Best Online Bookies

The main aim of is to inform you about the best bookies and their services. On this page you can find all the basic info on how to choose a bookie and also the top 3 operators to bet on different sports.

What Makes a Bookmaker Good?

Wide Range of Sports and Markets

One of the first things that potential new customers will look for is a wide set of sporting markets. Bookmakers should look to cover all the popular events such as football, tennis and golf as a minimum and, although many exclude horse racing, this is the second most popular sport for the online betting community and it’s important to include it.

Niche events such as chess, bowls and yachting are obviously less popular but it may help that bookmaker secure more business if they are included.

A good set of markets is important too: Beyond the straight result, can you bet on other outcomes such as first goal scorer in football or exact points scoring in tennis? The more markets on offer, the more attractive a bookie becomes.

Extra Services

To keep customers happy, bookmakers often lay on live streaming of the bigger sporting events so, if this is important to you, make sure you check all the details first. You must be an active user with a funded account in order to access this first.

Other services could include a mobile site plus a dedicated app and while many outlets now offer these as standard, check first if you like to bet ‘on the go’.

Bonuses and Free Bets

Most, but not all bookmakers will offer some form of welcome bonus to get you on board as a new customer. These can vary greatly but while the smaller offers, such as £25.00 in free bets, are less lucrative, they are usually easier to obtain and don’t necessarily come with any wagering requirements.

There are much bigger deals around that could net you £100.00 or even more as a 50% or 100% match on your first deposit but these will generally come with that wagering requirement that asks you to play through your deposit and bonus a certain number of times before withdrawing any profits.

Beyond that welcome promotion, look out for ongoing offers that might include free bets, boosts on multiple profits and more. The number of these deals varies greatly between bookmakers so if you want to keep earning value through the life of your account, check the promotions page of each individual bookie.

Best Overall Bookmakers


Coral are listed just behind Bet365 as their own welcome offer is a modest one by comparison where you can get £30.00 in free bets for a £10.00 opening deposit. However, it is easier to get hold of as there are no rollover terms and Coral then go on to provide much more in the way of ongoing promos such as Acca Insurances and other types of free bet refunds.

Prices are strong everywhere, markets are extensive and this is a trusted brand with a long history that pre-dates the internet so Coral are another great all-rounder.

Paddy Power

Paddy are a bright and entertaining brand who give value in a number of ways to all their customers. With a £5.00 opening credit, you can get £25.00 in free bets or you can look for one of their many enhanced odds deals for new customers. From here, there are lots of ongoing offers including a number of one-off deals that will be emailed to you or sent via SMS.

Paddy Power, like the other bookmakers that we’ve listed, also work hard to get odds up early and by checking the comparison sites you can tell that you’re getting great value no matter what event you’re looking to bet on.

Best Bookmakers for Football Betting


Having been at the forefront of football betting for many decades, Ladbrokes are one of the first bookies to look up if this is your preferred sport. Prior to the internet, Ladbrokes betting shops were available right across the UK before the bookie started onsite operations at many of the major football grounds in England.

Price boosts, enhanced odds deals and a host of other promotions can be found here while, as you might expect, prices are strong and there is a very wide list of side bets for those who want to look beyond the straight result market.


Betway are one of the newer sets of online bookmakers, but since going online in 2007, they have attracted a huge number of football bettors. This is partly down to a heavy advertising campaign but it’s backed up with real substance as the operator gives strong prices, a great welcome bonus offers and ongoing deals.

Side markets are strong here too with up to a hundred options listed for the biggest football games while many would argue that the live betting service offered by Betway is at least equal to that published.

Best Betting Sites For Horse Racing


BetFred have owned the Tote since 2011 and they have put their name to sponsorship deals involving some of the UK’s top races so that underlines their commitment to the sport. For the individual customer, there is a best odds guarantee scheme and they claim to be the inventor of the Lucky 15, 31 and 63 and there are horse racing price boost opportunities for this style of bet.

Coverage, as you would expect is very extensive with prices on offer for all meetings in the UK and Ireland and that will also extend around the world to pick up the bigger events.


SkyBet’s most popular feature is the price boost which will take a random race meeting and lift the price on a horse in a certain renewal. Some of these can be small shifts but they will generally be enough to make this operator the market leader for the race in question.

As a popular broadcaster, you can also expect to see a lot of live streaming via your account and the form guide for horse racing is very extensive. Once again, there is a best odds guarantee scheme thrown in for all UK and Irish Horse Racing.

Paddy Power

Prices across Paddy Power’s horse racing markets are strong but this is the place to be if you want extra value from a set of ongoing offers and promotions. You may get a refunded bet if your horse finishes second to the SP favourite or there may be some enhanced odds deals around the big meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival.

Live streaming is also extensive and the selected races can be viewed as long as you have placed a minimum £1.00 bet and, of course, there is that best odds guarantee scheme that means you won’t lose out on UK and Irish horse racing profits.

Recommended Bookmakers for Tennis Betting


MarathonBet’s real strong point is with prices and when you check on the odds comparison sites, you will see that they rank higher, or match other top bookmakers in most tennis markets. There is a wide choice of side betting too with points betting on sets and the overall correct score.

This bookmaker has just started to get involved with the type of enhanced odds deal for new customers that are popular elsewhere so it may be worth checking for these around the time of Wimbledon or other Grand Slams but for general prices, MarathonBet are tough to beat.

Best Betting Sites for Mobile Betting

William Hill

William Hill are obviously a long established bookie but they are not slow in moving with the times and their mobile app gets excellent reviews from a lot of independent sites. It promises over 100 in play football markets at any one time and naturally there are other sports to choose from at the same time.

Mobile users can access the same bonuses and offers as those who are using the static site and once again, the William Hill app and mobile site are both quick to load and are easy to use when it comes to scanning the markets and picking your bet.


10Bet’s betting app is another that gets consistently high scores from around the review sites and, if your timing is good, you may get a dedicated bonus for online play. This is subject to change so check the promotions page at 10Bet for up to date details.

Once again, a fast download and ease of use are behind the high scores that the app receives and you can find your favourites in a very logical order. 10Bet are becoming strong on football prices in particular so, if this is your sport, the app is a must have.

Top Bookies for Live Betting


Betfair are the pioneers behind a very useful addition to live betting known as cashback. It’s a system that can be applied to ante post bets but it’s particularly handy for in-play when you are making an instinctive decision to place a bet in the first place and then that same instinct applies to live markets when you want to take a partial profit before the event has come to an end.

Betfair also provide one of the greatest choices of in-play markets around and as they are an exchange, you can often find better prices here than you would at a standard sportsbook.


SkyBet are strong in live betting as they strive to back up their TV side of the business with a good set of sports betting markets. You’ll therefore find one of the biggest choices of football bets on the net but Sky are strong in other core sports such as cricket, rugby, tennis, golf and also horse racing.

And, if you can’t find the event on the live broadcast schedules, you should be able to access it as part of the live streaming service that comes with your account so, if you like to watch the action unfold on your bet, Sky are more likely than most to have it covered.


The live service at BetFred is another popular option for those that like to stake in-play and by now, the formula for success is a pretty familiar one. First, there is a great choice of markets and this is a bookmaker that has been around since the 1970’s so they like to go big on the core sports such as football and horse racing.

Prices are strong and the promotions at BetFred are plentiful so there is value as well as choice making this a great home for anyone who likes to stake once an event has started.

Safe and Fair Gaming

What Makes a Bookmaker Legal?

Legality in terms of bookmaking can be outlined in many forms: in some countries across the world, the practise of betting is completely outlawed while in others, it may be restricted just to state run lotteries.

Most countries make sure that licensed bookmakers are complying with their own laws. For example, in New Zealand, residents cannot play with an online operator who is registered in their own country while in Canada, players can only stake parlay bets of three outcomes or more.

With so many complex rules across the globe, a legal bookmaker has to comply with those rules in each country and there are further rules that any company must adhere to, no matter what industry they are trading in.

Tax is the obvious point here and licensed bookies must be liable to pay the tax that is relevant to the country in which they trade. Illegal betting remains an issue but to be safe and protected, you can be sure of whether or not a bookmaker is complying with the law by checking their site thoroughly and by reading in full the details of their licence.


Each bookmaker has to obtain a license to trade online and then they have to conform to the rules applied in certain countries such as Australia and New Zealand where gambling is restricted or in the UK where there has been a recent change in tax laws.

Details of that license should be prominently displayed and this can usually be found at the bottom of every home page. This tells you that they are trading online legally and you can then delve further to check the About Us link for more information if you so wish.

Reputation and History

Some of the bookmakers that we’ve mentioned here such as Coral, William Hill and Ladbrokes have histories that go back for decades and that indicates that you can bet with a trusted brand. But what about those who haven’t been around for so long?

Trust can be built, in the first instance by being transparent so make sure that the full details of that license are listed on the home page. By doing that, the bookie is being open, honest and has nothing to hide.

If you’d like some more information, you could check forums and review sites to get peace of mind.

Gambling Problem Websites

Governments in all countries should look to promote responsible gambling while bookmakers should also prompt players to not bet more than they can afford. If things do get out of hand there are a number of organisations that can provide assistance.

These could be government funded or they could be a charitable organisation that relies on donations to carry out its work. This type of website can be found all over the world; in the UK, players can access Gamble Aware if they feel that need assistance while in Australia and in New Zealand, there are websites run by the local governments.

Anyone who feels they have an issue with gambling can therefore find such an organisation via a quick Google search.