Naturally, the best betting websites are closely matched with the best betting apps as the platforms are very similar. Gaming and gambling on sports has moved digital at a rate of knots and there is so much competition out there that we do not need to simply stick with our regular bookie – it pays to shop around.
Some big firms don’t make the list of course; one of our comforting and familiar names, Ladbrokes, went digital back in 2000 and have now built up a very strong web presence but while reasonably competitive, they just lack something against the new big boys such as Betfair and Bet365.
Here’s a ‘big five’ as things stand among the online betting community:
Since its inception in 2001, Bet 365 has moved quickly to become one of the biggest betting firms in the world with 6 million individual users on its site. Based in Stoke-on-Trent and sponsoring the Premier League football team there, Bet365 is a huge name in the world of online gambling.
Although our opinion can be skewed by the excellent and heavy advertising by Bet365, it’s hard not to be impressed by their online presence. As well as a traditional signup bonus, regular customers are furnished with bonuses each week by the firm and they make deposits and withdrawals easy to manage.
Live streaming on all UK horse races as well as thousands of football matches makes this site a crucial tool for sports fans, whether having a bet in your chosen event or not.
It can be argued that Bet365 have done more than anyone else to chart the course that digital betting has taken in the UK over the last 15 years and although its roots are in online casinos, the football and horse racing markets offered are comprehensive, competitive and now market leading.
This is the world’s largest internet betting exchange and the firm has changed the way we bet in the UK. Since it was launched in 2000 it has become of the largest overall betting companies in the world. Betfair claim that punters can receive odds as big as 20% better than those offered by fixed odds firms.
Betfair offer an ‘Acca Insurance’ similar to Ladbrokes and William Hill as well as various other promotions and bonus schemes. The exchange is their niche though, and with this the firm can act as a middle-man taking commission from bets between two individual punters – ‘backers’ and ‘layers’.
The website itself is neat, tidy, easy to use and right at the top of the digital betting game. Given that ease of use, Betfair is a good place to start if you are new to gambling online and may even want to delve into the world of exchanges. Help is available for newbies on the site and various forums will help you along the way.
Although making its name and its money mainly from horse racing back in the pre-digital days, BetVictor’s online presence is especially attractive to football punters. Season after season, BV offer the highest average odds on Premier League football in England. Although the advertising isn’t as humorous as Paddy Power’s or as interactive as Bet365’s, we mustn’t purely be a marketers dream and remember it’s about getting value for money and this is where BetVictor stands out.
Live streaming of all horse races is offered on the site whether you are watching on PC or on a mobile device and in fact it’s the mobile version of this site that stands out most compared to a lot of others. Mobile betting, in one format or another, is where it is at now and because of the ‘Instabet’ feature, new mobile users can get enhanced odds for major sporting events at BetVictor online.
With a massive array of sporting markets to bet on, the Paddy Power website is one of the go-to places for online gamblers. Their adverts are quirky, humorous and often controversial but only serve to highlight the firm’s personality, as does their overall web presence which is jokey, friendly and fun.
Paddy Power’s in-play markets are strong and placed into a layout which can be described as acceptable, rather than spectacularly good. The focus in this section is most certainly on football and Paddy Power’s stronghold – horse racing. Live odds and offers are displayed in the build-up to races during ad breaks when racing is shown live on TV, meaning the mobile customer is one being targeted more and more by the firm.
With a strong in-play line-up available it’s crucial that mobile versions of the site are quick and easy to use and in this case, they are. Originating in Ireland, Paddy Power as a firm was unlikely to have broken past Ladbrokes and William Hill in the UK if it weren’t for the digital scene and thank goodness they have. Their approach is fresh, funny and in line with how the modern gambler thinks and acts in the UK.
Befitting their position as one of Britain’s oldest and biggest bookmaking firms, William Hill’s online format is appropriately good. Offering in-play betting, live streaming, promotions, an ‘offer club’ and a good mobile version, William Hill have created a good strong presence.
The website is perhaps a little ‘busy’ and not as easy to navigate as some, though this may be subconsciously down to them being an old traditional bookmaker. In this sense, it was always expected that customers walking into a betting shop would already know what they needed to do in order to place their bet. The site isn’t impossible though and it’s only a minor irritation.
Overall William Hill’s online offering is worth a look, especially for an older gambler making their first forays into online betting, as we often feel more comfortable betting with a bookie we know. In the longer term though, William Hill will have to improve or risk being overtaken by an array of other sites such as 888, BWIN and others.