Whilst you’re probably familiar with the big name high street bookies, the internet has a lot more to offer than just those when it comes to places to bet. Some have been around long enough to make themselves household names in their own rights, through mass adoption or catchy TV adverts and sponsorship, whilst others are brand new and looking to nab a share of the massive UK betting industry.
These new betting sites tend to fall into two camps. You get the well funded sites who know they need to pull out all the stops if they want to compete with the big boys, and then you get the lazy white labels that are just clones of other sites with a new coat of paint slapped over the top. It should be pretty obvious that if you’re looking for a new bookie, it’s the former that you’ll want to pay more attention to.
Best New Betting Sites For 2023
Parimatch are a well established bookmaker in the CIS region and were first founded in the Ukraine way back in 1994. Whilst they may be technically much older than other sites in our 'new bookies' list they only entered the UK market recently making them an interesting combination of both highly experienced but also new (to us, at least).
In order to better serve their UK customers Parimatch have partnered up with BetVictor, which is why you may notice some similarities between the two sites. Or to put it another way, if you like BetVictor you'll probably like Parimatch. The two sites do run different offers though, so it's worth taking a look even if you already have a BetVictor account.
2. Grosvenor Sport
Grosvenor are another example of a well established brand that's relatively new to sports betting. They're best known for their brick and mortar casinos, of which they operate around 50 in the UK, which have been around since the 1970's. Together with their stablemates, Mecca Bingo, this makes their parent group (Rank Gaming) one of the biggest and most respected land based operators in the country.
The betting product is nicely done and operates on the Kambi platform. What's impressed us recently is the variety and number of promotions that they run for their sports betting customers and they offer some very generous deals that are well worth checking out.
Quinnbet were founded by Irish businessman Sean Quinn, which follows in the footsteps of BetFred, BetVictor in that it takes its name from the founder. They've been around for a few years but much of that has been focussed in Ireland and we're only really now seeing them break into the UK.
The thing that impressed us most about these guys is the sheer number of promotions that they run. This site is definitely more than just the welcome bonus, with some corkers for racing, football, golf and even a bunch of US sports.
Please note that the offer listed above is for UK customers as they make up the bulk of our visitors. There is an alternative welcome bonus for Irish customers which you can see here.
Are New Betting Sites Safe?
When a relationship or job ends, so the old saying goes, there are plenty more fish in the sea; though it might be more apt and accurate to say there are plenty more fish in the plastic. Or plastics in the sea. But, old sayings and environmental concerns aside, there are lots and lots of online bookmakers and new ones crop up very frequently too.
Whether your main bookie has banned you, reduced your permitted stake, barred you from promotions, or, alternatively, you just fancy a change (and perhaps a new bookie to claim a welcome bonus or offer), there are so many online betting sites to choose from. But how can you tell if a new site is trustworthy and if your money and personal details will be safe there?
You may hear of a new site in any number of ways, be it advertising, a friend’s recommendation, on a forum or at a site like this. The advertising might be something as grand as sponsorship of a major football team, a horse race or another sporting event, or it might be a relatively cheap ad that pops up on your socials. But, how do you know if the new site is going to prove trustworthy? How do you know that your bet will be paid, that your withdrawals processed correctly and that your personal and financial data will be kept safe?
Legitimate Licensed Site Versus Unlicensed Site
Perhaps the simplest check you can make to have at least some idea of how safe a new site is is to make sure that they are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Changes to the 2005 Gambling Act made in 2014 meant that to accept UK customers, all sites had to be licensed by the UKGC. You can check if a site you want to join is licensed using the official UKGC site.
Some in the industry believe the UKGC is weak and some would even go as far as to say it is essentially in the hands of the bookies. However, most agree that there is no stricter regulatory body in the world. There are various criteria a site has to fulfil to be granted a license and various standards it has to uphold to maintain its license. A betting site having a UK license is no absolute guarantee that your betting experience will be positive or that they can be trusted. However, it does provide a certain degree of assurance.
We look at the financial protections bookies offer later in the article. However, the UKGC state that “When we license a gambling business we look at suitability, including their financial circumstances. We do not oversee their businesses on a day-to-day basis or monitor the financial health of companies directly in real time.” Again, this is far from a guarantee but it certainly helps to know that a respected regulatory body has at least had some sort of look at a business’s financial viability.
What is more, is that we can say that you probably should avoid any unlicensed bookies, especially if you are a UK resident. As with any industry where regulation is involved there are grey areas, loopholes and, to put it frankly, people who are prepared to operate outside the law. As such, you may see sites that are not licensed by the UKGC that do accept, and even court, UK customers. To put it simply, you should definitely avoid these.
If Something Looks Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
They are probably unlicensed for a reason and in the event that anything goes wrong you have very little support or comeback. What’s more, given there are so many excellent, highly reputable sites to choose from that are licensed, why take the risk? Some offshore betting sites may offer bonuses that seem particularly good or odds that are far better than their rivals; but if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
We do not want to tar all operators with the same brush but many who do not have a UK license but will permit UK customers to bet with them can only really be described as dodgy (if we’re being polite). They are not bound by the same laws as licensed UK sites are regarding offers and in particular how they can advertise them. As such, you may find that promotions that sound amazing, are far from it in reality. Alternatively, you may find that depositing into such sites is easy but withdrawing is far trickier – or impossible.
Choosing Between UK-Licensed Sites
We have ruled out any sites that do not show evidence of a UKGC license on their site, or upon checking the details at the UKGC checker detailed above, the listed license turns out to be false or incorrect. But what about sites that do have a license granted by the UK Gambling Commission? Are they all safe and trustworthy? Are there any further checks that you can and should undertake in order to limit your risk as much as possible?
There are various mainstream (i.e. not bookie-specific) review sites that cover online betting sites and you could take a look at those. We absolutely would not read too much into these as, in general, people mainly only review a bookie when there is an issue. Afterall, who is going to go to the trouble of going on to such a site to say “I joined Bookie X and made a bet, it lost. I then made another bet and it won and I withdrew my £100 and got it quickly. This bookmaker works exactly as a bookie should”. People do not tend to do that because with almost all major, fully licensed bookies, on the vast majority of bets, that is exactly what happens.
In addition, as with any online review site, there is always the risk of phoney reviews, be they positive or negative. This is less of an issue with betting sites than, say, restaurants because people are less review-led but it remains worth being aware of.
Those two points aside, if you see a relatively new bookie that has previously had mainly OK reviews and the odd really good and/or really bad one, but in recent weeks and months has a number of punters complaining about slow payment, or worse, non-payment, this may well be a red flag. When bookmakers are in financial difficulties delaying payments is a common occurrence, so this is worth looking out for.
That is not to say that legitimate ID requests and other standard withdrawal procedures mean a site is rogue. However, bookies licensed by the UKGC now have strict regulations around this and so, for example, any request for ID or further verification must be done as early as possible, rather than only when you make a withdrawal request.
Another check that you can run on a site is to simply check on a search engine. Put the site/brand name in, alongside some negative terms, such as “delaying payment”, “refusing payout”, “dodgy” and so on and see what results comes up. People may well have commented on the issue on social media or a forum, rather than on a review site. The same caveats apply, in that many negative comments can be taken with a pinch of salt. That may be either because they are obviously people trying to downrate the bookie, or, more likely, they are people whose complaint is true, but not really valid, or is very specific to them and a given set of circumstances.
Who Owns & Operates the Site?
Another potentially helpful check to carry out is to find out who owns the site. Many betting and gaming giants operate several brands and websites. Whilst a new bookie, online casino or another gambling site may be a new name to you, in actual fact, it might be owned and operated by someone with a long history and great reputation.
A good example of that is when BetVictor launched Parimatch in 2020. The fact that the new site was essentially backed by a well-established giant like BetVictor certainly gives customers a little more confidence. Ownership structures and partnership deals can be complex in the world of betting and whilst being owned, or seemingly owned, by a much better-known company is no absolute guarantee of trustworthiness, it is certainly a factor well worth considering.
But Beware of Terms Around Free Bets
Whilst a new-kid-on-the-block site might not be quite the unknown quantity it at first seems, that does not mean you can necessarily pile in and grab a welcome offer or bonus. That is because some groups may restrict you to only one welcome bonus at a member site. So, for example, if the (hypothetical) betting group Massive Betting own six different betting sites, you might only be eligible to claim a welcome bonus at one of them. So, if you already have an account and have claimed a bonus at the (hypothetical) site BooyakashaBets.Com, when you try and claim one at the sister site BadGirlzBetBiggest.Com, do not be surprised if the bonus is not credited.
Really this point just backs up advice we would always give: before you join a new site, try and claim a welcome bonus, or take advantage of any offer, make sure you give the key terms and conditions at least a quick read. An exclusion like this is fairly important and so should feature on the key terms that have to appear directly alongside any offer, rather than being hidden among small print.
Whilst this is a caveat worth being aware of, we should point out that not all betting groups operate in this fashion. Many are happy to grant new customers to the specific site, rather than the overall group, a welcome bonus or offer.
Levels of Deposit Protection
One very important thing to note when it comes to an online betting site is what level of protection your money has in the event a bookie goes bust. The UKGC offer full information about this and make it clear that neither they nor the government offers any guarantees for your cash. The UKGC state that “Money staked or deposited with a gambling business is not protected by the Commission or government the way that personal bank accounts are.”
However, betting sites are obliged to tell you what protection your money is afforded at the time you go to make a deposit. There are three levels of protection that a bookie or other betting site may give. These are loosely described as no protection, medium protection and high protection and give you a good idea of what might happen to any of your funds in the event that the operator fails. When you make your first deposit at a site, and before subsequent deposits should the terms change, a bookie must:
- Tell you what happens in the event they go bust
- Show what level of protection (none, medium or high) is offered
- Link to their full Ts and Cs
- Confirm that you understand the information about financial protection
When it comes to what is deemed “customer funds”, this does not stop at your deposit. That would be fine if you never won a bet but when you join a bookie you are potentially entrusting them with not just what you put in, but also what you hope to withdraw in potential future winnings. As such, any protections a site may have cover your deposit, winnings, residual funds and any bonus funds you may be owed. One thing you may note is missing from that list is open bets, which are not, sadly, afforded any protection in the event a site fails. Obviously if the bet loses that is not an issue but should such a bet win during or after a bookie goes bust, you will not have any protection.
High Protection of Funds
If the bookie has the highest level of protection for customer funds this is about as safe as things get. As the UKGC say, you have “best chance of getting your money back if the business goes bust.” In this scenario, customer funds are held in a separate account that is legally a separate entity to the underlying business. Monies are checked by an outside auditor and controlled by a trustee who is independent of the site.
Medium protection is the most commonly offered and means that the site has taken some steps to protect your funds without holding them entirely separate from the company. This may mean they have insurance against their own failure or use some other form of financial arrangement to protect their customers. That said, in the event that such a bookmaker goes bust it is not guaranteed that you will get your funds back.
A surprisingly high number of sites offer their customers no protection in the event of administration and bankruptcy. That includes some fairly sizeable betting sites and big brands too. As you would expect, this does what it says on the tin and should the worst happen there is every chance any funds you have at such a site will be lost.
Money in your account and any pending winnings or bonus funds are simply classed as part of the company’s assets. There is no segregation and if the site goes bust these funds can be used to pay creditors. Customers are almost always last in line and so your chances of recouping much, or even any of your money are slim.
Relatively Few Betting Sites Go Bust
Relatively few betting brands offer the highest level of protection and in truth, generally speaking, they are the biggest and best sites around, the ones that are least likely to go bust anyway. At the other end of the spectrum, many, though far from all, of the sites that offer no protection are the smaller, less established ones who may be at risk.
That said, you should not read too much into these rankings. Overall, relatively few betting sites go bust and sometimes if they do, other sites step in to buy them, meaning customers do not (usually) lose out. Equally, just because a site offers no segregated ringfencing or protection, does not in any way mean it is at risk of going out of business. Last of all, whilst the highest level of protection does indeed offer customers a great deal, it still falls short of a cast-iron guarantee that funds will be returned no matter what. In conclusion, the level of protection is just another factor to think about but does not by itself mean all that much.
Will the Site Keep My Details Safe?
Another aspect of whether or not you can trust a betting site is whether or not they can be relied upon to keep your personal and financial data safe. It is crucial that your money is safe and that you can trust them to pay out your winners and process withdrawals promptly. However, the bigger picture could be, well, bigger, and if they mishandled your financial data or ID, it could lead to far more pressing concerns than them welching on a £5 bet at 10/1.
Thankfully, when it comes to security, things are pretty good in the world of online betting. If you stick to UK licensed sites then you can be assured of a high minimum level of security and transparency. High levels of encryption and cyber security, coupled with monitoring and auditing processes, mean that online betting sites are possibly far safer than many other online retailers. Hacks and breaches can occur but on balance, we would say this is not a cause for concern when it comes to choosing a site (assuming you stick to UK-licensed ones).