Best Horse Racing Betting Sites
On this page you’ll find our guide to picking a decent site to bet on horse racing. There are plenty of betting sites out there to choose from, but not all of them are worth bothering with. Some don’t even cover racing, if you can believe that!
In this section we’ll cover the key things that you’ll want to watch out for when choosing a bookie, as well as giving you a run down of our personal favourites.
How to Pick a Top Bookmaker
There are literally hundreds of betting sites out there, but how can you tell the good ones from the bad? As discerning racing punters, there are certain things we look for when choosing the best horse racing betting sites.
Everyone who has even an occasional flutter on horse racing knows many of the popular betting sites and probably already has their favourite. But sometimes it can be fruitful to assess whether or not the grass is greener elsewhere; that is, to seek out a few new horse racing betting sites.
Whether you are looking to bet on the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National or a midweek handicap at Catterick, using the best bookmaker for the bet you want to make is certainly advisable.
In this article we will outline some of the reasons why you might want to join a new betting site. We’ll also outline what things you ought to look for in a bookie and what terms and conditions you should be aware of.
Horse Racing Betting Odds
If you are planning to make regular – or even semi-regular – bets, whether small stakes or large, it pays to get the best odds. If you place a £10 at odds of 8/1 you get a profit of £80. But if you had got odds of 10/1, you’d have got £100 of profit.
Okay, £20 isn’t going to make or break the bank, but if you place that £10 bet every weekend for a year, there’s a difference of more than £1000 in winnings over the long term.
As such, it pays to use bookmakers who are renowned for offering competitive odds on horse racing. Or, better still, those who actually commit to offering the top odds.
Horse Racing Betting Markets
While the most popular racing bets to place are simply for a horse to win a race followed by an each way bet, there are a plethora of other racing betting markets available at the top bookies.
As well as forecasts, reverse forecasts, all the usual multiples, such as Lucky 15 bets, Yankees and so on, many bookies also offer a fair bit more. Winnings distance bets are becoming increasingly popular, as are bets that are offered without a particular horse (who is generally the overwhelming favourite), known as ‘betting without’.
Of course, if you are happy to stick with the tried and tested racing bets, you could use pretty much any bookie around. If, however, you’re keen to try some different bets, check out what the likes of Betfair and Coral have to offer, especially for the biggest races and meetings, such as the Cheltenham Festival. You’ll be able to bet on the top jockey, the top trainer, various head to head bets, and all sorts of others too.
Free Bets and Welcome Bonuses
We list the best racing free bets and bonuses on our site, and though this is important to many punters, in reality these offers are less important than the ongoing offers and indeed the value to be found in the odds offered.
Having said that, it’s nice to get a bit of a bonus from time to time and when you join, so using a new bookie in order to benefit from a sign up offer isn’t a bad idea.
Types of Racing Betting Offers for Existing Customers
One of the most common, yet most welcome, racing betting offers for existing customers of betting sites is Best Odds Guaranteed.
Bookies that offer Best Odds Guaranteed will pay you out on winning racing bets at the higher price if you take an early price but the odds have drifted by the time the race runs. If the odds shorten, they’ll still pay you at the higher price.
Betting Site Features for Horse Racing Punters
Other features specific to horse racing to make our lives easier include live streaming, in-race betting, cashing out, race cards, radio commentary and quick results services. All the sites we feature offer some or all of these things – check out the individual racing betting sites for the full details.
Top 10 Reasons to Join a New Betting Site
You might already have one or two bookie accounts and feel there is no need for another. However, even if you’re happy with the site you currently use for your racing bets, it can still make perfect sense to open an account at another betting site. Here are 10 reasons why…
1 – Claim a Free Bet
Most bookies we work with are very good at retaining customers by offering an excellent range of markets, great odds, and regular, generous betting offers and bonuses. It stands to reason, however, that bookmakers put a lot of effort and resources into attracting new customers. And that’s why joining a new bookie can pay dividends.
All of the best racing betting sites out there offer new customers some form of incentive to join. These are often a lot more generous than the ongoing betting offers available to existing customers, and whether they come in the form of a matched free bets, a no lose bet or an enhanced odds deal on the favourite in a race, there is no doubt these can be lucrative if used wisely.
Most betting sites offer new customers a stake not returned free bet, where if you make a qualifying wager, the bookmaker matches it with a free bet. Sometimes they do more than match it, with the free bet value double your initial bet, or even four or more times your qualifying stake.
Racing free bets effectively put the odds in your favour, meaning that, in the long term, you are more likely to win and make a profit. If you have the chance to have, for example, £25 of bets for just £5 of risk, why would you turn that down?
The thing about most free bet offers is that you can only use them once – when you join the bookie. So if you want to get a great value betting offer, it usually pays to shop around and find a new bookie to join.
2 – Access to More Offers
We are rather partial to racing betting offers, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the name of the site. Quite simply, the more different bookies you have access to, the more different offers you’ll able to claim.
As well as the free bets and bonuses available when you join, all of the bookies will also have offers for existing customers too. If you join a given site, you not only get the initial freebie, but also the possibility to claim all of their future promotions as well.
This means that whatever you like to bet on, you should hopefully be able to find an offer of some sort somewhere.
3 – Better Odds
If you only have one bookie account online, you can only ever place bets with them, which means you are forced to accept their odds. With more and more online bookies, the difference between the best odds on a given horse and the worst can be significant.
This can make a big difference to your winnings, especially for racing betting fans who like to bet on outsiders. If you land a winner at 25/1 with your current or favourite racing bookmaker, no doubt you’d be delighted. However, would you still be as happy if you discovered another betting site had the horse at 50/1?
Of course, you don’t have to use all of your accounts all of the time. However, getting the best odds for your bets is quicker and easier if you already have the account open. If one shop was selling something for £25, why would you go to another shop and pay £50?
4 – Different Markets
Nowadays most major betting sites will cover all the major horse racing meetings and all of the most popular markets. However, from time to time a bookmaker will create a new market or cover an unusual special. Similarly, your favourite and slightly dodgy Uncle Bob, may give you a hot tip for a race in India, but your normal bookie may not cover Indian racing.
Quite simply, having more betting accounts gives you more options and more choice and means you won’t miss out. Just don’t blame us if it turns out Uncle Bob’s Indian banker is more of a microwave Korma than a smoking hot restaurant banquet.
Sometimes a new bookie comes out or enters the horse racing arena that is quite simply better than those who exist already. They may offer a much wider range of racing markets to bet on or have loads of racing-specific betting offers.
Some of the more well-known bookies clearly know what they are doing. But they might sometimes fall into the trap of believing ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If the majority of their customers seem happy enough they might feel less compelled to innovate. They might be less inclined to develop new products for horse racing punters. New bookies are looking to make a name for themselves meanwhile. They can sometimes come up with new and exciting betting offers, bet types or services to punters.
5 – A Change is as Good as a Rest
Inevitably you will naturally gravitate to one or two bookies which you think are the best. That’s fine but from time to time a change is most definitely as good as a rest. Whether you get a bit bored with a given site or feel your luck just isn’t in there, every now and again, trying a different site for your bets just freshens things up.
If you always use the same bookie for your horse racing bets, there are clearly advantages; you’ll know how to find the races and markets you want, you’ll trust them to pay out when you win and you might value their customer services. But if you never try anything new, how will you ever know whether you are settling for second best?
A lot of customers try out a new bookie, claim the welcome offer, stick around for a while to assess how good they are and then, if not impressed, simply return to their regular bookie. But if that’s the case, you’ll at least be safe in the knowledge that you’ve explored other options and found them lacking – and you’ll have bagged a free bet or other bonuses in the process.
6 – Avoid Downtime
All of the great racing betting sites we feature invest millions in their technology. However, be it through hacking, “planned maintenance”, gremlins or just that Andy the intern forgot to update a file, sometimes even the biggest and best websites in the world go down.
If it happens in banking and retail, you can be sure it could happen with an online bookie. Let’s just imagine that your famous Scouse Auntie Babs gives you the nailed on winner for the big race at the Cheltenham Festival.
Now let’s say that you only have one online betting account and Babs has text you 10 minutes before the race… but your one and only betting site is down. Let’s say Babs’ tip romps home. Now let’s say it was a 33/1 shot. Have a think about how gutted you would feel.
7 – Offers for Dormant Accounts
Many online bookmakers will occasionally offer free bets, offers or some form of promotion to accounts that have been dormant for a while. Just like any other business, if they see you haven’t “shopped” with them for a while, they may send you a little freebie to entice you back.
If you have lots of bookies’ accounts it is quite likely that several will largely go unused. That means you may land some extra bonus goodness and obviously the more sites you join, the greater your chances of being sent such an offer.
8 – Competitions
Many bookies have competitions with some great prizes up for grabs. These might not always be specific to racing but even so, they are well worth taking part in. Often such competitions are free to enter and with nothing to lose, why not get involved?
Loads of sites offer great exclusive competitions and there are also regular weekly competitions with five- and often six-figure sums up for grabs. On top of that, many sites also offer prize draws and competitions for the big events. So, if you fancy a VIP trip to the Grand National – or maybe even the Melbourne Cup – don’t miss out.
To take part in these sorts of promos you often only need an account and to opt in or make a prediction. If you have an account with all of the best horse racing bookmakers you’ll probably get an email when something is live so you can be sure you won’t miss out.
9 – Bookies Sponsor Races
Betting on the horses is big business and one of the best ways to attract new customers is through sponsoring big races or meetings. Loads of bookies are involved in horse racing through sponsorship and often, if they sponsor a race, they may have a related promo, competition or freebie.
The best way to give yourself a chance of grabbing a nice little extra and of having access to this type of promo is, once more, to have a wide range of bookie accounts at your disposal. What’s more, if you’re a racing high roller and place big bets on the horses, you might even get invited along as a VIP.
10 – Avoid Limits and Exclusions
The more successful punters among you will no doubt have found out how quick some bookies can be to limit the accounts of people who win bets regularly. It’s not fun doing all the research on a runner and being sure it’s the one for you only to find the bookie will only let you bet a quid on it because your account has been limited. Or, even worse than that, you get banned from using the betting site entirely.
Some racing high rollers regularly change bookies after being limited or excluded in this way, but because it takes a few minutes to set up a new account, it makes sense to have a few open to give you options if you are looking to place a bet close to the time of a race.
Things to Check When Joining a New Racing Betting Site
Here are just a few things to bear in mind when deciding whether or not to join a new bookmaker. Mainly these sit firmly under the banner of common sense, but we figured they were worth mentioning to be on the safe side.
Regulated by UK Gambling Commission
Clearly when using any online resource these days you really ought to be careful. Especially when it comes to your financial and data security. It is important for bettors based in the UK to ensure that any online betting site you use is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. They will deal with any disputes or complaints and ensure that the bookie in question sticks to all the rules.
Rest assured that all the bookies we feature are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. If you find a bookie elsewhere that isn’t regulated… simply avoid them.
Read the Small Print
As mentioned, most bookies try to attract new customers with eye-catching betting offers, free bets or enhanced odds offers. It is ESSENTIAL that you read all the terms and conditions of a given offer. Before you sign up to it. In this way you will make sure you understand what you are getting when you join a bookie.
Most bookies these days go to great lengths to make their terms and conditions very obvious, but you still need to take the time to read them. Trust us, it is time well spent.
Some common terms and conditions:
- Over 18s only – It is illegal in the UK for anyone under the age of 18 to gamble; hence all bookies require customers to be aged 18 or above.
- UK customers only – Many bookies have geographical restrictions, especially for betting offers. A lot of free bets and bonuses are available only to residents of the UK or the UK and Ireland. Again this is down to regulation.
- Paid out in free bets not cash – Bookies pay out many offers in free bets rather than cash, including most enhanced odds offers. This means you will have to roll over the winnings before you withdraw it to your bank account.
- Validity – Most betting offers have a time limit, so they may expire after 7 days, 14 days or a month. If you let them lapse you will lose the free bet or bonus in question.
- Stake Not Returned Free Bets – Many free bet offers do not include the free bet stake in any returns. Suppose you bet a £10 free bet on a horse at 20/1 and it wins. You’ll then get £200 back rather than the £210 you would have got if you used your own cash to place the bet.