Considering that the entire sports betting industry is worth approximately $3 trillion, it’s no wonder that it is one of the most popular gambling categories in the country.
British punters are known to take part in various types of sports wagering – from football, volleyball, handball, baseball and basketball betting all the way to cricket betting, rugby betting, golf betting, darts betting and snooker betting.
Sports betting options
Fixed-odds betting is a traditional type of sports betting where a player wagers against predetermined odds provided by a bookmaker, betting shop or betting exchange. This means that your possible profit or loss is determined in advance by the odds you’re offered. It’s actually pretty straightforward – you bet on the outcome of a particular sporting event and get paid out if your wager wins. Players usually bet on the team that is more likely to win a match or on a player who has the highest chances of winning a tournament. If your wager loses, the bookie wins and gets to keep the stake.
Since electronic gaming is quite popular in the UK, players can use fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) to place wagers on various fixed-odds sporting games and events. The most commonly played games on these electronic machines are roulette, slot machine games, greyhound racing and horse racing.
In-Play / Live Betting
Live (in-play) betting is a relatively new type of fixed-odds betting available only online. The rules are similar to fixed-odds betting – you get to place a fixed-odds wager on a sporting event of your choice. However, there’s one major difference here: you are allowed to place your bets only after the event has started. So, instead of placing your wager prior to the beginning of the event with live betting, you can place it up until the event is about to be finished.
Thanks to the growing popularity of online betting in the UK, live betting is gaining momentum as we speak and is available across top betting sites, such as Paddy Power, Bet365, 888 Betting and others. The biggest advantage of in-play betting is a huge variety of betting options and the feeling that you are more “in control” of the betting outcome since you get to see how the game is progressing before placing a bet.
Another relatively new type of sports gambling is exchange betting. This type of betting is particularly popular among those players who prefer to place their wagers at a betting exchange instead of using a bookmaker’s services. If you place your fixed-odds wagers at a betting exchange, you gamble with players who take the opposite position. This means that both you and other punters get to either back or lay a team or a player, giving odds to one another and basically becoming bookmakers yourselves. This possibility to take the role of a bookmaker and offer odds to sell (lay) a bet is available only at exchanges and is known as lay betting.
Not all betting websites offer exchange betting, though. The UK has only three betting exchanges – Smarkets, betDaq and Betfair. They take a 5% winning-bets commission and pay out the predetermined wager to the winning party. If your wager wins, you also get to keep your opponent’s initial stake.
Spread betting is a specific type of sports betting that is totally different from fixed-odds betting. Although it is somewhat complicated and risky, it is favoured for its big wins potential. Also, spread betting in the UK comes with tax-free profits, and it’s not subject to Capital Gains Tax nor stamp duty.
When it comes to the rules, spread betting disregards the odds completely, while the stakes are variable instead of fixed. This betting type relies heavily on predicting – you guess whether the final value will be higher or lower than the values (spread) set by a bookmaker. However, being right or wrong is not enough to win or lose the wager. What matters is how far away your final value is compared to the spread. This means that spread betting gives you an opportunity to either win big and get your stake back many times or rack up big losses and lose your stake many times over.
Parimutuel betting is another betting system that doesn’t rely on fixed odds. Instead, all wagers that belong to a specific type go together in a “pool.” Once the event has finished, the wagers are settled and the winners get paid out of the pool. After the house-take and taxes are deducted, the total amount is divided by the number of winning bets. To calculate the payoff odds players usually use the parimutuel betting calculator, which can be found on various sports betting sites.
The parimutuel system is commonly used for greyhound racing and horse racing betting, as well as for particular sporting events that don’t last long and involve a ranking system. Parimutuel betting is one of the traditional betting forms that first emerged in the 19th century and has taken a prominent place on the betting market ever since. It is usually state regulated and available even in certain places where gambling is considered illegal.
Also known as the spread or Asian handicap betting, sports handicap betting is used to even the contest and level the market when there is a large difference in odds between two competitors. If one opponent has significantly higher winning odds than the other, handicap betting markets assign a surplus (positive handicap) or deficit (negative handicap) to each side. This leads to bringing both sides to a level and creating a more fair betting ground.
The handicap betting system relies on giving one competitor an upper hand while impeding the other one at the same time. This increases (or decreases) the likelihood of winning, making the entire event more uncertain. Betting companies strive to create a fair-play betting system that increases the betting value of all sporting events, and handicap betting makes this possible.
Also known as lay bet matching, back bet matching or double betting, matched betting is one of the most frequently used betting techniques by punters who are looking for best betting offers, such as free bets and other betting bonuses bookmakers offer. A betting type that is not really considered to be a game of chance, matched betting is regarded as less risky than other wagering formats. The reason for this lies in the fact that double betting depends on precise mathematical equations instead of chance.
Matched betting allows you to increase your winning chances by placing multiple wagers that will cover different sporting event outcomes. This means that your wager will be considered a winning one regardless of which team wins. Such high chances of winning make matched betting a popular choice among diverse betting sites offers. The option to place both selling and buying bets is available at operating betting exchanges in the UK.
Esports betting is another new betting type that has little to do with traditional sporting events, but is based on electronic sports or professional video gaming. They have become so common that you can bet and place wagers on esports the same way you would with traditional sporting events.
Although video game competitions have been held as far back as the 1970s, global tournaments have become common only with the advent of online gaming. The most popular games for both playing and betting online are Call of Duty, World of Tanks, League of Legends, Starcraft II and Counter Strike. Csgo betting, LOL betting and WOT betting first started as an in-game item betting and soon progressed to real money betting with dedicated esports betting sites in the UK.
Daily fantasy sports
Fantasy sports is another specific type of sports which refers to creating your own fantasy sports team that consists of real players. You then sign that team up for a contest or league that is made of other fantasy teams created by fellow players. The skill of your drafted players and their game performance determines the number of points your team earns and the rate at which it further progresses.
Various betting shops, including Ladbrokes, Betfred, Sky and Coral, offer online daily fantasy sports betting to their users. You pay to enter a contest and place a wager with others who signed up their drafted teams. The winner is the punter whose team performs the best and earns the most points. The reason for the popularity of fantasy sports betting lies in the fact that it’s not only fun to play, but it also puts your own sports knowledge to the test.
Popular sports to bet on in the UK
Among various sports that players in the UK like to wager on, the following five have proven to be the most loved among Brits:
Football betting is without a doubt considered the most prevalent type of sports betting in Great Britain. All football matches draw attention, but the Premier League in particular has been known to attract a huge number of visitors and punters alike.
Football fans make up the majority of the betting market, so it’s no wonder all major UK betting sites try to outrun their competition by providing the best betting sign up offers, lucrative incentives and most detailed guides concerning both betting and technical jargon. Also, there are many betting apps you can use to make the most out of your betting experience. Just keep away from a betting bias and don’t just back your favourite team because that can seriously cloud your judgement.
Dubbed as the sport of kings, horse racing is a big deal to Brits. It’s a favourite to place bets on despite its slowly declining market share. This sports betting type has been around for ages – even recreational punters are known to fill in a form card from time to time to have their shot at the races.
There’s a significant number of UK bookmakers whose services you can use, as well as horse racing events you can wager on, including betting on the Grand National, Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby.
Tennis betting became huge in the UK with the rising popularity of live betting – the fact that you can place a wager on every set while watching the match in real-time has completely transformed tennis match betting as we know it. A favourite betting sport for punters who are looking for interactive betting opportunities, tennis betting is popular throughout the entire year. Just one glance at the ATP tour calendar is enough to persuade those still reluctant to include tennis in their sports betting list. With many major events, such as Wimbledon, ATP Finals, Summer Games Tennis Tournament and the Opens, as well as a huge number of high-profile players like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Roger Federer, it’s no wonder tennis is such a popular betting choice among UK bookies.
Boxing and WWE
Both boxing betting and WWE betting have found their place on the British betting market. These sports come with plenty of wagering options, and punters may choose whether they want to bet on the final result (points and margins or knockout) or place their wagers round by round until the event finishes. Boxing and WWE have many big names and professional fighters who attract the attention of bettors whenever they appear as fight night contestants. Every boxing or WWE aficionado and betting expert out there is familiar with the names of Tyson Fury, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Anthony Joshua, Vasyl Lomacheko and other heavy and lightweight fighters whose names appear across all the best betting sites in the UK.
Despite the popularity of certain UK sporting events, British punters appreciate a good bet even if it goes beyond the borders of their country. It’s not surprising then that basketball (NBA), baseball (MLB), ice hockey (NHL) and American football (NFL and college football) are known to make quite a ruckus at the bookmakers in the UK. Of course, US sports are highly unlikely to kick off football or tennis from their betting thrones, but they have found their place on the competitive UK market. Punters frequently place accumulator wagers on various sporting events, often with the help of a reliable Android betting app or iPhone betting app, and get paid out for every winning wager.