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Online Betting

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Whether you're looking to compare the UK's best betting sites, or want to learn more about the world of online betting in general, our Betting hub has you covered.
By Daniel Bennett & others 📅 Updated

Beginner’s Guide to Online Betting

Why Bet Online?

There’s nothing stopping you from heading out onto the high street and placing your bets with a land-based bookie, but the advantages of betting online simply can’t be ignored. There’s the obvious – being able to bet anytime, any place frees you from the confines of the local betting shop, thanks to mobile-friendly betting sites as well as native mobile betting apps. Plus, many of the best online betting sites allow you to bet in-play on a huge number of sports, while you watch the action unfold on high definition live streams. As if that wasn’t enough, the ability to cash-out online puts full control in the hands of the punter, allowing you to cut your losses early on or claim a win before things take a turn for the worst.

Find the Best Value

Sure, betting on sport is fun, but we’re all looking for a nice return when putting our hard-earned money on the line. It goes without saying – every bettor is after the best prices available. When comparing, you’ll probably find that most prices on major sports are quite similar, but there are a few features that set the contenders apart from the pretenders. Can you get a bonus on your accumulator? Are there any money back specials or price boosts on offer? There are usually great ways of measuring which betting site offers the best value for punters.

Betting Odds

When comparing prices, the way they’re presented might make them tough to decipher for complete newcomers. Markets aren’t priced like items at a supermarket, but are instead assigned betting odds. Betting odds simply indicate the payout you’ll receive from the bookmakers if your bet is a winner. These odds are usually presented in one of three formats:

  • Fractional – Here, your potential winnings are given as a fraction of your stake. For example, odds of 1/1 means that if you place a £5 wager, you’ll receive £5 in winnings and have your original stake returned for a total of £10.
  • Decimal – This is simply the multiple of your stake that you’ll receive for a winning bet. So if you place a £10 wager on a market with decimal odds of 2.5, you can expect a £25 return.
  • American – American odds are a completely different ball game. The bookies’ favourites come with a – or + symbol attached for favourites and underdogs, respectively. The higher the value, the larger the underdog. For instance, a -500 favourite has a better chance of winning than a -200 favourite, while a +100 underdog has a better chance of winning than a +600 underdog.

Online Betting Markets

The best online betting sites deliver a stellar choice of betting markets for punters. Betting markets are the outcomes available for betting on any given match. We aren’t just talking the number of different sports available to bet on, but also the choice of betting markets within each match, such as the match result, handicap and winning margin markets. While there’s often little to choose between the biggest brands when it comes to major sports like football, you’ll find a fair amount of variation in market coverage from bookie to bookie when looking to bet on more obscure sports and competitions.

In-Play Betting

You can be forgiven for thinking you’re limited to pre-match markets at the top online betting sites. Whilst this used to be the case, live betting is now one of the most important features to consider when choosing a top online betting site. Placing bets during a live game can present more favourable opportunities and odds for punters, depending on how a game is unfolding.

Compare Welcome Bonuses

If the prices and market depth on offer aren’t enough to filter the list down to just one, the welcome bonus offered to new customers is a great way to make your decision a little easier. Bookies offer a number of first bet bonuses to attract new punters, including free bets, first bet insurance and matched first deposits. Here, it’s not all about choosing the biggest bonus, but instead, choosing wisely to find a bonus that suits your betting style. Reading the terms and conditions for a specific new customer bonus offer and keeping an eye out for any wagering requirements is a great way of figuring out if a welcome bonus is really as enticing as advertised.

Ready to Place Your Bets?

Now we’ve shown you the ropes, you’re sure to have a better idea of what to look out for before signing up at an online bookmaker. Check out our carefully curated list for the premier selection of the best betting sites available today. With plenty of sports for you to bet on, from American Football to UFC, we’ve got you covered. Once you’ve picked out one that ticks all your boxes, simply sign up, claim your exclusive welcome bonus and start betting online today!

Online betting is not only a wonderful form of entertainment but also an excellent opportunity for in-the-know punters and complete novices alike to make huge profits from top sports like football, tennis and horse racing. Whether it’s a simple prediction such as the match result or correctly predicting the first scorer in a basketball game, the list of ways to win is seemingly endless. Not sure where to start? Our beginner’s guide will take you through everything you need to know before you start placing your wagers at a top online betting site.

UK's Top 5 Online Bookmakers

UK Licensed UK Licensed
Expertly Reviewed Expertly Reviewed
Mobile Friendly Mobile Friendly
Fast Withdrawals Fast Withdrawals
Sort by:
Recommended
Highest Score
Newest
Betting Site Score New Customer Offer Expert Review Sports iOS App Android App Streaming Secure Sign Up Link Terms
1. Coral
91%
Bet £5, get £20 in free bets

Reviewed, rated & tested by our team

"Verification was instant with quick & easy deposit. Wide range of markets & good odds. Paid out within 24h."
Get Bonus
53
Yes
Yes
Yes
New Customer Offer Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
2. Novibet
89%
Up to £10 free bet

Reviewed, rated & tested by our team

"Numerous ways to deposit. Quick and easy process and saves debit card details for future deposits. Cash out was also offered immediately after I placed my bets "
Get Bonus
23
Yes
Yes
Yes
New Customer Offer New customers only. max £10 free bet. min £20 bet. Qualifying bet must be made within 30 days. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
3. 10bet
87%
50% up to £50

Reviewed, rated & tested by our team

"The 10Bet experience was extremely smooth, verification was instant and my withdrawal was processed within 48 hours"
Get Bonus
29
Yes
Yes
Yes
New Customers Offer Min. deposit £15; Bonus amount 50% of deposit up to £50; Wager deposit and bonus 8x within 60 days; 4/5 Min. single odds or 2/5 min. acca selection odds; Max. stake contribution equal to the initial bonus; Certain bet types and payment methods excluded 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
4. Mansionbet
83%
Bet £10 Get £20

Reviewed, rated & tested by our team

"A really well-designed app with cash out available immediately after placing my bet. Withdrawals processed within 72 hours"
Get Bonus
33
Yes
Yes
No
New Customer Offer 100% up to £100. £10 minimum deposit with debit card only. Maximum bonus is £100. 10x wagering.. Winnings accumulated from ‘real money’ bets may be withdrawn at any time. Bonus is valid for sports betting only. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
5. Mr Play
73%
Bet £10, get a £15 free bet

Reviewed & verified by our team

"Take advantage of Mr Play's excellent welcome bonus and get to grips with the wide array of sports markets today"
Get Bonus
29
No
No
No
New Customer Offer Bet £10, get £10. £10 minimum deposit. Max £10 free bet is only valid for 14 days. Bet must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets no eligible 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
+ Load 5 more online bookies
🏆 Best Overall Score:
91%
🎁 Largest Free Bet:
£50
🤝 Highest Deposit Match:
100%
💷 Minimum Deposit:
£5

Finding it hard to choose between all the online bookmakers in the UK? No problem. Our industry experts have reviewed the best online betting sites around right now, compiling a list of recommendations. And right at the top is Coral, which we rated at 91%.

Best Choice for Online Betting
Coral
Rated 91%
Bet £5, get £20 in free bets

Reviewed, rated & tested by our team

"Verification was instant with quick & easy deposit. Wide range of markets & good odds. Paid out within 24h."
Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply.
Honest Bookie Reviews
We review, score & personally test dozens of betting sites.

Why we recommend Coral for online betting

  • From popular markets like football, tennis and Formula 1, through to more niche passions like handball and hurling, Coral lets you put money on a huge selection of sports.
  • Whether you want to put together acca bets, or play things safe by cashing out a wager before the outcome is known, Coral lets you do it. You can also live stream a whole host of events so you can follow every moment of the action as it happens.
  • Coral’s mobile app is one of the best available for Android and iOS devices right now, providing instant, convenient access to its rich array of betting markets, not to mention the accas and cashouts mentioned above. Being a downloadable, native app, it will also keep you in the loop when it comes to Coral’s latest bonuses and promos.

If you’re already a Coral user, or it’s not quite the right fit, there are some other top bookmakers we can recommend. Bet365 is one of the biggest sportsbooks in the country, with a breadth of betting markets to match its reputation. Though not quite as famous, 10bet is another great choice, offering a range of promotions – including acca boosts – as well as a well-designed mobile app. 

Your Questions Answered

What should I be looking for when choosing a bookmaker?

There are a number of things to consider. Many people automatically think about free bets and bonuses – and with good reason. You’ll often find offers like ‘bet £5 get £10 free’, or deposit match bonuses such as ‘100% up to £50’. While they will usually have a number of terms and restrictions applied, they certainly boost the incentive for getting started with one bookie over another. You’ll also want to think about the range of markets, availability of live betting, bonus features like cashout or live streaming, and mobile friendliness – all of which are covered in our in-depth betting site reviews.

The people behind this page

Compare.bet's online gambling content experts helped write, edit and check this page:

Daniel is the editor-in-chief at Compare.bet. He has half a decade of experience writing on topics including sports betting, online casino and the NBA. Daniel also covers Premier League football for The Warm-Up and has interviewed Louis Saha, Richard Dunne and Gary Pallister. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys film photography and making Spotify playlists.
Noel is a writer for Compare.bet with over a decade of experience writing on topics including online casino and sports betting.