Sports betting in the United Kingdom is big business, and this is reflected by the number of betting shops and online bookmakers spread across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In this article we’re going to talk about some of the best British bookmakers.
There are believed to be around 9,000 betting shops in the UK, not including those situated inside football stadiums, while there are more than 2 million online betting customers.
Popular British Bookmakers
As said above, there are approximately 9,000 betting shops in the UK. Around 1,000 of these are smaller, independent operations with the rest consisting of the more well-known brands such as Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred, and William Hill.
Most of these independent bookies are local to specific areas, or even countries throughout the UK.
Here are some of the better known independent companies, all of which also offer online betting, split into sections of which country they are predominantly based.
Jennings Bet – Registered in the Isle of Man and with over 100 betting shops, Jennings Bet is a popular independent bookmaker in England. More than 50 of their sites are in London.
Don Noble – Established in 1963, the Don Noble Group has 15 betting shops in England. Nine of these are in Lincolnshire, two in Birmingham, two in Leicestershire, and one in Tamworth, Staffs.
Scotbet – The largest and most popular independent bookmaker in Scotland is Scotbet, which began life as Morrisons Bookmakers in 1961. Has had a major brand overhaul to bring the company up to date and reflect its standing among betting companies in Scotland. Scotbet has over 60 sites spread across the country.
Corbett Bookmakers – There are more than 60 Corbett betting shops in total, with most of these situated in, or close to the border of, Wales. The company has sites in England, with shops in places like Sheffield and Wigan but you will mostly see Corbett shops in Wales.
Webbers Bet – A small, independent company with just two sites, run by the Webber Leisure Company. These sites are in Caernarfan, and just under 50 miles away in Rhyl.
Bet McLean – They are Northern Ireland’s largest independent betting company possessing over 50 locations with the majority centred in Greater Belfast. They sponsor the Northern Ireland Football League Cup as well as being the main sponsor of Glentoran.
Toals – This family run business, established in 1932 in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, now has forty-nine sites located in every county throughout Northern Ireland. Popular and widely-known across the country, Toals is also the main sponsor of Irish football league side Crusaders FC, as well as the Co. Antrim FA and four associated competitions.
Hughes Bet – Smaller company with just six stores located in either Co. Down or Co. Tyrone.
Tommy French – Established in 1933, Tommy French now has five sites in Northern Ireland and is one of the leading independent bookmakers in the country.
UK Betting Laws
Betting shops, located away from race courses, were legalised in the UK in May 1961 and the industry has continued to grow since then.
There was opposition to this, but the resisters lost their fight and people can now bet around-the-clock, 365 days of the year in Great Britain. Furthermore, the industry is believed to be worth around £30 billion per year to the economy.
The only real law of gambling in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland is that the person doing so must be a UK resident over the age of 18.
Gambling in the UK is tax free, and has been since betting duty was abolished in 2001. Therefore, winnings do not need to be declared to the HMRC.
There is a gambling commission, who operate under the terms of the 2005 gambling act.
This is in place to ensure all operators providing gambling services meet a set of required standards.
The three main objectives of the commission are:
- Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime,
- Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and
- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
Local Football Competitions in the UK
Whilst football punters can bet on competitions from all over the world, thanks to online betting, actual betting shops usually concentrate on competitions from within the UK.
The main competition people will bet on in England, and indeed most of the UK, is the Premier League. This competition is big business, with some of the worlds best players on display every week and people love to bet on it.
In England, there is also the English Football League and cup competitions including the FA Cup and League Cup.
The Scottish Premiership, and Scottish Football League are other competitions which are popular among gamblers in the UK.
Did we miss your Bookies?
Do you know any British bookmakers that you think are particularly good value? Let us know in the comments below and we will be sure to update this article with your suggestions.