How to get the best value from an online bookmaker

Online bookmakers come in all shapes and sizes and it’s fair to say that there is something for everyone if you choose carefully. Online betting has grown enormously since the turn of the millennium and all betting providers need to provide their customers with as many markets as possible in order to compete in an ever-more competitive marketplace.

Long gone are the days when you needed to visit your local high street betting shop in order to place a bet and in many respects, the same is now true of betting on a desktop, many sites gearing themselves up primarily for betting ‘on the go’ using mobile or tablet. In this ever-evolving world of online gambling, the player needs to keep up with the times and this in turn also means keeping abreast of the latest offers and bonuses that can be claimed.

First and foremost, when choosing an online bookmaker the punter needs to determine exactly which sports and markets a betting operator provides. This is slightly more complicated than you might think given that some operators may omit some sports such as horse racing or greyhounds. As a rule all bookies offer a great many betting markets devoted to football and this is generally the dominant sport on most sites, however, some of the relative newcomers on the scene may be lacking in their coverage of some of the less popular or ‘fringe’ sporting events.

Similarly, football markets tend to be far more comprehensive and wide-ranging than many other sports, and as such, fans of the ‘beautiful game’ are well catered for across the board. Some online betting providers offer hundreds of different markets on the bigger leagues such as the Premier League or Bundesliga and you can compare these leading bookmakers and check out just what they have to offer at comparison sites such as

Another major consideration to take into account when choosing an online betting site is the competitiveness of the odds on offer. Even if a betting provider seems perfect in terms of sports coverage, it’s of little use if the odds on offer compare unfavourably with other bookmakers and is perhaps best avoided in the longer term. Of course, many bookmakers can be far more competitive on some sports than others and it’s simply a case of comparing like for like.

A shorter-term approach to choosing a bookmaker is simply to check out their welcome bonus. Given that you can register with as many bookmakers as you wish, there’s nothing to prevent you from opening accounts with numerous betting providers and claiming each free bet bonus. Nevertheless, you must remember that you can’t simply cash these in, you need to place bets with them and you will also need to meet the wagering and turnover requirements before any winnings from the bonus can be withdrawn.

A free bet bonus is a great way to get started with any bookmaker and they come in many different forms. By far the most common is the simple ‘free bet’ and this does exactly what it says on the tin. The general rule is that you will need to make an initial deposit and place a first bet in order to be handed the free bet but once you have met the conditions, the bonus will be credited to your account. A typical example of this is “bet £10 get £30” whereupon you will need to deposit and bet an initial £10 and once this has been settled (win or lose), you will be awarded free bets to the value of £30, either as a single free bet or a number of smaller ones up to that amount.

Another common form of welcome promotion is the ‘Matched Deposit Bonus’. Quite simply, the value of the bonus here is purely dependent on the amount that you deposit initially once you have registered your new account. Deposit a greater amount and your bonus will be similarly larger, a common example being “Matched Deposit Bonus of 100% up to £100. In this instance, you can make an initial deposit up to a maximum of £100 and the bookmaker will match this, pound for pound. This type of offer has a distinct advantage in that it is left to the customer exactly how much he or she wishes to deposit.

When an online bookmaker provides a casino platform alongside its sportsbook, there is generally a chance for a new player to pick up some free spins. These are often included in the overall welcome offer, an example being “bet £5 get £30 plus 100 Free Spins’, however in some instances they will be available only when registering with the casino. Again, an initial deposit will be required although that isn’t always the case with some online casino operators offering up some free spins with no requirement to part with any of your hard-earned cash.

All UK bookmakers offer some sort of free bet, while punters in the Republic of Ireland have a similarly large choice when it comes to welcome bonuses and these are generally similar to those available for UK-based players, the only difference being that they are offered in Euros.

You can grab yourself some exceptional value with most of the leading UK and Irish online bookmakers but as already mentioned, it does pay to shop around for the best deals, bonuses, and most importantly, betting odds. Most providers offer rewards programs for regular players and these generally include prizes, free bets, and cash-back bonuses. Details of all these ongoing reward schemes can be found at leading bookmaker comparison site