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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
New customers only. Min £5 deposit and bet on odds 1/2 or greater required. Free bet and free spins issued within 24 hours of qualifying bet being settled. Free bet valid for 6 months, stake not returned. Free spins valid for 7 days, selected games only. UK only excl Northern Ireland. 18+ T&Cs apply.
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of the E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Rules & Exclusions: click here
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
New customers only aged 21+. Minimum deposit £10. Qualifying bet must be placed at odds of evens (2.0) or greater. Get a matched Free bet up to £30 plus 20 Free Spins on Fishin’ Frenzy The Big Catch, credited within 24 hours. Free Bet and Spins expire in 7 days. Additional T&Cs apply. Please bet responsibly.
New 18+ UK customers only. Register using the promo code WELCOME40, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets and £10 in Free Spins (50x20p) credited within 10 hours of bet settlement. Free Bet stakes are not included in any returns. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min Deposit £10. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Account & Payment method restrictions apply. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&Cs apply. T&Cs apply
18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; See full terms; See full terms; Terms apply; 18+
Please add the correct sig terms- 18+ • New players only • £10 min deposit using promo code 200BONUS • The bonus will be applied once the full deposit amount has been wagered at least twice with cumulative odds of 1.50 or greater • To withdraw any winnings from your bonus, you must wager the bonus amount at least 5 times • All deposit and bonus wagering requirements must be completed within 60 days • This offer may not be combined with any other offer • Wagering limit of £50 per bet Applies • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods and countries full T&Cs apply
*New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football or Horse Racing multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 50 Bonus Spins credited on placement of qualifying Acca bet.50x bonus wagering applies as do weighting requirements, bonus Spins only available on selected games and expires 7 days after being awarded. Debit card deposits only (exclusions apply). 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Bet The Responsible Way. Full terms apply.
18+, New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 on any sports (odds 2.00+) in 7 days. No cash out. Get 4x£5 sports free bets for set markets (odds 2.00+), which expire in 7 days. Offer is valid from 10:00 UK time on 16/01/2023. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please Gamble Responsibly
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C's.
All the sites listed here can be considered safe betting sites because they’ve passed all our tests but Betfred and BetVictor are rated particularly high in that regard.
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.