It's a common misconception that everybody knows about online sports betting. The reality is that millions of people have never placed a bet online. And many wouldn't even know how to do it, even if they wanted to.

That's why bookmakers ramp up the advertising around big sporting events, such as the World Cup or the Grand National. They know that plenty of people would like to have a flutter and to do that you need to open an online sports betting account!

So how does it all work? Basically, online bookmakers operate the same way as high street bookmakers. The only difference is that you can learn to bet online from the comfort of your own home. This, for a lot of people, is a much easier way to browse through the various markets and make a decision about what to bet on.

Here, I'm going to take you through the very basic steps you need to take to start online sports betting.

Finding a Good Bookmaker

There are plenty of online bookmakers and many will already be very familiar names such as William Hill, Paddy Power, and Ladbrokes. Others tend to have a much bigger online presence than on the high street. That doesn't mean they are not as good, you just may not know of them straight away. If you've never bet online then pick a bookmaker that you already know.

The best way to pick one that suits you is to browse through the various sites. Go to Ladbrokes or Bet365 or Paddy Power and look at the layout of their sites. Can you understand where to find the sports and odds? Does it look like a site you could easily navigate around? Do they have a good selection of markets and is all the information clear and easy to understand?

Once you have made your decision, it's time to open an online sports betting account.

Opening A Sports Betting Account

You have picked your bookmaker so now you have to open an account. Almost all online bookmakers have the option to ‘Join Now' or ‘Login' in the top right-hand corner of their home pages. Click the ‘Join Now' button.

This will take you to a form that you must fill in. It will ask you for personal details such as your name, address, date of birth, email address and telephone number. Companies need this to ensure you are who you say you are. It helps them avoid fraudulent activity and complies with UK law. You will also need to create a username and password for your new online account.

Once you have completed the form, you will receive an email. Clicking on the link inside the email will confirm your account is open. Following this, you will need to re-enter your user name and password on the bookmaker's website and then you're in.

The only thing left to do is to fund your account. You can do this a number of ways and most online sports betting companies will accept debit cards, as well as Paypal deposits. All will display the methods by which you can add money to your online account.

Placing An Online Bet

Now your account is open and funded it's time to place your first bet. You may already have an idea of the sport you want to wager on. If not, most sites tend to run the full list of sports they accept bets on, down the left-hand side of their home page. Simply click your chosen sport i.e. football, tennis, rugby, golf horseracing etc…

For the purposes of explaining how to place a bet, I will use Football as an example. Once you have clicked on ‘Football' the screen will reflect all of the markets you can bet on. The games immediately on display will be the ones that start the soonest. It will offer top level odds on a home side win, draw, away team win.

You can opt to either click on one of those odds or alternatively, click on the team name, at which point even more football markets will be displayed. Those markets include things like ‘First Goalscorer', ‘Over/Under Goals' etc…

Whatever you want to bet on, you simply click on the actual ODDS. That will prompt a betting slip to appear. That betting slip will be pre-populated with the match and odds details. All you have to do is decide how much you want to bet. Enter that amount into the box and click ‘confirm' or ‘place bet'. Some companies ask for double confirmation so you may need to reconfirm your bet for it to go through.

Once that's done, the money you bet is deducted from your account balance and your bet is confirmed.

Checking Your Bets

On the top right-hand corner of your screen, you will see a ‘My Account' tab. This usually has a short drop-down menu and from here you can look at any bets you have made. They are in two categories – ‘Open' and ‘Settled'. Any bets you ahve made on events, games or tournaments that haven't happened yet will still be considered ‘Open'.

For older bets, where the outcomes have been decided, win or lose, these will be located in the ‘Settled' tab.

And that's the very short, but hopefully, concise guide to online sports betting. Navigating around the various sites will take some getting used to. That's also why a lot of people tend to stick with one bookmaker that they are most familiar with.


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£20 RISK FREE FIRST BET – Place a £20 sportsbook bet. If your FIRST bet is a loser Paddy Power will refund it in cash. Max refund is £20.



New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org. Please bet responsibly.