How to Find the Best Bookmakers Online

Online betting has become a favoured pastime for many, over the last few years, and yet finding the right online bookmaker to bet on has been a frustrating experience for far too many Brits. For many punters, dealing with bookies who refuse to pay up or with lower odds than promised has been the straw that broke the camel’s back, while for many more, it’s their worst gambling nightmare. 

So how exactly should you go about finding a bookmaker that won’t just scam you? Is there just one bookie which is universally considered to be the best ever, maybe one of those sometimes promoted on the telly? Not so fast! Unfortunately, just like El Dorado, unicorns and honest politicians, “the best online bookmaker” is merely a myth. If you find an ad or a website boasting that they have found the single best bookie of all time, well, we’re sorry to break it to you, but their pants are on fire.

However, there is such a thing as the best bookie of all time for you in particular. Yes, you, who is reading this – your dream bookie most likely exists, it’s just a matter of finding it. So how do we do that?


Start With a List of Verified Bookmakers

Bookies are a dime a dozen in the UK, but decent ones who’ll actually pay out are a bit rarer. Luckily, there are resources online that can help you with distinguishing the good from the bad. For example, you can check this website to see actual reviews from both the site’s experts and readers. By just browsing through the listing, you can pick out a few decent bookmakers which you could examine further.

At this point, don’t worry too much about researching each one in depth, we’ll do that a little bit later. For now, just find bookies that seem to be reputable and have decent reviews. Write them down, or open their review pages in new tabs whenever one catches your eye, because very soon, we’re going to start a Battle Royale to narrow them down to only one lucky winner!


Ensure the Bookmaker is Legal

Now, if it’s getting rave reviews from experts and fans, chances are your bookie of choice is legitimate. However, things change as gambling regulations tighten in the UK, and a bookmaker which was once fully legal may now be flying under the radar. Luckily, making sure that a bookmaker is legal is actually a very easy process – in the footer of any page you should see the logo of the Gambling Commission, as well as other UK gambling associations like GambleAware. These are mandated for every bookmaker operating in the country, and it means that the bookie is held accountable by the government to comply with its regulations and customer protection laws. 

Still in the footer, you should also be able to find a link to the certificate issued by the Gambling Commission to the bookie – and if you want to be extra thorough, you can even take the number from that certificate and cross-check it through the Commission’s own site, just to make sure everything is legitimate. Of course, just because a bookmaker doesn’t have a Gambling Commission licence doesn’t mean they’re a scam, many are licenced by other authorities, like Macao and Curacao. Those regulations are significantly looser and offer no protection for UK punters, so while there are some very decent bookies without a UK licence, we’d personally steer clear of them.


Ensure They Have the Sports You Want

Most punters prefer to bet on football, which is understandable – football betting is a classic, after all! However, what happens when you want to bet on a less popular sport, like golf or MMA fighting? Hell, even if you want to bet on football, not every bookie will let you bet on minor leagues, some will only open up their betting for major events like the European Cup. As such, before you make an account, you need to explore the bookie and see exactly what they offer. 

Your first order of business should, of course, be to check whether they offer the sport(s) you wish to bet on. If you’re less interested in sports and more in the act of betting itself, then the more sports there are, the better. After that, make sure that there are enough matches to bet on. Every MMA betting site will let you bet on UFC matches, but how many will let you bet on fights from Bellator or Pro Elite? Not quite as many, which can be a problem! Finally, try to check out what betting markets they offer. Everyone and their mother offers betting on the winner, but not too many offer a lot of diverse options on how exactly the game will play out. As any experienced punter will tell you, the real money is in these niche markets, due to their higher odds! 

By this point, you probably already have a bookie in mind that you’d wish to join, so this is the right moment to do so – just make sure you sign up from the link listed on the review site so that you can get the bonus listed there (a lot of the times it’s better than what you’d get straight from the bookie). If not, keep narrowing down your list until there’s only one clear winner, and then get to betting!

Author: Aaron Ryan