Interested in gambling?
In 2012, the amount of money spent on online gambling in the UK topped two billion pounds for the first time in the history of the internet. Of all the many fads the web has introduced over the past couple of decades, online gambling is certainly one of the most lucrative. Gone are the days when having a flutter meant hobbling down to your local bookies to find it stuffed with chain-smoking men grasping with grim determination onto their pink slips, praying that their 10-1 cert will out-pace the rest of the field and send them skipping to the paying-out counter.
Gone also are the days of finding a friend with membership to an exclusive casino if you fancied a night watching a small ball spiral around the roulette wheel, or trying out your latest system in attempting to win at Blackjack. Most online bookmakers now offer casinos, where you can play anything from Snap (okay, maybe not) to Texas Hold ’em to your fluttering heart’s content.
Online gambling, when practiced sensibility and within one’s financial limits, can be fun. Here are a list of the top ten online gambling sites in the UK.
One of the world’s biggest online gambling companies, Bet365 has over seven million customers in two hundred or so countries. It is also the largest employer in its home city of Stoke-on-Trent. Unbelievably, Bet365 was founded as recently as 2000 in a portakabin. The site offers both sports betting and an online casino, plus bingo and even simpler games. They also offer live betting on sporting events as they happen, and live streaming of horse races, football matches, and more. For new customers, they offer to match your first stake up to a stonking £200, although only winnings from your free stake are returned.
2. William Hill – www.williamhill.com
One of the most familiar names to betting shop frequenters, William Hill founded his betting company in 1934, obviously forgetting the fact that at the time, gambling was illegal in the UK. They made a tidy £230M+ profit in 2012, and offer all the gambling opportunities one expects from an online bookmaker. They also offer a range of board games where you can play opponents for cash, such as backgammon, dominoes and gin rummy. The sites welcome bonus for new clients currently stands at £25.
SkyBet is a subsidiary of the satellite and cable broadcaster, BSkyB, and are based both in London and Leeds. They consist of a quartet of core brands, namely SkyBet for betting on sports events, SkyVegas for casino games, SkyPoker for … poker, and the equally self-explanatory SkyBingo. If you are a poker fan, on SkyPoker you can find daily tournaments, where you can win up to £6,000 for a £22 buy-in. If you fancy the £33 Sky Sports Bounty Hunter tournament you might even get your face on live Sky TV. Each new customer to SkyBet receives a free £10 wager.
4. PaddyPower – www.paddypower.com
PaddyPower was created in Dublin, Ireland in 1988, via the merger of the forty shops of three Irish bookmakers. It is both an offline – with a range of betting shops – and online company, offering an astounding range of punting opportunities in sports events as well as online poker, bingo, casino games and spread-betting. PaddyPower has diced with controversy in the past – in 2008 the bookmakers offered odds on Barack Obama being assassinated. The site’s most recent offer gives a new client free matched bets up to £250, although only winnings are returned.
5. Ladbrokes – www.ladbrokes.com
Possibly the most familiar name in our high street connected with having a wager, and in particular on horse-racing, Ladbrokes have been around since 1886. The name comes from the company’s origins at Ladbroke Hall in Worcestershire. They moved into online gambling in 2000, offering sports event betting, poker, casino games, bingo and backgammon. They reward frequent poker competitors with a loyalty points system. They also offer three matched bets of £10 to new customers.
In 1967, Fred Done opened a betting shop in Warrington. By 2013, the “BetFred” brand had evolved into one of the largest online gambling brands in the UK. Fred Done (as they were then knonw) made history in 1998 when they paid out early on Manchester United winning the Premier League. In the end Arsenal pipped United to the title by a single point. The BetFred website offers everything a punter may wish to risk his cash on and has a £50 bet match bonus to new customers.
Yet another site that entices new gamblers with a £50 matched bet, Coral is the UK’s third largest bookmaker and also the country’s largest bingo operator. In addition, the Gala Coral Group operates around 30 casinos country-wide. Their online site has the usual betting opportunities for sports-betting, plus casino games, bingo, poker and many flash-type games just for fun. They are another site that offers bets on sports events that are in progress.
8. Pinnacle – www.pinnaclesports.com
A relative newcomer to the UK gambling scene, Pinnacle Sports was founded in 1998, and is purely an online gambling company. They began purely with sporting events, but in 2004 moved into the casino market, opening online opportunities in games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps, Poker and Slot machines. Pinnacle offers some of the best odds available online, but has no sign-up bonus.
9. BetVictor – www.betvictor.com
BetVictor was known commercially as Victor Chandler until 2012, and have been around in the world of gambling since 1946. The company was originally created by William Chandler, who was the present chairman Victor Chandler’s grandfather. It offers sports-betting, live casino games and financial spread-betting. The site’s welcome bonus currently stands at £25.
BetSafe offer a range of welcome bonuses in trying to attract new customers to their range of gambling options. There’s a twenty-five euro bonus for new sportsbook customers, rising up to one hundred euros for people walking for the first time into their virtual casino. BetSafe are yet another site that allows punter to bet on aspects of live sporting events.