Cheltenham Free Bets & Bonuses

free betOur recommended Cheltenham bookmakers provide new customers with attractive welcome offers throughout the year.  During the Cheltenham Festival things go up a notch however and during the first couple of weeks in March you can claim some of the most outrageous welcome free bets and bonuses you will see all year round.

In this section we focus on the best introductory betting site promotions and show you the major terms and conditions to consider when claiming them.  There are many different types of free bet and bonus deals available in amounts to suit all types of punter, from those looking for a low stakes £5 bet to those wishing to get matched bonuses of £100's.  The important thing is to take the right offer for you. 

Deposit and bet £5 on Horse Racing at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of registration; excludes cashed out bets. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, for set events only, at odds of 2.00+ expires in 7 days. Credit/Debit Card deposits only. Geo Restrictions apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Open Account Offer. For new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
18+. UK+IRE only. Min first bet £5 at odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 4 x £5 free bets. Not valid with Cash Out. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. T&Cs apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Join, deposit (restrictions apply) using code RACE888 and bet £10+ on the 1st race of any UK or Irish race meeting (both mid-week and at the weekend) and receive six £5 bet tokens to use on the remaining races on the card (£30 free total). Free token are valid 7 days and can be used on any racing or sports, they are awarded on qualifying bet settlement.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New customers from UK & Northern Ireland Only. Stake £10 or more at single/cumulative odds of Evens (2.0) or greater on your first bet. Free bet balance of £30 credited within 48 hours of bet settling. Free Bets expire after 7 days. E-Wallet restrictions apply. Minimum 5 game rounds. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Register and deposit (using debit, credit card or PayPal) and place a £10+ wager within 7 days at odds of 3/4+, get a matched free bet up to £30 that is valid for one week from award. Use the free token on any markets you like, no odds restrictions, winnings in cash (up to £20,000) stake not given back.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New UK & IRE customers only. Bonus code: W30. Min deposit and stake £/€10 at min odds 1/2 within 45 day expiry from registration. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excluded. Free bets issued as £/€10 on UK racing, £/€10 on international racing, £/€10 free bet on Ante Post racing. Free bets valid for 7 days. Free bet stakes will not be returned in any winnings. T&Cs apply. 18+.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Sport Nation
New customers only. Valid once per customer. Cash released in £5 instalments per £100 qualifying turnover. 30 days from reg to fulfil offer. min qualifying odds 1.6, Skrill deposits excluded. 18+ only. BeGambleAware
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30f - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Min. deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Bonus amount is 100% of deposit up to £50; Offer can be claimed once per household; Wager the qualifying deposit and bonus amount 8x within 30 days to convert bonus winnings into real money; Wagers must be on min. odds of 4/5 on singles or acca bets with min. odds of 2/5 per selection to qualify; Max. stake contribution to wagering requirement is the value of your bonus; Certain bet types are excluded.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
18+, Customers will be awarded £15 in free bets and £15 in free spins for Casino and Vegas. New Customers Only. Free bets valid for 3 days, free spins valid for 7 days.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Create an account and make a first deposit by credit or debit card (eWallets not valid for offer). Place a first bet of £/€20+ more at odds of 4/5+ (1.8). On settlement should that bet lose you will get a £10 bonus token (awarded in 48 hours). Your bonus token can be used on any markets over the next 7 days, cash winnings token itself not returned.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New customers only, bet up to €/£20 on the Exchange and if your first bet loses, we’ll refund you €/£20 in Cash. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. T&Cs apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New customers depositing (by a method other than Skrill, PaySafe or Neteller) and betting £10+ (one bet) ,with odds of 3/1 (4.00) or greater, will recieve a £10 free bet upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Free token expries after 7 days and must be used on a 3+ multiple bet.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets. 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
New customers only, real money deposit required (credit/debit card only). Deposit & bonus amount must be wagered 6x at min odds 4/5+ prior to bonus and bonus winnings withdrawal. Winning from real money bets can withdrawn anytime. Bonus for sports betting only.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Join and deposit (using a card) £10 or more and bet £10+ at odds of evens or greater. Once that bet settles if it loses get your stake refundedup to £10 in the form of a free token that you can use on any sports markets at odds if 1/2+ over the next 7 days. T&Cs apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Deposit (except PaySafe, Neteller & Skrill) and bet a minimum of £10, place an accumulator bet with at least 3 selections and 7/10+ odds for each pick (excludes Horse Racing selections). Once the qualifying bet has settled you will receive a stake matched free bet up to £25 within 24 hours that can be used on any sports over the next 30 days.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Bet £10 or more at 1/2+ odds on any sports market within 13 days to claim two £15 free bet tokens when that bet settles, within 1 hour. You will be promoted to opt-in to the offer following your first wager settling. Free tokens expire after 30 days and can be used on any single line sports markets. Bet types/free bet restrictions apply. Limited availability.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
leovegas sports
New customers only. Deposit £10 min and claim in ‘my offers' 1x100% mobile in-play profit boost. Max stake £10. Max extra winnings £100. Valid for 30 days. Skrill/Neteller deposits do not qualify. 18+ Full T&Cs apply
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Place a £10+ qualifying bet with odds of Evens+ and get a £10 Free Bet to be used on an accumulator with a minimum of 3 selections and minimum cumulative odds of Evens+. Free bet will expire after 7 days if not used. Certain bet types excluded for qualifying bets. Must accept pop-up when prompted. UK only. 1 Per new customer. Limited availability. Qualifying bet must settle within 7 days of registration. Free bet restrictions apply.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.
Turnover requirement of 7x your deposit bonus at minimum odds of 1.8. Bonus expires after 30 days. The maximum stake towards wagering is £50. Any bets placed exceeding the £50 maximum will not count towards any wagering requirement.
T&C's Apply. New Customers Only. 18+.

Free bets generally pay you cash winnings, require lower qualifying deposits/bets to claim and give you a higher percentage free.  You won't get the stake back, you can't split them up and they usually expire within 7 days. 

Bonuses tend to be of higher overall value and amount, you can keep the bonus itself, split it up into many bets and it usually comes with a longer validity of 30+ days.  Bonuses however need to be bet through several times at minimum odds, known as the wagering requirement or rollover.

How To Use Free Bets & Bonuses

rulesBetting sites often offer introductory welcome incentives such as 'Free Bets' or 'Bonuses' for new customers as an effort to entice punters to start using their services. The trouble is, what happens if you don’t know how to use them?

There’s an obvious temptation to read the words 'free' and 'bet' and feel as though it’s going to be a bit like printing money. Sadly the reality is rarely that simple. Don’t be disheartened, however, as this is still a brilliant opportunity to take advantage of numerous excellent offers that you’ll find around the place, and overall these deals do increase your chances of winning. 

Bookmakers offer these sign up deals not to try to con you, they are instead so generous because online betting is so competitive that they have to give you free funds to bet with in order to get your custom in the first place.

There are several different offers that you’ll want to keep your eye out for, with the wording being key for letting you know what you’re going to get. The main thing to know is that you rarely, if ever, get free cash added to your account. Instead these offers are normally made up of what we’ll refer to as 'bonus funds' or 'free tokens'. These bonus funds or tokens can be used in place of cash and have some rules attached to them.  The table below is designed to help you compare free bets and bonuses to determine which offers suit you better.

 BonusesFree BetsRisk Free Bets
Awarded On Deposit On Bet Placement If First Bet Loses
% Free 50% - 200%  50% - 600% 50% - 100%
 Expiry Time 14 Days+ 3 Days+ 3 Days+
 Winnings  Bonus Funds  Cash# Cash#
 Roll-Over  Yes, 3x (+)*  No  No
 Keep Stake?  Yes No  No
 Split Up? Yes  No - 1 token = 1 bet  No - 1 token = 1 bet
Each-Way?  Yes No  No
 Minimum Odds Yes for bonus roll-over Yes, for qualifying bet, sometimes for free token Yes, for qualifying bet, sometimes for free token
 Maximum Odds No Occasionally for free token Occasionally for free token
 Maximum Winnings Sometimes Sometimes  Sometimes 
Bet Types Single and Multi-Line^ Single Line Only^  Single Line Only^

# Free bet winnings should always be paid in cash, if not we suggest you avoid the offers.

* Be careful to check if the rollover is just for the bonus amount or includes the deposit + bonus.  If for example you have a £100 matched bonus a 3x deposit and bonus wagering requirement would be the same as saying 6x the bonus.

^ Single bets are those that require a single unit stake, this could be a straight win, single line accumulator or place bet, but couldn't, for example, be an each-way bet.  Multi-line bets include full cover bet types such as Lucky 15, 31 or 63 wagers, that require multiple parrallel stakes.

In general our advice is simple: keep an eye out for the wording of any offer and make sure you check out the small print. That will let you know if there are any minimum odds requirements, whether you need to roll over your winnings before withdrawal and other key factors.  For more about how to bet on horse racing see our dedicated page.

Cheltenham Bookies: Best Horse Racing Betting Sites

best bookiesThe Cheltenham Festival is one of the most thrilling, fascinating and enthralling weeks in the entire National Hunt calendar. Of course the main races on each day, such as the Champion Hurdle on Day One and the Stayers’ Hurdle on Day Three capture the imagination, but it is the Gold Cup on the final day of the week that garners the most interest. Alongside the Grand National it is one of the most watched races in the world. No surprise, then, that bookmakers like Coral and Betway sponsor races and have such a close relationship with the Festival itself.

With twenty-eight races over the course of four days, it’s fair to say that there is a real opportunity for punters to make some money at the expensive of those bookmakers and others besides. Certainly some of the less watched races often throw up winners with odds that will make the bookies cringe. Somewhere in the region of £150,000,000 is bet on the Cheltenham Festival every year, so here we’ll look at which bookmakers are the best to turn to for this most exciting of race meeting of the calendar.

Please note: terms and conditions will apply when you register, all users must be 18 years or older to gamble. Bet responsibly and Be Gamble Aware.

Bookmaker Reviews

Bookmaker with Horse Racing at its core

coral screenshotFor any younger bettors amongst you there may be an inclination to assume that Coral is quite a new bookmaker. After all, the explosion of online betting and mobile apps mean that Coral have been able to reinvent themselves as a company for modern times. In reality, however, Joe Coral founded a bookmakers in London back in 1926. He was also one of the first people to open a licensed betting shop when legislation on the matter changed in the 1960s.

There’s a slight degree of truth in the notion that Coral is a young bookies, of course. The company was acquired by Bass Leisure in 1981 and in 1999 it became Coral Eurobet after the purchase of an online betting company called Eurobet. In 2005 Gala, which itself was only formed in 1991, purchased Coral and it became Gala Coral. The potted history of the bookmaker was completed in 2015 when Ladbrokes bought out Gala Coral and formed a new company, Ladbrokes Coral.  This itself was then bought by GVC holdings the following year.

Horse Racing at Coral

Coral is operated as a separate arm from Ladbrokes when it comes to their online betting operation, which is why we’re talking about them separately here. The company’s history is also steeped in horse racing, with Joe Coral originally operating his bookmaking operation from pitches at horse race meetings. That’s why we think they’re worth looking at for all of your horse racing needs, with the fact that they sponsor a race on Ladies Day also indicative of how seriously they take the Cheltenham Festival.

If you’re hoping to get an edge for your bets at the Cheltenham Festival then you might be interested to know that Coral run a specialised blog in the time leading up to and during the meeting. The likes of former jockey-turned-trained Joe Tizzard and current jockey Tom Scudamore often chat through their predictions for the week ahead of the Festival. You can’t get much better inside knowledge than that!

Coral has decent offers for punters like Best Price Guaranteed and daily enhanced odds, extra places or free bets for winners so that should perk your interest, with other factors like a decent website and mobile app also worth considering.

One of the other major advantages of placing a bet on horse racing with Coral is that you’ll be able to live stream the race via the main app or their website, for free. This is great for those of you that can’t make it to the racecourse itself but still want to be kept abreast of the action. Do your research, place a bet then sit back and watch your horse romp home.

T&C's Apply. 18+. Be Gamble Aware
888 Sport
Good Alternative To The Old High Street Bookies

888 sport screenshot888 Sport is one of the new breed of bookmakers that has sprung up in recent times, thanks in no small part to the explosion of betting online. Formed in 2008, it’s an offshoot from 888 Holdings. 888 Holdings was itself established in 1997, so there is at least a little bit more of a pedigree to 888 Sport than you might initially realise. Having made its name hosting online poker, bingo and other such activities, 888 Holdings decided to branch out into having a sportsbook and this is the result.

As with most of the young guns in the online betting industry, 888 Sport began to make a name for itself when it started sponsoring things. The first sponsorship carried out by the company was a stand at Fontwell Park Racecourse in 2010, so it’s fair to say that horse racing has always been something they’ve had links to. Those horse racing links were solidified over the following years with sponsorship of races at Sandown Park, Kempton Park and Haydock Park, which is why they’re on our list of a reputable bookmaker for Cheltenham Festival betting.

Horse Racing Features

If a bookie is going to invest heavily in sponsoring numerous horse races and stands at racecourses then you can bet that they’ll do their best to ensure their coverage of the sport is tip-top. They match the market with promotions like Best Odds Guaranteed, so you know you’re not going to be frustrated at taking a lower price when you back a winner, but they also do variable regular offers that can be used for racing along (e.g. free bets, money back, acca insurance) along with lots of enhanced odds. Not exactly industry leading, but good enough to mean it’s worth taking advantage of.

They have live streaming through both their desktop site and their mobile app, which is ideal for anyone who can’t be at the racecourse live or who are there and get caught short. In order to stream races live you just need to have placed a bet of £1 or more on the one you’d like to watch. Given you’re likely to be sticking a bet on anyway that isn’t exactly a great hardship. When it comes to Cheltenham specifically there are good all-round offers from 888 Sport, as well as tips, advice and blogs from experts.

Those tips, blogs and advice sections exist all year round, too, so if you think horse racing is for life and not just for Cheltenham then they’ve got you covered. Their markets have great depth, their odds are competitive if not the best in the business and their live betting options are plentiful. Given the fact that the mobile app is so well put together and the desktop site is entirely functional, there’s a lot to recommend 888 Sport.

T&C's Apply. 18+. Be Gamble Aware
Britains Oldest Bookmaker, Boost Own Odds

ladbrokes screenshot

If you’ve read our section on Coral then you’ll know that Ladbrokes have merged with Coral in recent years. They’re run as separate companies, though, so it’s worth considering them as such. That is especially true given Ladbrokes’ long and illustrious history in the betting industry. Founded in 1886 by Messers Schwind and Pennington, the company was initially a commission agency for horses from Warwickshire’s Ladbrokes Hall. They moved the operation to London in 1902 and from then until 1956 their clients were members of royalty and the aristocracy.

Acquired by Mark and Cyril Stein in 1956, Ladbrokes’ new owners decided to abandon the exclusive mandate that had seen the company’s profits dwindle in the wake of the Second World War and instead opened a chain of betting shops when the law on such matters changed in 1961. The modern iteration of the bookmaker was formed in 2016 when Ladbrokes bought Coral and formed the Ladbrokes Coral Group (this in itself was then bought by GVC holdings the following year). We think it’s a company worth turning to for your Cheltenham Festival betting because of their history with the sport and knowledge of what it takes to survive in a competitive industry for so long.

Horse Racing Features

Compared to some other companies Ladbrokes may seem a little bit old hat, mainly thanks to its website and mobile app. These both seem a little dated and underwhelming when compared to some of the more modern bookies that are out there, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that the company doesn’t have anything to offer. In fact, the opposite may well be true. What to you might seem a little uninteresting is actually tried and tested, with Ladbrokes having entered the world of online betting as far back as 1998.

Given that Ladbrokes is one of the oldest and most established bookmakers in the UK it isn’t a particularly huge shock to report that their market depth is exceptional. They have some of the the most incentivised offers and payouts in the whole world and there’s barely a market you’ll be able to think of that they don’t cover. This is great for a meeting such as the Cheltenham Festival, where every Tom, Dick and Harry covers the main races but not all are so quick to offer market depth on the lesser known races.

Ladbrokes match other leading bookmakers on our list by offering live streaming and Best Odds Guaranteed for horse racing.  This means they match the SP if your early fixed price was lower when you placed the bet.  They also have money back second offers, extra places, and more that vary across the year.  At the end of the day, though, the major draw for most punters is going to be the name recognition and longevity covering the sport. That is proven by the fact that they have sponsored races at the Cheltenham Festival in years gone by.

T&C's Apply. 18+. Be Gamble Aware
Our Favourite Betting Site For A Reason

Bet365 screenshot

With more customers spread across more countries than pretty much any other online bookie it’s entirely fair to say that Bet365 are a betting behemoth.  Fully UK licensed they are one of the biggest online bookmakers in the world; pretty impressive when you consider that it started life from inside a portakabin.

What the company lacks in terms of an historical reputation with punters it more than makes up for in terms of innovation. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Bet365 has changed the face of online gambling throughout its short existence. It is that willingness to offer something different combined with the fact that the company dominates the market that makes it one of the our top recommendations when it comes to betting on the Cheltenham Festival. But what exactly do they offer?

Horse Racing Features

The better question might actually be 'What don’t they offer'. As one of the top betting companies in the world there are few features you’re likely to be interested in that aren’t covered by Bet365. Even ignoring their excellent offers and promotions it’s the little things that capture the attention when wondering who to place a bet with.

For example, Bet365’s desktop site is one of the best around, with an intuitive interface and as many markets in as many sports as you could possibly want to see. Yet their mobile app is also elegant, easy to use and quick to respond to your requests, making it ideal for sticking a last minute bet on a race at the Cheltenham Festival. Using a service where the app is just as good as the website is a no brainer for people who can’t exactly carry their laptop around a racecourse with them.

Whether you’re using the website or the app, Bet365 provide great live betting, streams, stats and many other top features to allow you to bet the way you want to, where you want to.

The company’s gigantic power in a very competitive market means that few bookmakers can beat them for important stuff such as value, banking options, loyalty schemes, cash out and more. If you’re a serious punter then all in all, one of the best bookies out there.

T&C's Apply. 18+. Be Gamble Aware
Modern Betting Site For Proper Bettors

10bet screenshotSome bookmakers believe that all you need to win custom is a name that people know and trust. 10Bet is one of the new breed of bookies that are out to give those complacent competitors a shock, making up for a lack of brand recognition with exciting offers and good sports coverage. Founded in London in 2003, the company has won numerous awards since its inception and have grown to become one of the biggest new names in online betting.

In 2014 a list was compiled of bookmakers that UK-based punters were most likely to place bets with and 10Bet came second, just behind Bet365. That should tell you exactly how far they’ve come in such a short space of time. No doubt part of their success is due to the 2012 release of their mobile betting app, allowing people to place bets on the move as well as on their main computer. No exactly innovative in a competitive industry, but their app is one of the best on the market.

Horse Racing Features

When it comes to horse racing, 10Bet’s features are decent enough. As with pretty much all of the bookmakers we recommend for Cheltenham, they offer Best Odds Guaranteed. That means that you can place a bet really early and know that you’ll get the best odds regardless of what happens to the market. They also offer regular promotions that shift and change throughout the year, such as money back as a free bet if the horse you bet on comes second in a race to the starting price favourite along with faller insurance, extra places and more (check the 10Bet site to see the latest deals for racing).

10Bet is an alternative to the more mainstream bookies out there, but as an alternative their offerings aren’t quite as good across all areas. For example, their tips and advice isn’t quite as advanced as some of the more popular and well-known sites, lacking the star quality of interviewing the top jockeys and trainers that are happy to speak to 10Bet’s competitors.

There’s still plenty to recommend the site, this is a proper bookie for proper punters.  They’ve got good market depth, decent odds and a reputation as an exciting, trustworthy bookmaker to bet with.

T&C's Apply. 18+. Be Gamble Aware
Racing Only Site With Features, Streams & Offers

racebets screenshot

If you want to place a bet on horse racing then you’d be reasonably hard pushed to find a more appropriately named company to do that with than RaceBets. Founded in Germany in 2005, just two years later they were the largest bookmaker in the country and three years after that they actually invited German Racing to invest in the company. Since then they’ve repaid a percentage of their profits into the horse racing industry, so it’s entirely fair to say that they give back to the industry that’s helped to create them.

RaceBets were bought by Betsson since but still offer full coverage of UK and Irish racing, which they have done so since 2012, so we had no hesitation whatsoever in adding them to our list of recommended bookmakers for the Cheltenham Festival. Operated under the name RaceBets International Gaming Limited, the company’s regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority and have a license through the UK Gambling Commission. They are a top-notch bookie that not as many people know about as you might think. They don't have the name recognition of the likes of Ladbrokes or William Hill, but their horse racing coverage is second to none.

Horse Racing Features

It’s that coverage that makes them so hard to resist for all of your horse race betting needs. You can bet on around a quarter of a million races every single year through RaceBets, with events covered from 40+ different countries. Their ante-post market is excellent, they cover numerous different types of bets and you can even take on their own pros if you fancy your chances of bashing the bookies. If you like watching your races live then you’ll want to head to the Live Stream page, where you can watch hundreds of live races from far-flung places such as Dubai and Canada.

As you would expect from a company that specialises in horse racing, you can take advantage of numerous different regular promotions. Obvious ones like Best Odds Guaranteed are there, with that one applying to racing not only from the UK and Ireland but also South Africa and United Arab Emirates. You’ll find loads of different bonus offers (variable through the year), plus more interesting promotions such as money back if your horse is beaten by a nose and first fence feller refunds (when available) in any race on site.

RaceBets is one of our favourite bookmakers to bet with on the racing. They’re obviously lacking other major sports that you might want to have a flutter on, but what you lose in variety you more than make up for by way of specialised betting opportunities. Their odds are often quite decent, but of course it’s the market depth that impresses the most. In short, if you’re looking to place a bet on a horse race then you’d be silly not to check out RaceBets.

T&C's Apply. 18+. Be Gamble Aware
Modern Bookmaker Steeped in Racing History

betvictor screenshotFounded in 1946 by father and son William and Victor Chandler, BetVictor used to be known as Victor Chandler International Limited. William Chandler had been an owner of Walthamstow Stadium and had had a betting stall at the greyhound track, so the company is steeped in gambling history.

Though they’ve now settled on the name BetVictor, the company has gone through numerous rebranding exercises over the years. In 2004 they gave VC Bet a go, then went back to Victor Chandler in 2008 before settling on their current moniker in 2012. If you’re wondering why we think they’re a top-notch bookmaker for all your horse racing needs then consider this: In 2014 the racehorse owner Michael Tabor took over the company. If anyone’s likely to know what’s good for racing fans then it’s surely an owner of racehorses.

Horse Racing Features

There are countless horse racing features that make BetVictor one of our favourite places to go when we’re looking to place a bet on the Gee-Gees. We’ll talk about Cheltenham specifically in a minute, but for now there are two things we want to mention that you might be interested in. The first is that BetVictor cover horse races from all around the world, meaning that you’re almost always going to be able to have a bet on a race with them if you want to. And when there aren’t any races going on anywhere? You can bet on virtual racing instead.

BetVictor’s website is excellent, so if you’re the sort of punter that likes to use desktop sites then you’re not going to be disappointed. You are going to miss out, though, as the BetVictor mobile app is one of the best in the business. Whichever way you want to place your bet you’ll be pleased to know that you can then stream it live after you’ve got your bet on. Great for those of you that can’t get to the racecourse or can but would rather watch the race in the bar on your phone…

If you’re looking for particularly deep ante-post markets then you might be slightly disappointed, but the odds are more than good enough to make up for that and you can also place in-running bets if that tickles your fancy. Like most top-end bookmakers, BetVictor offer a Best Price Guarantee when to comes to horse racing, so you’ll know that you won’t be short-changed with your bet. They also offer racing specials (check for availability) such as their Lengthen The Odds market, which allows you claim a win for extra places. If you love betting on the Sport of Kings then the fact that BetVictor has such a decent pedigree will be a big draw for you.

T&C's Apply. 18+. Be Gamble Aware
Big Book, Good Prices & Features

unibet screenshotUnibet is part of the Kindred Group, which itself used to be known as Unibet Group Plc. It was founded in 1997 by Anders Ström and has gradually grown to become a real powerhouse in the betting world. A large part of that is due to the manner in which the Kindred Group has absorbed other bookmakers into it, which have in turn been re-branded under the Unibet banner. A good example of this is Stan James, which was acquired in 2015 and then dissolved in 2017, with customers moving over to Unibet instead.

In 2017 Kindred Group also purchased 32Red, the Malta-based bookmaker and gaming business. It was another step along the road towards Unibet becoming far more UK-centric in it coverage. As well as taking over the online businesses of the likes of Stan James and 32Red, Unibet has also taken on their sponsorship responsibilities. This is relevant to us here because Stan James sponsored numerous races associated with Cheltenham, including the Champion Hurdle during the Cheltenham Festival. That race, along with the seven races known as 'The Road To Cheltenham', will now be sponsored by Unibet instead.

Horse Racing Features

The combination of the company’s desire to appeal more fully to a UK-based audience and the fact that they’ve taken over those racing sponsorship responsibilities means that Unibet’s coverage of horse racing is as competitive as any of the other major bookies out there. They offer the industry-wide standard of a Best Odds Guarantee for UK and Irish racing. 

In terms of offers they do tend to have a few specific promotions when big horse racing events are in progress, so it’s always worth double-checking their 'Special Offers' page regularly to see what’s going on. On top of this there are plenty of regular offers that change from the flat to the jump season, but you can always get extra place daily on select races and lucky bet bonuses.

One area that is not a disappointment is their Live Streaming. Unibet TV, as the Live Streaming function is known, is really good and is easy to navigate to on the site. If individual races are to be streamed then you’ll see the 'UTV' symbol next to both the race details and the main page with the race course name on. Alternatively you can head to the Live Streaming tab at the top of the page, if you prefer. Live Streaming is free on Unibet, as long as you’re logged in and your account is in credit. Occasionally they might require a set amount of money to be bet on an event in order to stream it, but they’ll make that very clear to you ahead of time.

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Top Looking Site With Excellent Value Offers

betway screenshotBetway is the bookmaking arm of the imaginatively named Betway Group. Founded in 2006, the company has forged a reputation as one of the best multifaceted online entertainment companies around. As well as the sports book there is also an online casino, bingo arm and poker site. Sufficed to say, if you like to have a flutter through the medium of the internet then Betway has got you covered.

Since its formation and development into one of the biggest sports betting companies on the internet, Betway has grown its reputation and name recognition through numerous high-profile sponsorship deals. These include the likes of Premier League Darts, boxing matches and a partnership with West Ham United Football Club. The reason we like and trust them for their Cheltenham coverage is that they have also sponsored the Queen Mother Champion Chase in the past.

Horse Racing Features

Sponsoring a race such as the Queen Mother Champion Chase isn’t something you do if you’re not serious about your horse racing. That Betway’s also sponsored races such as the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, the Chester Cup, the Yorkshire Cup and the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York is a sure sign that horse racing is a sport the company wants to be known for. Irish Jockey Davy Russell is a Betway ambassador and writes a regular tips blog for the company, as is the English jockey Richard Johnson. They are part of Betway’s excellent Cheltenham coverage, involving daily blogs looking at the events to come.

When it comes to coverage, Betway are very competitive. As well as the obvious races from the UK and Ireland, you’ll be able to bet on ones from further afield. These include races from places such as South Africa and America. On top of that, you’ll also be able to live stream most of those races. It’s worth noting that not all of them can be watched online, but a fair whack of them can and you can watch both on the main site and on the mobile app. Racing isn’t the only sport that’s live streamed, of course, but it’s the one we’re most interested in.

As far as odds are concerned, Betway are often there or there about. If they don’t have the best odds in their own right then they at least tend to match others, though more often than not you’ll struggle to improve on what you can get through them. To ensure your interest is always piqued, the company runs numerous different horse racing promotions that you’ll want to keep your eye out for, such as money back second (up to £25) on ITV races (when available).

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Huge Racing Pedigree, Owner of the Tote

betfred screenshotNamed after Fred and Peter Done, who founded the company as a single shop in Manchester in 1967, Betfred is one of the biggest bookmakers in the UK. The owners are Manchester United supporters, which explains why they have twice paid out early on the Red Devils to win the Premier League. They will no doubt have regretted their decision, however, with Arsenal winning the title the first time they did it in 1998 and Manchester City taking the title from their city rivals on goal difference in 2012. Fred Done also personally lost £1 million when he had a bet with fellow bookie that Manchester United would finish ahead of Chelsea before the 2004-2005 Premier League season.

That should give you something of an idea of the sort of bookmaker we’re talking about here. They’re not afraid to go big on publicity stunts if it means that that will garner the company some attention from the press and punters alike. Little surprise, then, that Betfred are one of the largest sponsors of horse racing in the United Kingdom. That, combined with the fact that they’ve owned the Tote since 2011, is why we’re keen to recommend them to you as a bookie you want to have an account with ahead of the Cheltenham Festival meeting. As an example, in previous years the company has sponsored the biggest race of the week, the Gold Cup.

Horse Racing Features

As long as you stake £1 you can live stream racing from across the UK and Ireland. You can do this on either the company’s main desktop site or via their mobile app, so you never have to miss out on the action as long as you’ve got internet access. Given that both the main site and the app are perfectly functional and easy enough to use, you’re unlikely to be caught short when trying to get a bet on.

As the part-owners of the Tote, Betfred have all the totepool bets along with some great offers on horse racing pretty much all year round. Best Odds Guaranteed is a given, offers for Lucky bets are also popular, when you consider that Betfred invented the Lucky bet type. They’re also a decent company to bet with thanks to their general coverage of the racing, with tips, hints, suggestions and course guides all found on their site.

When it comes to Cheltenham specifically, Betfred are hard to beat. They may not have the very best odds or offers that can’t be rivalled, but Betfred TV offers some of the best coverage around. In previous years they’ve spoken live to trainers such as Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins, heard from jockeys like Noel Fehily and Richard Johnson in the weighing-room and generally just been a head in front of their competition for your attention. The fact that their coverage is free is also great news.

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William Hill
Bookmaker with Horse Racing at its core

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Few bookmakers in the entire industry offer the same level of name recognition as William Hill. Founded by the man it’s named after in 1934, it began life in less than auspicious circumstances when you consider that gambling was actually illegal at the time. The company has had numerous owners over the years, from Sears Holdings who bought it in 1971 through to Brent Walker in 1989. It’s enjoyed its fair share of ups and downs during its existence, too. Brent Walker’s collapse in 1997 led to a leveraged buyout by a Japanese investment bank called Nomura, who eventually sold it on again to Cinven and CVC Capital Partners in 1999.

The turn of the millennium saw a  turn in fortunes for the bookies thanks to the explosion of online betting, and partly because of William Hill’s sponsorship of Sunderland and Newcastle Greyhound Stadiums, interest in the company spiked once more. They bought 624 betting shops from Stanley Leisure in 2005 and subsequently overtook Ladbrokes as the biggest bookmaker in the UK (although lost that recently following other bookmakers merging). They have cornered around a quarter of the UK betting market, which is one of the main reasons we’re not afraid to recommend them to you for your Cheltenham Festival betting needs.

Horse Racing Features

Obviously such a gigantic bookmaker is hardly going to lag behind the competition when it comes to the big race meetings, so it’s no surprise to discover that William Hill offer all of the usual attractions for punters. Best Odds Guaranteed is a staple of the bookie, as is live streaming of all UK and Irish races as well as selected offerings from elsewhere in the world.

In truth William Hill doesn’t try to compete with the more gimmicky offers of the younger, newer bookmakers. They need to drum up business and garner attention in order to get their name out there, whilst William Hill boasts one of the best-known names in the industry.  Saying that they do have some great value offers and the ante-post service is as good as it comes, with their market depth also worthy of a mention. If you like to place accumulators or the like then they’ve got you covered too, so there’s not an awful lot to criticise William Hill for. Not the most exciting bookie on the block, but sometimes reliability and name recognition is just as important.

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Worlds Biggest Betting Exchange

betfair screenshotBetfair is perhaps best known for its exchange. That’s not a huge shock, considering that the company is the world’s biggest online betting exchange. If you’re not sure what an exchange is then the simplest way of explaining it is to say that it essentially allows punters to act as if they are the bookmaker. It sees customers betting against each other rather than against a bookie, with a commission paid to the company to allow it to make a profit. Say you’re betting on the Gold Cup and you think the favourite hasn’t got a chance of winning, you can 'lay' the favourite, meaning that you bet on every other horse. Obviously if lose, however, you’ll have to pay out accordingly.

Anyway, back to Betfair. The company was founded in 2000 and went from strength to strength over the following years. In 2012 they opened their own fixed-odds service in order to offer competition to more traditional bookmakers. A merger was agreed between Betfair and Paddy Power in 2016, resulting in the formation of Paddy Power Betfair. They are operated as separate entities in the UK, with the result being that Betfair now has access to high street shops when previously it was an online only company. As far as why we recommend them for Cheltenham is concerned, their size as a bookie is a huge part of it. They’ve also made deals over the years with the likes of the New York Racing Association and Timeform, showing their love of racing.

Horse Racing Features

Their love of the racing industry manifests itself in numerous ways that you can take advantage of as a punter. There are plenty of promotions that you’ll want to know about, for example. Perhaps you’d like to get a free bet if you back a winner with a starting price of 3/1 or greater? Maybe you want to take advantage of their Best Odds Guarantee offer or watch racing live through their streaming service? You can do the latter as long as you’ve placed a bet of 50 pence or more on the race you’re hoping to watch.

Betfair’s odds are often competitive. They may not always be the very best on every single race, but you can normally find several best odds options within any given race. They also run a promotion called Each Way Edge that means their odds can improve further if you want to take a risk. Essentially that offer says that if you want to take less places you can improve your Each Way odds, or you can shorten your odds by taking more places. It’s not available on all races but is worth looking out for.

Market depth through Betfair is reasonably impressive. At the time of writing you can bet on races throughout the UK in places like Sedgefield, Warwick and Chepstow as well as in Ireland, Germany, Chile and Sweden. If all else fails then you can always turn to their virtual racing, too.

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Paddy Power
Massive Bookie With a Sense of Humour

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Founded in Dublin in 1988 when three Irish bookies named Stewart Kenny, David Power, and John Corcoran merged, Paddy Power has grown to become one of the biggest and most influential bookmakers in the market today. It runs the biggest telephone betting service in Ireland and in 2016 merged with Betfair to become the even more powerful and influential Paddy Power Betfair. The two companies are run as separate things, but it’s still always worth knowing about these sorts of mergers and arrangements within the bookmaking world.

Initially the new company garnered attention within the media thanks to the novelty bets they offered, but that was all part of a broader strategy to expand throughout Ireland and over into the UK. By the start of 2006 the company had done exactly that, with 150 shops on the Emerald Isle and a further 45 in the United Kingdom. Since the turn of the millennium the company has continued to grow and expand, offering bingo in 2007, for example. They have often put forward controversial betting markets and regularly pay out early on bets for the associated media coverage. It is a strategy that works, with Paddy Power having one of the largest shares of the European market.

Horse Racing Features

As always, though, controversy and media coverage isn’t enough to win and keep bettors. Thankfully, it’s a well-known fact that the Irish love horse racing and Paddy Power’s coverage of the Sport of Kings reflects that. The website might look a bit cluttered but a bit of time spent searching through all of the information will see you richly rewarded.

When you click on the ‘Horse Racing’ tab on the lefthand side you’ll reveal Quicklinks to the next five races, plus a link to all of the courses with races taking place that day. You can seek out future racing as soon as the following day or as advanced as the following year. There are also links to special offers and even virtual racing.

The main racing page has all of that information in a clearer format, as well as sections with tips for the day and bets that are trending. These tips include information on horses that have won several times on the course that they’re running on that day, which is always worth bearing in mind when it comes to placing your bet. If that’s the sort of thing that tickles your fancy then make sure you check out the horse racing section of the Paddy Power blog.

Paddy Power’s promotions are exactly as numerous and impressive as you’d imagine from such a huge company. From paying out on extra places in selected bets through to money back if your horse loses out to the starting price favourite from time to time. They also have the offers that most other bookies have, such as Best Odds Guaranteed, so you know you’re not missing out.

Paddy Power’s Live Streaming service is one of the best in the business, with the company helping you out by keeping the general sport service separate from the horse racing. You’ll know if you can stream the race you’re betting on live because there’ll be a ‘Watch Live’ button on the race page. You normally have to be logged in and have placed a bet of at least £1 to watch racing live, which you’ll want to do if you’re hoping to analyse the horse’s form.

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Asian Origin Brings A Different Outlook

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It won’t take you long to ascertain from a look around 138’s website that the company has a history of targeting the Asian betting market. The company began life in Asia as ‘SunGames’, launching itself as 138 and switching focus over to a UK audience in 2012. That means that it’s a relatively young sportsbook in English terms, but in the Far East market they established themselves well before branching out. As is so often the case with new betting companies on the UK market, 138 got some decent sponsorship deals early doors in order to get their name out there. Supporters of Watford Football Club will recognise the name immediately, given that it was splashed over the Hornets’s kits from 2013-2018.

Coming under the umbrella of the parent company ‘Fesuge Limited’, they’re based on the Isle of Man for the purposes of gaining a Gambling Licence to operate in the UK. As mentioned before, you can see the Asian influence all over the company’s website. As well as putting online gaming at the forefront of what they offer, 138 also ensure that their customer service is available in both English and Mandarin. You’ll also find the site’s layout to be unusual if you’re used to using the services of more traditional English bookmakers, but once you’ve got used to it you’ll appreciate what it offers.

Horse Racing Features

When you click on 138’s sportsbook, the first thing you’ll notice is horse racing at the top of the list of sports that the company covers. That tells you a lot about how they see the sport in terms of importance! They then split their coverage up into two different and distinct sections: UK & Ireland and International racing. You’ll find the Next 5 Races at the top of the horse racing page, then tabs for racing that’s taking place in the rest of that day, tomorrow and in the future.

As this is being written, 138 are covering races taking place on courses such as Cartmel, Redcar, Leicester and Ballinrobe. Interestingly, their international coverage seems to be based more around ante-post bets on the big events like the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Still, some bookies don’t even bother with non-UK or Irish racing so you take your wins where you can find them. When it comes to offers, you’ll find plenty of standard promotions, with Best Odds Guaranteed being the one that horse racing aficionados will be most interested in.

If you’re hoping to bet on some other sports as well as horse racing then 138 have done their utmost to ensure that you don’t need to look anywhere else. Sports such as football, tennis and golf are ones that you might wish to take advantage of their Cash Out feature for, whislst the likes of futsal, MMA and even e-Sports are also covered. The market depth is surprisingly decent, too. Not that that should be a surprise, of course; companies don’t get to become such powerhouses in the Asian market unless they’re able to cover all of the biggest sports in the world.

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A Big Irish Bookie With Huge Racing Passion

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It’s becoming more and more common for bookmakers to exist online only, for them to have no high street presence. That means that the two hundred plus Boylesports shops that are in place across Ireland makes the bookie a somewhat original prospect. The first Boylesports was opened in Market Hill in Newry, Northern Ireland, in 1989 by a man named John Boyle. Since then it has grown and grown, employing more and one and a half thousand people across the Emerald Isle. They have been a fixture in Irish gambling since before the move by majority of companies online came about, meaning that the bookmaker is well-respected in the industry.

As with countless other companies that began life away from the mainstream English and British market, Boylesports made a name for itself through sponsorship over the years. A deal with Leopardstown Racecourse was signed in 2011, for example, which was also the year when they sponsored a meeting at Newmarket. That all came after Boylesports’s sponsorship of the International Hurdle at Cheltenham between 2006 and 2009. Outside of horse racing, the company has sponsored two then Premier League teams in Sunderland in 2007 and Aston Villa in 2008. That’s why you might well recognise the name of the company, even if you’ve never been to Ireland.

Horse Racing Features

Given all of the various sponsorship of races that Boylesports has carried out over the years, it’s no major surprise to learn that the bookmaker takes its coverage of racing very seriously indeed. Click on the sportsbook homepage and you’ll see Horse Racing at the top of the list of sports covered, unless there’s a major event taking place that they think their audience will be more interested in. It’s not just a matter of convenience as to why that’s gaining a mention - they also do their utmost to cover as many different races as possible from numerous different locations.

Click on ‘Horse Racing’ and you’ll find that the coverage is split into numerous different tabs. As well as the obvious one of UK & Ireland, there’s also international racing from the United States of America, Latin America and Australia. Away from that you’ll see Virtual Horse Racing is also covered, as are the Irish and US Totes. Expect to be able to bet on all of the biggest English racecourses if they’ve got anything on, plus smaller ones lie Cartmel, Kenilworth and Lingfield. If you’re looking abroad then you’ll see locations like Philadelphia, Golden Gate Fields and Geelong Synthetic crop up.

Even the world’s biggest horse racing fanatics like to look away from the Sport of Kings every now and again and if you do then you’ll find all of the biggest sports on their list. From British institutions like football, golf and tennis through to more unusual offerings such as handball, rugby and speedway. They’ll even let you bet on random events in politics and television, should that take your fancy. If you’re going to have a bet on the horse racing then you’ll want to know what’s happened in the race, so the company’s Live Streaming feature will be a big plus for a lot of you.

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Mr Green
Modern Brand Full Of Sophistiation

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Mr Green was the brainchild of Fredrik Sidfalk and Henrik Bergquist, who had helped Anders Holmgren to set up Betsson in 2001. Six years later they came together with Mikael Pawlo to create an online casino, ensuring that they had all of their ducks in a row before launching the website the following year. One of the ways in which they gained attention was by getting casino games from numerous different suppliers rather than having an exclusive deal with one. They also allowed customers to have a centralised wallet, which appealed to those that like to play countless different games. That’s become standard practice, but Mr Green was one of the first sites to offer it.

Mr Green has taken a leaf out of the book of numerous different smaller bookmakers, using sponsorship deals to get their name out there into the wider world. The first came about in 2014 when they struck a deal with the oldest club side in Ireland, Bohemian Football Club, then another sponsorship was taken on in 2016 when they linked up with Wigan Athletic. Fast-forward a year and Mr Green ventured into Scotland, becoming the official casino partner of Celtic. That came on the back of Mr Green’s sportsbook launching in April of 2016, then re-branding and launching version 2.0 in September of the following year.

In 2019 the company were bought out by William Hill, which has added much more depth and experience in the area of racing.

Horse Racing Features

As you might well have guessed from the introduction, Mr Green’s expansion in the world of sports betting has been a relatively recent phenomenon. They’re a company that likes to make sure they’ve got things right before jumping into whatever it is that they’re taking on, however, so don’t feel as though that means they should be avoided. They worked hard to get the sportsbook right before launching it and when they noticed tweaks could be made they weren’t afraid to make them and the re-launch it.

As a result, the site that you’ll encounter now runs smoothly and covers everything that you’d expect. When it comes to horse racing in particular, there’s plenty to catch your eye. They cover races that take place across the UK and Ireland, with races from South Africa also covered whenever they’re on. At the time of writing you can opt for races from the likes of Ballinrobe, Cartmel, Chelmsford City and Huntingdon. You can look at some ante-post options too, if that’s the sort of thing that interests you.

In terms of general coverage, their selection is limited but well done. Obvious options such as football and tennis are on there, with slightly less expected variations such as futsal and Gaelic sports also on the list. The depth is decent, though the company particularly excels when major tournaments like the World Cup roll around. When it comes to offers, they’re excellent with their racing coverage. As well as standard ones like Best Odds Guaranteed, you’ll also find daily ones such as Jockey Specials, Winning Distances and Price Boosts. They were slow to cover racing, but they’re more than making up for it now.

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Sport Nation
Serious Betting Site For Serious Punters

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If you’re scratching your head and wondering why you haven’t heard of Sport Nation as a bookmaker then don’t worry, you’re not on your own. The site is part of the Argyll Entertainment AG family and was originally called Bet On Brazil before a re-branding was undertaken in 2017. Alan Brazil remains on board as a Brand Ambassador, but you don’t need to worry as he’s not in charge of coming up with the odds or anything like that. He simply lends his ever-increasing face to the project and offers forward football tips when it seems appropriate to do so.

Just because Sport Nation is a relative newcomer in terms of their name, don’t think that that means that they lack experience. Argyll Entertainment have been around for some time and the original Bet On Brazil site was launched in time for the European Championship in 2016. They’ve re-branded, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still have the experiences they learnt back then. Powered by SBtech, the catchphrase is ‘Don’t Bet On Boring’ and that tells you a lot about how they like to approach their sportsbook coverage. Argyll Entertainment is based in Switzerland, but they’ve got a UK Gambling Licence in order to allow them to focus on this market.

Horse Racing Features

Sport Nation have two major markets that they have targeted since the sight was first launched under its former guise: football and horse racing. When you look at the sports that they cover, you’ll see them both in that order on the list - unless there’s a major event like the British Open in golf or Wimbledon taking place. Click on ‘Horse Racing’ and you’ll find that the coverage is split into two sections: UK & Irish racing and International racing. Click on the one you want and you’ll then find that you’re given more options.

Firstly you’ll be able to select from any of the Next 3 Races, with the rest of the races being covered split up further into Today, Tomorrow and Future. They’re relatively self-explanatory markets, with ‘Future’ being another word for ante-post betting. For the racing close to home, you’re looking at all of the biggest courses around the country and Ireland as well as smaller courses such as Cartmel, Windsor and Huntingdon. One thing to watch out for is that the International market is predominantly taken up by races from the future, such as the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders Cup Distaff.

Should you fancy venturing further afield than just the horse racing then Sport Nation has got you covered. Their football betting is up their with the best on the market, particularly when tournaments like the World Cup or European Championship come around. The list of other sports that you can bet on is reassuringly long, taking in the likes of handball, Aussie rules and American football, as well as mainstream offerings such as tennis, golf and darts. In-Play betting and Cash Out options are both available, though sadly Live Streaming is not at the time of writing.

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Big Site, Lots of Markets To Wager On

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NetBet is a bookmaker that’s very much worth your time. You may not have heard of them, but that’s mainly because they’ve forged a reputation as one of the best bookies on the continent. Given that a lot of the better-known bookmakers tend to keep up with each other by offering pretty much the same sports and offers, going with a slightly lesser-known one broadens your options for both odds and events.

Formed in 2001 and bought out by Cosmo Gaming Company Limited in 2009, NetBet has tried to increase it’s name recognition through sponsorship deals. As is often the case, they found that using football was a good method for getting their name out there, so they partnered up with West Brom, St. Etienne and Steaua Bucharest. Obviously that’s suggestive of a football heavy leaning, but their horse coverage is good enough for us to think they’re worth looking at when it comes to Cheltenham.

Horse Racing Features

Having been operating as a bookmaker with a licence since 2006, NetBet know what they’re doing when it comes to sports coverage. They have plenty of decent promotions that mean you won’t feel you’re getting short-changed in that department. As with most major bookmakers, for example, they offer a Best Odds Guarantee on horse racing. You can opt for a partial Cash Out when that option is offered, which is handy, and they often put forward prize boosts and bonuses for accumulators.

At the time of writing you can have bets on races from Newmarket, Perth, Fontwell, York and others, so their coverage of UK and Irish racing is fairly decent. If you’re hoping for a little bit more than that, such as racing from the US or South Africa, then you’re likely to be a tad disappointed. They also don’t offer live streaming and, at present, their live betting is only for sports like football and tennis. Not many bookies offer in-play betting on horse racing, though, so that’s not exactly a shock.

If you’re interested in betting on sports and events other than horse racing then you’re in for a treat, with slightly more obscure sports such as MMA and Futsal covered. When it comes to odds, they’re generally quite middle of the road. A look at an odds comparison site will show you that they’re not always the best in the business but they’re rarely, if ever, the worst. We’d always suggest having accounts with as many bookmakers as possible in order to ensure you get the best possible deal. NetBet’s excellent website and app, combined with their European market coverage, is enough to ensure that they’re on our list of best bookies.

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Best Place For Totepool Betting

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As a bookmaking company, Totesport can trace its history back as far as 1927. That was when Winston Churchill set up the Racehorse Betting Control Board as a means of controlling the world of betting that had grown on and around racecourses. It came about as part of 1928’s Racecourse Betting Act, aiming to limit the impact of illegal off-course bookmakers that were coming into being more and more. The idea was that the revenue raised from gambling should be put back into horse racing by the government, so The Tote was the best way to do it.

The history of The Tote is a fascinating one, with the next major development coming in 1961 with the Betting Levy Act. In 1972 The Tote opened its first high street shop, In 1992 Tote Direct allowed other bookmakers to take bets that were paid into the pool, with more and more shops as well as online bookies being added to the pool total since. The idea of privatising The Tote was first mooted in 1989, though the sale itself didn’t actually go through until July of 2011. It was bought by Betfred, though Totesport is run as its own separate company.

Horse Racing Features

It goes without saying that the bookmaker that can trace its history back to the very start of the bookmaking industry offers some truly fantastic coverage. The fact that it’s based around the idea of The Tote as an origin point just goes to further enhance the notion that Totesport is a company worth turning to when it comes to having a flutter on the horse racing.

The Tote is a different way of betting than some of you might be used to. It’s not the same as fixed-odds betting, with your winnings calculated according to the number of winners and the amount of money in the pot, rather than odds given to you by a bookmaker. As you’d expect from a company that has a major focus on horse racing, Totesport’s coverage is close to unrivalled.

Totesport also offer a full fixed odds-sports book, which to be honest is a complete clone of Betfred, their parent company. Then again this is no bad thing as Betfred are a great racing bookmaker, steeped in history with tons of racing markets. This also means you can get all of the same lucky offers, money back and free bet promotions available. Why bet with totesport then if they are the same as Betfred? Well, the site look and feels better, and it also means you can claim all offers twice!

Totesport also have countless totepool promotions that you’ll want to look out for in addition to the fixed odds offers, including mega rollover jackpots as well as the ability to bet into the Hong Kong Pools - the only company that you can do that with. The Totepool is in and of itself a different way of betting, so don’t feel that just because they don’t have the promotion you won’t then it’s not worth looking at them.

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Why Bet With Our Recommended Bookies?

fpppIt’s entirely fair for you to ask why you should be placing your bets exclusively with the bookmakers that we recommend. The answer is simple: because we’ve done the hard work for you.

Over years of practice, trial and error and doing our best to keep track of the bookmakers that are the most reliable, we’ve had plenty of bad experiences as well as good. We know the bookies that do good offers, the ones that you can’t trust and the ones that that you most definitely can.

If you’re reasonably new to the world of betting then it might seem odd to look at a host of different bookmakers. Surely you just find one that’s covering the race and place a bet with them, yes? Well no, actually. The truth is that most bookmakers offer something slightly different from each other. Does the bookie you’re placing you bet with offer live streaming, so you can watch the race you’ve stuck a bet on? What about advice from former jockeys or horse trainers, does a bookie offer that?

When it comes to the big races in the National Hunt calendar, such as the Cheltenham Festival week or the Grand National, bookmakers also tend to have special free bet offers or the likes available for you to take advantage of. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having different accounts open with different companies in order to take advantage of these offers - in fact we positively encourage it to allow you to always get the best odds and terms.

So in answer to the original question, you should bet with our bookies because your money will be safe, they’ll be licensed and obeying the laws, we’ve separated out the wheat from the chaff and we research which bookmakers have the best offers for you to take advantage of.

For information about how to bet on horse racing see our articles.

Gambling Licenses And Betting Law

legalGiven that around £150,000,000 is bet on the Cheltenham Festival every year, it’s important to ensure that you’re spending your money with the right people. The sad fact is that the explosion of the internet and the desire for punters to find as good a deal as possible means that there are some unscrupulous people out there. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could set up a website calling themselves a bookmaker and disappear off with your money before you even realise that they’ve never even opened a book, let alone ran one.

That’s why the bookmakers that we mention on these pages are all licensed and known to obey the stringent laws that are in place regarding betting. It’s why we decided to set up the page in the first place, to make sure that good people use the right companies. In that spirit, it’s also helpful for us to briefly explain what the licensing laws are and why it’s important that bookmakers obey them.

Since the advent and subsequent explosion of online bookmakers there have been two main Acts passed by Parliament to deal with the burgeoning business. The first was the 2005 Gambling Act, the principle aim of which was to make sure that gambling was as open, fair and honest as possible. The hope was that this would stop gambling, especially of the online variety, from being used for nefarious means by unscrupulous characters.

It might not seem all that significant, especially when you consider that gambling had been around for decades before it was introduced, but the Act was the first to put any kind of regulation onto online gambling in the UK. There were still some grey areas, though, so the 2014 Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act was brought in to try to clarify things further. Not all that shocking, considering the way the internet had grown over the preceding ten years.

Between them, the two Acts ensure that a company must have a licence issued to them by the UK Gambling Commission in order to operate in the United Kingdom. As the Gambling Commission is an independent, non-departmental body you’re protected from the notion that one political party or another might try to interfere with its running. Companies that get a licence are duty-bound to ensure that your money is as protected and safe as possible.

gambling licence

Though this may be a somewhat simplistic summary, if you don’t make sure that the bookie that you’re placing bets with has a licence then you run the risk of your bets not being protected. You won’t have anyone to complain to or to turn to for help. Thankfully every single bookmaker we tell you about is licensed and obeys the law.  Look out for a UK Gambling Licence notification at the bottom of any betting site you use, such as the one from Ladbrokes shown above.

Responsible Gambling

responsibleIf you’ve read the section on licensing and the law then you’ll know that we take our recommendations seriously. It’s vital that you ensure you’re placing your bets with a reliable bookmaker for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is the fact that the reliable ones do a lot to help you gamble responsibly.

Plenty of us have been there before. We feel as though one more bet will get us into the black. We know that there’s a certainty running at four o’clock and if we can only get a bet on then all of our financial woes will be solved. Only it very rarely works out like that. You get seduced by the possibility of the big win, but if it doesn’t come off then you’re in an even worse situation than before.

The best bookmakers promote the notion of responsible gambling, the aim of which is to make sure that you bet within your limits. You need to do your best to stay in control, to keep on top of the money that you’re betting with and to never bet more than you can afford. Bookies assist you in this by allowing you to set deposit limits, meaning that you can’t place too much money into your account within a given time period. You’re in control of this, just as you’re in control of the ability to exclude yourself from being able to access the website, or sections of the site, permanently or for any period of time.

Have fun, but don’t lose sight of the fact that 'fun' is exactly what it’s supposed to be.  There are a lot of independent gambling advice services out there that can help and give advice too, such as Be Gamble Aware.