The internet has played a vital role in accelerating the growth of the football betting industry over the last decade, turning into what is now a global industry worth billions of pounds a year.
Historically the gambling market in the United Kingdom has been dominated by horse racing, but with the ease of the internet and applications on smartphones, football is challenging to be the main market in the betting business.
“The current estimations, which include both the illegal markets and the legal markets, suggest the sports match-betting industry is worth anywhere between $700bn and $1tn (£435bn to £625bn) a year,” according to figures given in 2013 by SportRadar.
The site believes football to contribute about 70% of the total amount, speaking volumes for just how popular the football market is.
The United Kingdom has a large number of betting companies all jostling for position as the number one outlet in the country. While bookmakers are jotted on high streets across the country the market has progressed into hosting the majority of its bets online. So how do you do it?
All of the leading companies make it simple to open an account online and get you started on the betting market within minutes. While you’re able to register yourself an account both on your laptop or computer, you can now handle most of your account issues such as sign up and deposit through your smartphone or tablet.
Hitting the join now/sign up button takes you through three pages of filling in your own personal information (it’s always secure, but will ask for your name, address and contact detail), followed by bank account or virtual wallet details to allow for easy transfer of funds between the accounts. Once confirmed you’re ready to get started, as your info is instantly recognised if it’s correct – which it will be, because you’re a good person.
Now for the fun part – You’re all signed up and you just can’t wait to make the most of the free cash you’ve just been given for joining. Betting online via a computer or laptop is the easiest and clearest way to place bets, offering further space and information in comparison to the limited room a mobile or tablet app can offer.
Most British bookmakers will present fractional odds as a standard over both their mobile app and online; but the option for you to switch to decimal odds is always there should it be made easier for you. If you’re looking for US odds or any other variation, be wary that not all bookmakers offer other styles in the UK because of their restrictions on customer location. If you’re uncertain with understanding odds and how they compare to what you’re familiar with, see our Odds Explanation section.
Taking football as an example, bookmakers offer a comprehensive list of fixtures for you to pick your predicted winner from, from all across the world. Typically the football calendar sees most matches played on weekends, while most weeks there is also action on Tuesday and Wednesday nights specifically. Other games are dotted across the other days of the week, so there’s always something to sink your teeth into if you fancy chancing your luck at any specific time.
The simplest way of selecting a bet is by flicking through to a desired league or fixtures, selecting a home team win, away team win or draw as the outcome of the match. Specific odds are drawn up by the bookmaker for each outcome dependent on the strength of the teams involved, current form and record against each other, as well as other factors that could come into play such as injury and suspension of players.
You may even choose from the multitude of sub markets per game such as first goal scorer, correct score and number of corners should you delve a bit deeper.
It is completely up to you how many selections you make, one click on a team or selection will automatically add that outcome to your bet slip, which you can always remove by hitting the cross on the slip page. Consumers are free to add as many selections as they want to add in to the bet slip – and should it be done the odds will be accumulated to give you an overall value for your bet. See the image above for an example of a bet slip from Sky Bet.
Featured in the image is a ‘treble’ (see our Glossary page for definitions) placed on a weekend’s fixtures in the English Premier League – It clearly shows the selections and odds (in fractional format) combined with the total accumulated odds, stake placed and possible returns. Sky Bet offers an easy layout on computer for consumers to take care of their picks, offering clarity and ease of understanding.
Of course this is one short example of a plethora of selections on offer. On the right hand side of the screen you are able to see an opening for drop down menu of specific in game markets that you can also place money on, for markets such as anytime goal scorer and number of cards.
Bookmakers offer special coupons which carry certain enhanced odds or just make it as easy as possible for you to have all selections available to you in one place, on one page. Sky Bet does this as well as, if not better than anybody else on the scene in terms of their simplicity and layout. Below is a grab of their ‘Whopper Long List’ coupon, which gathers together all of the fixtures taking place from the football calendar from across the world on a given day.
Mobile betting has become a huge hit since every last one of us purchased a smartphone, offering you a great option to log in and check your balance and make a selection from wherever you are.
If you can use your phone at work, down at the bar or anywhere you get reception it’s a lifesaver of a tool. Bet365 offer perhaps the best application out there, with their default odds display setting in decimal format. Again visit the Odds Explanation section of the site for a more in depth look.
Displayed above are two shots of the Bet365 iPhone application, offering a clear look at the ‘In-Play’ options and upcoming fixtures in England.
It’s certainly the way of the future as our mobiles and tablets can nearly do everything our computers can, but the sheer ease of a quick login wherever you are to place a wager has revolutionised betting for the user and in terms of income to the bookmakers.
Funding Your Betting Account
Most UK bookmakers will allow you to add up to three different credit or debit cards to link to your account for quick and easy deposit and withdrawal of your funds. Online deposits are generally a safe and quick way of transfer as the built in security also requests permission from your bank (if that’s the method you choose) before any transactions are to take place. Visa, Electron, Maestro and Laser debit cards are accepted but each individual bookie will have their own restrictions, but it is very easy to check out by visiting the appropriate website. Visa and Mastercard credit cards work in the same fashion, offering instant transfer for no percentage fee.
You’re also able to add online wallets to most of the big UK bookie accounts, but it’s again always wise to check in the small print if that’s what you’re looking to do. Paypal in particular is so widely used that you’d be pressed to find a top outlet that doesn’t accept payment exchange in this fashion. Bet365, BetFair, William Hill, Sky Bet and Paddy Power all accept Paypal, but be wary over the potential differences in fees, times and limits that may differ from site to site. Neteller and Moneybookers are also popular.
It’s always good to check out individual site reviews to double check yourself before you commit to signing up, particularly as times you need to wait for withdrawals to reach your bank can vary up to days at a time.
A great thing most of the leading online bookmakers offer you is the option to live chat with an advisor, so anything you’re unsure about can be dealt with directly in an instant message style service. They’re very reliable but if a little unsure you may be wiser opting for a business offering great aftercare, as dealing with issues by phone or email can often prove costly or time consuming.
Betting on the outcomes of football matches has always been popular in Britain, with the Football Pool becoming the first prominent form of betting on the beautiful game over ninety years ago. While that involved predicting the outcomes of a multitude of matches from the English football fixture list for a small fee, it was the first betting bandwagon that the public jumped on.
‘The Pools’ generated interest from hundreds of thousands of people across the country looking to win themselves a share of the jackpot and more than half a million people still play each week. However, the gambling market soon grew further after the emergence of some now household name bookmakers.
Betting shops were made legal on UK streets from 1961, seeing a continued rise in interest in gambling money on the outcomes of top division football and horse racing in particular.
Over 50 years since betting shops were legalised, the constitution now faces a threat because of the huge popularity and ease of internet betting, which has risen to prominence in the last ten to fifteen years.
Satellite television – most notably Sky Sports in Britain – has given live football a reach to millions of fans across the United Kingdom and all over the world, in turn making the sport the most popular on the planet. Its ever increasing popularity and worldwide appeal has coincided with the growth of the internet on computers, smartphones and tablets to gift consumers quick access to odds and betting markets, making betting generally much more accessible.
Smartphone applications and constant internet access has given the opportunity to bookmakers to offer live odds to consumers at any point during a game, with football having the largest ‘In Play’ betting market in the world. Punters can place money on the action as it happens – for example, picking who will score get the next booking or score the next goal, with odds fluctuating on the pattern of play.
The trend of online betting is sure to keep growing in the coming years due to its ease of access to consumers. All of the major bookmakers now offer customers an easy system of electronically transferring money from their bank account or various online wallets into their betting account balance within seconds. But here’s a walk through of just how to get started.
The top bookmakers are often the best place to start as a general rule of thumb. It’s always good to know that the more reputable brands across Britain have that reputation for good reason, but as a key tip in introduction, always evaluate if a specific bookmaker suits what you’re after before joining up.