Technology and the internet have changed lots of industries in a very significant way. They have created new niches and jobs from scratch, but also affected the very core of countless industries which have been vastly unchanged for hundreds of years.
We can’t really imagine doing anything these days without going online or using our smartphones – there seems to be an app for everything. Among the industries which have known significant changes since the introduction of the internet is an ancient UK favorite: gambling and sports betting.
This entire market has been around for generations, since betting was done in dark alleys and away from the general public, to the expansion of brick and mortar betting shops after the Second World War, and now moving the entire ensemble online. With an industry this big, and growing year after year, a question begs for an answer: just how big is the UK betting scene?
Best Sports Betting Sites In The UK
The British have always been avid fans of betting and gambling. While the latter has been more popular for lots of years, in today’s article, we will focus on the UK’s love for sports betting – regardless of sport. If we look back into history, it’s very hard to pinpoint the exact birth of the first betting shop in the Kingdom, simply because they have been illegal for a long period of time.
From classic, big names like Ladbrokes, William Hill or Coral, who have all been around for decades, to Internet-born stars such as Bet365, Mr Green or Unibet, the passion British have for sports betting seems to know almost no bounds. Although the market is flooded with offers at the moment, there are a few bookmakers that we want to mention in this article, due do their popularity, great offers and historical value for the UK betting scene.
As far online bookmakers go, 32Red is about as famous and large as you can get. They have become very popular in the UK, and bring the latest technological advancements right at your fingertips. 32Red also have one of the attractive sign-up bonuses in the business – £10 free bet, 100% profit boost and up to £160 welcome bonus for new customers.
Although they don’t boast the history or client base that other brokers have, NetBet are an example of what good customer support, marketing, and offers can bring a bookmaker in the long run. They have steadily grown for the past few years, and still boast some of the best promotions in the UK betting scene – like free bets, enhanced odds, and a special loyalty scheme.
Of course, there are many more bookmakers which we haven’t mentioned at all, due to space constraints. If you want to read more information about a particular bookmaker, visit our “Bookmaker reviews” section, where we have in-depth reviews of UK betting sites.
The Main Betting Offers From Online Bookmakers
The one thing all bookmakers in the UK have in common is the fact that they’re always looking for ways to attract new customers and keep their existing ones happy. Good customer support, banking support and overall handling of a client’s account certainly all help, but new customers are most often attracted using special offers and promotions. It might be hard to gauge all the offers on the market right now, but there are a few categories which almost every bookmaker uses:
A “free bet” is a bet which you cannot lose. Even if the team or player which you back do not win, the bookmaker will give you your wager back. Some betting sites offer free bets when a player registers a new account, while other give them away on a weekly basis, if certain terms and conditions are met.
Simply put, a deposit bonus is a gift a bookmaker gives you for depositing money into your account. This amount can vary from 50% of the amount up to 200%, but usually has a superior limit around 200 pounds.
For a limited amount of time, a certain team or player can have their odds artificially increased by the bookmaker, in order to encourage clients to bet on that particular sporting event.
Some bookmaker offers special accumulator bonuses. The more selections or games your have on your betting slip, the bigger this bonus gets – up to 50% of your entire accumulator if you play 12 games, as an example.
These are just some of the most frequent bonuses and special betting offers bookmakers use to attract customers. Of course, there are many more options out there, a lot of them depending on the sport the client chooses to play. The preferences towards one sport or another have certainly changed through time, and are still changing to this day.
The Most Popular Sports
While football is, somewhat expected, the most popular sport when it comes to betting, tennis is also making very big progress recently, due to the large number of tournaments and players and the wide array of bets that can be made. Other classic UK sports like horse racing, dog racing, darts, cricket, rugby or golf also have their place in the betting world but are currently behind football and tennis regarding popularity.
As far as new sports go, E-sports are also turning up in recent years, especially among the younger crowd. Games like League of Legends, Dota 2 or StarCraft II attract tens of thousands of viewers online, and it’s only natural that a portion of them would like to back one team or another through a bet.
The Legalization Of Gambling
Before the 1st of May 1961, when betting was officially legalized in the UK, most activities were held either in dark alleys or behind closed doors, where only a select few were given a chance to earn or lose money on their favorite team, player, or horse.
When sports betting became legal, an entire industry was born almost overnight. Nearly 10,000 betting shops were opened in the first 6 months after the legalization of sports betting, most of which are alive today as well (although with some cosmetic and functional changes, of course). Nowadays, nearly every street in Britain has at least one betting shop, and we have long lost count of all the online bookmakers which have customer in the UK.
To sum up, it’s clear that the UK betting scene is certainly vast and unique. It has changed so much over the past 50 years, and will undoubtedly continue to evolve and take advantage of new technologies and ways to connect people with their favorite sporting events. The entire market has a very distinctive feel, combining old, traditional betting shops with shiny newcomers, but the bottom line is that they’re a bookmaker and a sport for anyone and everyone. All it takes is a little time and investigation.