Key UK Online Gambling Facts
The most popular UK gambling payment methods online are Visa, MasterCard, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, bank transfer, and Paysafecard. Other methods you can use are Zimpler (pay by phone), Trustly, and Bitcoin.
Some of the best UK online sportsbooks are William Hill, Ladbrokes, Unibet Sports and Bet365. Other brands you should look out for are Coral, Betfred, Betway and 32Red.
You can play online bingo at Bet365, Heart, Paddy Power, Gala, Foxy Bingo, Tombola and many more sites. Make sure you read our online bingo site reviews to get an idea of what’s available and the brands that offer something that pique your interests.
There are various problem gambling organisations in the UK. GamStop is great if you want to block yourself from using a gambling site. You can also get help, advice and support from BeGambleAware, GamCare, and Safer Gambling UK. Additionally, every licenced UK casino, poker and bingo site will provide responsible gambling tools as well as individual support.
GamStop is a responsible gambling organisation that helps you stay in control of your betting activities. As well as offering help and advice, the platform’s main job is to help you self-exclude yourself from a variety of gambling sites. Once you’ve registered for GamStop, you can add yourself to the self-exclusion register. This blocks you from opening/using an account with all GamStop affiliated sites. You can also use GamStop and our reviews to find legit gambling sites.
We give you the lowdown on all the best gambling sites in the UK. However, there are plenty of other useful resources out there. The LADbible Twitter account is great for tips and quirky news stories from the betting world. For some entertaining tales about poker, Swimming with the Devilfish recounts the life of Dave Ulliott. For those that enjoy YouTube, Brian Christopher and VegasLowRoller produce some fantastic content.
You can register for a UK gambling site by reading our reviews and clicking the secure sign-up links. These links take you directly to a site’s registration page. Once there, you can input your details, verify your identity and make a deposit to start playing for cash prizes.
Yes, but you have to be based in the UK. Gambling laws dictate that sites licenced in the UK can only be used by locals. It doesn’t matter if you’re from another country. However, you need to prove that you’re based in the UK by providing documents to an operator’s security team and allowing the site’s geolocation software to track your IP address.
All licenced UK sites offer responsible gambling tools. These can be accessed via your account settings page and include deposit limits, betting limits, losses limits and timeouts (temporary exclusions from the site). You can also opt to permanently exclude yourself from a site or, through organisations such as GamStop, exclude yourself from an entire network of betting sites.
One of the most famous gamblers in the UK was Joseph Jagger. The textile mill owner became legendary after breaking the bank in Monte Carlo. Using his knowledge of spinning wheels, he spotted a bias on one of the casino’s roulette tables. He used this insight to win £80,000 in 1881. In today’s money, that would be worth over £7 million.
Another famous British gambler is Jon Heywood. The former soldier won £13.2 million in 2015 by playing the online slot game Mega Moolah. Heywood was only a casual gambler and wagered just £0.25 to win the record-breaking jackpot.
Gambling winnings in the UK aren’t taxable. That means you won’t have to pay anything from your winnings to HMRC. Any duty that’s due on a sports bet will be covered by the bookmaker, not you.
Best-Rated UK Gambling Sites:
- William Hill
- Unibet UK
- Paddy Power
We review, rate, and rank the best gambling sites in the UK. Inside our breakdowns of William Hill, Ladbrokes, Bet365, and other top-rated brands, we analyse a multitude of features. Our aim is to provide a complete overview of each site and, in turn, the industry as whole. Only by reviewing each site and offering comparisons can we help you find the perfect platform.
Some of the things we look for are:
Licenses and Legal
Every online gambling site we recommend is fully licensed, regulated, and legal in the UK. We can say this with confidence because we cross-reference the company’s details with the UK Gambling Commission’s database of licensees. It’s important that you only use licensed UK gambling sites because it ensures a fair and safe experience. All licensees are required to prove they offer fair games and secure software. They also have to have guaranteed payouts, operate responsibly, and give you tools to control your betting activity.
Bonuses and Promotions
Any gambling site that wants to be the best must offer promotions. You can learn more about these in the section below. However, it’s important to note that every site we suggest will have plenty of added value for every type of customer.
Safety and Security
We only work with trusted gambling sites. Each website and app will use the latest security features such as SSL encryption. Your account will always be password-protected and there will be safe payment options for everyone. Finally, there will be onsite responsible gambling tools you can use to limit your betting activity, take timeouts, or do whatever else is required to stay in control and keep things fun.
Products and Software
An online gambling site without anything to bet on isn’t worth joining. Each operator we’ve reviewed has a broad range of betting options. In fact, it’s the case that almost all of the UK’s finest offer casino games, poker, bingo, and more on a single platform. Therefore, you won’t be lost for options. And, just for good measure, the best UK gambling sites online will have slick software that’s easy to use on any desktop or mobile device.
Gambling Laws in the UK: Overview
Gambling has been popular in the UK for centuries. The Unlawful Games Act of 1541 made gambling illegal, as did subsequent laws. However, betting on sports and games was so ingrained in British culture that it never went away. Because of this, it was almost inevitable that laws would be brought in to legalise gambling, and that’s exactly what happened. From the 19th century onwards, betting establishments started to flourish.
However, it wasn’t until after the Second World War that the industry took off. By the 1960s, the Betting and Gaming Act set the foundations for everything that would follow. By 2005, the Gambling Act was introduced and, in 2014, it was updated to take account of the rapidly evolving online betting and gaming industry. Today, the gross gambling yield in the UK is £14.3 billion and growing. This makes the UK one of the largest gambling markets in the world.
In turn, this means there are options galore for anyone wanting to play poker, casino games, or bingo online. From free-play demo games to high-stakes tables, all the best UK online gambling sites have something to offer. We’re at the heart of the industry. Our experts review every operator, keep tabs on the latest developments, and test new products on a regular basis. When it comes to UK gambling, we’ve got it covered so you can relax and enjoy the best betting experience possible.
UK Gambling Statistics and Data
The UK has one of the biggest gambling markets in the world. That’s why we’re ideally placed to provide the best insights. With experts based in the UK, we can keep tabs on the latest developments, regulatory updates, new releases, and more. Having boots on the ground also means we know the market’s demographics. From the value of the industry to the types of players playing, our team understands these vital stats and more:
- The UK gambling industry is worth £14.3 billion. Revenue from online gambling, including sports betting, accounts for £5.5 billion of that total.
- Slots are the most popular online casino game in the UK, accounting for 69.3% of all online gaming income.
- Online bingo has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in recent years, with revenue increasing 12.5% to £198 million between 2019 and 2020.
- Almost 40% of UK sports betting revenue is generated by football. Each year, more than £786 million is wagered on the beautiful game. Horse racing is the next most popular with annual betting revenue topping £569 million.
- Customers aged 45 to 54 years old gamble more than any other age group. According to Statista, 48.4% of people surveyed in this category said they gambled at least once in 2020.
- UK Gambling Commission data shows that 46% of people across the nation engaged in some type of gambling in 2018.
- Approximately 51% of men surveyed said they’ve participated in some form of gambling compared to 41% of women.
UK Gambling Regulations
UK gambling regulations are among the strictest in the world. That means our recommended online casino, poker, and bingo sites are extremely safe. The Gambling Commission is in charge of licensing and regulating operators. Among other things, it sets rigorous standards in the following areas:
- Security: All online gambling sites and apps have to be secure and include features such as SSL encryption.
- Payment Protection: All payment options have to be safe and your money must be held in protected bank accounts.
- Fair Games: All online gambling products have to be 100% fair. Everything has to be tested and certified by a third-party agency such as eCOGRA.
- Legit Business Practices: All operators must be completely transparent and fair. For example, bonuses must have reasonable and understandable wagering conditions.
- Responsible Gambling: All licensed gambling sites must protect customers from harm. This includes internal security protocols, as well as onsite responsible gambling tools and support.
To make UK gambling regulations even better, the government launched a review in late 2020. The aim was to make the regulations suitable for the digital age and provide customers like you with maximum protection at all times.
You can visit the Gambling Commission’s website by clicking here to learn more about the current regulations and latest updates.
Bonuses offered by gambling sites in UK
All the best UK online gambling sites offer some sort of promotion. These offers can range from first-deposit bonuses to loyalty rewards, and BOGOF deals. The size and style of each deal will depend on the site in question. However, each promo hinges on one fundamental premise: do X and receive Y.
There are two main reasons gambling sites offer bonuses:
- They’re a great way to attract new customers.
- They help offset the inevitable swings associated with casino games, poker, and bingo.
Nothing is certain in this business. Therefore, gambling bonuses and promotions are a great way to add some certainty to your experience. Indeed, if an operator promises you £100 for completing a certain task, you’ll receive £100. Nothing is left to chance. With that being said, here are some of the most common gambling promotions you’ll find online:
- Welcome Bonuses: Join any of our partner sites and you’ll receive a welcome bonus. This is a golden hello that gives you something extra as a new customer. Some sites offer no deposit bonuses, which are rewards for creating an account. Some offer those deals and first deposit bonuses, which are rewards you get when you make an initial payment.
- Reload Bonuses: These are identical to welcome bonuses but they’re for existing customers instead of newbies. It’s worth noting, however, that they’re not always as lucrative.
- Challenges: UK online gambling sites will often run competitions or challenges. The idea is that customers complete a certain task in an effort to earn points. The top performers at the end of the challenge win a share of a prizepool.
- Free Spins Bonus: Online casinos will let you play their top slots for free. Unlocking these deals will be a matter of making a deposit, betting a certain amount or completing some other tasks.
- BOGOF: These promos are particularly prominent in the online bingo sector. BOGOF stands for Buy One Get One Free. So you buy one bingo ticket, and get a second one for free.
- Refer-a-Friend Bonuses: You can often get your family and friends to join one of our recommended sites using a special referral code. Doing that can get you free bonus credits or some other type of reward.