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Top 10 U.K. oddsmakers

William Hill is one of the largest bookmakers on the market with £18bn in stakes in 2011.
William Hill is one of the largest bookmakers on the market with £18bn in stakes in 2011.
Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

William Hill is one of the largest bookmakers on the market with £18bn in stakes in 2011. Bettors can make wagers online, in shops, on the phone, or through mobile applications – with the latter being the fastest growing medium. The site has a presence in the U.K. as well as internationally, which can be useful for punters who frequently travel. William Hill offers odds on horse races in the U.K., Europe, United States, South Africa, Australia, and the rest of the world.

Bet365 Sports regards itself as one of the largest online bookmakers. The site offers betting options such as ‘Bankers Bets’, ‘If Bets’ and ‘Reverse If Bets’ are all possible. For horse racing, Bet365 operates with a ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ policy on every horse race. Regardless of the price at which you placed your bet, if the shortest price (SP) is larger then you’ll get paid at the better odds. The site covers meetings in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and the rest of the world.

Paddy Power offers a price guarantee on all UK and Irish horse and greyhound racing. The site is unique in that it offers ‘Faller Insurance’ where you can get your money back if your horse falls. There’s also the option of betting ‘Without the Favourite’ so a punter can win if one’s horse beats the favourite or comes 2nd after the favourite. The site makes available statistics of horses, jockeys and trainers, including wins, courses, etc., in order to help you make better wagering decisions.

Sky Bet differentiates itself by being affiliated with Sky Broadcasting Group. That enables the site to offer live betting and live streaming of events to users. Live betting allows you to place bets on live ‘in-play’ events, and offers quick links to betting opportunities and statistics. Horse and greyhound racing are two of the most popular sections on the site. Users are able to watch live videos of Racing UK and At The Races events.

Betfred boasts over £1.5 billion in annual turnover and began operations in 1967. Betfred has grown to over 750 betting shops in the UK. The site covers horse races throughout the U.K. and Ireland, and punters can place wagers via the telephone or online. Punters are also able to place bets during selected live matches. A ‘QuickBet’ option allows bettors to place wagers with minimal processing time and effort.

Ladbrokes covers a variety of popular sports including horse racing and greyhounds, football, Formula 1, cricket, golf, tennis, boxing, darts, baseball, basketball and MMA. The site even offers bets on politics and celebrities. Statistics, past results, and live scores are updated by the minute. Ladbrokes has a TurfTrax system which provides racecard information about horses in each event.

bwin is one of the popular bookmakers. However, they have a more limited coverage of horse racing relative to competing bookmakers. Like Sky Bet, bwin offers live in-play betting on selected events, and also offers punters access to live videos. Obviously, this comes in handy for punters who place wagers while traveling or who can’t attend meetings at the racecourse.

Blue Square covers major horse racing events in Europe. Punters can also make tote bets. The minimum stakes for betting on most sports is £0.50, with a maximum daily winning of £250,000. The site offers in-play betting on live events, and there is live video streaming for many horse and greyhound races. Bettors can also place wagers via the telephone as well as through the internet.

Boyle Sports provides coverage on all the major UK and Irish horse and greyhound races. Punters can also receive tips for upcoming races provided by the Press Association Tipsters. Users can also receive live race radio. Like most of the other major bookmakers, bettors can place wagers through mobile applications. The site also offers betting tutorials which are helpful guides for new punters.

Stan James provides betting opportunities for all the major sports including football, horse racing, greyhound racing, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, motorsports, boxing, as well as American sports such as basketball, baseball, American football and MMA. The site offers comprehensive statistics and results for past events, as well as racing information including horse, trainer and jockey form. There’s also telephone betting, with a UK free phone number.