Betting Sites in the United Kingdom

Even though far from the powerhouse the British Empire once represented, the United Kingdom is still one of the world’s strongest economies. Apart from its economic capabilities, the UK is also known as the home of football and the nation “responsible” for spreading this wonderful sport all across the globe. It comes as no surprise that the Premier League is the most competitive domestic competition in Europe and English clubs have a long and successful history in European competitions as well. Along with a preference in watching football, Brits love to spend their time wagering that has led to British betting sites flourishing for quite some time now. 

With nearly 40% of British adults betting between £10 and £100 monthly, it is easy to conclude that this is more than just a pastime activity. The football betting sites in UK are the ones getting most of the attention, however, horse and greyhound racing are also extremely popular among punters. With so much appetite for betting, the UKGC needs to make sure everything is under control and that the betting sites UK are always following the regulations. 

How Betting Takes Place in the UK

Gambling in various forms has been part of the British culture for a long time. Originally, betting was only possible at licensed tracks. Of course, street bookmakers could be found all around, however, you could never be sure you’re going to get your winnings. The first attempt to regulate this landscape came in the form of the Betting and Gambling Act of 1960 that legalised betting shops, an unusual move from an otherwise conservative government.The first legal betting shops opened in 1961 paved the way for bookmakers like William Hill or Victor Chandler to become a brand name in the industry. As you can imagine, it represented a turning point for the entire betting scene in the UK and for the next 45 years, the legislation became more and more relaxed. Helped by the boom of online betting, things started to get a bit out of control. And even though most of the UK betting sites were appreciated by punters, there was a need for another reform. 

The Gambling Act of 2005 marks the beginning of the betting landscape we observe nowadays in the UK. Based on this Act, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission becomes operational in 2007 and all the sports betting sites UK physically operating within the country needed to apply for a license. That wasn’t the case for all UK betting sites though. The ones that only offered their services to British punters but had their headquarters in a different territory, were not forced to acquire a UKGC license. This meant unlawful competition for the top UK betting sites and the 2014 updated of the 2005 Gambling Act introduced the obligation for remote bookmakers to also apply for a license.

Ever since this new rule was enforced, the UKGC has become an example on how to properly organize and regulate the betting and gambling landscape. There’s efficient monitoring for the licensed bookmakers to ensure they deliver a fair and enjoyable betting experience to all players and problem gambling is avoided at all costs. 

Things Every Betting Site in the UK Must Offer

No matter what bookmaker you pick from the UK betting sites list we offer above, you can always be sure to get a fair service. If you haven’t had the chance to experience a proper online betting site UK, here’s what you should expect.

  • High Odds – hosting some of the best betting sites, UK enjoys a lot of competitiveness in this domain. That’s great news for punters as the odds will always stay high as a result.
  • Fast Payouts – all UKGC-licensed bookies are strictly forbidden to place unreasonable restrictions on how and when punters can withdraw their money.
  • Responsible Limits – each UK bookmaker allows punters to set daily, weekly or monthly betting limits to avoid spending too much 
  • Early Cash Out – a feature seen in most UK sportsbooks that allows punters to close the bet early in the game and not wait for the end of a match to have their bet slip validated

Can UK Punters Access Foreign Betting Sites?

Even though the UKGC also focuses their efforts on not allowing unlicensed bookies to operate in the country, there are no restrictions directed towards punters that wish to play on foreign betting sites. However, as the top UK betting sites offer impeccable services, there’s hardly a need to go look for something better. The only thing that could appeal to punters at an unlicensed bookmaker is the higher bonuses they can receive. As the UKGC is known to also cap the amount of bonuses a punter can get, some may be tempted to look for better rewards. However, this also means you won’t have any guarantee that your winnings are going to be paid, nor will you be able to file an official complaint if anything else goes wrong. All the bookies in our list of betting sites UK are licensed and safe, being handpicked by our team of veteran punters. 

What Payment Methods Can I Use on UK Betting Sites?

Since we’re talking about a properly regulated market, there are no restrictions when it comes to choosing payment options to top up your account. Statistics show that PayPal is the go-to payment option and that is also supported by most UK sports betting sites. Other ewallets like Skrill and Neteller are also sitting high in punters’ preferences while all sorts of methods are being used. From vouchers such as Paysafe, debit and credit cards, or instant bank transfers, you’ll find it all at the best online betting sites UK. Most of the payment options mentioned earlier are instant and usually there are no extra fees applied. The same is valid for withdrawing your funds and even if the processing times differ from one payment option to another, you can get your funds instantly at some bookies. 

Are Betting Exchanges Available in the UK?

The competition between the best British betting sites, as well as the insatiable appetite shown by punters paved the way for a new form of sports betting – the betting exchange. The main difference between a betting exchange and a bookmaker is that the odds aren’t pre-defined by the bookie, each punter can decide to back or lay an outcome while the exchange is not a party to the bets transacted. The most successful betting exchanges in the UK are Betfair – the first betting exchange to operate in the country – Betdaq and Smarkets. 

Where Can I File a Complaint About a UK Betting Site?

As you probably guessed by now, you can address the United Kingdom Gambling Commission directly for any issues you may encounter during the betting process if the bookmaker isn’t able to assist you properly. You can reach out to the UKGC via email at or directly on the telephone by calling +44 0121 230 6666. 


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