Horse racing betting has come a long way from its Roman chariot racing origins, with at least £10 billion bet on this fast-paced and unpredictable sport every year. Avoid getting lost in the vast selection of online betting sites with this practical guide, which will help you find the best option for you, whether you're a racing betting virtuoso or just starting out.
When choosing a horse racing betting site to place your bet on, the first choice should be the betting site that offers the best odds on the horse you want to back, and the best terms of the bet. The best horse racing betting sites will be able to offer the best value odds throughout their betting markets, and the best terms on each-way betting.
Look out for special offers that increase the odds on your horse, or increase your chances of winning, or at least decrease your chance of losing your stake. For example:
Not all horse racing betting sites offer the same types of bets, so it’s important to choose the right operator for the bet you wish to place. For example:
Q: Do they bet on the race you want to play with?
A: Most online sites will bet on all British and Irish horse races, over jumps and on the Flat, but not all bet on all international races.
Q: What kind of special markets do they have?
A: In horse racing betting, special markets can range from ‘who will be Champion Trainer this season?’ to ‘what will be the ground description for the Grand National?’. Browse the specials section of several online bookmakers to find the best horse racing markets.
Q: Is betting in-running available?
A: Betting in-running has become very popular on horse racing, but it is generally only available on betting exchange sites, as opposed to regular horse racing betting sites.
A popular feature on horse racing betting sites now is the option to watch a horse race live on the bookmaker’s site, or listen to the live commentary. The bookie will allow punters to watch or listed to a race provided they have placed a bet on it, usually stating it must be a small minimum bet in the region of £1/€1.
To find out if an online bookmaker offers this service, click into the race you want to bet on; it is usually flagged on this page whether there is a live stream or commentary, and what the minimum stake is to access it.
Stick to reputable sites, and check any data you're sharing will be encrypted. Making deposits should be flexible, to suit you. You’ll find most sites have a good range of payment options, from trusted mainstream banks to third party online services like PayPal. Check that the site has an informative FAQ page and good, fast customer service, so if you do run into problems, they’ll be dealt with quickly.
When choosing a horse racing betting site for the first time, there is just about always a sign-up bonus. Operators offer a range of free betting options to those signing up to bet with them, and it can pay to shop around, particularly if you can find a sign-up bonus that helps boost your own horse racing betting strategy.
After signing up to a horse racing betting site, there is often the option to sign up to a higher-level of membership with the online bookmaker. Most bookies offer benefits to general customers, but these increase for those opting in to their Membership Club. For example:
You can find full details of a bookmaker’s membership benefits on their online betting site.
Leading bookmakers often sponsor top horse racing personalities, like a trainer or a jockey, to be their Horse Racing Ambassadors. Betting sites do this to help create awareness about their brand. In return for sponsorship, the personalities can offer the betting site exclusive insights via blogs and podcasts, and they can often be involved in providing member benefits. It increases a horse racing betting site’s trustability when a top trainer or jockey is associated with it.
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