Most online bookies offer horse racing as an option, but not all bookies offer the same levels of service or depth of market. For this reason, we’re delving deeper into all of the different aspects you should consider when choosing a bookmaker for you horse racing bets.
Take a look at established sites versus new ones, including what they both have going for them compared to any possible set backs, along with whether all online bookmaking platforms who offer horse racing are essentially offering the same thing.
We also investigate whether new brands to the market are too much of a risk for punters, even if they have exciting introductory offers.
Not every bookmaker gives punters the same choice, whether that be in the range of bet types available or the scope of their coverage, there being good and bad points among all of them, including these brands:
New Horse Racing Bookies For 2023
Quinnbet are an Irish bookmaker where racing takes center stage, with upcoming races the very first thing you see when you land on the home page.
This racing focus is very obvious when it comes to their promotions as well, with a slew of different racing themed offers. We'd dare go so far as to say that at the time of writing they have more racing promos than any other bookie.
As you would expect they have comprehensive coverage of UK & Irish racing. International racing is very well covered as well, with races from France, American, South Africa, Australia and Japan.
Old v New: Does It Matter Who You Bet With?
There is a real mixed bag of betting brands available for you to choose from online.
They include the age-old bookmakers, deep-rooted in the betting industry and who’ve been around for literally decades. They also include brand-new, colourful-looking sites offering you something different, usually in the form of bonuses and promos.
Older Betting Brands
The older brands offer all sorts. Firstly, and put simply, they know what they’re doing. They’ve been at the game for so long with each expert in their field passing on that knowledge to those just beginning with the firm.
Older sites don’t always offer bonuses which look very valuable, as they don’t have to offer too many inducements to attract customers since their reputation does that for them. On the other hand, their smaller bonuses are often much cheaper and easier to get which we prefer over a massive, £200 bonus which comes with all sorts of minimum deposits and wagering requirements.
The well-established sites also tend to offer customers pretty much everything available on the market. Every bet type for every major sport will likely be listed, backed up by live betting, live streaming, enhanced odds etc.
It’s a rather sweeping statement, but essentially the longer a brand has been around, the better they tend to be at offering depth. The quality may change, but that’s for an individual punter to decide.
Newer Betting Brands
One of the things many newer betting sites offer in order to be able to compete is a big bonus. As long as a condition is fed in to make it far from certain that new players can join, grab bonus cash and leave, this often attracts a wave of new customers to a set-up.
Occasionally, and only occasionally, better odds are offered on certain events, again as a way to get new customers in. These, if they are offered in the first place, will not usually last too long.
Newer brands may also bring with them specialist knowledge of betting markets hitherto not so popular in your territory, such as extensive eSports odds etc.
Not everything is positive of course. A new betting website comes with obvious risks. If they are not well funded enough, they may see your betting money as great capital for them which could then be at risk. We’ve got more info on that further down.
Also, new sites, especially basic white labels, may offer no horse racing, no cash-out and bet-building facilities, no live betting and no streaming of any kind. In other words, as they get started in the industry, they may offer just a very basic service which is not what most people are now used to.
There are good and bad traits to all new online sports betting websites. The better ones may even be attached already to existing major betting brands. Some brands will buy up-and-coming sites, or will start others to grab customer from specific areas of the market.
Pros and Cons of New v Old Betting Sites
|Old Sites||New Sites|
|Trust already built over years||Bonuses may be offered for new customers|
|Full range of betting markets offered||Fresh approach offered to betting|
|Extra facilities included inc live betting, streaming etc|
|Security for players regarding funds, private details etc|
|Old Sites||New Sites|
|No reason to offer major bonuses as reputation is already intact||Start-ups are more vulnerable, as are customers’ funds|
|Best odds on a market not always offered by established sites||Not all services can be offered inc live betting, cash-out, streaming and others|
|Less peace of mind betting with an unheard-of brand|
Regardless of whether you go with the old or go with the new, the key is to do your own research and never, ever read any comments on social media!
As soon as a complaint comes in about a brand regarding payouts, the quality of an app or anything else, someone will always comment calling that brand charlatans, robbers etc.
If you used social media comments about a bookmaker as recommendations, you would lever sign up with anyone so once again – always do your own research.
Do All Sites Offer Racing?
Most punters in the UK and Ireland, whether horse racing is their main focus or not, would naturally expect that all bookmakers offer odds on that sport. The truth however, somewhat extraordinarily, is that they don’t.
There are various reasons for this. There is a cost associated with offering horse racing odds that doesn’t exist within other sports. It also depends on where the brand in question got its very online platform from.
Why Horse Racing May Not Be Offered
Let’s deal with the cost angle first. To offer horse racing to punters, a bookmaker in the UK must pay into the levy. That levy helps to fund horse racing along with sponsorship and the likes. Horse racing cannot continue without the levy gained from bookmakers.
Is that even fair? Many may wonder why horse racing takes funding from bookies when other sports don’t? Well, bookmaking and horse racing have existed hand-in-hand for centuries. Betting began with horse racing. They are inextricably linked.
Back in the 60’s, many shops we now refer to as bookmakers were known as ‘turf accountants’. All such businesses were heavily reliant on horse racing.
The very continued existence of major brands such as William Hill and Ladbrokes, along with the newer brands they influenced such as bet365 and Betfair, comes from the fact that originally this important sport was what gave bookmakers an income at all. It’s only right therefore they don’t cut it loose.
As horse racing initially provided nearly all of a bookmaker’s revenue, it was only fair that they paid into the sport to help it’s running and governance. This was and is done via the horse racing levy. If a bookmaker thinks it can survive without horse racing, then it saves the cost of not paying the levy board.
The other cost associated with offering horse racing is the potentially complicated nature of the odds offered. For a football game, a basic platform can begin by offering home, draw and away odds. With horse racing there are always numerous runners and industry standard each-way terms and the like attached.
With this in mind, plug-ins and white label platforms may be charged at an extra cost to a brand.
A new bookmaking brand may go to an existing software provider to get them to build a betting platform that they can logo up and use. Some such brands are from territories that do not generally bet on horse racing and so that may not be initially included in their offering.
To add horse racing therefore to their betting site, they may need their provider to build a horse racing odds section or indeed go to another supplier at a further cost in order to make it happen. Offering racing odds online is not as simple as many may think, and certainly not as cheap.
Variations in Racing Coverage
Even if you do find that horse racing is offered on your chosen bookmaking site, the level of coverage may vary.
At the very top level of the industry, you will find some brands can offer very full and varied markets on every UK and Irish race. Each of these will also be available to bet on ‘in-running’, while they may also be live streamed.
As well as this, there will be odds offered on every UAE, North American, Australian, French and South African race daily, as well as many odds from races elsewhere round the world.
Some bookies may offer some international coverage, but not all, while others may simply leave out the costly live streaming angle.
If you are someone who wants to get a win or each-way bet on a British or Irish horse race, then the most basic betting platform will do. If you are someone who bets on worldwide racing and/or needs plenty of sub-markets and live coverage then you’ll need a very well-established site.
What is offered often depends on where a brand originally came from.
A good example of this would be the British-based brands operating in Australia such as Ladbrokes, bet365 and the like. As well as offering odds on all Aussie races, they offer everything they would back home. The downside is that the odds offered on major Australian race such as the Cox Plate or the Melbourne Cup will be the same as in Britain, albeit perhaps shown in decimal odds rather than in fractional odds.
Will More Brands Come Online Without Offering Racing?
That remains a distinct possibility.
If they are based in Britain and/or have been started by British or Irish persons, they will always want to offer racing. Not only does it remain the second most bet on sport in Britain but even if it wasn’t, bookies trading in this country cannot miss out on one-off events such as the Grand National which pulls in more money than any other betting event.
Back in the 90’s, betting shops and the earliest betting websites were all about horse racing and greyhounds.
Football was the most popular sport, but betting wasn’t attached to it as much as it is now and the Pools was seen as the industry leader when it came to attempting to win money while watching the game.
Now however, football is a massive money-maker for ‘sportsbooks’. Depending on what territory they come from, sports such as tennis, Formula One and even eSports are a bigger pull than horse racing.
It remains possible therefore that a successful sports betting site from Europe or another territory which doesn’t offer racing may well look to branch into the UK and Ireland. Don’t sign up to any new brand until you know exactly what they offer.
Are New Betting Sites Riskier? What Happens If They Go Bust?
Right off the bat, newer bookmaking brands would indeed statistically present more of a risk to punters than those which are well established over time.
That’s merely a headline however. Is the older brand getting into financial difficulties? Is the newer brand actually attached to a larger entity which owns several major platforms? These are questions it is relatively easy to find answers too and it’s the sort of basic due diligence a punter should take.
In terms of what the end user sees; the branding, the colours, the flashy images, anybody can set up a new bookmaking website. Not everyone can in reality actually set up a new betting site easily for real.
When a new site hits the market, what you can rely on without checking is that they have been passed by the Gambling Commission and given a licence. If you’re unsure, you can search for licensees on the UKGC website.
An operating licence is needed from the Gambling Commission for any company which wishes to provide any sort of gambling facility in Great Britain. They cannot be licensed abroad and trade in Britain legally.
Many brands start off as white labels. They have a business plan and can employ people from within the betting industry such as traders, odds compilers and marketing people, but they may not themselves be able to perform certain tasks.
Setting odds, plugging in online games, getting licences. These are all things that white labels take care of.
White label and third-party providers of betting platforms put all of these things in place. They provide already existing software at a price which may depend on what is needed, such as in-play betting, cash-out systems etc.
Safeguarding & Protection Levels
Another thing to check whether a brand is new or not is safeguarding and protections.
Bookmakers offer different levels of fund protection too.
They are required according to their licences to declare a level of protection for customers’ funds by the Gambling Commission, though which level they provide is up to them so always check this out before betting and loading your account.
The three levels of fund protection are:
- No Protection
- Medium Protection
- High Protection
Which level your bookmaker provides is listed in their general terms and conditions. The accuracy of the advertised protection level is checked by the Gambling Commission.
No protection means that your betting funds are held in a separate account from other company funds, though it is the case with all levels and so doesn’t mean your funds are safe if the brand goes under (see section below).
Medium protection gives punters some peace of mind if a bookie fails. This means that some insurance is placed on customer accounts in order for those funds to be distributed back to customers.
High protection is the best available and, should the odds and general service be good enough alongside it, is what you should be looking for a bookie to provide. With this level, customer funds are legally held separately from all other company accounts. A third-party controls these accounts.
Bookmakers To Have Gone Under: What Happens to Bets Placed?
A number of online bookmaking platforms have indeed gone bust in the past.
In 2019, a leading odds comparison site replaced MoPlay, which looked in trouble, with BetBright on their platform sighting the latter as one of the industry’s most ambitious bookmakers.
That same year however BetBright was closed quickly to the shock of most people. Furthermore, all ante-post bets were made void, much to the chagrin of punters.
It wasn’t all bad news, as multiple bets featuring winning legs were paid out as winners, with only the remaining legs voided.
Just for good measure in this case MoPlay, the brand which had replaced BetBright on the odds comparison site, closed down in 2020 sighting insolvency.
In this case, the bookmaker did not pay its customers. The Gambling Commission had removed MoPlay’s licence after the brand got in trouble and the brand protected itself from having to pay any players out from their funds, funds of course that punters had put into the brand by way of unsettled bets.
When a brand goes insolvent, any funds considered by punters to “belong” to them are in fact not separate to any other assets held by the company. Therefore, an administrator or creditor will claim that money and no funds will be returned to players.
This is very much to be taken as a cautionary tale. When a bookmaker is in trouble, look after your funds but remember; this is the case whether the brand is new or apparently long-established.