The best English bookmakers

Bookmakers from the British Isles are often regarded as the benchmark of quality in the world of sports betting, and are favoured not only by punters from Europe. British bookmakers were pioneers in taking bets on sports and horse racing, and today many of them boast over a century of history. These bookmakers are very popular not only in their home country, but also among bettors from other countries. Both novice bettors and experienced professionals are eager to join the ranks of active customers of these betting shops.

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British bookmakers stand out from the rest with their unique advantages and sometimes disadvantages. Their popularity is due not only to their traditions and history, but also to their high level of service, competitive odds and attractive margins. The pre-match line at many of them is characterised by a rich selection of events, offering a wide range of betting opportunities.

English bookmakers: their history

English bookmakers have a long and unique history. Betting on Sports closely linked to the history of gambling in the UK. They have played a key role in the development of the modern sports betting industry, offering many of the innovations we see today. Here’s an overview of their historical development

Early years of bookmakers

Modern English bookmakers.

What is the advantage of playing at UK bookmakers?

Playing at UK bookmakers has a number of significant advantages due to the strict standards and requirements they must meet. The most important factor is the high level of trust and security that is guaranteed due to the complexity of obtaining a UK licence. The process involves a significant financial investment and strict adherence to a multitude of regulations and standards. Obtaining a licence from the Gambling Commission entitles not only online but also offline betting activities, and constant monitoring ensures that users’ rights are respected in financial and other aspects.

However, players from other countries may face certain difficulties when playing at foreign bookmakers, including site blocking and problems with financial transactions. Because of this, many players may find it easier and more convenient to choose a site from the rating of bookmakers operating in the domestic market, where they can expect a similar level of service and security.

Famous UK bookmakers

UK bookmakers enjoy well-deserved popularity on the international stage, combining deep historical roots with modern innovations. Their prestige and respect among punters has been built up over decades, thanks to their strict quality standards, reliability and wide range of bets. In this article we will look at the key benefits that make English bookmakers so attractive to bettors around the world, exploring their history, tradition and the major trends and innovations they offer in the world of gambling.


Founded in 1926, this licensed English bookmaker has established itself as one of the biggest names in the betting market, competing with giants such as Ladbrokes. The company offers services both at traditional betting shops and on its feature-rich website aimed at English-speaking users. Focusing predominantly on Western European customers, the bookmaker does not seek to attract an audience from the former Soviet Union, offering bonuses exclusively for UK bettors.

Coral’s range of offerings includes over 30 sports disciplines, as well as betting on political, social and cultural events. While the betting selection is most diverse for popular sports, the company endeavours to cater to a wide range of interests of its customers. As for the level of odds, they are presented at an average level, which makes betting at Coral quite attractive. In addition, users are able to make sports betting from phone via convenient mobile apps, giving full access to their accounts on the go.

William Hill

Founded in 1934, William Hill has earned a reputation as one of the most recognisable and reputable names in the betting world with its extensive network of betting outlets. With the advent of the digital age, William Hill moved swiftly to an online platform, offering its services on the internet since 1998 and thus taking a leading position in the industry.

William Hill offers one of the most diverse pre-match lines in the industry, surpassing many competitors in terms of the number of sports available and depth of markets. Players can enjoy a wide range of exclusive bets, making the betting experience even more exciting and varied. Although the level of odds can generally be assessed as average, there are often more attractive offers in the live section.


Bet365, a prestigious English bookmaker, started its journey in 1974, initially developing a network of land-based betting outlets. Over time, the company adapted to changing market demands and in 2001 offered customers the option to bet online, which greatly expanded its reach and popularity. Although Bet365 still actively manages its offline outlets, the focus is now on the online platform.

Welcome bonuses, although considered modest - up to $30 - still attract many newcomers.

Bet365’s pre-match betting range offers an extensive selection of sporting disciplines, with a focus on sports that are traditionally loved in the UK, including the likes of horse racing, dog racing and cricket. Whilst the bookmaker cannot boast the lowest margins, especially in the popular football leagues where margins reach around 6%, its pre-match line up and quality of betting markets remain of a high standard.


Betfred, a prestigious and respected English bookmaker, was founded in 1967 and has successfully grown its betting business under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. The firm currently operates approximately 1,500 betting outlets across the country and offers extensive online services. Betfred remains a popular choice among UK and Western European customers, providing them with generous bonuses and promotions.

Betfred’s pre-match catalogue includes a wide range of sports disciplines, reaching a number of around 35, with a focus on sports that are traditionally valued in the UK. The company particularly excels in its horse racing and dog racing betting offerings, where it offers outstanding event coverage and attractive odds. In addition, Betfred provides its customers with an extensive selection of unique markets and detailed event listings, enriching the betting experience and providing additional winning opportunities.

English bookmakers


Sportingbet, a relative newcomer to the world of UK bookmakers, began operations in 1998, quickly attracting attention with its innovative online betting service. Initially focusing on UK and US punters, the company has expanded its presence over time, gaining fans among bettors in Latin America and Europe. While Sportingbet does not offer welcome bonuses, it does attract customers with a loyalty programme that rewards player consistency.

The company’s pre-match betting range includes around thirty sports, plus a wide range of bets on events in the world of culture, politics, entertainment and more. Sportingbet stands out thanks to its variety of markets and detailed lineup, which enriches the betting experience and provides additional winning opportunities. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the odds at Sportingbet can sometimes be a little below average, which is important for an informed choice of bookmaker.

UK bookmakers: their peculiarities

British bookmakers, known for their long history and traditions, offer unique betting lines, which are characterised by peculiarities specific to the UK market. These features are formed in accordance with the preferences and interests of the local audience, as well as the peculiarities of national sports.

  1. focus on traditional British sports: British bookmakers have a particular focus on sports such as football, cricket, tennis, horse racing and dog racing. These sports are deeply rooted in British culture and are therefore highly popular with bettors.
  2. Betting on non-sporting events: Another feature of British bookmakers’ lines is the inclusion of betting on non-sporting events. This can include political elections, cultural events, popular TV shows and even events in the life of the royal family. This approach widens the betting options and attracts a wide range of customers.
  3. Odds Level: Although UK bookmakers offer an extensive selection of bets, the level of odds is often rated as average, especially when compared to some international platforms. However, low margins are often seen on popular events such as major football matches and tennis tournaments.
  4. industry exceptions: It is worth noting that not all live bookmakers follow the same approach. An example of this is Betfair - a betting exchange where the bookmaker’s margin is replaced by commission, which often provides more favourable conditions for bettors.

Advantages and disadvantages of English bookmakers

Advantages Disadvantages
Wide range of offers: UK bookmakers often stand out for their extensive pre-match line up, offering bets on a multitude of sporting and non-sporting events. Average level of odds: In many cases, the odds may not be as high as some competitors, reducing the potential benefit of betting.
Deep and varied spreads: They provide a varied spread with many exclusive markets, allowing bettors to place more specific and considered bets.
High betting limits: For experienced punters and professionals, the high maximum bets that are often available at UK bookmakers are important. Limited choice of deposit methods: Sometimes bookmakers do not offer a wide range of payment methods, which can make it difficult for some users to fund their accounts.
Financial reliability: A long history and strict controls ensure reliability in financial matters, including withdrawals.
Selections of bookmakers based on various parameters

Frequently Asked Questions

How do English bookmakers differ from other global bookmakers?

English bookmakers are characterised by their long history, strict regulation and emphasis on traditional British sports such as football, cricket and horse racing. They are also known for their innovative approaches to betting, including a wide range of markets and high quality customer service.

Which sports and events are most commonly featured in English bookmakers' lines?

Traditionally, English bookmakers have focused on the most popular sports in the UK, such as football, cricket, rugby and tennis, as well as on horse racing and dog racing. Alongside this, they provide an extensive range of betting on global sports disciplines including American football, basketball, hockey and a host of others.

Why are English bookmakers considered reliable?

English bookmakers are considered reliable due to strict regulation and oversight by the UK Gambling Commission, which enforces high standards of honesty, transparency and user protection. History and reputation also play a key role in earning the trust and respect of customers.

What are the main disadvantages of English bookmakers?

Despite their many advantages, English bookmakers have disadvantages too. They may offer relatively average odds and fewer promotions and bonuses compared to some international competitors. Also, due to the focus on the UK market, terms and conditions in other regions, may be worse.