Biggest Betting Companies and Bookmakers in the UK

Joseph Haliday
Author, Betting enthusiast

November 28, 2023

Joe is a passionate sports fan, who also loves the field of sports betting. He has been creating sports betting content full-time since 2016. In that time he has written hundreds of articles, including sportsbook reviews, strategy guides, explanatory articles, betting tips, and more. Joe also enjoys wagering in his spare time, particularly on football, the NFL, and the NBA.

Sports betting is an enormously profitable business in the UK. That’s true not only for the betting companies themselves, but for the government too. As of 2019 for example, Bet365 was the second-biggest taxpayer in the entire UK, handing over approximately £156m.

Technically, there are dozens of major betting brands operating in the UK. The truth is, however, that only a handful of these attract the majority of punters, and generate the vast majority of the revenues. In this article you’ll learn not only about the biggest betting companies in Britain, but about the biggest overall betting companies too.

Flutter Entertainment PLC Betfair Review Go to Betfair
Entain PLC Ladbrokes Review Go to Ladbrokes
Entain PLC Coral Review Go to Coral
Bet365 PLC Bet365 review Go to Bet365
William Hill PLC William Hill review Go to William Hill
Kindred Group Unibet review Go to Unibet
Betfred Betfred review Go to Betfred
888 Holdings 888sports review Go to 888

biggest betting companies - Businessman holding tablet

How We Chose The Biggest Betting Companies

Our list of the biggest bookmakers in the UK hasn’t been thrown together at random. Instead, it is the result of extensive research, based on a series of clearly-defined parameters. These are the key criteria on which we’ve based our rankings.

#1 – Revenue

This is the quickest and easiest way to determine the largest betting companies from the average bookies. A business’ revenue is a straightforward measure of its overall income. Quite simply, the bigger the revenues, the more money the company is making.
When a betting company is publicly-traded – like most of the ones on our list – they must reveal their revenues in public statements for their shareholders. That being said, however, the contents of the financial statements for Betfred – the only private company in our rankings – is also publicly available.

#2 – Profit

This is the net gain a betting company makes, when its costs have been deducted from its income. The difference between revenues and actual profits can be sizable. Whilst William Hill’s revenue in 2019 was £1.58 billion, for example, its actual profits were only £147 million. For publicly-traded betting companies which are driven by outside investment, the ability to advertise impressive profits can be crucial.

#3 – Number Of Users

Unlike with their revenues, the biggest online gambling companies do not need to state their exact user numbers. Some brands reveal rough estimates anyway, which give us some idea of their popularity, but others simply don’t bother. William Hill, for example, stated that they welcomed over three million online punters in 2019, and Betfair claims to have over four million total customers, with 1.1 million active users. Brands like Paddy Power and Bet365, however, give almost no clues regarding their user data.

#4 – Number Of Employees

Since this information is much easier to come by than user numbers, we can get a solid idea of how many people each brand on our list actually employs. Whilst more employees obviously equals a bigger operation, a note of caution must be sounded here. Brands which still have hundreds of high street bookies – like Betfred – will usually have more employees. Given the decline of profits from brick-and-mortar stores, however, this certainly doesn’t mean they’re making more money than companies with fewer employees.

#5 – Individual Brands

The likes of Bet365, William Hill, and Betfred are obviously enormously popular in their own rights. Still, they simply can’t compete with the betting companies which have managed to unite multiple giant brands. Paddy Power and Betfair alone would be two of the biggest sports betting operations. The fact that they’re joined together as part of Flutter Entertainment blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to revenues.

Top 7 Biggest Online Betting Companies In The UK

Major sportsbooks don’t work in isolation. Instead, they are always part of a wider operation. At the very least this will involve an operating company. At the higher levels though, it can involve one single betting company controlling a whole range of different brands. When each of those brands is very successful in its own right, that’s when the overall revenues become stratospheric. There are seven betting companies which stand above and beyond the competition. Let’s take a closer look at each of these biggest betting sites in turn.

1. Flutter Entertainment PLC

In addition to Paddy Power and Betfair, Flutter also houses Sky Betting in the UK, FanDuel in the US, and in Australia.

Alongside a sprinkling of other sportsbooks, it also operates the famous Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars sites as well as continues to operate 600 physical high street bookies.

With the merger of The Stars Group in May 2020, Flutter Entertainment became the single biggest betting company in the UK. Flutter is a publicly traded company and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: FLTR).

Flutter Entertainment at a glance:

  • Founded: 1948 (Timeform)
  • Revenue: £6.036 billion (2021)
  • Number of Employees: 16,813 (2021)
  • Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland
  • Notable brands: Paddy Power, Betfair, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker

Sources : Flutter Entertainment plc – 2021 Preliminary Results, Macrotrends

2. Entain PLC

As with Flutter, whilst you most likely won’t know the name ‘Entain’, you’ll definitely know the betting brands it operates.

Entain was originally formed as Gaming VC Holdings (GVC Holdings) in Luxembourg (not usually known as a betting industry hotspot) back in 2004. Over the next nine years they relocated to the tax-friendly Isle of Man in the UK, created their own sportsbook, and began to acquire other brands. Things started taking off when they acquired Sportingbet in 2013, then Bwin in 2016, and eventually culminated in the massive acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC in 2018. Their rebranding to Entain took place in January 2020.

Ladbrokes and Coral remain Entain’s biggest bookmakers in the UK, with decades of combined industry experience behind them. Other sports betting brands they operate include Betdaq (the second-biggest betting exchange), BetMGM, and Australian brands like Neds. They also own a range of poker and bingo businesses, most notably Party Poker and Gala Bingo. Entain’s 2019 revenues were approximately £3.22bn, they have some 2,800 employees on the books, and their headquarters remain based on the Isle of Man.

Today, Entain is one of the biggest betting companies in the world, with licenses in 27 countries and 20 offices across five continents. Entain plc is a publicly traded company and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: ENT).

Entain at a glance:

  • Founded: 2004 (GVC Holdings)
  • Revenue: £3.83 billion (2021)
  • Number of Employees: 25,000 (2021)
  • Headquarters: Douglas, Isle of Man
  • Notable brands: Ladbrokes, Coral, Betdaq, BetMGM, Party Poker

Source: Entain Group 2021 Full Year Results  Entain Group

3. Bet365 PLC

Bet365 is still a relatively young brand, having only been launched in 2000 by Denise Coates. She was committed to online operations from the start, selling off all the betting shops previously owned by Peter Coates (her father) in 2005. Thanks to strong leadership, Bet365 has gone from strength to strength, growing this single brand into easily one of the biggest betting companies in the UK within less than two decades. Bet365’s decision to remain based on the UK mainland – rather than moving to a more tax-friendly location – makes it a significant contributor to the British economy.

Compared to the two brands above it, Bet365 has taken a significantly different approach. Whilst they have focused on acquiring a whole series of businesses, and building up a diversified portfolio, Bet365 – by contrast – has focused exclusively on its own brand.

Bet365 is a privately owned company. In addition to its office in England, it also has offices in Australia, Malta, Bulgaria, and Gibraltar. In 2019, Bet365 launched its website in New Jersey, USA, and Sweden.

Bet365 at a glance:

  • Founded: 2000
  • Revenue: £2.98 billion (2019)
  • Number of Employees: 5,000+ (2021)
  • Headquarters: Stoke-on-Trent, England, United Kingdom
  • Notable brands: Bet365

Source:, EGR

4. William Hill PLC

William Hill is arguably one of the most prestigious names in British sports betting. It certainly has one of the longest track records, which stretches all the way back to 1934.

Like Bet365, William Hill is primarily a one-brand betting company. Technically, it has acquired other sportsbooks over the years, including Mr Green in 2019, but this is not a focus of its business. William Hill’s most notable overseas operations have been in the USA, where it struck quickly after gambling laws were relaxed in 2018, to seize a chunk of the new market. The success of this move was part of the motivation for Nevada-based, publicly traded company Caesars Entertainment (Nasdaq: CZR) to acquire the company.

William Hill has experienced plenty of ups and downs since its inception, and has been sold numerous times. Most recently this happened in September 2020, when the aforementioned US casino giant Caesars Entertainment agreed to acquire the brand for £2.9 billion. The acquisition completed in April 2021, after which William Hill was delisted from the London Stock Exchange. Many of William Hill’s offerings in the US will be rebranded to Caesars Sportsbook. As for William Hill’s European business, including its 1,400+ UK betting shops, this was acquired by 888 Holdings in September 2021 from Caesars for £2.2 billion.

William Hill at a glance:

  • Founded: 1934
  • Revenue: £1.3 billion (2020)
  • Number of Employees: 10,000+ (2021)
  • Headquarters: London, England, United Kingdom
  • Notable brands: William Hill, Mr Green, redbet, MamaMia Bingo


5. Kindred Group

Unibet was originally founded in 1997, and launched its first online betting platform in 1999, putting it on roughly the same timeline as Bet365. The two companies have taken very different approaches since then, however. Whilst Bet365 has focused on its own development, Unibet has pursued a policy of aggressive expansion.

In the 2010’s alone it acquired a whole series of different businesses, including, Bet24, and the successful 32Red. It has also diversified into poker and bingo, with being perhaps its most notable addition here. In 2016, Unibet’s shareholders met and decided a rebrand was needed to reflect the growing portfolio of brands – ‘Kindred Group’ was the result.

Whilst Unibet was originally founded by the Swedish Anders Ström, and was listed on the Stockholm stock exchange, it is headquartered nowadays in tax-friendly Malta. That said, it also has offices in various countries including the UK, USA, Australia, and France. Kindred Group is a publicly listed company on Nasdaq Stockholm (KIND-SDB).

Kindred Group at a glance:

  • Founded: 1997 (Unibet)
  • Revenue – £1.25 billion (2021)
  • Number of Employees: 2,055 (2021)
  • Headquarters: Valetta, Malta
  • Notable brands: 32Red, Unibet, Maria Casino,

Source[AG5] : Kindred Group plc Annual and Sustainability Report and Accounts 2021,

6. Betfred

Like William Hill, Betfred is a betting brand with a long history in the UK. The first shop was launched by Fred Done in Salford, near Manchester, back in 1967. Originally called Done Bookmakers, the business grew rapidly over the next few decades, until it had some two hundred betting shops by 2000. In 2004 the business was rebranded as Betfred, and the online sportsbook was first launched. By 2017, Betfred had over 1,650 betting shops and its online operations were thriving.

Somewhat unusually, like Bet365, and now William Hill, Betfred remains a private company. Most of the other biggest bookmakers in the UK are publicly traded, but Fred Done (along with his brother, Peter) retains ownership of the Betfred brand. Betfred has also largely steered clear of acquisitions. Its purchase of the Tote in 2011 was a rare exception, but this was sold on again in 2019.

Betfred’s primary headquarters remain in England, but its online business operations are based in Gibraltar.

Betfred at a glance:

  • Founded: 1967 (Done Bookmakers)
  • Revenue: £728 million (2019)
  • Number of Employees: 2,080 (2021)
  • Headquarters: Warrington, England, United Kingdom
  • Notable brands: Betfred

Source[AG6] : Daily Mail, Craft

7. 888 Holdings

888 was originally founded as Virtual Holdings back in 1997, by two sets of Israeli sibling entrepreneurs. Initially, the company was focused exclusively on poker and casino games, and it wasn’t until March 2008 that its sportsbook – 888sport – was launched. Nowadays, of course, 888sport is one of the biggest bookmakers in the UK. 888 remained a privately-owned company until 2005, when it was first listed on the London Stock Exchange, and it’s currently a member of the FTSE 250.

888 Holdings hasn’t been as aggressive as some other companies in its sportsbook acquisitions, largely preferring to develop its existing products. Talks have been held to acquire both Ladbrokes and William Hill, but neither deal went through. It has been more aggressive in other areas though, acquiring a range of different bingo and casino brands over the years. In fact, most of the company’s revenue is actually generated by the casino section of its business, rather than the sport, bingo, or poker areas.

As mentioned above, in September 2021, 888 Holdings purchased William Hill’s European business, including its UK betting shops, for $3 billion (£2.2 billion) from Caesars Entertainment. 888 Holdings is a publicly listed company and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: 888).

888 Holdings at a glance:

  • Founded: 1997 (Virtual Holdings)
  • Revenue: US$980.1 million (£856.9 million) (2021)
  • Number of Employees: 1,350 (2021)
  • Headquarters: Europort Gibraltar
  • Notable brands: 888casino, 888poker, 888sport, SI Sportsbook, Wink Bingo

Source: 888 Holdings 2021 Full Year Results

Pros & Cons of Betting with the Biggest Bookmakers

Using the biggest bookmakers in the UK to place your bets comes with both advantages and disadvantages. It is important that you know what those pros and cons are.

Here are some of the main upsides and drawbacks with wagering on the largest betting companies around:


  • Reputation / Trustworthiness – Firstly, there is the issue of trust. Taking a punt with one of the UK’s biggest betting companies that have an established reputation as gambling platforms serving many bettors makes sense. You know that leading players in the industry are licensed and regulated by the proper authorities which ensure that wagering is both fair and secure.
  • Betting Limits – The biggest bookmakers in the UK are also much more likely to have larger betting limits than smaller firms. Nobody wants to be limited by what they can win or bet unless you set these yourself in the interests of responsible gambling. Some of the largest betting companies in the region cap maximum payouts at £2,000,000 if you pull off a big win and beat the bookies.
  • More Deposit Methods -There should be more payment methods available to you through the UK’s biggest betting companies than their smaller rivals. This is because large firms have more infrastructure supporting them over deposits, withdrawals, and other aspects of customer service. The greater the choice you have in terms of how you fund your gambling, using a mixture of traditional banking methods and modern digital options like eWallet services, the better.
  • Coverage – Sports coverage, both in depth and variety, is also likely to be better through the biggest bookmakers in the UK as there are greater trading resources attached to these firms. Smaller operations are less likely to have more niche sports. It’s important that the online sportsbook you bet with – be it a big brand or small bookmaker – offers odds for the events you like wagering on most.
  • Offers & Promotions – The largest betting companies also tend to run more offers and promotions than their competition. Their turnover is such that they can afford to risk providing deals that act as extra incentive for you to place your bets with them rather than a rival.


  • Using the UK’s biggest betting companies can come with downsides too – When offering prices on popular sports events, the traders may just follow what the exchanges or other large firms do, making it tough to find extra value wagers. Major sportsbooks may also work together and share information on successful bettors, so your punts may be monitored after pulling off a big win.

Interesting Gambling Statistics in the UK

Gambling  is big money in the UK and loads of Brits – young and old – take part in the action every year, betting at the biggest UK bookmakers, casinos, bingo sites, lotteries, etc. The Following are some of the nation’s most interesting gambling stats.

  • Brits spend £2.60 on average per week on gambling, and that adds up to £135.20 per year. Source: Finder
  • Gambling addiction could cost the UK up to £1,200,000,000 per year. Source: Finder
  • National Lottery tickets sales from April 2020 – March 2021 totaled £8.4 billion. Of these tickets sold, £4.9 billion was returned as prizes. Source: Gambling Commission
  • The National Lottery contributed around £1.7 billion Primary Contributions (to good causes) from April 2020 – March 2021, a 4.0% increase from April 2019 – March 2020. Source: Gambling Commission
  • Almost half of UK adults (47%) will have placed a bet in the last four weeks. Source: Finder
  • More Brits prefer to engage in sports betting online than in person. A third of UK gamblers (33%) say they will place bets online compared with only 6% who intend to place bets in person. Source: YouGov
  • Using a binary gender demographic, more men and about half of the British adult population (51%) gambled compared to just over four in 10 women (41%). Source: Finder
  • Online sports gambling accounts for the interest of one third of all UK gamblers who have placed a bet in the past 30 days. Source: YouGov
  • A fifth of British adults surveyed said they gambled a minimum of twice per week. Source: Finder
  • Survey findings revealed that from September 2017 – September 2021, approximately 29% of UK residents in the age range of 35 – 44 gambled online at least once per month and 25% of those aged 45- 54 gambled monthly also. Brits in the age group 65+ gambled online the least. Source: Statista
  • Spikes in gambling participation in the UK seem to occur in years when there is a major international football tournament involving England. This explains why in 2016 and 2018, when England reached the World Cup semi-finals, gambling participation was higher than the odd-numbered years around them. Source: Finder
  • During the COVID-19 lockdown, the overall gambling frequency reduced for Brits – both males and females – however more males took part in regular weekly gambling. Source: Springer
  • A study found that 12% of UK gamblers increased their online gambling spend during the COVID-19 lockdown, whilst 25% reduced their number of wagers, and 59% had no change in their gambling behaviours. Source: Xace
  • Non-remote betting decreased by 26% in 2020 due to the pandemic lockdown, whilst remote betting, casino, and bingo attendance increased by just over 8%. Source: Xace
  • Online operator data for June 2021 showed the impact of COVID-19 on gambling behaviour, revealing that the overall activity in the online market slowed, with both GGY (Gross Gambling Yield) and total bets decreasing 7% and 10% respectively. However, active players did increase by 4%, which was likely due to a rise in interest for the Euro 2020 tournament. Source: Gambling Commission
  •  Between April 2020 – March 2021, the GGY for online betting totalled £2.6 billion, with football taking in the most (£1.2 billion) followed by horse betting (£856.1 million) Source: Gambling Commission
  • As of 31 March 2021, a total of 2,439 operators are licensed by the Gambling Commission. Source: Gambling Commission
  • The overall UK online gambling industry (Remote, Casino, Betting and Bingo – RCBB), generated £6.9 billion GGY from April 2020 – March 2021. Online casino games dominated the remote sector during this period, generating £4.0 billion GGY, with a staggering £2.9 billion of this coming directly from slot games. Source: Gambling Commission

Sports Betting Industry In The UK 

The British sports betting industry is simply enormous. As of 2018, it had an estimated value of some £14.4 billion per year, meaning that – even for brands with operations in a whole range of different countries – the UK is often still their most profitable market. Approximately 100,000 people are employed within the gambling sector, the majority of whom work in sports betting, and around 31% of the British public are believed to gamble weekly.

Gambling has been a popular pastime in Britain for centuries, with the first true sportsbooks opening in the 1850’s. However, it was the development of online technology which made sports betting simply explode in the country. Over 38% of all gambling nowadays takes place online, accounting for approximately £5.6 billion in annual revenues. This is believed to be one of the highest amounts in the world, which is remarkable considering the UK is only the 21st-most populated country.

That said, revenues in the USA will likely dwarf these figures soon, following the relaxation of anti-gambling laws in 2018. $2.1 billion was wagered in January 2020 alone by Americans, and – if that upward trend continues – betting companies who have previously focused on the UK might turn their attention across the Atlantic.

Of more concern to the biggest UK online gambling companies right now is the prospect of tighter government regulations. There is a growing movement to restrict marketing, both via sports sponsorship deals and TV adverts. Calls have also been made for bookies to do more to help problem gamblers. The introduction of stricter legal measures wouldn’t affect bettors themselves, but would certainly have a significant impact on the revenues of betting companies.

The UK’s biggest bookmakers all embraced the digital and mobile revolutions to help make this lucrative market what it is today. Check out some fascinating facts about some of the current largest bookmakers in the UK:

  • Including casino revenues, the total combined annual income of the British gambling industry is estimated at around £14,400,000,000.
  • The online bookmakers’ that are part of the industry contribute over a third of that revenue, being worth an estimated £5,391,000,000.
  • Sports betting itself covers almost a quarter (23%) of the UK gambling industry with football and horse racing the most popular things that British bettors wager on.
  • Including the biggest betting companies UK punters can wager through, there are 2,820 licensed gambling operators for the region, and a fifth of those are strictly sports betting firms.
  • Annual growth of the online bookmakers’ sector in Britain is estimated at 13.8%, around a seventh year on year.
  • The biggest betting companies UK players can bet with are Entain (Ladbrokes, Coral, and Betdaq), Bet365, and Flutter Entertainment (Paddy Power and Betfair).

Common Features of UK Bookies

There is plenty that the largest UK bookmakers have in common. This is what sets them apart from the same firms operating in other regions, or smaller competitors within Britain. Make sure that you look out for these common features with the UK’s biggest betting companies today:

  • Fractional odds – In Europe, they use decimals, and across the Atlantic in the USA, there are American odds (Moneyline odds). The different ways that prices are expressed for sports betting matter, as each involves different calculations. All the biggest UK bookmakers keep it traditional with fractions. These are simple to understand. The number on the left-hand side or top of the fraction is what you win (i.e. your profit), if staking the number on the right-hand side or bottom. Remember, you must add on your stake when calculating total returns.
  • British betting terms – Each major region of the gambling world uses different words to mean the same thing. A forecast on horse racing in the UK, for instance, is called an exacta elsewhere. Another example would be with accumulators or accas being called multis or parlays across the Atlantic in North America.
  • UK Gambling Commission license – Whether it’s one of the UK’s biggest betting companies or a smaller operator, all firms must be licensed by the UKGC in order to take your bets legally. That is a requirement by British law.
  • Region specific payment methods and customer service – The largest UK bookmakers also provide payment and customer support that is tailored to British bettors. From a UK helpline to certain types of debit card and eWallet services, they have you covered.


Ultimately, the biggest bookmakers are industry leaders with good reason. Reputation is everything, and the major players built up their prestige over many years. It’s no accident that the most profitable British gambling companies have reached the pinnacle of the sector by being trustworthy, reliable, and regulated but also fair to the punters who bet on them, all of which  has helped them to stand the test of time.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about today’s biggest bookmakers in the UK, and we hope that the added insight will help you choose the best destination for all your betting pursuits. Happy punting!


The revenue of the UK’s biggest betting company, Entain, is estimated at around £2,500,000,000.

On average, a British adult will gamble £135.20 per year according to a 2019 survey commissioned by Finder. You can view more UK gambling-related stats like this one, above.

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