Safe Betting Sites: Your Guide to Secure Online Wagering

James Pacheco
Author, Betting enthusiast

September 14, 2023

James started working in the betting industry a few weeks before Roger Federer won his first-ever Grand Slam and a few months before Greece shocked Europe’s elite at Euro 2004.

Above all, betting should be about having fun, rather than trying to win money.

But it’s not going to be much fun at all if you’re not playing at a safe online gambling site. While most betting sites can be trusted, others can’t. This could create problems for you, your money, your data, and can escalate into further problems down the line, such as problem gambling.

As a customer, you have every right to demand that the site you bet at is 100% safe and that you get a fair crack of the whip, rather than being at the mercy of a rogue site that can create problems for you. So here’s what you need to know about safe betting sites.

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Our recommendation for safe and trusted bookmakers

All of the sites listed below have been verified by Punters Pub as ones you can trust as safe betting sites. But here’s a little bit more about each one.

  1. bet365
  2. 888Sports
  3. Coral
  4. Unibet
  5. BetVictor
  6. Betfred
  7. Fitzdares
  8. Rhino Bet
  9. Spreadex
  10. Livescore Bet

#1 – Bet365

Owned by Bet365 Ltd and around since 2009, it’s probably the best-known Sports betting site in the world. Such a long history and experience in their case translates to it being the safest of betting sites, meaning you can just focus on enjoying all their different features.


  • Best in the market for live streaming.
  • More live betting events than just about anyone else.
  • Lots of payment options.


  • Rarely offer the best odds on major events.
  • Welcome offer could be better.

#2 – 888Sports

A subsidiary of 888 Holdings plc, it was founded in 2008 and is perhaps best-known as a poker site but their Sportsbook is still a big player in the UK market and more than holds its own as a good all-round Sportsbook.


  • Challenges and Rewards Programme gives plenty back to loyal customers.
  • Particularly good mobile app.
  • Strong for eSports.


  • Some events not eligible for Cash Out.
  • Live betting markets occasionally stay suspended for too long.

#3 – Coral

Founded as far back as 1926 and online since the late 90s, these days it’s part of the Entain Group who also own Ladbrokes, bwin and Party Poker. Slightly more of a no-frills site than some of its competitors, it nonetheless does all the basics right as a Sportsbook, giving you a solid experience when it comes to sports betting.


  • Easy to use and efficient Cash Out product.
  • Good on-site content including previews and tips, particularly on football and horse racing.
  • Good variety of traditional and virtual sports on offer.


  • A bit light on promos with only a few football and racing ones.
  • Website looks a little dated.

#4 – Unibet

Around since 1999 and part of the Kindred Group, alongside the likes of Stan James and 32Red, it boasts over 11 million customers across all its products (sports, casino, poker etc) , first making an impact in the Scandinavian market before becoming much-loved in the UK, as well. A prolific sponsor of sportspeople and teams, including five-time World Chess champion Magnus Karlsen.


  • Better welcome offer than most.
  • Often offer among the highest odds on the biggest events.
  • Lots of live streaming.


  • Mobile product not the best.
  • Limited on selection of pre-match cricket markets.

#5 – BetVictor

Part of the BetVictor Ltd Group, owned by businessman and horserace owner Michael Tabor, it first started back in 1946 and is one of the oldest bookies still in operation. Is a big sponsor of sports events, especially in the world of horseracing.


  • Covers every sport that’s popular in the UK for betting.
  • Plenty of payment options including Revolut and PayPal.
  • Decent Premier League-themed Welcome Offer.


  • Streaming is limited to horseracing and greyhound racing.
  • Not so appealing to non-UK players.

#6 – Fitzdares

A privately-held company that has been in operation since 2005, it’s extremely customer-centered, which includes a personal relationship manager monitoring all members’ betting activity, such as having an emphasis on responsible gambling. Mostly focused on horse racing but covers the main UK sports pretty well, too.


  • Only customers aged 21 or over can play here.
  • Bet via the site, telephone, text, live chat or email.
  • The Fitzdares Club offers excellent VIP experiences to members of it.


  • Sports promos mostly limited to horseracing.
  • Somewhat limited payment options.

#7 – Betfred

Another bookmaker who has been around for a long time (1967) and is registered in Gibraltar as Petfre, though it’s still mostly owned by its founder Fred Done. Has a big presence as a high-street bookmaker and is most famous for its generous and innovative offers.


  • Strong on esports and virtual sports.
  • Active promotion of responsible gambling on their website.
  • More enhanced odds and cashback offers than competitors.


  • Don’t offer betting on some of the more obscure sports like surfing, winter sports or chess.
  • Debit card and bank transfer withdrawals can take up to 7 days to be processed.

#8 – Rhino Bet

Open since 2020 and owned by a UK-based company called Playbook Gaming ltd, who have a handful of other betting-related interests, they’re a site who seems to take safe betting particularly seriously. This is especially the case with responsible gambling, with banners, links to RG organisations and content on-site about it, to help keep gambling sensible and safe.


  • Quick, simple and unfussy registration process.
  • More generous Bet Boosts than most.
  • New, crisp and clean look about the site.


  • Limited supply of on-site FAQs.
  • Limited withdrawal options.

#9 – Spreadex

Privately-held and founded back in 1999, it’s better-known as a spread betting company than a Sportsbook and customers should note they need separate accounts for the two products. Are also well-known for technical innovation with their platform and mobile app the winner of recent awards.


  • One of the best spread betting companies around.
  • Live streaming of some events others don’t cover eg. cricket matches.
  • Award-winning mobile product.


  • Very few ongoing Sportsbook promos.
  • Don’t cover many niche sports.

#10 – Livescore Bet

Operated by Livescore Betting and Gaming out of Gibraltar, it’s only been around for a couple of years but has already got plenty of customers on board, who know it better as a site for live scores across numerous sports. The betting site has the same distinctive black, white and orange colours as the scores and results service.


  • Good for politics and specials betting.
  • Regular supply of Daily Price Boosts.
  • Free-to-play competitions with good prizes for active customers.


  • Limited payment options.
  • Live betting odds are generally shorter than those available pre-match.

How to choose a safe betting site

As is so often the case, when choosing a safe betting site, it isn’t just about taking one factor into consideration, but many. To be sure you’re engaging in safe betting, you want to be playing at a site that ticks as many of these boxes as possible.


If a site has been around for 20 years or more, as is the case with the likes of Bet365 or Betfred, then you should be able to trust it. After all, you’re not going to be around for that long if you’ve gained a reputation for fleecing customers and your name keeps popping up surrounded by court cases, fines or other examples of bad PR.

Then again, being an established company doesn’t mean you’ve never been guilty of bad practices. But one-off examples of a customer having a gripe with the way they’ve been treated is one thing and a long-term pattern of this behaviour is another.

A quick Google search about a betting company in terms of it being in the news and why, is a good starting point. Another is to see what customers have to say about their experiences of it on forums or other sites.

Beware the fake review, though. Just as some sites may go out of their way to have lots of positive reviews about them, so other sites may deliberately try to create negative fake reviews of other sites that have done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way of knowing your real reviews from your fake ones.


First things first: you should never play at a site that doesn’t have a gambling license at all. That means there’s no control over it whatsoever and is pretty unlikely to be a safe gambling site.

But then again, not all licenses are created equally. There are roughly 10 different betting licenses a betting site can acquire and some mean more than others.

The UK Gambling Commission License and (see below) the Malta Gaming Authority one are generally seen as the hardest to get and the most respectable. So a site having one, or both of those, is a good indication of safe betting.

Having the Curacao or Kahnawake license on the other hand, while better than nothing, isn’t such a good indication the site can be trusted.

Security features

Your personal data falling into the wrong hands can be extremely dangerous so you want to be sure that the betting site has software in place to make sure that third parties can’t get hold of it and use it to at best spam you, or at worst, use your data to access your bank account.

So the site needs to have SSL encryption software that prevents anyone from doing so. If they do have it, it will be advertised somewhere on their site as a certificate or mentioned in their terms and conditions. Or alternatively, as a padlock icon in the URL bar. Reading reviews are another good way of knowing whether the site has all the necessary security features in place.

Anti-fraud measures

This can be divided into two categories. The first is the site itself being defrauded by being the victim of such things as bonus abuse or users benefiting from having multiple accounts. This is more for the site to worry about than you but it could have consequences for you, as well. If a site has been defrauded by professional criminals it could go bankrupt and not be able to pay out to honest customers like yourself.

The second type is fraud that affects you directly such as your money being used for money-laundering or other criminal activities. Unlike some other factors, it’s not so easy to know if a site can be trusted in this regard, or not.


You can tell a lot about a betting site based on their Customer Support service.

If they listen to your queries and solve them in a quick, honest, helpful way, whether it’s to do with making a withdrawal or answering a question based on a settled bet, it’s because they’re doing their job properly. And take safe betting seriously.

If they’re hard to get hold of and make little effort to help you, or do so in an unsatisfactory way, they’re less likely to be trustworthy and more concerned in looking after their own interests.

Clear terms and conditions

Some sites offer bonuses with unreasonable wagering requirements, meaning that a bonus that looks a good offer at first sight may not be so at all once you’ve read the terms and conditions: turning over a bonus 50 times or so is near-on impossible even for the most experienced punters.

Sites with such unfavourable bonuses should be treated with suspicion but worse still are sites whose terms and conditions don’t explain how everything works at all. Transparency in Ts and Cs at least allows you to know what you’re getting yourself into, while vague Ts and Cs don’t. And are a tell-tale sign of a gambling site that’s not safe.

Payment options

There’s probably no such thing as a ‘dodgy payment option’ because they’re all highly regulated by financial institutions.

Then again, well-established payment providers who have been around for years, like VISA and Mastercard debit cards, or e-wallets like PayPal or Skrill, are probably safer than a cryptocurrency that’s only just been created.

As a general rule, the more payment options on offer, the better. A site only offering two or three that aren’t so well-known, begs the question of why that is.

The other thing to look out for are high fees. A few cents per transaction is one thing but higher amounts aren’t a good sign: betting sites shouldn’t be looking to make extra money from your deposits and withdrawals.

Uk regulation

The UK Gambling Commission is responsible for regulating online gambling in the UK in a number of ways.

They’re perhaps the most stringent and thorough betting organisation of all at domestic level and that can only be a good thing for you, the punter.

Here are some of their key responsibilities when it comes to the sites that operate under its license:

  • Making sure player funds are kept separately from a site’s business or operating funds.
  • Ensuring betting sites have processes in place to stop minors from opening accounts.
  • Making sure license holders have measures in place to protect and help players demonstrating problem gambling.
  • Checking that the software used to run casino games is fair, safe and works as it should.
  • Keeping tabs on marketing offers in that they don’t mislead customers or make promises they don’t intend to keep.
  • Ensuring customer complaints are logged and dealt with in an honest and transparent way.
  • Allowing customers to escalate complaints against a betting site with IBAS or other regulatory bodies so that the power isn’t all on the side of the betting company.

All these elements are vital in ensuring you’re playing at a safe betting site and betting sites will be aware of all of them.

However, if the site doesn’t have a license at all or holds one of the other licenses (that’s also not the MGA one) then you won’t enjoy the same levels of protection.

Responsible Gambling

Another characteristic of a potentially unsafe site is that it doesn’t take responsible gambling seriously, whether deliberately or otherwise. Here are a few examples.

  • Not giving customers the choice to set deposit limits or other limits, such as how much you’re prepared to lose over the course of a day.
  • Not giving customers the chance to self-exclude if they feel they need a break from playing or allowing customers to carry on playing after self-excluding.
  • Not having links on their site to GAMCARE, Gambler’s Anonymous or other charities that can offer support to problem gamblers.

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Yes, as long as the site itself is one that can be trusted as a safe betting site. This article has listed safe betting sites and also tells you what to look out for yourself in terms of safe betting and how to spot sites that may be dangerous. 

Yes, as long as you’re 18 or older, though very occasionally you might have to be 21 or older. But you’re highly advised to bet with sites who hold the Gambling Commission license, rather than other licenses.

Yes, and some do. But that’s a real red flag and customers have little or no protection if things go wrong for you at a site who doesn’t have a license. 

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