Top 5 Safest Betting Sites
Bet365 are arguably the biggest name in online sports betting. They have on average the best promotions with Free bets that do not always even require a qualifying bet. When it comes to safety they are up there at the front of the pack, with unmatched back-end security, strict password controls, and player account deposit controls available. They have more online betting markets that the majority of the competition and offer amazing prices on all the major (and the minor) sports leagues. Added to this Bet365 are also superb when it comes to the speed of withdrawals, often being paid in minutes and if not a couple of hours.
Betfair was originally a pure sports betting exchange but since then they have added one of the top UK sports betting products to their brand. It has quickly become recognised as one of the best online sportsbooks in the UK. The betting exchange and the traditional bookmaker are both easy to use and each has a generous welcome bonus for new customers but you can only have one or the other. Once signed up as an existing user there is a ton of offers and promotions which you can take part in on both areas of the Betfair website.
Ladbrokes are a high street brand in the UK with shops visible in every town and city. They have transferred their expertise successfully into online sports betting with a cutting-edge website. They have a truly vast number of pre-match markets to bet on, as well as 24/7 in-play and ante-post betting from all around the World. They look at both the core sports such as football and horse racing, as well as more niche sports such as Australian Rules football, Baseball, and Hurling. Ladbrokes has a cracking Welcome bonus AND ongoing offers for existing customers, including a “Free Spin Prize Wheel” with the potential to win Free bets, Free Spins, Bingo Cards, and Casino credit, every day!
William Hill are another High street bookmaker to make our top sites list and that is because they too have delivered a quality online sports betting product. Once you’ve joined the site you will instantly be struck by the amount of horse racing coverage that they have, with live streaming of almost every race. They have Epic odds boosts on feature events each day but also regular smaller enhanced odds offers and a free-to-enter “Scratch of the Day” promotion to win various types of Free bets.
It made its name for itself with the first ever online casino, but since then the 888 brand has added 888sport to become one of the best sports betting sites in the UK market. They are above the competition in terms of sports and betting markets including some brilliant odds on some of the more minor events. The welcome bonus is generous and the bonus code makes it easy to claim. The website and mobile App are both a joy to use and super easy to navigate. Another of the strengths is the promotions 888sport offers existing customers, including a Free bet for all 4/1+ winners.
How We Review The Safest Sportsbooks
There are several things that online sports betting sites can do to increase the safety of using them, we will look at each of these areas now.
We do not believe that anyone is psychic and able to predict the future by examining a crystal ball. You never know for sure what the future holds but looking at the past is probably the best guide that you have to help you. A sports betting site that has a good reputation earnt over a number of years is likely to be the safest moving forwards.
All sports betting sites listed on Legalbet.uk are licenced by the UK Gambling Commission and have been given permission to offer bet wagers to the UK public. Online reputable online sportsbooks that meet strict criteria get the licence, so you know that you are dealing with a trustworthy betting site.
Withdrawals should be paid swiftly and with only a limited amount of KYC checks. Gambling sites that revel in asking for extensive and intrusive documents or take a longer than reasonable time to pay customers their winnings should be avoided.
The best online betting sites will have in place all the security measures that are available to keep you and your gambling accounts protected and as safe as possible. For example, the site should have SSL encryption to protect your information from hackers. You can quickly check to see if a site has SSL encryption by looking for a padlock icon in the URL bar.
Additional Betting Site Features
Online sports betting sites have in recent years been adding more and more features to keep accounts safe, and this time it is safe from their own account owners! Losing money, more money than you can afford to lose is a real problem. It will not matter how it is lost. Safer gambling measures such as deposit limits per day or per week, and time-out controls to limit excessive gambling, can help prevent your gambling from being out of control.
How to Choose the Safe Betting Site
When you decide to do some sports betting online choosing a safe online betting site to do it at is going to be at the forefront of your mind. No company is 100% safe and that includes bookmakers, but these things are hallmarks of quality to look for:
Safe online betting sites will all be licenced and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. Having a valid and up to date licence will make your online sports betting legal and all above board, rather than being a free for all checked-over by nobody.
The safest sports betting sites will probably have been around for a number of years, at least 10 is going to demonstrate that they know what they are doing and can run a business properly so they are unlikely to close now (taking your money with them).
Choosing sites that have good odds BUT not the best sports betting odds is also prudent in the long run. It has been known for bookmakers who have cash flow issues to offer higher than average odds, or even "arbs" with the exchanges purely to help their cash flow. They are in effect the ones who are gambling, not you! Any online gambling site which is offering odds that seem too good to be true then there is usually a catch and it is not safe to play there.
How To Avoid Unsafe Bookmakers
In a nutshell, there is nothing that can 100% guarantee that you avoid unsafe bookmakers when you are sports betting. However, if you follow our advice you will have a better chance than if you do not follow our advice. There are warning signs such as slower than usual withdrawal payments BUT chances are by the time you hear about these it will already be too late.
Secure Mobile Betting
These days betting on a smartphone is a very regular and commonplace event. This advance in technology has made it possible to enjoy sports betting from any place and at any time. If you know that you are going to be logging into an online sportsbook on your phone or tablet, it’s going to be best if you do it using the safest sports betting app possible. On top of this there are extra precautions to consider using when you’re going to betting in public.
Here are a few examples of things you can do to stay safe while using sports betting Apps.
Try your very best to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks because they’re more open to hacking. Use your own mobile data if possible or at a push use a trusted friend's connection via hotspot.
When you are logging into and operating any sports betting apps check who is around you. For example, you don’t want other people overseeing the account information of your online betting site if you have to type it in.
It is a good idea to enable the lock feature on your device so if you lose it (or someone takes it), they will not be able to get into your betting account Apps. It goes without saying that you should never leave your device open and unattended.
Use strong passwords - This one doesn't really need explaining. Password1 is NOT a good password. F5t&h*bBbBnDr! is a good password. The problem is remembering it of course!
Make your passwords unique - This duplicates the problem above, trying to remember all your passwords. There is software on the market that can help with this, 1password is one of the options.
Change your password regularly - If you have incredibly strong passwords this is not necessarily important but if you ever feel your accounts have been compromised then change all your passwords just in case.
Use two-step verification - This can help stop someone remotely accessing your accounts because if they do happen to guess your login and password, they will still need (for example) your phone to enter the authorisation key or access to your Email account to click the link. Needing TWO access points makes hacking your account incredibly hard.
Monitor your accounts - If you see anything you do not recognise on your accounts, any of them, immediately shut down your financial accounts and make sure you and only you are in control of them.
Don't click on unknown Emails - This is pretty well known these days but Spammers can Hackers can be clever, never, ever, click on Email links, instead manually type the URL into the bar and go directly.
How are betting sites regulated in the UK?
Betting sites in the UK are regulated by the Gambling Commission, which is an executive non-departmental public body of the UK Government. The commission was established under the Gambling Act 2005 and is responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in the UK. The Gambling Commission's main functions are to:
- Issue licenses to new UK operators
- Investigate and prosecute illegal gambling service providers
- Revoke licenses from operators if they do not comply with the law
- Advise the government on gambling-related issues
- Regulate online and remote gambling to ensure the integrity and fairness
- Protect children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling
All betting sites must adhere to the regulations and guidelines set out by the Gambling Commission or they will be fined and as the final step lose their licence altogether. This includes ensuring that they promote responsible gambling, protect customer funds, and have measures in place to prevent money laundering and fraud.
In reality based on our experiences and that of others the UK Gambling Commission do not know what they are doing and are not fit for purpose.
What is KYC at betting sites?
KYC stands for “Know Your Customer”, and is the verification process used by betting sites (and others) to verify the identity of their customers. This process will usually involve sending scans of identification documents such as a passport or driver's license as well as proof of address to the betting site. This is done mainly to ensure reasonable steps have been taken to ensure each customer is over 18 years old so can legally gamble and is a resident of the UK.
It is also sometimes claimed to be done in order to prevent fraud, money laundering, and terrorism but we have always failed to see how it would do that.
Which payment methods are safe for betting?
No payment method is 100% safe but the biggest risk to your online security is you, as long as you keep your passwords secure and make sure you are logged into official sites, never clicking any hyperlinks in Emails or other communications, you should be OK.
The safest method to use used to be a credit card because it included anti fraud protection and you could do a charge back against a company if they did not provide you with the good or service that you paid for. This included getting a deposit back from a bookmaker who went bust, but unfortunately did not cover any winnings you had. Regardless this was the most protection you could have when gambling online and ironically in 2020 this method of depositing was banned by the UKGC.
Today you are probably safest using an E-Wallet such as PayPal or Neteller and only ever keeping a small amount in there specifically for gambling. You may lose this money still if you are a fraud victim and there are not the same protections as with other banks but what you have done is limited your liability, which is really the best thing you can hope to do.
Remember to gamble responsibly
At legalbet.uk we take responsible gambling seriously and promote responsible gambling that can be done safely. If you ever feel that your gambling is (or might be) becoming a problem then we strongly recommend that you contact any of the below organisations:
BeGambleAware.org (or call 0808 8020 133) - As already mentioned they offer free, confidential, specialist advice for anyone who is worried about their own or someone elses gambling habits.
Gamblock.com - They claim to be the site which “Helps Gamblers avoid becoming desperate gamblers”. Whilst this resource is not free, they claim that the software “blocks gambling absolutely”
Gamblers Anonymous.org (or call 02073 843040) Gamblers Anonymous in the UK was formed in London on 10th July, 1964. Today the organisation spans the length and breadth of the country and you can go to the website and find the nearest location to you.
Gordonmoody.org.uk - Whether you need advice, counselling, online support or a structured residential treatment course, the team at Gordon Moody can help you decide what’s best for you to overcome problems created by gambling.
Stepchange.org - They offer free, flexible debt advice that is based on a comprehensive assessment of your situation. We'll then provide practical help and support for however long it’s needed.
Top betting sites
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Frequently Asked Questions
Whilst nothing is totally safe, overall we would say yes online sports betting is as safe as anything can be. The risk of fraud on your account is incredibly low, and the risk of a bookmaker going bust and losing your funds is real but unlikely. The biggest risk is probably from yourself, at any time online sports bettors will have the potential to lose your entire Net worth a few clicks away, and if you are someone who can not control yourself and are likely to tilt and chase losses, or gamble when drunk, then it is probably best you do not gamble online because for YOU it is not safe.
Yes, you can use multiple betting sites, in fact, it would be foolish not to since each sports betting site will likely have an advantage somewhere over another, and depending on what you want at any one time, you should use the betting site that is best for that particular bet.
There is no answer to this, but we have listed some of the online sportsbooks we think are the safest and we have explained our reasons why. If you are online sports betting there will always be some risk but if you stick to the top sports betting sites these risks should be minimal.
In a word, "no". We would not advise it because there is nobody checking their procedures and making sure that they are running a legitimate business. Having a gaming license means that they are a legal online sports betting company. This does not in itself guarantee a bookmaker will pay you will have a lot more chance than a sports betting site that does not have one.
Nothing is 100% in life but when it comes to betting online, a few of the variables which you can control are using a strong Password, do not use the same password twice, try very hard not to use public WiFi when accessing your accounts, and use deposit controls provided by the bookmaker if you feel that is something you may need.