Sports betting is a well-liked pastime among people from all four corners of the world. In the United Kingdom, it is the second most popular form of gambling. Data shows that the sports betting market in the United Kingdom reached a value of $5.4 billion as of 2021. The country is recognized as the birthplace of various sports, including soccer, cricket, tennis, and golf. That explains why Brits are so passionate about sports betting.
Fortunately, the country regulated online and offline gambling and sports betting. The UK Gambling Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating gambling businesses and protecting players. The United Kingdom is an example of a well-regulated gambling industry, and the fact that the country generates billions of pounds in gross gaming revenue (GGR) every year proves this statement.
Best UK Sports Betting Sites
All sports betting sites can accept punters from the UK only if they have a license from the Gambling Commission (UKGC). To obtain the stamp of approval from the UKGC, operators must abide by strict rules and meet specific requirements. Sports fans from the United Kingdom can pick from a multitude of regulated online sportsbooks that offer generous promotions, competitive odds, and multiple betting markets.
Best UK Sports Betting Bonuses
As mentioned earlier, there are many sports betting sites geared toward the UK market. To attract the attention of more punters, bookies offer generous bonuses for newcomers and existing punters. Of course, sports fans must first familiarize themselves with the bonus terms and conditions before claiming a promotion. In the lines below, we will discuss some of the most common bonuses available to sports fans from the United Kingdom.
Deposit Match Bonuses
Most online sportsbooks treat their new registrants to a lucrative Welcome Bonus that usually comes in the form of a match deposit bonus. Punters must deposit a specific amount to claim this bonus. Welcome Bonuses are available to new registrants only. However, sports fans must meet several conditions to cash out their profits.
Usually, punters have to satisfy a wagering requirement by betting on events with minimum odds as designated by the bookmaker. Besides, bets on some sports and some bet types may not count toward the bonus turnover. Some bookies feature reload bonuses that work in pretty much the same way as the Welcome Bonuses. However, the terms and conditions vary between the different sportsbooks.
Many UK-friendly online sportsbooks offer free bets to attract the attention of newcomers. Free bets enable newcomers to place a qualifying wager on a sporting event at specific odds without risking their funds. If the bet wins, you can collect your profits but without the amount of the initial free bet. If the bet loses, your bankroll remains intact.
We have to note that free bets and risk-free bets are two different types of sports betting bonuses. The latter is given to punters who place a qualifying bet at odds as specified by the bookmaker, and their stake loses.
Acca bets are quite popular among sports fans because they offer high payouts. Accumulator bets include multiple selections (also known as legs), all of which need to win for the bet to win. But it can be really frustrating if you lose an entire accumulator bet because of one leg. That is why some bookies offer the so-called acca insurance bonus, allowing punters to get their stake back if their accumulator bets are let down by a single selection. Note that you must wager a certain amount on the accumulator and each leg must have specific minimum odds to qualify for the acca insurance.
Losing streaks can be discouraging and make you leave a given sportsbook. That is why many bookies offer a cashback bonus, providing their regular punters with the opportunity to recover a percentage of the losses they have incurred on a specific day or during the week. Depending on the sportsbook’s policy, the cashback amount may be credited in the form of real cash or bonus money.
Betting Regulation in the UK
Sports betting in the United Kingdom has existed for years. Hundreds of years ago, the only way for sports fans to place a wager was to use the Royal Mail service. In 1960, the UK implemented the so-called Betting and Gaming Act to regulate betting shops and private gambling. But some loopholes in the law led to the explosion of illegal gambling. In an attempt to curb organized crime, the United Kingdom introduced the Gaming Act of 1968, under which the Gaming Board for Great Britain was established.
But the Internet has dramatically changed the gambling industry, allowing punters to wager on their favorite sporting events without leaving the comfort of their homes. The rise of online gambling called for some changes to the legislative framework of different countries. While some countries decided to completely ban all forms of gambling, many others, including the UK, regulated the industry.
The Gaming Act of 2005
In 2005, the Gambling Act was introduced to regulate all forms of gambling in the United Kingdom. The UK Gambling Commission was established under this piece of legislation, replacing the Gaming Board for Great Britain. The UK Gambling Commission is responsible for regulating the industry, issuing licenses, protecting children and vulnerable people from the negative effect of gambling, and ensuring that all licensees abide by the established standards.
The Gaming Act of 2005 removed the membership requirement for casinos and bingo halls and the 24-hour waiting period for membership. Under the provisions of the Gaming Act, only operators who obtain a license from the Commission are allowed to accept players and punters from the UK.
Initially, sports betting sites and online casinos based outside the so-called whitelisted countries (EEA countries, Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Tasmania) were not allowed to advertise their services in the UK without having an additional license from the Commission. But in 2014, the law was amended to allow all operators who have acquired a license from the Commission to advertise their services in the United Kingdom.
Besides, licensed operators are not allowed to accept sports fans under 18 years old. Bettors residing in the UK do not have to pay taxes on their winnings from sports betting and gambling. On the other hand, sports betting operators have to pay a 15% tax.
Measures to Prevent Gambling Problems
The United Kingdom also introduced advertising restrictions to reduce gambling-related harm. The advertising of gambling and sports betting services must comply with the UK Advertising Codes issued by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) and administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Gambling and betting companies are prohibited from using top-flight athletes and celebrities in their commercials.
On 1st August 2019, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) introduced the so-called whistle-to-whistle ban, under which gambling commercials cannot be shown on pre-watershed sports from five minutes before an event begins and five minutes after it finishes. Only horse and greyhound racing are exempt from the ban. The BGC reported that this restriction has reduced the number of gambling commercials seen by children by 97%.
In January 2020, three industry working groups were created by the UK Gambling Commission. Their task was to make the gambling industry safer. Only several months later, the UK Gambling Commission introduced a ban, prohibiting bettors from using their credit cards to wager on sports or casino games. The measure aims at preventing people from gambling with money they do not have.
In 2020, the British Gambling Commission has issued new rules regarding the running of VIP schemes. Under the new restrictions, licensees must carry out affordability and responsible gambling checks. The Commission warned sports betting and gambling companies that if they fail to comply with the new standards, VIP schemes will be banned. Besides, individuals under 25 are not allowed to participate in loyalty programs offered by online casinos and sports betting platforms.
In 2021, the UK Gambling Commission warned licensed gambling companies to remove restrictions on withdrawing deposits and deposit winnings. Casino enthusiasts and sports fans must be allowed to withdraw their deposit balance at any time. Licensed bookies and online casinos must ensure that the deposit and bonus balances are displayed separately.
How can I know if a given online sportsbook is reliable?
Sports fans from the UK can pick from plenty of reputable betting sites that offer convenient payment methods and support the GBP currency. Licensed online sportsbooks usually carry the logo of the UK Gambling Commission.
Sports fans can also visit the official site of the Commission and enter the name of the operator to check the validity of its license. Besides, all sportsbooks that carry the stamp of approval from the UKGC encourage punters to gamble responsibly and provide links to organizations such as GamCare and BeGambleAware.
Which forms of sports betting are legal in the United Kingdom?
The Gaming Act does not make a difference between online and offline sports betting. Most forms of sports betting are legal in the United Kingdom. However, betting on hare coursing is against the law because it is considered a cruel bloodsport. The sports that are extremely popular among UK punters are football, horse racing, tennis, cricket, and golf. Speaking of the most well-liked betting markets in the UK, we must mention most British punters prefer the British (or fractional) odds.
What bonuses are available for sports fans from the United Kingdom?
Different bookies offer various promotions to attract newcomers and retain existing patrons. Most UK-friendly sports betting sites have a wide range of promotions on offer. When you join a given online sportsbook, you can benefit from a Welcome Bonus. The sign-up offer may come in the form of a match deposit bonus, a free bet, or a risk-free bet. Some betting sites also feature acca insurance and cashback promotions.
What is an odds boost?
Some UK-friendly online sportsbooks feature the so-called odds boost promotion. Put simply, the bookie offers increased odds on some bets, allowing punters to benefit from more advantageous odds. There are betting sites that offer odds boosts on a daily basis. Odds boosts usually apply to a single game as specified by the bookie. Depending on the sportsbook you join, you can benefit from an odds boost between 10% to 40%.
How long does it take to cash out profits from a sports betting site?
Every betting site has a minimum withdrawal limit. So, you first have to accumulate enough winnings before being able to cash out your funds. Most UK-friendly betting sites take up to 24 hours to process payment requests. After the online sportsbook approves the payment, you will receive your winnings within 1 to 5 business days, depending on the selected payment solution. As a rule of thumb, eWallets are among the quickest withdrawal options.