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Sports betting in the UK

Sports betting means placing a bet with a bookmaker on the outcome of a sporting event. If you’re aged 18 or older, it is legal for you to bet on sports in the United Kingdom.

Sports betting accounts for 6.6% –  of total gambling expenditure in the UK. Betting on sports in the UK is more popular than in Australia, where the it only accounts for 4% of total gambling spend.

An ever-changing landscape

Traditionally, betting on horses was the major form of sports gambling. Horse betting still remains an extremely popular pastime in the UK, accounting for 3.8% of total gambling spend.

The introduction of online betting has opened the gateway for betting on a wider array of sports. If you like, you can wager a bet on sports like EPL, rugby league and union, soccer, cricket, netball, tennis and many more. Online betting also gives you access to betting on the outcomes of international events, including American Football (NFL), American Basketball (NBA) Australian Football League (AFL) and many others.

Sport is a game of chance and skill and so is sports betting. You can’t change your luck but you can improve your skills

Sound practice

Central to the enjoyment of sports betting is remaining in control. Always bet sensibly and within your means. You might like betting simply because it makes watching your favourite sports more fun. That’s often true. However, with a better understanding of the industry and available betting products, you have the chance to make good profits with sports betting.

Betting sites that provide sports betting

To bet on sports you need an account with a bookmaker, betting exchange or betting agency. Betting agencies provide markets that allow you to place bets. The selection of your online bookmaker is an important decision as many offer different types of sports betting products. The following betting sites are licensed and regulated:

Sports bet types

Head to head betting

Head to head betting is the most popular form of sports betting where there are just two possible outcomes. It is a win/lose bet that reflects the chance each team or player has of winning the match.

Win Draw Win

Win Draw Win bets are used for sports like soccer, where the draw is commonly in play and three outcomes are possible. Like head to head bets, they reflect the chance of each outcome without handicapping.

Live betting

Live betting is the act of placing a bet during a live sports contest. Live betting online is not permitted in Australia but you can conduct live betting via telephone.

Lay Betting

Lay betting is available for both horse racing bets and sports bets. It allows you to bet against a team or player winning on a betting exchange. For example, if you’re convinced that a team won’t win the premiership or a horse won’t win a race, you can place a lay bet, and if any other team (or horse) win, you’ll win as well.

Line betting

Line betting involves the bookmaker handicapping the favoured team or player by using a points or goal margin that theoretically makes the chances of either outcome prevailing equal.

Handicap betting

Handicap betting allows the bookmaker to handicap a team or player by using a goal or points margin. There are various different forms of handicapping. The central principle is that it should even up lopsided contests and therefore creates more interest.

Asian Handicap

An Asian handicap is used by bookmakers to eliminate the possibility of a draw in three way betting markets. Variations of Asian handicapping allow a refund for a draw result and bets to be split in two.

Draw No Bet

Draw No Bet is a market that eliminates the draw result from a three way contest. You get a refund if the game results in a draw.

Margin betting

Margin betting, also known as ‘big win little win’ betting, requires you to correctly select the winning team or player and points margin.

Correct Score

Correct Score is primarily used in soccer betting. You must select the exact match score for your bet to be successful.

Tri Bet

Tri bet is a form of margin betting whereby the bookmaker creates three possible outcomes for a match by using a points or goal margin.

Multi bet

A multi bet combines single bets into one bet. The odds multiply, meaning that they are potentially lucrative, but if one single bet fails, the entire multi bet loses.

Half Time Full Time

Half Time Full Time betting is a another term for a double bet, or a two-leg multi bet. You must select the leading team or player at half time and also full time.

Same Game Multi

A Same Game Multi allows you to combine single bets from the same match, into one multi bet. For example you could pick the first goalscorer, half time result, full time result in your same game multi.

Footy betting

First Goalscorer

The First Goalscorer, or First Tryscorer, bet allows you to predict the first goal scorer of a match.

Sports betting tools

We offer sports betting tools and calculators to help you calculate your potential returns on a variety of sports betting options.

If you like betting on soccer matches, try our arbitrage calculator. The calculator will compute the value of the arbitrage once all of the odds for the three outcomes are entered.

The back and lay calculator is also very useful for all sports, but in particular tennis and golf betting, where there can be wild fluctuations on a betting exchange.

try our betting tools

Sports betting and bonuses

When you create a new account with a bookmaker or betting agent, you typically receive a sign up bonus. This once-off bonus is provided as thanks to you for choosing the bookmaker and opening a new account. If you’re thinking of opening a betting account, it’s a good idea to shop around and see what sign up bonuses are available.


Many bookmakers also offer free betting offers, usually tied to a particular event. For example, a betting agency may offer a free bet, if you place a head to head bet on a team in an EPL match. If that team loses, but leads at some point, or loses by a specific amount, you receive a free bet. This type of promotion, where the sports bet type is central to the offer, is very common. These types of bonuses are offered every week by bookmakers on a range of sports, involving a variety of bet types.

Bet smart: Making use of promotions

You can do well by taking advantage of the variety of betting promotions on offer from bookmakers. It is not necessarily recommended to seek out sports markets because a bookmaker is offering a bonus on a particular event. However, if you are planning to place a bet, it is worthwhile scanning the bookmaker promotions to see if there is an offer available that gives you the chance to win a bonus bet.