Sports betting » Online Sports Betting in the UK
Sports betting UK

The gambling industry in the United Kingdom has registered a boom over the course of the past ten years. This fabulous growth was made possible through a series of inter-dependent events that got into motion more than 13 years ago. On April 7 2005, the Gambling Act was approved by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and this is considered the turning point of the entire gambling industry in the region.  At the same time, consistent development of online betting systems and games made it possible that starting with 2007 when the Gambling Act came into force, the sports betting UK broke records year after year.

For all our data-driven readers, we will dedicate a separate section of this article to analysing the most recent statistics presented by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Firstly, let us take a look at the most-played sports in the United Kingdom, from a betting perspective.

Sports preferred by British punters

Since England is the sports betting country where the first Football Association was formed, all the way back in 1863, it is only natural that the king of sports is dominant in British punters’ preferences when it comes to online betting.

This fact is consistent with the data extracted from the latest UKGC report.  This report reads that of the entire Gross Gaming Yield of £2.0 billion registered between October 2016 and September 2017 for online sports betting, football bets amount to £786 million. That is almost 40% of the total Online Betting Gross Gaming Yield for the previously mentioned period.

British punters

As you would be expecting, horseracing is not far behind in the statistics with a total Gross Gaming Yield of £569 million. If you prefer talking in percentages, horseracing represents 28.4% of the total Online Betting Gross Gaming Yield for last year, up until September 2017. Virtual sports, tennis, dog racing and cricket are the other sports that make up for the difference, with significantly lower amounts.

Gross gaming yield by sports

  • Football – £786 million
  • Horseracing – £569 million
  • Other Sports – £340 million
  • Virtual Sports – £175 million
  • Tennis – £143 million
  • Dog Racing – £53 million
  • Cricket – £27 million

Online sports betting UK – Demographics

According to the quarterly online and telephone surveys operated by the Gambling Commission, 45% of people interviewed have gambled in the past month, a 3% decrease compared to 2016. When talking strictly about online gambling, the same survey shows that 18% of those that participated gambled online.

Online gambling UK

Sports betting in the United Kingdom is an activity enjoyed by punters of all ages with no specific category standing out more than the others do. In addition, since we are referring to punters’ age, you may be interested to know that 22% of online gamblers aged 18-24 gamble at work. There is a consistent trend among punters aged under 35 to gamble outside their home.  Another interesting statistic regarding the gambling behavior of punters within the United Kingdom shows that 33% of them gamble at least once a week.

When it comes to devices for sports betting and gambling in general, the statistics indicate laptops as being the most popular choice. 50% of the online gamblers interviewed declared that they are using their laptops for sports betting and online gambling. On the other hand, the use of mobile phones has increased by 10% compared with 2016, to reach 39% in 2017.

Online betting UK

We have seen that taken separately, laptops represent 50% of the total devices used by online punters to place their bets. However, if you combine the percentages of mobile phones and tablets, you get 51% in 2017. That is an 8% increase compared to 2016 an undeniable majority. These numbers confirm the general trend that mobile online betting is more popular among punters compared to using laptops or personal computers.

Key figures and facts about the UK gambling industry

At the beginning of this article, we made a promise to our data-enthusiasts readers that we will return with the general figures that illustrate the overall situation for Gambling in the United Kingdom. Well, this is your moment of glory since we are about to share with you the data that confirm the continuously increasing trend of the gambling industry in the UK.

Horse racing UK
  • In 2011 the gambling industry in the United Kingdom (UK) was roughly worth £8.4 billion;
  • The overall Gross Gambling Yield for the United Kingdom gambling industry during October 2016 and September 2017 amounts to no less than £13.9 billion. This amount includes all land based and remote gambling forms: Casino, Sports Betting, Arcades, Bingo, the National Lottery and other Lotteries. Compared to the report between April 2016 and March 2017, we observe a 7% increase;
  • Out of the total £13.9 billion, the online gambling sector represents 2% with £4.9 billion. Within the online sector, casino games have generated £2.7 billion with £1.8 billion exclusively through online slots;
  • 2018 was the year that the gambling industry in the United Kingdom (UK) was grown to an amount of £14.4 billion in total;
  • Online sports betting generated £2.0 billion, as previously stated, an amount dominated by football betting and horseracing;
  • A total of 106,366 employees are working within the gambling industry in the United Kingdom;
  • The total number of online activities licensed by the UKGC increased with 0.6% to reach 3,709.

Best online bookmakers in the United Kingdom

After all the information and data regarding the online sports betting industry in the UK, you should be able to form an objective opinion about the entire phenomenon. In the end, the choice of enjoying online sports betting is only yours to make, and it should be a well-documented decision. Considering that you wish to try your luck and place some sports bets in a UK online sportsbook, we have put together a list with the top rated ones. If you want to have a little extra adventage and make use of a few bonuses, take a look at this article: ‘Best Bookmaker bonuses in the UK

William Hill

William Hill can be easily considered one of the pillars of sports betting in the United Kingdom. If you are a fan of sports betting or online casino, then there’s no chance you haven’t heard about this giant with that was founded all the way back in 1934. All that experience translates into perfect services both online and offline. This is confirmed right from the start, with the new customer offer that rewards any £10 bet with a £30 free bet.

Experts in the industry carefully handle every aspect of the online betting experience at William Hill so that punters have the best possible time. From the dedicated mobile apps, top-notch security, diverse payment and withdrawal methods, commitment towards responsible gaming and all the way to the 24/7, professional customer support department, everything is perfectly optimised.


  • Attractive new customer offer
  • Regular betting promotions
  • 24/7 support through Live-Chat, email or phone
  • Competitive odds on all possible betting markets, both in-play and pre-match


  • Inexperienced punters might get lost trying to download the mobile app


Completing our top-three UK online bookmakers, Ladbrokes follows the same coordinates as our previous two options. Established in 1886 as a local bookmaker, Ladbrokes knew how to perfectly adapt their business to the ever-changing times of sports betting and manage to remain one of the top online sportsbooks in the UK.

Just like you’d expect from an online sportsbook with so much experience, every interaction is perfect. From the moment you register a new account and all the way up to getting your withdrawal paid, everything is designed with the punter’s benefit in mind.  At Ladbrokes, you will enjoy great promotions for both new and existing customers, versatile ways to control how much you spend on betting, diverse payment methods and a safe and adaptive mobile website.


  • Great new customer offer
  • Accepts PayPal for withdrawals and deposits
  • Unshakable reputation
  • Very attractive VIP program


  • There’s no search bar to find the matches you want to bet on

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