The Cheltenham Festival has long been one of the biggest and most prestigious events in UK National Hunt horse racing, generating more than £4 million in prize money over its four days
What to Look for When Choosing a Horse Racing Betting Site
There’s no question that betting remains central to the appeal of horse racing, and indeed, its image around the world. Major events like the Kentucky Derby, Cheltenham Festival and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe continue to attract heavy numbers of punters who fancy their chances of correctly predicting the winner of the latest eagerly-anticipated race.
With an estimated £10bn a year spent on horse racing betting in the UK alone – as reported by the Financial Times – there’s no question that it remains big business. However, this only makes it all the more crucial for you to know how to choose the right horse racing betting site for your own requirements, so that it is you – rather than the bookies – who clean up at the biggest events.
Below are some of the characteristics that you should seek in an online horse racing betting portal.
How to Choose a Good Horse Betting Site
Of course, reputation isn’t absolutely everything when it comes to choosing between online horse racing sites – it can only tell you about the site’s past accomplishments rather than necessarily what it could offer to you in the future, and there are always ‘unsung gems’ popping up among the better-known bookies out there.
However, reputability is still really important in an online horse betting portal, given that it is – after all – your money that is being chanced every time you bet.
You could, therefore, start simply by registering with the sites that you’ve heard of... or if you want to be a bit more scientific about it, you could peruse our comprehensive reviews of horse racing betting sites. Our verdicts cover such aspects of a given site as its bonuses, software, graphics, customer support, payment options and so much more.
It’s easy for a horse racing site to claim that it is ‘secure’, but what does that mean in practice?
The good news is that you don’t need to depend on what a site claims. If you are using the Chrome browser, for instance, and look in the address bar, you should see the ‘Secure’ text and padlock symbol indicating that your sensitive information, such as your credit card number and password, will be kept private on the site in question.
Whether you are an experienced or newcomer horse racing bettor, the horse racing sportsbook that you choose should give you a high level of customer support to make your entire experience on the site more enjoyable and less stressful.
Different horse betting sites offer slightly different forms of customer support, but you should generally expect at least several of the following:
Email or online contact form support
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section
You should also check what hours the given site actually provides customer support – is it genuine 24/7 support, or is it 24/5, or something much more restricted? Also take a look at reviews, such as our own, for an indication of how long you may be left waiting for your emails to be answered by the site support team.
Types of Bets Offered
Different horse racing sites do offer different types of bets, and they can be rather more complicated than we have the space to detail here. Here are some of the main types to look for.
‘To win’ bets: if you are inexperienced at betting and want to keep things simple at first, you might initially place only ‘to win’ bets – these being wagers on which horse you consider most likely to win a given race. It really is that straightforward.
‘Each way’ bets: You might be interested in placing an ‘each way’ bet at a given race, which consists of two parts – the ‘win’ and the ‘place’. The ‘win’ part of the bet is on your selection to emerge victorious in the event, whereas the ‘place’ part is on your selection to finish either first or in one of the number of places – 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on.
Accumulator bets: An accumulator bet can be to win or placed each way. It involves you betting on multiple horses, and if the result exactly matches all of your predictions, you win. It’s obviously a higher-risk type of bet than the others on this list, but its appeal is in the much higher rewards that it can potentially generate.
Combined bets: A combined bet – which is a bet that any of up to four horses will win – may also tempt you, given that you’ll win something if any of your selected horses triumph. It’s a great option when you want to spread your risk, presenting the opportunity to back some obvious favourites and a few lesser-fancied horses simultaneously.
One other thing that marks out a great horse racing betting site is its selection of promotions, although it’s important to emphasise that the marketing blurb can be rather misleading in terms of just how generous those promotions are.
The promotions advertised on the leading sportsbooks – which generally don’t just cover horse racing, but also such sports as football, tennis, greyhounds and cricket as well – can be roughly divided into those for the site in general, and those that are specifically related to horse racing.
As far as promotions in the former category are concerned, the obvious big attraction of a given site is its welcome bonus, although it’s important not to be misled by any gigantic numbers. All too often, a seemingly hefty new-member bonus is accompanied by strict terms and conditions that ultimately make it very limited in value. So, you may be better off with a site that offers a more modest-sounding bonus when you sign up.
As for the promotions and bonuses that are specifically related to horse racing, examples that you may see across our partner sites include money back on fallers – whereby you get your stake back in the form of a free bet if your horse unseats, falls or is brought down – and ‘best odds guaranteed’. The latter means that if you have taken a price on a horse and your selection wins or places at a bigger starting price, the site will guarantee to pay you at the bigger odds.
Then, there are the sites that offer special bets for the obvious big horse racing meetings, ranging from the Royal Ascot and Dubai World Cup to the Melbourne Cup and Cheltenham Festival (we’ve written a piece on the history of the Cheltenham Festival so you can have even more background before you place your bets). Such special bets will help to keep you feeling stimulated and well-rewarded long after the ‘honeymoon’ new-member period is over.
Find Your Dream Online Horse Betting Portal
While it’s perfectly possible to do your own independent research into the above factors when you are attempting to find the perfect horse racing betting site for you, there’s another way of comparing the leading portals in a way that might even free up some time for actual betting.
We are talking, of course, about using our own site to compare the best places to bet on horse racing today. Why not head now to our list of horse racing betting sites and compare the bonuses, minimum deposit, ratings and other essential information that will help you to determine the site that best suits your needs?
Visit our in-depth reviews now to get a sense of what it’s really like to be a member of each of the leading sites represented on our platform, and consult our related articles to develop a better understanding of horse racing itself. We’d like to wish you the very best of luck with your sports betting endeavours!