If you’ve been betting online for any amount of time, you’ve probably already got accounts with many of the high street bookmakers. In fact, we’d bet dollars to doughnuts that the first site you signed up at was probably one of the big boys such as Ladbrokes, Betfred or William Hill.
But you don’t have to bet with the traditional bookies, and there are plenty of new betting sites cropping up all the time – and many of them know that they’re going to have to work a bit harder to get your business, which often results in some very juicy promotions.
In this next section, we’ll take a look at our top choices for new online bookmakers. All of them have been thoroughly researched and tested and get our stamp of approval as being trustworthy, safe and on the up-and-up.
LeoVegas is a brand that is fairly well known these days, but that’s mainly for their integration with the online casino industry. The obvious expansion for companies in online casino is to head into either sports, bingo or online poker, and LeoVegas have done exactly this with their brand new sportsbook that was launched in May 2016.
As a little background to LeoVegas, the company are Swedish based, although they now run out of Mata, whilst their technology development department is still based in their homeland. The sportsbook has been added to try and open their doors to much wider demographic and they are essentially piggybacking on the success of their online casino, one that has won several awards over the last couple of years alone.
Given that the sportsbook is still very much in ascendancy, we were both surprised and pleased to see so many sports on offer in such a short time. You’re big guns are there such as football, horse racing, tennis, golf and rugby, but on top of that more niche sports such as Bandy, field hockey and water sports are all on offer.
What we have noticed from the bookmaker is that they are making a huge effort to keep in contact with sports from their homeland and across Scandinavia. The football markets are full of Norwegian, Swedish and Danish leagues, but you can also get a hold of niche Scandinavian sports such as Pesapallo and winter sports, which are huge over there.
Looking for Even More Options?
If you’ve made it to this part of the page and still looking for more places to bet, then don’t forget to check out our free bets page – the sites on this page may not be brand new likes the ones here, but there’s a chance we’ve got one or two you’ve not heard of before!
Is It Worth Signing Up to a New Site?
There are two different meanings of a “new betting site”. First, is one that is new to you, second, one that is brand new to the market. There is obviously a large amount of crossover, especially for experienced punters who may already have online accounts with most, or even all, of the major bookmakers. On the other hand, if you only have an account with Betfred, Ladbrokes might be “new”, despite their origins going back to the 1800s!
In this article, we will focus more on the idea of new sites that are new brands, in other words sites that are new to everyone. So, should you join a new site? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of placing your bets with a brand new, new brand!
Benefits of Joining a New Site
Probably the biggest advantage of joining an entirely new-to-market betting site is that they may offer very generous promotions. The world of online betting is lucrative and, therefore, competition is fierce.
In order to attract new customers when they first launch, many new bookies will offer an especially generous welcome offer. It is not uncommon for the value of the welcome freebie to be reduced as they garner more customers, so getting in early can be worthwhile.
The second big advantage of joining a new site is that they are most likely to have something really new, original and innovative to offer. Whilst well-established bookmakers often release new features and betting tools, it is rare for them to really stick their necks out and offer anything that is radically different from their rivals. If you like trying new ways of betting and being the first to do so, chances are this will involve giving a new site a whirl.
Be the First to Try It
On a less important level, and related to the above, some punters simply like to be the first of their mates or colleagues to hear of and try a new site. If a bookie turns out to be very good, or gets very big, there is a certain kudos in being one of the first to have heard of it and made bets there.
Then, of course, there are all the benefits that come with joining any extra site. These are not specific to a bookie that has only just been formed and would also be obtained if you joined any bookie you didn’t previously have an account with. Even so, access to more offers, a better chance of accessing the best odds, flexibility, the best range of markets, sports and matches, and a fresh, clean, unlimited account are all just some of the benefits that come with opening any new account.
Downsides to Joining a New Betting Site
The major downside to joining a new betting site is that it is an unknown quantity, at least to some extent. The vast majority of new, fully legal, UK-licensed bookmakers are trustworthy and legitimate. However, when they first launch they have no track record and so you can never be 100% sure about what you are going to get. Will they play fair and honour their offers? Will they settle bets properly and process payouts quickly?
Stepping into the Unknown
Some punters may prefer to let others take the risk first and only join once a bookie has established a decent reputation. On the face of it, this seems to make sense but in actual fact joining a site when they are first getting going might be the safest option.
Sadly, over the years some betting sites have struggled and eventually gone out of business. However, it is virtually unheard of for a new site to have financial difficulties right from the start. As such, from a purely selfish perspective, joining a new betting site right from the beginning might actually be the safest way to do things. You are then able to give them a try and, crucially, claim their welcome offer, winning some cash with a bit of luck, and then get your money out well before they begin to have any monetary issues.
Lack of Experience
That said, this approach may still feel a little risky for some and it is that fear of the unknown that may put some off joining a new betting site. Another concern is that a new site might lack the experience and expertise of a more long-standing one. Most new sites launch with experienced staff and owners but even then it is possible there might be teething problems with the website, app, payments systems or customer support.
Rather than jumping in, some prefer to wait whilst these issues are ironed out. This way they can join the bookie a little further down the line when their offering is more polished. When bookies first launch, for example, they might not offer live chat customer support or might have a more limited range of sports or markets. In a similar fashion, whilst we noted that joining at the beginning might mean a bigger welcome offer, this is not always the case.
We have known of some sites that have started with a smaller bonus before increasing it as they become more established. Rather than a big early push to attract new customers, this is typically because they are seeking to control finances more tightly at the beginning until they have established a decent user base. Such sites may increase the size or generosity of their welcome promo once they have money coming into the business, so it might pay to wait.
New Brands from Big Names vs Total Newcomers
Whilst we are talking here about “new sites”, it is worth noting that not all such bookies are created equally. There are two different things to look at here and the most important is whether the new site is from a brand new company, or whether they are simply a new brand from an existing bookie.
“Sister Sites” Worth Looking Out For
Many big, well-established online bookmakers may launch new “sister sites” and whilst the site itself is new, the people who created it, run it and finance it have all the know-how, experience and trustworthiness of the main brand/site. They may launch a new site to target a new demographic, focus on a slightly different range of markets, try a different approach or simply have more irons in the fire.
Joining a site like that is a very different proposition from joining one operated by total newcomers to the world of online betting. A new start-up may have the experience, finances and expertise required but it is hard for punters to know that. Equally they may be 100% reputable, ethical and trustworthy but how can a prospective new client decide?
White Label or New Tech?
The second issue to think about is whether the site itself is genuinely “new”, in terms of the technology that powers it, or whether it is simply a white label. A white label is essentially an off-the-shelf package that makes it very easy for new parties to enter the industry. If you have ever made bets with one bookie and had a feeling that the site seems very familiar to another, it could well be that they are white labels.
Entirely new companies and established ones launching a new brand might both use white labels, or equally both might have proprietary technology. Either way, a site using a white label is probably not bringing all that much extra value to the table for anyone looking for something new, exciting or interesting. Such betting sites are often generic clones and whilst they are good if you simply want a new bonus to bag, they do not offer all that much else.
To some extent the same can be said of sister sites, because the chances are that they are using a framework that is either identical to – or certainly very similar to – their main site. This might not always be the case, so if you are looking for something a bit different then such sites are definitely still worth checking out. And even if the fundamentals of the site are the same, you should still be able to claim another welcome offer (check the Ts and Cs though as sometimes bonuses are restricted to one across the network of brands).
Making Sure a Site is Legal
You can check if a site is a one-off, or part of a group, by using one of the handy tools on the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission) website. This offers a number of ways of searching the UK gambling license register, or even looking at it in its entirety.
This should also be your starting point if you want to check if a new website is legal. Since 2014, any betting site advertising to UK punters, or wanting to accept wagers from them, has had to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. The UKGC is generally held to be the strictest and most vigilant regulatory body in the world. It doesn’t assure that your bookie will be perfect but it gives you more in the way of reassurance than using a site regulated by any other body.
We only ever advise using a betting site listed by UKGC. Otherwise you have very little recourse should your bookmaker refuse to settle a bet properly, fail to pay, go bust, disappear or try and enforce terms and conditions which are patently unfair. These non-legal bookies tend to operate offshore in legal grey areas (to put it kindly).
They might appeal to punters who have self-excluded from legitimate UK bookies – such sites do not work with GAMSTOP and rarely have any interest in responsible gambling. Others might be drawn to them due to their seemingly generous welcome free bets or offers, or their oversized odds. However, in reality, such “generous” offers and odds are rendered meaningless because when it comes to trying to withdraw your cash, the chances are you will face, at best, a time-consuming, soul-sapping slog. At worst, you simply won’t get paid.
How Do the Odds Compare?
Comparing odds between sites is largely a thankless task as there are so many variables. Some sites may offer decent odds in one area, on one day, but then shocking prices on other sports or at other times. That said, as a very general rule, the bigger, longer-established bookies tend to offer better odds. In addition, any sites that have very bad odds tend to only ever be the newest ones.
New sites may sometimes try and attract customers on the strength of their odds and offer very good prices. This will of course help them compete in a congested market where their brand awareness and trust rating lags behind those of their rivals. However, it may be short-lived, or worse, end in tears, because the chances are that the bigger sites that have been around longer have more efficient pricing models, so can operate on a smaller margin.
In addition, the bigger firms often have economies of scale, with a great deal of consolidation (mergers and takeovers) having taken place within the industry over the past decade or so. So, all in all, we would tend to favour older betting sites but if you are very concerned about getting the best odds, checking on a case-by-case basis is the only way to go.
Betting Limits at New Sites
As with odds, when it comes to betting limits, hard and fast rules tend to be impossible. Some new sites may have very high limits, whilst others will play it safer. Once again though, and generally for the same reasons, overall we would suggest that the more established bookies will tend to have the biggest limits.
That said, there is one very obvious time that new sites will be perfect for those looking for more generous betting limits. That is for those punters who have seen their accounts subject to individualised limits, or even bans, at a number of the more mainstream bookies. It is not at all uncommon for those who bet regularly, even if they are very far from being pro punters, to see their accounts limited.
Bookies do not disclose why your account is being limited but you may notice that you are restricted to smaller and smaller stakes. Alternatively, you may discover that you are no longer eligible for certain promotions. This might be because you have been winning too regularly, landed a decent win on a very obscure market, hit the bookie when their odds were out of line or any number of other reasons. Either way, when you join a new betting site, even if it is one that is a partner of another that has limited you, your full betting limits will be available.
As in many areas of commercial life and indeed life in general, it is rare to find a genuinely new, exciting offering. Some people might get excited about the difference between Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, or between a Nissan Qashqai and a Volkswagen Tiguan but at the end of the day these are just supermarkets and just cars. They sell food, they get you from A to B.
In much the same way, one betting site might offer 11/10 and another might have odds of just evens. Another site might offer live streaming of all UK and Irish racing whereas a rival only covers the biggest races. Ultimately though, once again, both are bookmakers and both take your bets (and quite probably your money too, the scoundrels!).
However, every now and again we see a new betting site provide something that is fresh, original and very exciting. One obvious example, albeit going back around a quarter of a century, is the concept of betting exchanges. Not all that long before that, the very conception of betting sites at all was even more of a revolution. No more popping out to the betting shop or calling up on the phone – the internet had arrived!
In more recent times there have been similarly innovative sites. One long-standing one was Pinnacle, though sadly they are no longer UK-licensed. Their model was based on very high volume, very low margins and a belief that they rarely made mistakes in setting their odds. They offered very strong odds and vowed to never limit customers.
The advent of spread betting was also a genuinely new offering. This is quite simply a different type of betting where many markets are not a binary pick between winning or losing. Essentially you are betting on higher or lower and the “more right” you were the bigger your returns (with the opposite also being true). For example, instead of betting on over 2.5 goals at evens, you might “buy” (say higher) than 2.9 goals. You could bet £100 per goal and win, say, £110 if the game saw four goals, or just £10 if there were three. On the downside, that £100 is your stake but not your maximum loss and if the game ended 0-0 you would be £290.
Original New Betting Sites & Features
Some other notable, original new betting sites and features are listed below:
- Kwiff – The site offers “supercharged sports betting”, with random, and sometimes sizeable, odds boosts applied after you have placed your bet.
- Bet Butler – Bet Butler was a short-lived attempt to offer a brokerage service, finding punters the best possible odds for whatever bet they wanted to make. They charged a 3% commission on winning bets but were soon suspended by the UKGC who had serious concerns about the model and the management.
- SBK – SBK claim to be “rewriting the sportsbook” and have pointed a finger at established betting sites that only want to “maximise their profits”. They are mobile only and aim to offer a social betting experience with shared tips, better odds and an array of features to make betting more fun.
- Colossus Bets – In the brave new world of betting site innovation you have to have a tagline and Colossus go with “The new way to bet on sports”. They began in 2012 and have now expanded to offer relatively “normal” betting as well but their main focus is on huge jackpots (up to £10m!). These are offered for making very specific predictions either concerning correct scores, acca-style bets or other aspects of different sports. They also allow punters to play as part of a syndicate, thus covering a number of the possible outcomes for a share of the prizes.