Sports betting is essentially wagering on sporting events such as football matches and horse races. There are two main types of bets – fixed odds and evens. Fixed odds bets allow gamblers to place a pre-determined amount of money on a particular event happening at a specific time. Evens bets don’t offer any kind of advantage or disadvantage, meaning they simply match the total score between two competing sides.
How much do you want to bet?
The maximum stake per bet is usually £10 for a single bet, although some bookmakers will only let you bet up to 15p. As with all gambling, it can be very tempting to bet more than your bank balance allows but this may not always be in your best interest. You should never gamble when you do have not got the cash to cover losing bets.
What sort of sports do you like?
Betting sites have many different markets available, so choosing one that caters to your interests is key. Many people prefer to bet on their favourite team or player to win, while others enjoy handicapping the spread where teams from both sides compete against each other until one side is ahead by a certain number of points.
What happens if I lose?
If you lose you will not get back anything you put down. However, the bookmaker will take a commission, which could be a lot less than what you lost. This is why it is important to keep track of how much you are spending before placing your first bet.
Do I need to deposit money?
Depositing money is not mandatory, although most bookies require you to pay via credit/debit card, direct debit or online banking. Some bookmakers also charge a small fee if you choose to use an alternative payment method. In addition to using these methods, there are ways to avoid paying fees, including using prepaid cards.
What’s the smallest bet I can make?
Minimal stakes vary depending on the market, but generally speaking they range from 10p to £40. The minimum allowed bet per game is generally 50 pence, although some sites go as low as 40 pence.
Can I withdraw my earnings?
Unfortunately no, withdrawal requests are processed immediately after your account has been credited. All withdrawals will carry processing fees, although they are usually fairly minimal. It is worth noting that the vast majority of UK bookmakers will process withdrawals within 48 hours, however, some sites claim their policies can take longer.
Will I receive winnings instantly?
No! Bookmakers must comply with legal requirements relating to receiving payments. They usually wait a few days before crediting your account. However, they will often transfer funds straight into your preferred bank account.
Does this apply to mobile sports betting too?
Yes, however, it does not work on iPhones unfortunately. We would advise downloading an Android app instead. Alternatively, head over to our guide on ‘What Are The Best Sports Betting Apps for iPhone users.
Where can I see live scores?
Live scores are available on most betting sites, though some are not updated frequently enough to show every game. However, you can check the results on the BBC Sport website here.
What about free bets?
Free Bets are offered by almost all licensed operators in the UK and are a great way to try something new without risking any of your cash. However, the terms and conditions attached to them may come into effect at any time, meaning you might lose your free bet if the match ends in a draw. Also, like bonuses, they are subject to wagering requirements, meaning you’ll need to place a certain amount of qualifying bets before cashing out.
How do I open a betting account?
You can either download a dedicated app onto your smartphone or register directly through the site itself. Either way, it should only take a minute and sign-up is completely free.
Why is my balance always zero?
This could be because you have not placed any bets yet. Once you have made a selection, your account balance will update automatically.
Which markets are available?
There are hundreds of different markets on offer, ranging from football matches to horse racing and more. However, the odds are typically heavily skewed towards the bigger teams. For example, Arsenal has a 1/4 chance of winning against Manchester United, while Everton has a 100/1 shot of beating Southampton.
We hope this information will help you navigate your way around sports betting and online gambling better. In particular, we think that understanding how the industry operates is key to finding a trustworthy operator. The best thing to do is read reviews and visit betting sites independently, comparing each one side by side before you place your bets.