Welcome to horse-racing-betting.co.uk where we will aim to give you the much needed information to help you bet more wisely.
So who are we? We are passionate and experienced punters with a diverse and in-depth knowledge of every aspect of horse racing betting with a focus is on passing our knowledge onto you.
Here we’ll show you how to pick the best horse racing websites on which to place your bet in order for you to find the best value for money, as well as passing on some info about the UK horse racing scene in general.
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How To Pick The Best Site
It’s important when choosing which of the vast array of online horse betting sites you want to bet with that you ensure it has everything you need. From a generally good interface and user experience to the odds on offer the site has to work for you.
A good mobile betting site is important as most of us bet on the move these days, while a solid welcome offer to get you going and online streaming are excellent bonuses routinely offered by some of the better firms.
Live horse racing betting is important to the modern punter so being able to watch your race unfold is a good tool to have, so luckily live streaming is offered by a number of the bigger sites and in high quality too.
With all of this in mind, we’ve prepared a checklist of the most important things to look out for in our opinion. The best horse betting sites will have all of the below so don’t settle for anything less!
- Welcome Offer
- Ongoing Offers
- Track Coverage
- Interface and General Experience – Try Before Deciding
- Mobile Options
- Streaming Options
Ongoing offers are important as too often in the past online firms have concentrated solely on bringing in new customers. Firms such as Bet365 for example will offer their punters free £5 bets every so often, just to say thank you for your business.
Whatever happens though, don’t forget the fundamentals. Even if you choose an all singing, all dancing website that looks amazing and broadcasts your race live, that is really no good to you if there are consistently offering odds which do not match your expectations. We are attempting to make a profit after all.
So start with comparing how the sites match up in terms of the odds they offer on racing (you can compare them on oddschecker.com) and when you find the one you believe is giving you the best value for money, ensure they have the other attributes we’ve mentioned and you’re good to go!
Best Horse Racing Betting Sites In The UK
Here are five of the better online betting firms available in the UK:
Initially known as the Hippodrome Casino in 2013, Betway expanded very quickly by launching their sports betting brand and promoted this by going head first into sports sponsorship.
Establishing itself very quickly around Europe at the moment, Betway has grown rapidly in the UK market and currently boast over 30,000 betting markets across a range of sports and events every week with regular players rewarded with changeable bonuses.
Betway offers a £100 welcome bonus to its new customers though you must remember to physically opt in to receive the deal. The bonus is a 100% matched bonus, in other words you would need to deposit £100 to receive the free £100. Depositing £20 would get you £20 etc.
Despite the popularity of their casino and attached loyalty programme, Betway are determined to become one of the top horse betting sites in the country and to be fair, the odds are fair on most races.
They also have a popular in-play section with lots of live betting options for football, basketball, tennis and a whole lot more to compliment their horse racing book.
The interface itself is pretty professional, the colour scheme being black, white and a pale blue which gives it a rather polished and well organised look about it. The site works quickly, links are easy to find and there is nothing confusing about the layout at all.
There is a mobile site and app available for UK punters which operate on all smartphones and tablets and work simply as a miniature version of the main site.
Known affectionately in Britain as The Magic Sign, Ladbrokes are one of the biggest, most established and most trusted bookmakers anywhere in the world.
Now a joint venture with Coral, Ladbrokes offer a massive array of betting markets and that is something that makes them one of the best online horse racing betting sites around, an attribute that matches their standing as the biggest presence on the high street.
The user interface offered by Ladbrokes is powerful overall, that red colour scheme so recognisable with punters and the site easy to navigate.
The welcome bonus offered by Ladbrokes is their now well established ‘Bet £5, Get £20’. Upon signing up and inputting the code B5G20, then placing a £5 bet you can receive four £5 free bets. Ladbrokes perhaps are relying on their established reputation and not offering a great welcome bonus, but as time goes on new customers will simply head elsewhere.
Android and Apple users can enjoy a good mobile and app encounter with the Magic Sign, in fact the smaller sites are better to use in this case than the main site. The user interface is very good, deposits are fast and the quality of live streaming is very good, every bit as good as on the main site.
Ladbrokes back up their standing as one of the best horse racing betting sites with a good range of in-play markets for sports bettors and in terms of the overall range of sports and markets on offer, only a handful of sites can match this.
Odds are pretty fair overall but, much like their slightly substandard welcome bonus, are not tip-top with this site knowing full well they can still rely for now on a very large, older customer base without the need to throw too many good offers our way.
Even before their merger with Ladbrokes, Coral were one of the most recognisable names on the high street for many a decade and as such are seen nowadays as one of the better horse racing online betting sites. Coral’s roots in fact go back to the 20’s and they remain a long established and well trusted brand, even in the online era.
We mentioned above that one of the key things to look out for is good old fashioned value – no amount of fancy branding and clever marketing can replace getting a better price for your bet. Coral’s book tends to be a little better than most, offering better odds and keeping their customers happy.
Given the Ladbrokes merger it is no surprise perhaps that Coral’s welcome offer is the same ‘Bet £5, Get £20’ promo which in truth is a little weak. Receiving up to 4x the amount you have initially bet with seems good, but the actual cash amount of £20 is paltry compared to the £100 offered by other sites and they may need to rethink this in time.
Coral do offer a good live in-play section and any event available in this section is very easy to find. The site overall is easy to navigate with all links kept simple making info easy to find. To help further, you can create your own shortcuts so that your favourite sports and events show up first.
Most of Coral’s good features convert very well to the mobile site and apps, both of which remain good to use and easy to get around.
Despite the mounting competition from newer, online only betting firms Coral remain one of the top bookmakers anywhere in the world offering a strong product visually but more importantly, a very fair betting market on their horse races.
888 is now one of the largest and best horse betting sites on the market having been founded back in 1997 as Virtual Holdings. Alongside 888casino and 888poker, the sport brand looks after a specific clientele and has aimed to ensure fair prices alongside good offers.
The issue they have, especially with their welcome bonus is that within their sport brand they are heavily focussed on football, so the ‘Bet £10, Get £30’ promo only works within that sport. Those betting on horse racing won’t really see an initial bonus, though special offers are listed from time to time.
Although you can bet on all UK, Irish and French racing on the site, special VIP treatment is reserved it seems for their poker players and that is where the firm overall appear to focus their attention.
888’s betting markets are fair in the main with a strong focus on football, though truthfully their prices come up a little short and that stands for the horse racing niche as well.
You will see a Live Now section within the site featuring live betting on many sports with odds updated constantly however the way the site is laid out means this will have little effect on horse racing punters in either a positive or negative way.
Despite most top horse betting sites keeping some sort of uniformity, 888’s site layout and user interface is reliant on where and how you are viewing it. Each country seems to have a different version of the site, albeit widely the same, but with links and information easy to find in all fairness.
888’s full breakdown of horse racing odds are available without signing up, unlike some of their information and games, so be sure to check it out before loading your account with them especially in the absence of a good welcome bonus.
Having begun in the humble surroundings of a prefabricated building in Stoke back in 2000, Bet365 has grown massively to become one of the biggest names in the business not just in the UK, but in the world.
The firm’s welcome bonus can change, but has consistently remained as probably the strongest on the market and is not aimed at specific players, i.e. football fans or poker players. Currently it is a 100% matched deposit bonus with a max of £100, so if you join up with £100 you will receive £200 to bet with and that can all be used on horse racing markets.
Bet365’s sports markets are simply unrivalled – thousands of markets offered on dozens of sports every single day with horse racing still a primary focus alongside football.
The thing this firm has got right and what has made it one of the best online horse racing betting sites is that they have got the fundamental thing of good odds correct. They are top price on horses quite often and away from the exchanges, you’d be hard pressed to find a better book on a UK race.
The live betting offering at Bet365 is another strong point, and while this is usually the domain of football bettors, in this case it has helped racing punters too. Once a race has already jumped off, you may still bet on the action at updated, live odds within the Live In-Play section meaning you have not always missed your chance.
The layout on the main site, mobile site and app for all devices is professional, slick and to the point. Despite the presence of some ads, there aren’t too many things taking away your attention. All UK races are streamed live on Bet365 including on mobile as long as you have placed a bet, so you do not need to be near a television.
Bet 365’s sponsorship of racing around the UK to a big degree shows their interest in the sport and, all things considered, they are the horse racing betting site with the strongest offering thus far.
The UK Racing Scene
Racing in Britain is essentially split between Flat racing and National Hunt (Jumps), though the two main seasons briefly intersect in the autumn. Here’s a run-down of the biggest races and meetings across the country over the course of the year:
The first Saturday in May sees the first classic of the season run at Newmarket, the 2000 Guineas for three-year-old colts followed closely on Sunday by the fillies’ equivalent, the 1000 Guineas.
The Derby and Oaks
Early June sees the third and fourth of our classic runs on Epsom Downs; the Oaks (fillies) and the Derby. There is a great support card too, including the Coronation Cup for the older horses over the same mile-and-a-half distance.
The biggest festival in world racing, Royal Ascot sees a procession including the Queen every day before racing with almost 300,000 people eager to watch five fantastic days of top handicaps and great Group 1 action including the Ascot Gold Cup.
Newmarket’s big summer highlight features the Group 1 July Cup for sprinters, most of the field having run at Royal Ascot beforehand.
Known unofficially as Glorious Goodwood, this five day racing feast is highlighted by three Group 1 races including the Goodwood Cup and the Sussex Stakes.
Over four days we see Group 1 action at this York festival, however the meeting is named for the big Saturday handicap, the Ebor, which as of 2019 will be worth a cool £1 million.
The last British classic and the oldest anywhere, the St Leger, is run at Doncaster Racecourse in September and is backed up by a quality support card.
Formerly at Newmarket and now at Ascot, Champions Day is the culmination of the British Flat season with four Group 1 races staged to crown the best horse in each division.
The festival is the very summit of the jumps racing season. Racing takes place Tuesday to Friday in the middle of every March in front of over 240,000 people. Betting on horse racing in the UK reaches a yearly peak at this festival.
The Grand National
Run in April; the biggest betting race in the world is accompanied by an impressive 10 Grade One races at Aintree near Liverpool.
Scottish Grand National Meeting
The Scottish Grand National and Scottish Champion Hurdle are run at Ayr each April, Scotland’s biggest meeting.
Cheltenham Open Meeting
Jump racing HQ stages this three-day meet in November and gives us an indicator as to who may run at the Festival four months later.
The Tingle Creek
The Tingle Creek Chase is Sandown’s premier race, run in December as part of a quality two-day meeting.
The King George
Staged on Boxing Day at Kempton Park, the King George is the biggest mid-season jumps race and is run as part of the track’s Christmas Festival alongside the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase and the Christmas Hurdle.
Welsh Grand National
Chepstow’s big one – the Welsh National is run every year the day after Boxing Day.
Licensing and Regulation of Horse Betting in the UK
One of the major plusses as far as punters are concerned, at least from a horse race betting point of view, is that the Gambling Commission in the UK is getting tougher with online betting firms.
Gone are the days of companies withholding money you are attempting to withdraw or reneging on bonuses offered. These days, what you see is pretty much what you get.
The Gambling Commission’s remit is to ensure safe and responsible gambling is practiced within this industry and to guarantee that betting firms take care of their customers. We are all now given the autonomy to manage our gambling by way of finding online help or even self-excluding from gambling.
Self-exclusion means we can contact our chosen betting site and instruct them to not accept a bet from us for an agreed period of time, an action only used in extremes but something the betting website has to adhere to.
These days when you open a new account with any online horse betting sites they perform checks to ensure you are old enough to gamble and to confirm your identity. This sort of security is for our benefit as much as theirs and in keeping everything above board, these companies avoid irretrievable losses and are more inclined to offer genuine punters good benefits and bonuses.
Safe Gambling / Gambling Awareness
Please note that we are an information site dedicated to giving readers knowledge in order to make better informed decisions and as such we recommend gambling with awareness.
Although it is desirable, please don’t think of your gambling experience at first as a way to make money. You must always bet only with what you can afford to lose. Remember only to bet with a clear head and do not chase your losses – if you’ve had a losing day with your chosen bets, simply stop. There’s always another day.
If you have any worries about your gambling related activities and want more information on how to control it, please visit http://www.whenthefunstops.co.uk/ and check out their advice.