What to Look for in a Horse Racing Bookmaker

So, you’ve got your handicapping skills down to a fine art and you’re certain you can make a little profit from betting on horse racing, but a crucial part of the puzzle remains and that is finding just the right bookie.

Many, many online bookmakers and sportsbooks are now readily available and all will throw horse racing betting offers at you of one kind or another, but does that make them worth signing up with?


Bonuses and sign-up deals only last so long and are ultimately designed to offer you NOTHING in the long term, in fact they are specifically organised to simply keep you playing with one bookmaker and stop you shopping around for the best odds, something that goes against everything professional punters stand for.

Here’s what you should take into consideration when looking to place bets on the biggest racing events of the year.

Live Streaming
Horse racing is a 24/7 industry, so if you’re chosen value bet happens to be during the work day at 3PM on a Tuesday or over in the States at eleven at night, it won’t be televised in the traditional way.

It’s important to look for visual clues and you also want the excitement of watching your horse do the job, as choosing a bookmaker that offering live streaming is crucial. The likes of bet365, Ladbrokes and William Hill all do this which is one major reason to stick with the big boys.

Non-Runner No Bet Deals
With Cheltenham and Aintree coming up many more people are choosing to place ante post bets in order to look for some value. Traditionally, the trouble with betting ante post is that if your horse ends up not running you lose out, but that was before the advent of ‘non-runner, no bet’.

Non-runner, no bet deals are once again offered by the bigger names in the industry and they make it worth sacrificing a little in your advance odds to ensure you will get your money back if your horse doesn’t go. We’ve already looked at some early picks for Cheltenham people can apply NRNB to and all may be a lot shorter on the day.

Best Odds Guaranteed
While we would never ask you to discount newer or smaller bookmaking names, the fact is that they don’t have the power to offer everything and one of the modern plus points for a racing punter often sacrificed by smaller firms is ‘best odds guaranteed’.

BOG means that, should you take the current price for your chosen horse and it wins at a bigger SP, then you will be paid the bigger price regardless.

This has become a crucial factor for online punters and it’s not something every bookmaker offers. Even when they do, often it is only on certain races or for a short period of time, so once more check for this and you’ll probably find the big firms are the ones offering BOG on all UK and Irish races, all day long.

Bonuses
The Cheltenham Festival is fast approaching and so this is the time of year when generous offers are thrown at us left, right and centre. This time of year also happens to be the one time you should grab them when you see them.

British horse racing is a huge industry and that means competition is fierce. Offers in 2019 were so lavish that they were even listed as one of the reason’s the UK’s overall gambling yield was down year-on-year, so be sure to grab one but only if it is right for you.

Risk-free bets are great, as are 100% matched deposit deals, but look out for those who offer these with unreasonable rollover requirements as these are the killer. For example, a 10x rollover requirement means you will have to bet this amount before you can withdraw any money.

In other words; should you put in £25 and take a £25 bonus, you will ultimately have to place bets worth a total of £500 win or lose before you can withdraw.

Licencing
In the last month two operators have had their licences suspended by the UK Gambling Commission, so make sure you check their website to see who owns your brand. A new brand could be owned by a major firm, while an established brand could have had problems in the past so it’s worth doing just a few minutes’ worth of research to settle your mind.