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Online Sports Betting In The UK

Online Sports Betting in the UK began in the mid-nineties, though it is one of the oldest, most lucrative businesses in the region, with several companies dating back to the 1800’s. Ladbrokes, for example, dates all the way back to 1886, now running one of the most popular online sports betting operations in the UK.

For those unfamiliar with the gambling method, there are actually two types of online sports betting. There are ‘Sports Books’ and ‘Betting Exchanges’. Both allow online sports betting, but there is one distinct difference between the two.

A Sportsbook allows punters (bettors) to place wagers on fixed odds, betting against ‘the house’ – the online sports betting facility itself. A Betting Exchange is an online sports betting operation that allows punters to wager against one another, collecting a small commission from each bet to turn a profit. By betting against other punters, you are given the option to set your own odds. The other punter(s) can choose whether or not they wish to accept those odds, or can place a counter offer.

Online sports betting in the UK has grown rapidly since its introduction in the mid-90’s, now contributing as a multi-billion dollar industry, with many companies large enough to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

There is also a notable difference in the way odds are printed, depending on what side of the globe you’re on. Online sports betting in the UK utilizes what is called UK Format, or Fractional Odds. In other areas of Europe, European Format, or Decimal Odds are used, while the America Format is Moneyline Odds. The odds all payout the same, it is the way they are posted, or written, that makes them different and therefore, sometimes harder to understand.

Here are a few examples of the different odds formats:
Decimal Odds
Ѕ, 1, 3/2
Fractional Odds
1.50, 2.00, 2.50
Moneyline Odds
-200, +100, +150

Each of these odds formats means the same thing – they are just presented in a different way.

To convert Decimal Odds to UK Fractional Odds, subtract 1 then convert to a fraction (ex: 1.5-1=.5, converted to Ѕ).

To convert Moneyline Odds to UK Fractional Odds, divide by 100, then convert to a fraction, (ex: 150/100=1.5, converted to 3/2).

Because the odds can be so confusing when trying to convert from one region’s rules to the next, most operators of online sports betting in the UK will actually provide all three odds formats, allowing the punter to choose which he prefers to view. However, this is not always the case, so be sure you at least understand the UK format of Fractional Odds before putting n money on the line.

The last thing I would like to discuss is the general Hollywood depiction of organized crime that theoretically revolves around sports betting. I’m sure you’ve seen movies where the head of the ‘mafia’ order a boxer to ‘take a dive’. While there is some validity to this, most sports organizations, including all American professional sports leagues, as well as most college level sports, make a clear and punctuated effort to disassociate themselves from sports gambling altogether.

Any legitimate sports betting operation (Ladbrokes, BetFred, William Hill to name a few...) will make every effort to thwart corruption in the business. If the slightest fraudulent activity is detected, or even suspected, reputable facilitators of online sports betting in the UK will take immediate action to ensure the integrity of their members’ bets – even if it means canceling all bets on the event and returning respective funds.

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