Nearly all forms of online betting is legal in the UK, allowing citizens to choose from the best UK licensed betting sites in the online gambling industry. UK puntors enjoy the ability to wager on the biggest events, competing offers from trusted brands, and use of the most modern and convenient banking methods available.
Licensed UK Betting Sites
The UK market is highly lucrative with hundreds of millions of dollars being transacted every year between bookmakers and punters. The best UK betting sites maintain a comprehensive service that compete with other brands to offer the best odds and promotions available to customers. Any site listed on this page will also maintain status as licensed to do business in the United Kingdom, offering gambling services to it’s citizens. Many of the sites listed here are also publicly traded companies.
What Makes A Site Worth Choosing?
There are many attributes to consider when selecting from the best UK betting sites. You should look for the best odds, lucrative sign up bonuses, free bets, and other incentives on a platform that is easy to use, and compatible with all of your devices. Expect sign up bonus offers for new players to range from a small free stake or cashback offer reward to a full 100% bonus match on initial deposits. Remember to read the fine print and terms and conditions for any offer before you accept it, occasionally offers can be “too good to be true” but we try to maintain our database of listings with sites that don’t participate in misleading advertising. Instead we focus on offering our readers honest comparisons of the offers and services provided by licensed gambling sites in the United Kingdom.
Remember to read the fine print and terms and conditions for any offer before you accept it, occasionally offers can be “too good to be true” but we try to maintain our database of listings with sites that don’t participate in misleading advertising. Instead we focus on offering our readers honest comparisons of the offers and services provided by licensed gambling sites in the United Kingdom.
It’s important to consider what banking methods are easiest for you to use, both for depositing and withdrawing. Reputable operators will make it easy for you add funds to your account, and more importantly, pay you any winnings fast and without excessive fees. Credit cards and bank transfers are widely used at UK betting websites, so are ewallets like Paypal and prepaid voucher services like Paysafecard. Expect to be able to fund your UK betting account in British Pounds or in Euros. The banking system of the best UK betting sites will be properly secured with the most up to date digital encryption system provided by specialized Internet security companies such as Thawte and VeriSign.
Expect to be able to fund your UK betting account in British Pounds or in Euros. The banking system of the best UK betting sites will be properly secured with the most up to date digital encryption system provided by specialized Internet security companies such as Thawte and VeriSign.
Expect to be able to fund your UK betting account in British Pounds, Euros, or American Dollars. Depending on the markets the site serves, other currencies may be offered as well. The banking system will be properly secured with the most up to date digital encryption system provided by specialized Internet security companies, such as Thawte and VeriSign.
Safe and reputable betting sites compete for your business. As a UK citizen or visitor, you are able to legally enjoy all forms of betting, which allows you to choose from the best online bookmakers. We advise opening accounts at several of your favorites and always keeping them funded to take fast action on valuable offers and changing odds.
Overview of UK Online Betting Laws
The UK is home to the most sensible online betting regulations on the planet. Lawmakers have managed to strike the right balance between allowing citizens the freedom to make their own financial decisions with proper consumer protection provisions that keep the industry free of crime, predatory behavior and outright scam outfits.
Let’s start with a quick list of what’s legal to bet on online in the UK and then continue below with a detailed explanation of our national gaming laws.
Legal Forms of Online Gambling in the United Kingdom
- Sports betting
- Horse racing betting
- Fantasy sports
- Financial spread betting
- Real money poker
- Casino games
Gambling Act 2005
The Gambling Act 2005 laid the groundwork for what would become a legal environment that encourages competition while ensuring the protection of consumers. Online bookmakers and gambling sites that operate in the UK must first register with the UK Gambling Commission and then operate according to the Gambling Act’s “principal concepts”:
- Prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
- Ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling
Under the Gambling Act, all forms of gambling are overseen by the Gambling Commission. It is the Commission that issues licenses, collects licensing fees and monitors licensees to ensure they follow all applicable laws and regulations.
The Gambling Commission is regarded as the most effective licensing body in the world. Many countries have their own regulatory bodies, but many of those are mere rubber stamps that will issue a license to anyone willing to pay the cash. The UK’s Gambling Commission does not play that game.
The Commission’s standards for potential licensees are demanding. The process of getting a license is detailed and expensive. Potential licensees must submit to personal background checks, an in-depth business analysis and ongoing oversight. Any site with a seal of approval from the Commission can be considered a safe place to play by default. Some UK betting sites may be better than others, but none are outright scams and none will simply run off with your money.
Any site with a seal of approval from the Commission can be considered a safe place to play by default. Some UK betting sites may be better than others, but none are outright scams and none will simply run off with your money.
Sports betting has been legal in the UK since the 1960s, but it was the Gambling Act that paved the way for online sports wagering. Punters from the UK can now place bets in person at brick-and-mortar betting shops in addition to websites operated by high street’s biggest bookmakers.
Some of the bigger names operating in the UK include the likes of William Hill, Ladbrokes and BetVictor. If you have spent much time in the UK or stay tuned to gambling news, odds are you’ve heard those names before. They are practically household names in the UK.
The term “sports betting” covers a lot of ground in the UK. Not only does it refer to traditional fixed odd wagers on football matches and so on, but it also includes horse racing, pool betting and fantasy sports. Gaming laws in the UK are fairly lenient in that almost anything can be bet on legally, but only so long as the bookmakers comply with all regulations.
Visit any major bookmaker in the UK and you’ll find markets on a whole range of topics. You can bet on all the major sports of the world as well as politics, television and more. These various types of betting are all regulated by the UK gambling commission.
As mentioned above, horse racing is regulated similarly to sports in the UK. The same bookmakers that accept wagers on the day’s football matches also typically cover most major horse races around the world. The laws that govern gambling in general in the UK also manage horse racing.
However, the horse racing industry does answer to a public body called the Horserace Betting Levy Board. The Levy Board’s primary responsibility is to collect a tax (they call it a levy) from all bookmakers and tote shops that accept wagers on horse racing. The funds collected by the Levy Board are then used to further three specific goals:
- Improving the breeds of horses
- Advancing and encouraging veterinary science and education
- Improving horse racing in general
Online Poker and Casino Games
Real money online poker and casino games (blackjack, slots, roulette, etc.) also fall under the purview of the Gambling Commission. One of the main things the Commission wants to ensure is the integrity of these games. More specifically, the Commission needs to see that these games are just as random online as they are in the real world.
This includes monitoring the processes by which operators obtain truly random results. This includes investigating the random number generator (RNG) used by all operators, monitoring “return to player” rates in games such as slots and ensuring players get a fair shot online just as they would expect at any major brick-and-mortar establishment.
The one type of betting not covered by the Gambling Commission is financial spread betting. That activity is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This makes sense when we consider how close financial betting is to trading on the stock market. With insider trading and other schemes being very possible under spread betting, the Financial Conduct Authority is the most qualified agency to monitor things on that front.
With insider trading and other schemes being very possible under spread betting, the Financial Conduct Authority is the most qualified agency to monitor things on that front.
In reality, the only real difference between spread betting and stock trading is that in the former, you merely bet on the price movement of an asset; you never actually own the underlying asset. Even so, it’s close enough that the FCA is by far the entity best suited to keep an eye on things.