Historically, the United Kingdom has the distinction of having the most longevity related to sports betting. For many decades, bet shops have been operating throughout neighborhoods in England, Ireland, Scotland and anywhere else “punters” can create demand. When sports gambling came to the Internet, it didn’t take long for major betting houses like Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy’s Power to join the party. In fact, these organizations have become some of the largest companies operating in UK. Truthfully, its Internet sports gambling that changed the industry and brought it to the mainstream.
Throughout Europe, each country maintains control over Internet gambling within it borders. Most countries have legalized online sports gambling, but under very strict regulations. For the most part, online sports books operating in the UK maintained favored status. The most logical reason would be because of the high level of regulations set forth by the UK Gambling Commission.
The UK Gambling Commission was developed to protect UK citizens from predatory practices from land-based and Internet gaming providers. The commission’s laws cover Internet security, gaming practices, customer relations, problem gambling intervention and marketing practices. It’s worth noting the Commission’s authority also extends to the National Lottery. Since its implementation in 2005, the UK Gambling Commission has become one of the industry’s most respected regulatory bodies.
While the UK Gambling Commission protects bettors from Great Britain, regulatory bodies like the Malta Gaming Authority also provides protection for players in other European jurisdictions. It’s quite common to see many of the UK’s top online sports book operators maintaining dual licensing from both jurisdictions. Together, these two government bodies have created a strong and safe online wagering environment for sports bettors, casino gamblers and horse racing enthusiast.
For sure, UK online bookmakers place a lot of emphasis on European Football (soccer). Most books offer betting options down to the lowest levels of the sport. The typical wagering options include straight bets, accumulators (parlays) and prop bets. When it comes time for the FIBA World Cup or European Championships, the online betting action becomes fast and furious.
Most UK-based online bookmakers believe in variety. For that reason, gamblers get an opportunity to bet on all kinds of other sports. In the US, players don’t get the opportunity to bet on Rugby, Professional Darts, Handball, Cricket and even water polo. All these and other sports have a place on a UK bookmaker’s websites. It’s not uncommon to see as many as 40-50 sports options being offered on a given day.
All these options make for good fun. It also appeals to a wider body of potential gamblers who enjoy something other than soccer. In recent years, NFL and NBA betting have increased in popularity. There’s also wagering opportunities on Golf, Tennis, Aussie Rules football and motor racing.
Top Online Bookmakers
Sports gamblers are strongly urged to avoid rogue online bookmakers. With so many elite bookmakers from which to choose, there’s simply no need to take any undue risks. For what it’s worth, there’s literally dozens of online sports books operating in the UK. The top online bookmakers include bet365, Unibet, William Hill, Paddy Power and 888. All of these providers have been in business for decades, either by running bet shops or providing online access. They all operate under the regulations set forth by the aforementioned UK Gambling Commission. While there might be occasional issues, all these sites maintain a reputation that is beyond reproach.
For the online sports gambler, there’s great comfort in knowing they are going to get a full menu of betting options and will always be treated fair. With access through both one’s computer and smart phone, gamblers can take comfort in knowing they can place bets from anywhere at any time. As an added bonus, most, if not all, of these sites offer free live streaming of sports events from most anywhere in the world. They also offer access to handicapping information such as betting tips and statistical data.
The UK gets full credit for being the first sports betting jurisdiction to offer betting exchange. A betting exchange allows customers to act as bookies. The can post their own independent betting lines and point spreads and accept wagers from other customers as long as both sides agree to the terms. The betting exchange makes its money by collecting a small commission on all winning bets. Because of exchange betting with websites like Betfair, online sports gamblers can play both sides of a game and create a profit no matter which team or person wins. This is called arbitrage betting, and it’s becoming very popular among astute sports gamblers who believe they can makes better odds than a bookmaker.
Bonuses and betting Promotions
The UK sports betting industry is among the most competitive communities in the world. In order to win over new customers and keep existing ones, the online bookmakers devise promotions and bonuses that will keep players happy and in action. The winner ends up being the customer who gets free money and free bets, terms and conditions permitting.
The most popular bonus is the welcome bonus. The new customer is usually given a matching deposit or free bet equal to a prescribed percentage of their first deposit or first real-cash bet. After becoming established customers, intermittent bonus offers, and betting promotions start rolling in. By the way, betting promotions revolve around the betting process. For instance, the bookmaker might offer a refund on a bet if the bettor loses the bet on a last second play. That’s called a “bad-beat” refund.
A word of caution: bonuses and betting promotions come with strings attached. Online bookmakers won’t stay in business very long if they simply give money away. Playing the odds, online bookmakers simply ask bettors to fulfill certain obligations before they can actually collect a bonus and/or the associated winnings.
The UK online betting industry is fluid. There are always new innovations coming along to keep bettors motivated an in action.