How You Can Choose the Right Bookmaker in United Kingdom?
The abundance of online sportsbooks all over the world has made it really hard to make a solid decision without compromising on one or more features. It’s especially intimidating for new punters because a lot of factors go into making a bookmaker worth your time.
To help the punters in need of some direction, we’re going to explore our ranking criteria. You can use this information every time you come across a new bookmaker. Before you know it, you may become an expert on your own!
The License is Important
The license is the most important aspect of any iGaming business. And we’re confident every expert on planet earth will agree with us on this point. A license is necessary to regulate the operations of a brand. The government can impose its up-to-date gambling legislation on a regulated operator.
At the same time, the operators are always trying to maintain transparency with the players and the government. Because one wrong move can cost a fortune in fine in this industry. So, it’s both the legit bookmakers and the governments who are willing to work out the licenses.
As a punter, your benefits are beyond question. When you bet at a licensed bookmaker, you can rest assured that offered odds are fair and the events are not rigged in any way. In retrospect, online casinos are at a greater risk of unfair practices than sportsbooks.
Ever wonder why?
It’s because the majority of the games at a casino are RNG driven. RNG is the Random Number Generator algorithm that pumps out random results after you launch a game. With a regulated RNG, there’s no way to predict what the next outcome will be.
However, as it’s a piece of software, there’s always room for manipulation. Even if the casino operator is fair, there might be a hacker remotely trying to rig the RNG in their favour.
But when it comes to sportsbooks, the wagers are not software-driven, except for virtual sports. The odds a bookmaker offers can easily be interpreted by punters.
However, you should still stay away from unlicensed bookmakers. Because apart from fairness, a license also protects you from payment frauds, money laundering, and data theft.
The Sports & the Markets
Once you’re certain that the platform you’re selecting is properly licensed by the appropriate authority, you may now look at the sports library. At pretty much every sportsbook in United Kingdom, you’ll find a complete list of all available sports.
Your goal is to find a library that contains all the games you like. If you happen to like commonly referred sports like football, cricket, handball, ice hockey, golf, or snooker, you’re in luck. Because almost all bookmakers in the United Kingdom offer these sports.
However, when you’re trying to find bookmakers sites with niche sports, you may have to spend a little more time. For example, MMA, MotoGP, politics, novelty betting events like the Oscars or Emmys, etc. may not be available across all United Kingdom bookmakers.
That’s why it’s very important to browse through the sports library of different operators to evaluate whether your preferred sports are there or not.
If you’ve already found the sports you’re looking for, you have to go in a little deeper to look at the markets.
In bookmakers definition, a “market” is an event that you can bet money on. For example, in Football betting, “To win” is a market. It’s one of the simplest markets which means you can bet in favour of a team “to win” the match.
There are plenty of other markets in Football alone. Interestingly, the markets are not always the same across sportsbooks. Different operators utilize different markets to draw their share of the crowd.
At the end of the day, you’ll be placing your money on the markets. So, you should know about the available markets before you start betting.
Look for Competitive Odds
Remember how we promised that we were going to cover the whole idea of odds with you? The moment has come. Odds is basically one of the fundamental components of the sports betting industry. If there were no odds, there would be no sports betting.
In traditional practices, “odds” refer to the likelihood of an event taking place. For example, “the odds of raining today are high”. It’s an acceptable interpretation in the betting industry as well. However, the primary purpose of odds is projecting the potential payout of a bet.
And by looking at the odds offered on a particular event, you can predict how likely it is for the event to take place.
There are three main types of odds used across sportsbooks all over the world. Sure, there are more subcategories to them but we’re going to stick to the three major categories for this guide in United Kingdom.
One of the most commonly used odds types in the world. Also known as digital odds, continental odds, or even European odds, these are widely accepted across the world except for the UK, Ireland, and the USA.
It doesn’t mean that the mentioned countries don’t “allow” these odds. It’s just that the punters prefer other formats over it.
Decimal odds is the direct multiplier for your payout. Whatever the offered odds are, you multiply your stake with it to get the full payout if you want. For example, if a market is offering 2.00 odds, it means if you wager €1 or currency equivalent on that market and win, your payout will be €2.
Keep in mind that decimal odds don’t project the profit only. It’s profit + your stake. So, from the 2.00 odds and your €1 wager, you’ve profited €1.
Spotting the favourite and the underdog is also relatively easy to decimal odds. The team or player with higher odds is the underdog. Because it’s a less likely event and that’s why you can win more money if it happens.
The favourite, on the other hand, will have lower odds because it’s the more likely outcome. And the majority of punters will place bets in favour of the favourite. So, if the odds were higher, the sportsbook may as well go out of business, right?
In the UK and Ireland, punters are the most comfortable with fractional odds. It’s denoted with two numbers separated by a slash (/) or a hyphen (-). It’s basically a ratio of the profit and stake.
So, a 4/1 fractional odds mean every £1 or equivalent you wager will yield £4 or equivalent in profit for you. The total payout will be £5. So, if you suddenly come across fractional odds in United Kingdom, don’t worry because it’s just as easy to read.
Just like you could differentiate between the favourite and the underdog with decimal odds, you can do the same with fractional odds. The team or player with a higher profit to stake ratio would be the underdog. The opposite would be true for the favourite.
Also known as Money Line odds, this is widely used in the United States of America, obviously. Among the three types, this is the most complex odds to understand. Although it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it, there are lots of variables at play here.
American odds are always accompanied by mathematical operators plus (+) and minus (-). When the odds are referring to the favourite team, you’ll see a (-) before or after the number. On the contrary, if it’s the underdog, there will be a (+).
Now, American odds are calculated with £100 or equivalent as the baseline. If it’s the favourite you’re placing your bet on, the number indicates how much you have to wager to win £100. For example, a money line odds of – (350) means you have to wager £350 to make a £100 profit.
On the other hand, if you’re betting on the underdog, the number accompanying the (+) indicates how much you can win from a €100 wager. Using the same example but changing the sign, we get + (350) odds. It means you can win €350 for your €100 wager if the bet wins.
Compared to the other two types of odds, spotting the favourite and the underdog is relatively easy with American odds.
Other Security Parameters
The elements we’re about to discuss in this section are not set in concrete as security measures. The license is the primary security. If the platform has one, it’s generally considered safe. However, it’s always better if you have additional safety measures in place, isn’t it?
As these are all online bookmakers in United Kingdom we’re talking about, you need to use their websites to access the services. So, the website should be protected against hacking attempts or malware.
Most modern operators have SSL 128-bit encryption on the website. To know whether a website has one or not, look into the address bar of your browser. There should be a padlock icon before or after the URL.
An auditor in the iGaming industry is an external organization that complements the license by monitoring the fairness aspects. The operator itself employs the auditor to make sure there’s nothing shady going on with the odds or the bets.
It’s always better if the operator is regulated by a major financial organization in the United Kingdom. For example, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the designated organization to oversee online payments in the UK.
An ADR or Alternative Dispute Resolution organization is also employed by the operator. In case a bettor claims a dispute with the bookmaker, the ADR is supposed to resolve it from a neutral perspective.