Online Bookies

Britain loves a good bet. Whether it’s a cheeky fiver on the Grand National, weekly acca on the football or even a trip down to the bingo hall with your Granny. And in an ever increasing digital age, it’s no surprise that more and more of us are doing our betting online – that’s what this site is all about. On these virtual pages you’ll find info on how to find the best online bookies as well as simple, easy to understand guides on how to bet.

Best Online Boomakers: July 2019

Bookmaker Bonus Betting Shops Notes Visit
Bet365 Logo Up to £100 in Bet Credits - -
Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Coral Logo Bet £5 Get £20 1,800+ Part of the Ladbrokes Coral group
18+. UK+IRE only. Min first bet £5 at odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 4 x £5 free bets. Not valid with Cash Out. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. T&Cs apply.

So why should you bet online rather than in person? Putting aside the pure convenience of it for a moment, there are a number of benefits that internet betting has over it’s brick and mortar counterpart, which we’ll go into in the next section.

Why Bet Online?

One of the most exciting aspects of the online betting industry is the speed that it moves at. It seems that almost weekly there are new bets, features and promotions to trial from dozens of bookmakers.

The added competition for betting space means that the bookies are having to constantly keep changing things up and creating new angles to entice punters. As a punter this is great as it means more promotions, better quality bookmakers and a wider range of sports and markets to bet on.

One of the biggest differences when betting online compared to betting on the high street is the diverse nature of each bookmaker. The high street is very much, “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” but with online betting they can vary massively.

Some of the main features to keep a look out for include:

  • Live streaming
  • In-play betting
  • Cash out
  • Free bets
  • Existing customer promotions
  • Plethora of sports and markets
  • Competitive pricing structures
  • Integrated casino, bingo and poker rooms accessible with just one “wallet”

Do You Get Betting Odds Online or on the High Street?

The top and bottom is that generally you will find online odds be a lot better than that of high street betting shops. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Lack of competition – A high street bookmaker is going to be going head to head with maybe 1 or 2 other high street betting shops on their vicinity. They can afford to offer slightly higher odds as the competition is lower and people have less choice about where to bet.
  2. Vigorish – This is basically the but that the bookmakers take for each bet. For example, the odds for a coin toss would be 50:50 or even money for either result. The bookmaker would offer you around 1.90 though, meaning that they take a 5% cut. The high street would take more than this, generally speaking. This is because of an increase in overheads (rent, wages, bills) and reference back to point number 1, competition.

It is worth noting that this is a bit of a blanket statement at the same time. It won’t always be that online odds are better for each bet. But you will find that if you searched around, you will likely see that at least one bookmaker will at worst match the price in your local betting shop, if not beat it.

A Quick Guide to Betting Online

In this next section we’ll take a look at the key things you need to know when betting with an online bookie.

Depositing and Withdrawing Money

One of things that people who are new to online betting often get confused about is how to go about depositing and withdrawing money from the bookmaker. On top of that, they also wonder about if their funds are safe or not?

Banking with an online bookmaker has never been so easy and it’s never been so efficient. It’s could that you’ve heard horror stories that bookmakers have failed to pay out, maybe frozen accounts or worse, gone broke, but in all honesty, these happen to around 0.001% of all online transactions and can happen in any industry, not just bookmaking.

Depositing money is going to be an instant process. You will be prompted by the bookmaker to choose you payment method and then choose your deposit amount. One of things to note is that not all bookmakers offer up the same deposit methods, so make sure that you are aware of what they do offer and that it suits how you would like to bank with them. Popular choices include:

  • Credit/Debit card
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • E-wallets
  • Cheque
  • Bank transfer

With each of these options there are tons of variations, especially when it comes to e-wallets which are a great way to bank and to not have to store any personal banking information. They also tend to be the fastest way to withdraw finds as well.

You’ll find that very few bookies will charge a fee for deposits and the process will be pretty much instant, unless you use either cheque or bank transfer. Once you have loaded your account you will be good to go, meaning you can start betting right away.

Withdrawals will take longer to process than a deposit will. The bookmaker has their processes to get the money to where you’ve asked it to be sent and then your bank or payment method might take time to clear the money as well. It’s frustrating as they are super-fast to accept, but it’s just something that you have to live with.

The time it takes will vary depending on the withdrawal method, but you should expect between 3-5 working days as a general rule. That being said, e-wallets and payments like PayPal are usually much faster. Some are even complete within the hour, which means that moving money about is a lot easier.

You Can Even Bank Through a High Street Betting Shop

Another option that a lot people who transition from the high street to online can take advantage of one-account systems which links both your online and your betting shop account. This allows you to deposit and withdraw money within the betting shop but place the bets online and vice versa. The likes of Coral and Ladbrokes are two of a number of bookmakers who have fairly recently rolled this out with great success.

Whilst the majority of bookmakers allow you to bank with a credit card, this is one method that we would definitely recommend avoiding. When using a credit card, you are essentially borrowing money from the bank and in return you pay interest. This isn’t a good situation for betting, which should be viewed as recreational and punters should only bet what they can afford to lose. In the long run, paying interest on bets is going to be an awful situation to be in and highly dangerous in terms of repayments as well.

Some Bookies May Require Proof of Identity

Finally, there is a good chance that at some point the bookmaker will ask you to prove that you are who you say you are. They are now super-hot on fraudulent accounts and need to make sure that people are using their own accounts and also that they are of legal age and eligible to bet.

Verifications will carry, but most will require a form of ID (passport, drivers license etc.) and a utility bill with your current address on as proof. Bear in mind the bookmaker usually asks for this when you are trying to withdraw funds, so make sure you have them ready to go to speed up the process. Alternatively, you can contact them as soon as you sign up to go through the verification process, which then speeds up the process again.

Banking and Betting Limits

All online bookmakers will have limits on the amount that you bet and the amount that you can deposit. Please take note that these are two very separate things. First let’s start with banking.

You will see that there is a minimum amount you can deposit into your account. This is usually around the £5-£10 with most bookies.

Then you have limits on the amount that you can withdraw in a single transaction. This is where you will have the biggest fluctuations with bookmakers and the banking method. They can range from just a few hundred to tens and even hundreds of thousands. Some bookmakers will ask that you change your withdrawal method on particularly high withdrawals to save having to use multiple transactions.

Whilst we mention limits, it’s important that you understand that there is a difference between the betting limit and the payout limit. It may sound the same, but they are very different.

The betting limit is the maximum amount you can wager on a single bet. This is likely the most that the bookmaker is willing to take on that specific market or individual bet.

The payout limit is the maximum amount the bookmaker will pay out if a bet you have placed is successful. These amounts are usually into the tens or hundreds of thousands for most bets, so won’t affect the vast majority that are wagered.

But and this is a big but, the bookmaker won’t limit your stake in accordance with the max payout. For example, let’s say that the bookmaker has a max payout of £10,000. You place a bet of £100 at odds of 1000/1, which would return £100,000 profit if you won. But the bookmaker would only pay out £10,00 as this is their max pay out limit. The flip side is the bet will be still be accepted as your stake is under the maximum bet amount and you will lose the full stake should the bet lose. You won’t be paid out the full amount should the bet win.

The bookmakers make you responsible for knowing the maximum you can win, then adjusting your stake accordingly to make sure that it’s in line with their terms and conditions.

Do I Need to Pay Tax on my Winnings?

Tax is an area that many people get confused about when it comes to online gambling or any form of gambling within the UK for that matter. There are two separate legislations in place for both punters and bookies.

As a punter you pay no tax on any of your winnings. This doesn’t matter if you’re a professional bettor or a recreational bettor, you won’t need to pay any tax on this.

A bookmaker does have to pay tax, with rates rising again in 2019. Let’s run through a brief history to keep you up to speed.

Originally the punter was taxed on their bets. This tax was applied by the bookmaker who were asked for 6% from the government and passed if off as a 9% tax to the punter. You were able to choose if you wanted to pay the tax on the amount staked or the amount won at the point of placing your bet.

Laws changed in 2001 and the government decided that it was time to start making some money from one of the fastest growing industries in the world. A 15% tax on gross profits was included at the point of supply.

However, this caused many companies to simply move offshore and take advantage of tax havens such as Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. It meant that they were paying around 1% of tax compared with the 15% set out by the British Government, whilst still being able to work with UK based customers.

In 2014 the rules changed again and this time the 15% tax was changed from the point of supply to the point of consumption. This meant that it now didn’t matter where you were based, if the bookmaker was earning money from players within the UK, they would be taxed on this.

A further change is implemented in 2019 called the Point of Consumption Tax for Remote Gambling. This tax see’s the rate increase to 21% for “games of chance” that a bookmaker offers. These include the likes of roulette, blackjack, slots, craps and the vast majority of casino games. Whilst the increase will be felt by the gambling companies, the likelihood is that the punter will be hit as well due to the fact that gambling company will change their margins for these “chance-type” games.

Why are the Major Bookies all Based Abroad?

As you may or may not know, a lot of major brands are based abroad, such as BetVictor, 888, Betfred, bet365 and Unibet, to name just a few. As stated above, a lot are there for the tax relief that they get.

Take Gibraltar for example, where a lot of companies are either based or have parts of their business there. In terms of tax, they pay just 10% corporation tax compared to 20% in the UK. But they are also able to write off any VAT paid for things like marketing. So, whilst they will likely already have significant marketing budgets in place, residing in a tax haven aboard means they can essentially boost this by 20%, meaning multiple millions either reinvested or saved.

A lot of the brands work in other countries outside of the UK as well. So, whilst the UK charges they what minimum 15% at the point of consumption tax, this might not be in place with other counties meaning that they save a huge amount of tax with international bettors.

What we will say is that most of the bigger betting firms do have UK-based offices where they run a lot of their business from in terms of customer support. So, whilst you may see them registered aboard, their point of contact will often be in the UK for customer service-type relations.

The Demise of the High Street Betting Shop

There is little argument that the increase in popularity of online betting has been one of the biggest reasons why the high street betting scene is starting to fade a little. That coupled with the fact that high streets in general are becoming like ghost towns with out of town shopping and online shopping being much more practical for most.

It’s also pretty fair to say that the main reason that many betting shops still exist is down to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) that are scattered around the vast majority of betting shops.

It’s these machines that come in as huge money makers for most bookmaker and are so lucrative that often the same company will open up shops either on the same high street or within very close proximity.


Well, the number of terminals that each bookmaker can hold is limited. This means that the amount of money they can make per shop is limited. They earn them so much money that it makes financial sense to have two shops very close with the maximum number of FOBTs in each of them.

But this is all going to change in in 2019. The government rolled out a legislation that limits these FOBTs to just £2 a spin. Given that some allow you to spend up to £200 per spin in their current state, it will see a huge decrease on the amount of money they can make.

This all has a negative effect on the profit that the high street bookmakers can make. William Hill have already come out and stated that there could be up to 900 betting shops (over 10% total shops in the country) close down putting 4,500 jobs at risk as a result. Given that numbers have already been in steep decline over the last decade or so, it could be the final nail in the coffin for the high street bookmaker.

The alternative of all this comes in the form of online betting. To give you an idea, here are some industry stats showing the rise or decline of certain sectors in the gambling industry from 2016 to 2017:

  • Total Gross Gambling Yield – 4.5% increase
  • Total Gross Gambling Yield Remote Sector (mobile, online etc.) – 13.7% increase
  • Market share of remote betting – 3% increase
  • Total number of betting shops in Great Britain – 1.8% decrease

This basically shows that the industry is growing, but its growth is all coming from online and mobile betting, with the number of high street shops in decline.

FOBT (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals)

We’ve spoken briefly in the article about FOBTs and we wanted to expand on them a little further. For those that don’t know, they are essentially slot machines which work as an online casino. So, you can play a host of casino games and games of chance on these machines.

The machines are highly lucrative and earn bookmakers an insane amount of money. To give you an idea, in 2016 in the UK, punters lost over £1.8bn on these machines alone. This was around about 15% of the total losses in the entire gambling industry. Only online gaming (bingo, casino etc.) and the National Lottery have bigger losses in the same timeframe.

The machines allow punters to stake up to £100 every 20 seconds, so the money can really start to rack up.

The change in legislation that will come in October 2019 is set to limit the maximum stake to just £2. This will see a massive reduction in the revenue that these machines make.

But how does this affect the betting industry?

Well, the fact of the matter is that these machines are pretty much the sole reason why the majority of betting shops remain open today. They have the ability to take more money per single machine than a typical betting shop would with just sports betting.

They are limited to just 2 machines per betting shop, which is why you often see multiple betting shops of the same brand within the same high street, purely just to include more machines.

Whilst this won’t be the end of the high street betting shop, it will increase the trend of betting shop closures. The majority of betting shops have been absorbed by just a handful of bookmakers such as Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Betfred. Many believe that they are as good as billboards for these businesses and make little money compared to their online betting sites.

The online industry already has a workaround for the decline in FOBTs, which comes in the form of online casinos. These are huge money makers and you will notice that pretty much all of the major bookmakers have an online casino to go alongside the betting aspect.