
#27
7.3
£25 Free Play
  • Includes Poker/Sportsbook options
  • Mobile exclusive promotions
  • Live chat available
#28
8
£10 Backup Bet
  • Live streaming widely available
  • Extensive amount of payment options
  • Includes casino and live casino
#29
7
  • Many betting markets
  • Includes e-sports & Virtuals section
  • Regulated by Lagos State Lotteries Board
#30
9
100% up to £100 Welcome Bonus
  • Secure SSL encryption
  • Includes E-sports
  • 24/7 customer service
#31
9
100% Deposit Match BTC Bonus
  • Deposit with Bitcoin
  • Montenegro & Curacao license
  • Utilizes two step authentication
#32
7
100% up to £35 + 10% Cashback
  • Founded in 2018
  • 24/7 customer service
  • One app for Sportsbook/Casino
#33
6
Choose Your Sign Up Bonus
  • Online bookmaker since 1996
  • Available for Android and Apple
  • Customers in 180 countries
#34
8.2
100% Welcome Bonus
  • App available via Google play
  • Interactive graphs for matches
  • Extensive Virtuals section
#35
7.5
Deposit £60 play with £90
  • Boasts over 1.5 million users
  • Two swipe betting
  • Multilingual customer service team
#36
6
Monday Funding Madness
  • Huge amount of football bets
  • Multiple mobile site options
  • High quality virtuals
  • Emerged in 2018
  • Wide variety of sports available.
  • Includes mobile site
#38
6.9
£50 Free Bet
  • Founded in 2014
  • Varied Software Developers
  • Mobile friendly site and app
#39
6
100% Deposit Bonus
  • Available in Nigeria and Zambia
  • Regular free bet rewards
  • E-Sports available
#40
5
100% Deposit Bonus
  • Betking launched in 2018.
  • Includes comprehensive mobile version
  • Live betting also included.
#41
5
£30 in Free Bets
  • Opened in 1967
  • Includes sports commentary
  • Utilises 128 bit SSL Encryption

What is a Bookmaker and what do they do?

Whether you’re new to betting or a seasoned pro, bookmakers will always try to find different ways to lure you on to their site. Its important that you understand what it is you want out of this and to know what it is you like. For example:

  • Are you wanting to earn the big bucks?
  • Are you playing for fun and just want to get a feel of what it’s like?
  • Are you fed up with your current betting account and would like to try something new?
  • Are you simply just wanting to know what a bookmaker is and how they operate?

Everyday more and more bookmakers are entering the game and making it even more difficult to find the best one. We will analyse the concept of what a bookmaker is and what to look out for so hopefully you will get a better understanding of what suits you best.

What to look out for when betting online?

  • Terms and conditions are there to be read, so make sure you read them. A lot of the times what you see in an advert or in a post is not all what it makes out. Be sure to guide yourself through all the FAQ’s and terms and conditions on a bookies site, to save any hidden surprises later on.
  • A lot of the time when a new customer attempts to claim a deposit bonus, they will think it’s as easy as what is says on the tin. For example, “Deposit £10 and get £10 free” sounds like you will get £20 altogether. In reality, £10 will be yours to play with and the other £10 will have a rollover attached to it. A rollover means that the bonus amount that has been given to you has some requirements which need to be met before you can go ahead and withdraw all your winnings. A lot of the time the rollover will be anywhere between 5x to 25x. Meaning the £10 you already had needs to be played over that many times. Hence why it’s important to read through the T and C’s.
  • Additional charges can also be inhibited when making your first deposit as some sites have different rates. Firstly, we recommend that you check with your bank provider, if paying by card, if there will be any charges from either end. Any charges that will be made by the bookies will be stated in T and C’s, or you can get additional information before you deposit via the sites customer service contact which will either be an email, live chat room, or a phone number, which will be stated.

Is betting online safe?

Betting online is very safe as long as you follow some key rules:

  • When the fun stops, stop.
    What we mean by this is that gambling addictions are becoming more and more common as the days go by. We encourage that moment you feel that this is not becoming fun anymore and that you feel like you have to place a bet, contact the following helpline which is also found at the bottom of most bookies sites: https://www.begambleaware.org/.
  • Always check the fine print.
    By fine print we of course mean Terms and conditions once more. This is for your own safety as over the years numerous amounts of people get scammed from fake websites. You can always check at the bottom of the bookies page or in the FAQ’s for a copy of the companies licensing and address. This way you know whether or not the site genuine.
  • Make sure your allowed to bet.
    It’s important that you are hitting the right requirements for you to bet. The most obvious one is age. In most places you have to be 18 or over to gamble online, however we recommend doing a quick google search to double check. It’s also to make sure that you’re not living in a country/state that prohibits gambling in any form, as this can result in having your account and funds closed form you, or even worse consequences from the law.

Making a deposit online and what to look out for?

When making a deposit, it’s important to look at the options that the site gives you first. If you are paying by card, then be sure to check out any charges which the site or the bank may apply. You may need to send in documents to, but this would only be to prove your address. Be aware that depositing a large amount or too many times can result to the site restricting you or inflicted a long ban. If this happens it’s good to get information on why this has happened via the customer service channels. Other restrictions can apply from your bank too, however the customer service department would usually give you that kind of information. For more information on restrictions from the top sites around, feel free to check out “The Cheeky Punter”.

You can claim offers and bonuses on the deposit page of the site. There will usually be a drop down menu and you simple select the offer which suits you most. Obviously, you do not have to claim a bonus if don’t want to. There are pros and cons to claiming a bonus. If you claim it, then you get more to play with, the only problem is if you win you won’t be able to withdraw straight away. If you don’t claim, you get only the amount you deposited however its immediately available to withdraw once you win. If you do want to claim a bonus, then be sure that you actually select which bonus you want. If you deposit and notice that there is no bonus in your account, do not spend any of the funds and contact customer support so they can help you out with it. They will not be able to give you your bonus if you spend your funds first.

How to pick the best betting offers?

Picking the best offers is simply all down to what you prefer the most as a customer. You shouldn’t just sign up to a bookie just because they have the best offer, it comes down to service, design, layout, as well as offers and bonuses.

It’s important to understand that just because you see more money on some offers, doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the best offer for you. Sure, you might be getting more for your money, but its always important to see what the rollover is before you claim your bonus.

If you are a first time better and what to have a punt on a big event coming up soon as a one off, I wouldn’t recommend taking any bonus if it has a rollover. The Paddy power free risk bet is probably the best for you. Simply pick your favorite team in the event and place your risk free bet on them. No rollover, no hidden costs, and if it wins it’s all yours. If however, you are a seasoned pro and are simply just searching for another bookies, then any of the offers on the list would suit you, even the Betfred one as you get free spins in the casino too.

The different markets offered for online sports betting

A market is essentially a category or a specific type of bet on a particular sporting event. Typically, a bookmaker will offer multiple markets on upcoming events in order for the customer to gain the best odds to entice them to bet.

The list of all the different betting markets is extremely extensive, and you would be reading the list for hours. However, there are a few interesting ones to keep an eye out for. Its important to understand that not all the same sporting events have the same markets. For example, you wouldn’t find the “home team exact goals” market in a boxing match. So, it’s important to take your time to read through them in order to familiarize your self with it.

Comparing the different types of odds?

Odds is a way for the bookmaker to calculate the probability of each bet. When two teams play against each other, there is usually an underdog and a favorite. Betting on the favorite would make more sense however the winning amount wouldn’t be as high as if you were to bet on the underdog. It’s essentially the ratio between the amounts staked based on the expected probability either way.

They can be displayed in different ways, here are some examples and explanations:

  • 1. Fractional odds:

As you can see from the table above, Fractions can look slightly confusing. The way to calculate it is basing it on if you were to bet £1 every time, and then once you have the calculation, you simply times by the amount you actually want to bet. 10/1 makes West Ham the underdogs as the higher number remains at the front. In this case if you were to bet £1 and West Ham won, your return would be £10 (If you bet more you simply times by the amount at the front). Regarding Manchester City’s odds, this is ¼, meaning the return based on a £1 bet would be £1.25 due to you getting back your original stake, and then calculating this by the 4 which is a quarter, and a quarter of the stake amount which is 1 is 0.25.

  • 2. Decimal odds:

By far the easiest way to work out the probability of a team winning and the amount you will be due. Simply times the number you see by the amount you stake. For example, West Ham have odds of 11.00, so if you wish to place a £1 bet, your return would be 11. Simply stick to this formula and you won’t go wrong.

  • 3. American odds:

Rarely used, however still an option on all betting sites so its important to cover them. American odds are slightly out of date but do make some logical sense. The main rule to remember here is that if the number is positive, this indicates how much you would win if you staked £100. If the number is negative, this indicates the amount you need to stake to win £100. The plus usually indicates the underdogs while the minus indicates the favorites. In the scenario of both odds having the same symbol, simply work out which one takes you longer to get to £100 in order to figure who is more likely to win.

Understandably, this can be slightly confusing, however this all come with practice. Realistically if this is your first time dealing with odds, we would highly recommend using the decimals to start with.

How we choose the best online bookmaker?

When looking to see which site is the best, it very much comes down to a matter of opinion. However there a checklist of things which we expect from a bookmaker’s site in order for our needs to be satisfied. Firstly, it’s important that the bookie has good odds, otherwise how would we make our money.

A very important aspect is the layout of the site. Understandably, everybody has their own preferences to this so be sure to look around to find the one that suits you.

Every site will have its customer service contact methods, the main ones being live chat, email and telephone. Be sure to check to see what the response times are (Which will be stated in the small print on the site) in order to get the quickest response. Apart from speed, we also look for quality and friendliness when looking at customer service.

Deposit and withdrawal times are very key too. Majority of the time you will be able to deposit immediately on to a site, however the withdrawal times can take much longer due to fraud checks. Be sure to check out the time periods in which you can withdraw your funds and be sure to check out any restrictions the site may have when it comes to deposit and withdrawal methods. All this information can either be found in the FAQ’s or you can contact the customer service department.

We base most of our findings on experience and then take the combined feel of the site and its scores and average it out in order to find the best. As mentioned previously this is very much an opinionated approach but you have to feel comfortable to what suits you best.

How bookmakers make money on different events and markets?

Bookmakers use a method called “Vig” or “Vigorish” in order to make money. We won’t go in to this theory in too much detail but if you wish to find out more feel free to check out Wikipedia/Vigorish. Basically, if to friends decide to make a bet with each other, there is no guarantee that the loser will pay out. Vigorish is the term to guarantee someone will be payed by paying more, in essence.

Bookmakers can’t just rely on this however, so they come up with new techniques every day. Such as new offers and bonuses. These are advertised all over the web, on television, and even getting big name football teams to sponsor them on the shirts. Advertising is extremely important for these sites, otherwise nobody would know about them.

Its also important to ensure that the traders working for the bookies set the right prices. They need to make sure that the price is intriguing and fare for the better, but also not too risky for the bookie. There has to be a fine line between luring the customers in to bet on the market and making sure that if the customer does bet a lot, that they won’t lose too much. They must attempt to balance out the book and eliminate as much risk as possible

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