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Article on Online Bookmakers - Beginners Betting Guide

Who is the Best Online Bookmaker?

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Which bookmakers have the best customer service?

This is often a matter of opinion! Most of the top bookmakers have worked very hard to put together a customer service team that can deal with a range of queries that the customer might have. As we're talking about online betting, the staff members are usually able to deal with technical queries as well as account and betting-related matters.

Many bookmakers like bet365 and Ladbrokes in our experience offer a great customer service support, especially as they service customers from all over the world. However, it's Paddy Power who seem to have a strong reputation and they have the best average response times when it comes to bookmaker customer service.


How can I contact a bookmaker if I have a query?

There are usually a number of ways that you can get in touch. You can contact by telephone and many bookmakers offer customers a toll-free number so they aren't charged for the call. However, live chat has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years so that customers can get a quick response without having to wait in a call queue. There is nearly always the option to email the bookmaker and there's often an online form as well.


How many different bookmakers should I open an account with?

Some people have betting accounts with 20 different bookmakers and that means that they can take advantage of all the different offers and promotions that are available. It also means that you will get lots of emails from the bookies with details of their latest offers. To begin with, it probably makes sense to open just one account until you have familiarised yourself with online betting and making sure that you have got the hang of placing a bet.

Naturally, much depends on what you are looking for from online betting. There are firms like Betfair that offer live streaming of sporting events and people enjoy being able to watch the action while they are placing a bet.

Most punters probably end up with four or five betting accounts, many of whom select Betfair as one of these as the betting exchange allows them not only to place bets but also act as the bookmaker and lay bets too. However, we advise you visit a traditional bookmaker first!


Does it cost any money to open a bookmaker account?

In a word, no!


Which bookmakers offer the best odds?

This can completely vary, according to what sport you're betting on or even what day of the week it is! Most bookmakers have their own trading team who compile the odds and any big bookie will offer competitive odds in order to get their share of the business every week. There are some bookmakers such as William Hill who are committed to betting to low margins on the top football leagues across Europe so you always know that they will have outstanding prices.

However, this is why it's nice to have a handful of betting accounts as you can compare the odds on different events and make sure you get the best possible price. For horse racing, there are several bookmakers such as Ladbrokes who offer Best Odds Guaranteed on all UK and Irish meetings. That means if you take a price on a particular horse and the starting price is bigger, you will get paid at the SP instead.

It's often worth checking your inbox for emails from online bookmakers who are running with promotions for a particular event. On quite a few occasions, they will be doing a price promise or enhanced odds which is a real treat for their customers.


Do any bookmakers offer a free bet when I open an account?

Yes they do and it's important to take advantage of any new customer free bet offers which may be available with each bookmaker. There are different types of free bets out there, although the most common ones are a) a deposit bonus where the bookmaker will match your first deposit or commit to adding a percentage of your deposit to the balance or b) matched bet where your first bet will be matched with a free bet.

Therefore, when you first visit a bookmaker website, look out for mention of a new customer free bet and it's worth contacting customer services if you want further information. It is also worth looking out for the terms and conditions that go with the free bet - it's not as easy as just placing it on a surefire selection and walking away with the profit. There are often turnover requirements attached to the free bet so don't jump in with two feet!


What are the best new customer offers?

The best new customer offers are the ones where you don't have to turn over your initial deposit 20 times before you get a free bet.

Alternatively, a bookmaker like Ladbrokes offer a matched *£50 bet which means when your first bet of up to £50 has been settled, they will credit you with a free bet to the same stake. It's worth bearing in mind that the free bet stake is usually non-refundable, so it's better to try and back a bigger-priced winner rather than something at short odds.

*New Customer Offers, T&C’s Apply, 18+. Please Gamble Responsibly. See details directly at each bookmaker's website.

Are there free bet offers and promotions for existing customers?

While new customers usually get the most generous free bet offers, bookmakers naturally want to try and retain as many customers as possible and so you will often receive emails which outline some various free bet promotions or cashback concessions that are available.

Before the start of the season, a bookie might offer to reload your betting account with a free bet if you make a deposit, while bookmakers such as Paddy Power regularly run with cashback promotions on football matches which means that your stake can be refunded if a certain player scores the last goal or the game ends in a goalless draw.


What is the biggest amount of money I can make when I place a bet?

This depends on the sport and the market that you are selecting. Many bookmakers will have a maximum stake size for a particular bet, although this often runs into thousands of pounds so usually no cause for alarm on that one. If you do manage to slap down a winning accumulator, most bookmakers generally stop at the £100,000 mark although a big customer win is usually in the tens of thousands.

What happens if I have a dispute with a bookmaker over the settlement of a bet?

Any reputable bookmaker have an affiliation with IBAS, which is an authoritative, totally independent third party offering adjudication for customers who have an unresolved betting dispute with their bookmaker. IBAS guarantee impartiality and fairness to both parties and look at each case independently, so you're in safe hands here.


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