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UK Sports Betting

Sports betting has been one of the most popular leisure pastimes in the UK for many decades now and it remains as popular as ever, with burgeoning online and mobile betting scenes adding to the swathe of betting shops around the country. Here’s a look at how the online betting scene in the UK stands at present in terms of who the major players are.

The major players in UK sports betting

Currently in the UK, there are many companies offering online sports betting but the bookmakers that offer the service can be split into two distinct groupings.

The first group is the smaller group, which is the number of companies that have offered sports betting services in the UK on the High Street for many years, but that have now diversified into offering online sports betting via their websites.

This includes some of the biggest names in the UK Betting industry, such as Ladbrokes, Stan James, William Hill, BetVictor (former Victor Chandler), Betfred (formerly Fred Done) and Coral.

The second group of bookmaking sites are those that have been developed predominantly or solely with the online market in mind and who do not have a presence on the high street. There is a growing number of these sites but without doubt the largest is Bet365 Sports. Other sites that have large online presence include SkyBet, Sportingbet, 888Sport, Winner, Betway and Paddy Power.

In recent years, a number of smaller, newer sites have also cropped up on the UK betting scene, adding their names to these more established sites on the Internet. Good examples of this are sites like Marathon, 10Bet, Unibet and 32Red.

Alongside these more traditional betting sites, there are a number of betting exchanges that have become increasingly popular since the advent of the Internet. These exchanges allow punters to both back and lay bets against each other. Betfair was the most famous betting exchange used in the UK for many years (it now also operates a sports betting site too) and there are now a couple of other exchange sites in the UK, namely Betdaq and Matchbook.

The online betting scene in the UK is burgeoning at the moment and developments such as live streaming, Cash Out bets, In Play betting and more mean that betting online has never been more attractive to punters than it is now.

The most popular sports bets placed in the UK

Outlined below are a list of the most popular types of bets placed in the UK. It is not a list necessarily of individual bets, but more a list that groups the most popular bets together with an explanation of what each bet is.

Ante Post bets

These are bets placed often well in advance of a sporting event taking place, the attraction being that the punter can often receive far better odds in an Ante Post bet than by waiting for the day. Ante Post bets are only available on a selected number of markets at some bookmakers.

Pre-match / pre-event bets

When it is nearer to a sports event, then bookmakers will offer bets on a number of different markets for that event before it starts. These are the pre-match or pre-event bets that are perhaps the most common and easily understood form of betting.

In Play betting

When a sports event is in progress it is now possible thanks to the advent of the technology and software for punters to place bets on the event as it is taking place. This is called Betting In Play (or In Running) and allows punters to bet on a wide range of possible events in the chosen event.

A good example of this is betting on which team will score the next goal in a football match.

Win bet

A win bet is simply a single line bet where a punter backs one selection from the market to win. For example, in a Speedway race, the punter may back one of the four riders taking part to win the race. If the driver wins, the punter wins. If he does not win, the bet loses.

Each Way bet

An each way bet is available on some markets (notably races) is a two line bet where the punter places half their stake on their selection winning the event and the second half of the bet on them finishing in a stated place (at least second, sometimes second and third, and on some larger races second, third and fourth may be paid out).

If their selection wins, then both parts of their bet win, if their selection finishes in a stated place, then their winning portion of the bet loses but their place bet wins. If the selection finishes outside the stated places and does not win, both parts of the bet lose.

Accumulator bets

A single line bet which sees a punter string a number of selections together, with the odds and winnings accruing with each successful selection until all selections either win, or one loses. If one or more selections lose, the bet fails, but if all win then punters can win a large amount for a relatively small stake.

Multiple bets

Multiples are bets that cover several different lines in a single bet. Multiple bets have different names for the number of selections in them and the number of lines covered. These multiple selection bets allow punters to generate a return if one or perhaps more of their selections lose, but the initial cost of placing these bets is considerably higher than a single line accumulator bet as the punter has to cover each possible combination of bet on the multiple with a single line stake.

A “Heinz” multiple bet for example has 57 lines, which if you placed a unit stake bet of £1, would mean it would cost £57 to place the Heinz Multiple bet.

Sports betting on a mobile

One of the biggest developments in recent times for online betting sites has been the advent of mobile sports betting. 

Not only can you place bets on mobile devices, but with mobile client software you can also use your mobile device to perform a whole host of other tasks. In fact now you can do anything you can via a traditional PC on your mobile and access the same features too.

This means you can now use your mobile to enjoy Live In Play betting. Indeed, you could even be at a sporting event and use your mobile to bet on the event you are watching if In Play markets are being offered.

However, if you aren’t at an event and would like to see the action unfold, you can now stream live sporting events from your mobile. Best of all, this service is completely free of charge (provided you have a credit balance in your account on the site) and encompasses a very wide range of sporting events, with thousands available every year.

Many betting sites also offer their own version of mobile client software in the UK.

Getting value from typical UK sportsbook promotions and offers

Every major UK sports betting site offers a wide range of promotions and offers to its customers and although it may appear as if these offers are very different, in truth there is a considerable overlap between the offers available across the full range of betting sites.

In this section, we are going to take a look at the most common forms of promotions and offers you’ll find across the best UK betting sites and how you can then utilise these bonuses to get the best possible deal for yourself.

We’ll begin with the very first promotion and bonus that you will come across when you sign up for a site, the New Player Bonus.

New Player Bonus

One of the best things about joining a sports betting site in the UK is that you should be offered a nice little starter deal when you sign up to help you start enjoying the site. Although there are a huge number of new player bonuses available they generally fall into either one or a combination of the following types of offer:

  • No Deposit Bonus – Some sites offer you a small amount of money to enjoy a flutter with first, although these types of bonuses are very rare and hard to come by nowadays.
  • Deposit/First Bet Bonus – A hugely popular offer where when you make your first deposit into your sports betting account, or place your first bet, you will receive a bonus from the sports betting company. The bonus can be a cash amount (which you may have to release in increments as you bet on the site) or it can be in the form of free bets to a stated value.

Money Back or Insurance promotions

Another common promotion available are Money Back offers, or as they are sometimes called, insurance promotions. In these offers, a site will offer the punter a chance to earn their money back if either a stated event happens in a game, or in the case of an accumulator bet, one (or occasionally more) of their selections let them down.

Paddy Power are well known for their Money Back Specials, many other sites also offer Insurance promotions such as Coral (Acca Insurance) and BetStars.

Enhanced Odds offers

Another very common offer you will find on UK betting sites is when a site enhances the odds on a certain bet or betting market to make it particularly attractive to punters to bet on. By enhancing the odds, the site hopes to attract punters to bet on this market with them, rather than other bookmakers whose odds for the same bet will be less attractive to punters.

Free Bet offers

Another popular offer is to offer punters that place a bet on a selected market the chance to earn a free bet as a result.

Several sites offer this who often will offer a punter that places a pre-match bet of a stated amount a free bet on an In Play market of their choice on that same event. This offer is used frequently, especially for big football matches in the UK including top Premier League and Champions League games.

Accumulator offers and promotions

Accumulator betting is hugely popular in the UK and it is not surprising therefore that so many sites offer a variety of bonuses and promotions on accumulator bets. Most tend to be insurance or money back forms of offer where the punter can receive their stake back if one (or sometimes more) of their selections on an accumulator lets them down.

You can find them for tennis, American sports, European basketball and Australian football and rugby, as well as soccer.

These bonuses are different in that they don’t offer insurance against an accumulator falling by one selection, instead, they offer a percentage bonus of your payout based on how many selections are on your accumulator. The more selections you have in a successful accumulator, the bigger the bonus you will win.

In the case of the Euro Soccer Bonus for football, you could win up to 100% of your winnings in bonus money, with other sports the biggest bonus is around 50% of your winnings, but on large scale accumulator bets, these bonuses can be worth thousands of pounds extra.

Mobile betting bonuses

Finally, a few sites will offer you a bonus when you make your first bet from a mobile device.

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