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Our top 10 betting sites for 2022 are:
Finding the best online bookmaker in the UK isn’t the easiest of tasks and with so many different sites all claiming to be the best, the noise levels in the industry can be a little deafening.
We’ve worked with careful criteria to compile a trusted list of the best betting sites and welcome offers in the UK. Players can claim some of the biggest and best welcome offers from the top betting sites in our round-up of the top online bookies this year.
|Bookmaker||Sign-Up Offer||Link/Bonus Code||Offer Terms|
|Bet365||Bet £10 get £50||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|Sky Bet||£30 free bets with any bet placed||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|Kwiff||Bet £10 Get £20||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|William Hill||Bet £10 get £40||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|888Sport||Bet £10 get £60||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|Betfair||Bet £10 get £30||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|Paddy Power||Up to £50 cashback||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|Betfred||Bet £10 get £60||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
|SBK||Bet £10 get £20||Click Here||18+ | T&C’s Apply | BeGambleAware|
Squawka Bet is always on the lookout for the best new and upcoming bookmakers as well. That’s why we’ve made a page specifically dedicated to the top new betting sites that you can sign up with today.
How Squawka Reviews the Best Betting Sites
The competition to offer the best sportsbook in the UK is fierce with more than a dozen top-quality betting sites constantly jostling for position.
To narrow down the competition and find the best possible bookmakers in the UK, there are important criteria that we use to find the best betting sites for UK players.
What we look for in a Bookmaker
There’s a huge amount considered when searching for the best bookmaker in the UK from the reputation and sign-up offers to the markets and quality of odds on offer at the site.
The safety and the reputation of a bookmaker sits at the top of the list of criteria that we look for when searching for the best betting sites.
Every sportsbook in our list is licensed and regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), ensuring that it is safe and legal for them to operate within the UK. A safe and secure website with SSL encryption and responsible gaming tools are all important features that make up a top-quality betting site.
Genuine customer experience is just as important as the safety protocols in place at a sportsbook. Issues reported by players at different sportsbooks are considered when making a final judgement.
Quality of odds
The quality of the odds available in the betting markets is another key area of consideration when ranking the best betting sites.
Not all bookies are created equally and although some may look good on paper, once the odds between sites are compared, the truth is quickly unearthed. The top betting sites offer genuinely competitive odds alongside odds boosts for popular events for players to use.
Payment and withdrawal options
The list of payment and withdrawal options available for sportsbooks in the UK is long and should be reflected by the top sportsbooks.
A betting site offering Boku as their only deposit option is best avoided, whereas a bookmaker covering a long list of trustworthy, reputable banking solutions will always rank higher. Players should be aware that cryptocurrency is not yet accepted at UKGC gambling sites and should be avoided when depositing and withdrawing online.
Sign up offer quality
Although ephemeral, the quality of the sign-up offer is an important part of the sports betting experience for many players.
This can be difficult to digest at first glance, but bettors should dig into the terms and conditions to spot dodgy deals. High wagering requirements, limited deposit options and pseudo free bets are among the problem areas – the top sportsbooks tend to stray away from these offers.
Here at Squawka, we’ll never recommend a bookmaker we’d not sign-up with ourselves, with that in mind below are some of our bookies with the best welcome offers;
- Bet365 – bet £10 and get £50
- Sky Bet – bet £5 and get £20
- Virgin Bet bonus code
- LiveScore Bet bonus code
- 888Sport bet £10 and get £40
- William Hill Promo Code
If something does happen to go wrong or you have a query about something related to the sportsbook, customer service is the port of call.
Good customer service is imperative at a top sportsbook and although a range of different methods can be used, 24/7 live chat is the top option. Bettors may also find high-quality help centres, FAQs and other forms of contact (telephone, email, Twitter etc.) when searching for help.
Ease of access and use
By nature, sportsbooks are a messy sprawl of information that can be hard to comprehend.
The top sportsbooks manage to organise and categorise this information into an easy-to-use platform that bettors can swiftly navigate. A difficult to access and use sportsbook is one that we would never recommend in the top bookmaker list.
Gambling safety safeguards
Responsible gambling is one of the most important features of any betting site and the top bookmakers in the UK offer bettors the best tools for controlling their gambling.
Tools including deposit and loss limits, timeouts, cooldown periods and self-exclusion are vital for taking control of betting habits. The majority of the top bookmakers now incorporate at least some form of safeguards, but it’s recommended to check out and familiarise yourself with what’s on offer before signing up.
For more information on gambling awareness, please visit begableaware.com
Quality of existing offers
Unlike the initial welcome offer, the existing offers tailored to the long term customers of a sportsbook are with you for the whole time spent at the betting site.
The quality of these existing offers should be high with the top-quality sportsbooks offering bettors the chance to benefit from loyalty schemes, acca insurance, free bets and more. New bettors are typically free to check out the existing player promotions before signing up to see the top offers that they’re able to claim.
Why should I avoid a betting site?
Not all UK betting sites are created equally and although there are plenty of good ones available out there, there are just as many subpar and downright dodgy sites that should be avoided.
The first red flag to look out for is the licence held by a bookmaker, if the betting site does not hold a license issued by the UKGC, it’s your sign to walk away. Licenses from Malta and the Government of Curaçao just won’t do, bettors need to ensure that the UKGC license is offered for legal play in the UK.
Betting sites that charge for either deposits and/or withdrawals are the next thing that players should look out for. A bookmaker looking to take a fee for a withdrawal isn’t one that we’d recommend, just as bookmakers offering limited, obscure banking solutions is one we’d avoid.
Bookmakers only really have one job to do really well – to make offer competitive odds with great market coverage. If a sports betting site is falling at the first hurdle, offering poor odds with minimal market coverage, chances are the rest of the site is no good either. Bettors should always be searching for the best odds and not be taken advantage of by poor bookmakers.
Finally, sportsbooks that don’t offer a welcome bonus or any promotions for existing players are betting sites that we tend to steer away from at Squawka. There’s simply too much choice in the UK market to settle for subpar offers and limited welcome bonuses when there are other sportsbooks out there offering great loyalty schemes and top-tier bonuses.
How do I sign up with a UK based Bookmaker?
New bettors looking to sign up with a UK-based bookmaker are required to open a new account with their chosen brand before getting stuck into the markets.
An account is required when betting online in any discipline in the UK, in order to verify the identity of the player and to ensure that they are of legal age to gamble. The sign-up process is similar for all UK-licensed sportsbooks with the following steps outlining the process of opening an account.
Click the link to visit the sportsbook of choice
When looking to claim a welcome offer with Sqwaka, new bettors looking to sign up to a new betting site can do so by clicking the link of their chosen sportsbook.
This directs bettors to the landing page of the sportsbook, home to the information surrounding the welcome offer. Bettors are not only able to view the terms and conditions of the new player bonus, but are able to quickly and easily sign-up and open their account from this gateway.
Click the “sign-up” button
Once new players have familiarised themselves with the terms and conditions, they are then ready to open an account with the sportsbook by pressing the “sign-up” button.
These are usually impossible to miss and although they may be called something a little different e.g. “join now”, they’re usually the biggest button on the screen. Once it’s clicked, it’ll take players over to the sign-up form.
Complete the sportsbook sign-up form
The sign-up form is where players are able to share their personal information with the sportsbook.
This is done to ensure that players are legally allowed to open an account and place sports bets in the UK. The personal information required includes:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Postal address
- Telephone number
- Email address
Betting sites in the UK will use this information to verify the identity of all of their players with a third party check which, for the majority of people, will be enough to open their account.
However, if for whatever reason there is an error with the verification, bettors may be required to supply additional documentation to open their account. This can typically be uploaded as an image with popular documents including valid photographic ID (Drivers license, passport etc.) and proof of address (council tax bill, bank statement etc.).
Claim the welcome offer
Once the account has been created, it’s time to claim the welcome offer.
Bettors should note that the way in which welcome offers are claimed differ between sportsbooks and even types of offer. For some, a promo code is required on sign-up whereas, for others, bettors are simply required to deposit a minimum amount to claim the offer.
The way in which welcome offers are claimed can be found on the new player promotion landing page of any sportsbook.
Why do bookmakers offer free bets and other welcome offers?
The UK betting industry is one of the most competitive gambling industries globally with approximately one-third of the population gambling weekly.
In a multi-billion pound industry, this leaves the gambling providers fighting over customers to offer their services for sports betting, online casino games and more. To compete with each other, betting sites typically offer new customers the best deals and welcome offers that they can at the time, hoping to earn new regular customers along the way.
New bettors really are spoiled for choice in the UK with almost every sports betting site offering some form of welcome offer or free bets for signing up. The power is with the customer and bettors can pick and choose which new player offers that they are interested in claiming before joining the sportsbook.
Which Online Betting Sites Offer Live Streaming?
There’s a long list of different betting sites that offer live streaming in the UK with the feature proving one of the most popular among UK bettors. Betting sites that offer live streaming for UK bettors include:
The variety of live streaming and the ways in which it is offered differs depending on the sportsbook chosen.
Is Live Streaming free with online bookmakers?
The way that live steaming is offered is different depending on the sportsbook chosen.
For some online betting sites, live streaming is totally free providing that the account is in balance by a minimum threshold. For other betting sites, live streaming is strictly reserved for those bettors that have placed a wager on the event.
Similarly, the type of live streaming available at different sportsbooks may have different qualifying criteria. For example, greyhounds may be available at a sportsbook for any player to watch whereas popular football games may require a minimum wager to view the stream.
Do Betting Sites Offer Free Bets and Promotions to Existing Customers?
Earning new customers is just one part of the battle in the sports betting industry, keeping them happy is another game entirely.
Quality sportsbooks, despite offering high-end service, competitive odds and flawless user experience can’t lean on their reputation alone to keep new players. Instead, almost every sportsbook in the UK uses free bets and customer promotions for existing players.
This is done not only for sportsbooks to show their appreciation to their players, but to prevent customers from switching sides and claiming a welcome bonus from a competitor sportsbook.
SkyBet offers a range of existing promotions to existing customers including:
- Weekly rewards
- Sky Bet Club
- Price boosts
- Enhanced accumulators
- Daily free spins
- Free to play games
Examples of the promotions available to existing players include the following:
- Daily promotions including “Free or 4” and “Bonus Drop”
- Scratch of the Day
- Acca Club and Acca Freedom
- #Yourodds Twitter requests
- Price boosts and extra places
Bet365 is no stranger to offering existing players a range of promotions including:
- Bet boost on selected markets
- Accumulator bonuses
- Early payouts on selected events
- Best odds guaranteed (horse racing/greyhounds)
Is Online Betting Legal in the UK?
Online betting is perfectly legal in the UK with residents (over the age of 18) able to place sports bets, enter online casinos, play poker and enter the national lottery from the web.
Although this may be seen as lenient in other parts of the world, the UK comes with some of the strictest gambling laws, rules and regulations for the companies that offer it. The UK is one of the few countries in Europe that regulates its own gambling industry, requiring each gambling business to hold a license granted by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission UKGC.
The UKGC requires a license for each arm of a betting portfolio that a company offers. For example, to operate in the UK, 888 requires a separate gambling license for the sportsbook, the poker rooms, 888Ladies and the casino.
Any gambling business that is found to have broken the UK rules or regulations is fined, a penalty that is often in the millions.
Is Safeguarding Important to the Best Betting Sites in the UK?
Safeguarding is one of the most important factors in determining the best betting site in the UK.
All bookmakers and betting sites in the UK are required by law to be licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), one of the strictest bodies in the global gambling industry.
The UKGC is responsible for ensuring that all players have access to fair and safe gambling and regulates the UK industry to ensure that all license holders play by the rules. This includes every gambling business from William Hill to the National Lottery.
All betting sites, casinos and lotteries that can be accessed in the UK must be licensed by the UKGC to legally offer gambling. A public register, listing all licensed gambling businesses and the type of activity that each company is permitted to offer can be accessed at the UKGC website.
The public register highlights the information about gambling businesses including their address, website domain names, trading names and current licence status. This is incredibly valuable as a UK bettor, allowing any checks to be completed when considering a new betting site.
The UKGC website is home to a huge amount of information surrounding everything related to responsible gambling in the UK. Bettors can find information on safer gambling within the UK, what to look out for when claiming a welcome offer and how to file a complaint against a gambling business.
Encryption is used at all of the top UK-licenced betting sites to ensure that private data remains out of the hands of hackers.
The latest SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology is used at betting sites, encrypting personal information and preventing leaks onto the web. Websites that make use of this technology will hold an SSL certificate and can be recognised by a padlock symbol, found next to the URL at the top of the browser.
All sportsbooks listed in our top list ensure that safety is taken seriously and a large part of the pie comes from data encryption.
Safe and trustworthy banking methods
Depositing and withdrawing from any gambling business can be a nerve-wracking experience, but this isn’t something that bettors should worry about in the UK.
Thanks to the tight regulations, all banking solutions offered at UK-licensed sportsbooks are both safe and fair with the commission ensuring that only trustworthy methods make their way through the net.
Bettors will find that the majority of deposit methods at online betting sites do require a closed-loop approach, meaning that the same withdrawal method must be used where appropriate. This is done to prevent money from moving between different sources via betting sites.
The banking methods available when looking to claim a welcome offer can be different to those typically offered at a betting site. For example, a sportsbook offering a free bet welcome promotion may not accept PayPal and Skrill for the qualifying deposit despite allowing these methods for subsequent transactions.
Responsible gambling measures
Top online bookmakers value responsible gambling and will often work to include a number of responsible gambling tools as part of their gaming package.
In addition to the responsible gaming tools, gambling businesses are required to dedicate at least 200% of advertising space to responsible gambling messages. The gambling tools listed below are not used by every UK sportsbook, but the majority of the top bookmakers will offer various similar tools that players are able to use.
Deposit and loss limits
A deposit or loss limit is one of the most effective ways that bettors can choose when looking to limit their exposure to online gambling.
A deposit limit does exactly what it says on the tin, limiting the amount that a bettor can deposit inside of a predetermined window. For example, a bettor could set a deposit limit of £10 per week which prevents more than £10 from being added to the account within 7 days, regardless of the banking methods chosen.
Similarly, a loss limit can be set on some betting sites and prevents players from crossing a threshold at a maximum loss that they are willing to incur. For example, a bettor could set a loss limit at the value of £20 per week and, if the limit is reached, no further bets can be placed until the restart of the loss limit timeframe.
Timeouts, restrictions and session timers
The majority of UK sportsbooks use time as a way to work on responsible gaming with timeouts, time restrictions and session timers used to help bettors.
Timeouts are most popular with online casinos games, particularly slots due to their addictive nature, but this is a feature that has made its way over to sport betting sites. Bettors interested in the time restriction features can check their chosen sportsbook to find what options they are able to access.
Limited access / partial exclusion
Limited access to a betting site, also known as a partial exclusion, is a valuable tool that gives bettors the chance to exclude themselves from one or more sections of a betting site.
For example, if a bettor knows that they are prone to trouble with slots, they are able to self-exclude themselves from this area. For more information on partial exclusions, bettors should head to the responsible gaming section of their chosen sportsbooks.
Cooling off periods
A cooling-off period is a feature similar to a self-exclusion, allowing bettors to take time away from the betting platform for shorter periods of time.
Cooling-off periods can be as short as 5 minutes, depending on the betting site, and give bettors as much time as they need to clear their heads before returning back to the markets.
The option of self-exclusion is a feature that is supported by all betting sites and can be achieved in a handful of different ways.
The first option is via the help centre of the chosen betting site. This can help bettors self-exclude themselves for a predetermined length of time from this specific gambling business. Alternatively, bettors that are looking to exclude themselves from all UK-licenced betting sites can access GAMSTOP for a UK-wide exclusion.
GAMSTOP is one of the best tools available to bettors in the UK and offers a free online self-exclusion service for all UK licensed gambling sites. Bettors that feel they are developing problematic behaviours can use GAMSTOP to exclude themselves from all UK licensed gambling companies for the chosen period of 6 months, 1 year or 5 years.
GAMSTOP is also home to a wealth of support options, helping problematic gamblers regain control with practical controls, gambling support, emotional support and debt support available.
What are the Safest and Easiest Payment Methods used for Online Betting in the UK?
Most online sportsbooks in the UK offer a wide range of payment methods that bettors can choose from when looking to make a deposit.
Below, bettors can find a comprehensive list of the deposit methods available when placing bets with a UK sportsbook.
The most popular method of making a deposit at a UK betting site is with a debit card with Visa Debit and Mastercard Debit supported by most betting sites. Bettors are able to both deposit with a debit card and, just as importantly, withdraw from a betting site with the same method.
Although once a popular method of deposit in the UK, credit cards are no longer accepted by online betting sites.
Research conducted by the UK Gambling Commission surrounding problem gamblers found that 22% used a credit card to fund online betting. This figure prompted a government review and in April 2020, all UK-licensed betting sites ceased to offer the payment method as a deposit option.
The online eWallet PayPal is the payment transfer option used by over 300 million users worldwide and is a popular choice among bettors in the UK. Similar to debit cards, PayPal can be used on betting sites to both deposit and withdraw although bettors using credit cards to fund their eWallet will not be able to use the method.
Click to Pay
Click to pay is an extension of the debit card payment method, allowing bettors to make a deposit with a single click of a button. The idea of the method is to make transactions as efficient as possible, saving the 16-digit card number, expiry date and CVV number to make instant deposits at betting sites.
One of the lesser-known payment methods popular among a small number of UK-based bettors is Boku, a payment company allowing players to make deposits via carrier billing and mobile wallets. The main idea behind a Boku deposit is that bettors can add their deposit to their mobile phone carrier bill – offering an alternative method that suits some players.
Similar to PayPal, Skrill is another example of an eWallet that allows for both deposits and withdrawals with the money transfer method. Skrill can be used both in the UK and in over 120 additional countries globally.
A Paysafecard gives bettors the opportunity to deposit at a sportsbook in exchange for a voucher that can be purchased in-store with cash. The Paysafecard received contains a 16-digit code that can be entered at a betting site to add funds. A Paysafecard cannot be used to withdraw funds from an account.
Neteller is another example of an e-money transfer service that can be used to both deposit and withdraw from an online betting site. The payment method is popular among betting fans and can be used to both withdraw funds to a bank account or directly to a Net+ card.
Apple Pay allow bettors to make deposits at sportsbooks when using a dedicated sportsbook app when using an Apple iPhone. Apple Pay is quickly becoming one of the favourite ways to pay at any online betting site, although withdrawals are not possible with the service.
Similar to Apple Pay, Google Pay allows users of Android devices to make payments when using their devices to access sportsbooks and online casinos. Again, similar to Apple Pay, bettors are unable to make withdrawals with Google Pay.
A wire transfer is often offered as both a deposit and withdrawal method with the majority of UK betting sites supporting the banking method. Bettors can use a wire transfer with their bank account by choosing the option in the cashier.
At the time of writing, betting sites licensed in the UK are unable to accept cryptocurrency as a deposit or a withdrawal method. We are unlikely to see a shift in this attitude for the foreseeable future.
Cash is offered as both a deposit and a withdrawal option from a number of UK bookmakers that also operate in brick-and-mortar stores. By heading to a supporting betting shop of choice, deposits and withdrawals can be made with cash, although additional cards may be required to complete transactions.
Best Online Bookmaker FAQs
Have a question about finding the best online bookmaker in the UK? Check out our frequently asked question section below to (hopefully) solve your query.
Why do betting sites give you free bets?
The UK Gambling industry is one of the most competitive with a huge range of high-quality bookmakers that bettors can choose from.
Betting sites, therefore, use a welcome offer as a kind of “sweetener” to persuade new players to make an account with a sportsbook. These welcome offers typically have some important details in the terms and conditions that prevent the sites from losing too much money, if any at all, from new players.
It’s always worth checking the small print to get clued up on exactly what is expected of you and what should be expected from the bookmaker when opening a new account and claiming a welcome promotion.
How do I claim my free bets or welcome bonus?
Welcome bonuses and free bets can be claimed in a handful of different ways, depending on the betting site and the offer advertised.
All free bets and welcome bonuses will require players to open a new account with the operator. This is typically a quick and painless process that allows for accounts and identities to be verified and is required for bettors in the UK to place any sports bets online.
Depending on the bonus, new bettors may be required to make an initial deposit at the site with a specified banking method (typically preventing deposits from PayPal, Neteller etc.). Alternatively, a no deposit bonus can be claimed, although these do tend to have smaller benefits.
The majority of welcome bonuses can be claimed without a promo code by clicking on the promotions tab or visiting the promo landing page by clicking through a third party. However, some promotions do require a bonus code at a point during the sign-up or deposit process. It is important not to miss this step otherwise players will risk losing out on claiming their bonus.
Who are the biggest bookmakers in the UK?
The list of UK bookmakers might be larger than you would first think – but not all betting shops and online sites are created equally.
In the UK, the biggest bookmakers are Paddy Power, Betfair, SkyBet, Ladbrokes, Coral, Bet365, William Hill, Betfred, Unibet and 32Red. Each of the biggest bookmakers has something a little different to offer and although the business is similar at the core, different bookies are tailored to different bettors (football-focused, horseracing specialist etc.).
Bettors looking for the best bookmakers in the UK can check out our list of the top bookmakers in the table at the top of the page.
Is Betting in the UK safe?
Sports betting in the UK is one of the safest forms of wagering globally with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) recognised as one of the strictest in the world.
Formed in 2005, the UKGC focuses on keeping gambling fair and safe for all, requiring operators to meet strict regulations to offer their betting markets in the UK. Unlike many other European counties, the UK requires betting sites to obtain a UK-specific license, issued by the UKGC, to ensure that bettors have access to safe and fair betting.
Bettors are given a large number of responsible gaming tools including deposit limits and self-exclusion at all sportsbooks. This is complemented with the GAMSTOP service offered in the UK, offering full exclusions from all UK licensed gambling companies for the chosen period of 6 months, 1 year or 5 years.
Why can’t I use a credit card on UK betting Sites?
UK-licensed sportsbooks and betting sites were banned from accepting payments from credit cards in April 2020, a decision made in light of research made by the UK Gambling Commission.
The UKGC found that credit cards were used by up to 22% of problem gamblers, a figure that led to a government review and ultimate ban on credit card usage for gambling. The ban includes indirect credit card payment, such as via eWallets (PayPal etc.), requiring players to use alternative payment methods for all gaming use.
The best alternative to using a credit card for online gambling is the simple debit card – used in exactly the same way without the borrowing of funds.
Is a ‘Free’ Bet actually free?
The terms and conditions of free bets tend to differ from bookmaker to bookmaker with some promotions offering better benefits than others.
Typically, any free bets that are offered by betting sites are done so with the small print that the bet amount will not be returned with any winnings. For example, when placing a £10 free bet that returns £15, bettors will only have £5 returned. These free bets may also have a required minimum odds that they can be placed on, set by the bookmaker.
Free bets can also be subject to wagering requirements, meaning that the value of the free bet must be wagered a set number of times before a withdrawal can be made. For example, a 2x wagering requirement on a £10 free bet means that the free bet must be used in full twice, once as a free bet and once with the returns from the free bet.
Ultimately, it’s down to the player to scan the terms and conditions for these important terms, learning how to understand and quickly tell apart a good free bet from a bad one.