Some betting sites only offer one major product, whilst others excel in one area but don’t offer anything more than the basics in others. We’ve seen this many times with online casinos who have launched sportsbooks – their casinos may be fantastic, but the sports side often lacks depth. On this page we cover the websites who offer top notch products for both sports betting and casino.
Many also offer other products such as bingo or poker, but for the most part we’re focussing on the sports/casino combos. You shouldn’t be surprised to see that most of these are the big name bookmakers, for some reason it seems that bookies who venture into casino do a much better job than companies doing it the other way around.
Best Gambling Sites For 2021
Do All Gambling Sites Offer The Same Products?
It’s an obvious question to ask, given that the phrase ‘gambling sites’ suggests one homogenous block. In reality, though, different sites cater to different requirements. There is an extent to which similar sites will off similar things to each other, such as most bingo sites also promising slot games, but the various different site types will also differ from each other in big and obvious ways.
The truth is that it’s a hugely competitive market, meaning that sites have to try to find ways from differentiating themselves from each other. The problem with that is that once a site finds something that works, the other sites will start to offer something similar in order to ensure that they don’t lose out on business. There are very few successful things that are offered by only one gambling site.
Looking at Specifics
When you take a look at the various verticals in the gambling site world you’ll see that most of them offer similar things to each other. You’ll find pretty much all sites have an online casino section, for example, most non-specialist gambling sites will have a sportsbook for the major sports and plenty of them will offer bingo. Very few apart from the specialist sites offer poker any more.
Here’s a look at ten brands to find out what they do and don’t offer:
You can see from the table above that, in the majority of cases, a gambling site that is predominantly based around a sportsbook is likely to have poker and bingo options but a bingo site is unlikely to offer a sportsbook. It’s also worth noting that both of the bingo sites looked at did have a section called ‘Casino’, but this was just slots and not table games in one instance.
You can get a real sense from the table that some sites are all-encompassing, whilst others have a specialisation but branch out in a couple of areas. The suggestion is clear that if you’re keen to play bingo then you’ll probably be happy to spend time playing slots but you won’t be bothered about being able to place a football match, say.
What to Expect
Each type of betting site will offer its own thing, so it’s worth thinking about what you want to be able to bet on and then heading to the appropriate site. Whilst a bookmaker may well offer poker, for example, the types of games are likely to be far more restricted than if you went to a poker site. Here’s a closer look at each of the specialisations:
Even in the world of sports betting you’ll find that sites offer all sorts of different things to each other. There are sports betting sites that specialise in horse racing, for example, offering nothing else but the ability to bet on horse races from around the world. Generally speaking, all but those specialised sites will offer you football as a betting option, given the fact that it’s the most popular sport in the world.
Away from football, the likes of horse racing, tennis, cricket and other sports will be on the list, with the different sports sites offering various depth of market. With the vast majority you’ll be able to turn to casino and live casino games, whilst many will offer bingo and poker to attempt to make them something of a one-stop shop.
Just as pretty much all sports betting sites will offer football betting because it’s the most popular sport, so too will online casino games include roulette and blackjack. They are unquestionably the biggest money-makers for online casinos, so you’ll be able to play them in both computerised and live casino form.
There are a whole host of new games that are available nowadays, such as Wheel Of Fortune and even Live Deal Or No Deal, where you need to qualify to be involved in the main game. Slots remain the most popular, with many sites offering progressive and linked jackpots to mean that the amount you stand to win if things line up for you can reach the millions.
Online bingo sites are often networked together, meaning that the rooms that you play in will often be the same regardless of the site that you sign up to. This allows for jackpots to reach large numbers and be progressive offerings. They offer 90, 80 and 75-ball bingo games, with speedy games, free games and jackpots common.
Virtually all bingo sites will offer you a large selection of slots to play in between bingo rooms. They will each have their own themes, but the general idea is always the same: play for jackpots and on progressive games. Because they’re all on networks, the slots, as with the bingo rooms, will be shared between numerous different sites.
When you head to an online poker site you’ll have a much larger choice of the type of poker that you wish to play than if you head to the poker section of a sportsbook, say. Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of poker in the world, but a decent poker site will also provide you with the ability to play anything from Omaha to Five-Card Stud.
As with bingo sites, most poker sites are networked and therefore the same ‘tables’ exist on numerous sites. This allows the pots to grow and for things like Bad Beat Jackpots, where a player loses to a brilliant hand despite having a good hand themselves, to become well-sized. The other thing poker sites share with bingo sites is the ability to indulge in slot play between games.
Who Are the Biggest Gambling Groups?
It has always been the case that certain companies tend to dominate the gambling marketplace. Yet that has increased even more in recent times, with numerous major players buying up smaller companies to consolidate their place in the market. Groups will own multiple brands, meaning that you can bet on two different websites but actually be betting with the same parent company.
On the eighth of September 2015, Paddy Power and Betfair, two British betting firms, agreed terms on a merger. The Paddy Power shareholders would own 52% of the business and Betfair’s shareholders the remaining 48%. The deal was completed on the second of February the following year, immediately creating one of the biggest betting companies in the world.
Whilst this business alone would have been impressive enough, the new business, initially called Paddy Power Betfair, moved to acquire other betting sites to further bolster its market position. Paddy Power Betfair bought FanDuel in America in May of 2018, adding adjarabet in 2019 and The Stars Group later in the same year. It also changed its name to Flutter Entertainment.
Whilst maintaining separate brands in the UK, Italy and Ireland, Flutter Entertainment has a large portfolio of both retail shops and an online presence. The public limited company has its main base in Dublin, Ireland and the brands that come under its banner are:
- TVG Network
- Sky Bet
- Paddy Power
- Full Tilt Poker
- FOX Bet
Founded as Gaming VC Holdings in Luxembourg in 2004, the group is based in in the Isle of Man nowadays and has rebranded to become GVC Holdings. It is one of the largest sports betting companies in the world, having slowly and steadily built up its operation over the years since it was first formed to the point that many of the biggest bettings sites come under its umbrella.
Its biggest breakthrough on that front came in December of 2017 when a deal was struck to allow GVC Holdings to buy Ladbrokes Coral for around £4 billion, with the acquisition being completed in March of the following year. It came just months after Ladbrokes and Coral had themselves formed a merger.
Boasting licences to operate in over sixteen countries and headquartered in the Isle of Man, the group has over twenty-five thousand employees and operates a huge number of brands. The following gives a rough idea of the sites that belong to GVC Holdings:
- Gioco Digital
- Foxy Bingo
This gives you can idea of the market strength of GVC Holdings. When Sportingbet was sold in 2012, GVC Holdings and William Hill chose to split the operation up between them. William Hill got the Spanish and Australian part of the business whilst GVC Holdings took over the rest of the world.
The Rank Group
Founded in its current form in 1995 as part of the motion picture and cinema industry, it began to shed itself of the likes of the Odeon Cinema chain and Pinewood Studios at the turn of the millennium. When it sold Deluxe Films in 2005, Rank ended its association with the cinema industry completely. Since then it has been a betting company first and foremost.
Nowadays, The Rank Group is better-known as the business behind Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor Casinos and G Casinos. The Blue Square betting company was added to the ranks in 2003, selling it ten years later. It’s that sort of wheeling and dealing that makes it hard to keep up with the companies that come under the Rank branding, but the following do at the time of writing:
- Grosvenor Casinos
- Mecca Bingo
- Rank Interactive
- Rank España
With headquarters in Malta, the Kindred Group is the current name of the company that used to be known as Unibet Group Plc. It is made up of eleven different gambling brands at the time of asking, with Unibet obviously being the most predominant of them. The group as a whole covers all betting products that you could with to use, include bingo and poker sites.
Though registered in Gibraltar, the Kindred Group has offices in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Gibraltar and Sweden, where it was first formed. As well as the numerous different brands, Kindred Group has also got a share in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that is based in Atlantic City, giving you an indication of its overall reach.
The Kindred Group’s brands include the following:
- 32 Red
- Bohemia Casino
- Maria Casino
- Roxy Palace
- Vlad Casino
William Hill Group
William Hill founded his bookmaking firm in 1934, a point of time in which gambling was illegal in Britain unless it was done with an on-course bookmaker. Over the years, the company was bought and sold numerous times, with this just being part of the business’ turbulent history. Even so, it has grown to become one of the United Kingdom’s biggest betting companies.
Part of William Hill’s modern day success comes in the form of its decision in November of 2008 to go into a partnership with both Orbis, which later became OpenBet, and Playtech. The latter is a software company that was based in Israel, but it allowed William Hill to improve its online operation, also taking ownership of sites that are run under the William Hill Group banner.
Operating worldwide and with around fourteen thousand people in its employ, William Hill is based mainly in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Gibraltar. The company has operations in many different countries, from the United States of America to Spain, with a huge number of smaller gambling brands on its list. Here’s a look at some of them:
- William Hill
- Mr Green
In amongst all of that it’s worth bearing in mind that William Hill itself breaks down into William Hill Vegas, William Hill Games, William Hill Macau, William Hill Australia and so on.
In terms of companies that have so many fingers in so many pies that it becomes quite confusing to monitor them all, 888 Holdings has to be at the top of the list. The parent company operates a multi-tier structure, meaning that it’s tricky to keep track of every brand that is actually part of the 888 Holdings umbrella. The parent company was formed in 1997 and is headquartered in Gibraltar.
To give you an indication of 888 Holdings’ reach, when gambling began to return to the United States Of America in 2015, there were five legal online companies and 888 Holdings owned four of them. When 888 Holdings expanded their poker business in the US in 2018, it became the sole owner of the All American Poker Network
On the surface, the companies run by 888 Holdings seem quite simple to understand, with the following being on the list:
- Wink Bingo
- Posh Bingo
- RedBus Bingo
As mentioned, however, the corporate structure of 888 Holdings means that the company actually owns and runs a large number of other sites and gambling businesses. That is especially the case when it comes to bingo sites, which are part of the 888 portfolio and are consequently networked together.
Are There Any Independent Gambling Sites Left?
Given the huge number of large corporations that own multiple brands, an obvious question is whether there are actually any independent sites left anymore. The answer is that there are, but how much longer they’ll be here for remains to be seen. After all, a brand that becomes particularly successful will soon be bought up by one of the bigger players in the market.
That being said, there are some big-named players that fit into that group. Each of Betfred, BetVictor and Boylesports are independent companies that are very well-known in the betting world. Betfred are also on the list mainly because Fred Done tends to take over other companies rather than merging with them.
It might seem like two sides of the same coin, but in taking over a company Betfred can then rebrand its shops, if it has any, or online operation to ensure that it just becomes another arm of the Betfred parent company. This is what happened when Betfred bought more than three hundred shops when Ladbrokes and Coral merged in October of 2016, for example.
Rather than break down the operations of each of the three businesses listed above, here’s a look at what all three of them offer online customers:
- Live Casino
- Virtual Sports
Each of them also offers other bits on top of that, but they’re the predominant sections that you’ll be able to find if you head to their websites. In the case of Betfred and Boylesports, they also have physical betting shops that you can go into and place a bet. Though both closed some shops in the wake of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals stake reduction, there are still hundreds of each.
These, of course, aren’t the only independent bookmakers to still be in operation. Instead, they’re good examples of ones that you will have heard of in spite of the fact that they’ve resisted the urge to partner up with another company in order to become a huge conglomerate. Virtually any bookmaker that you see on the high street that isn’t a well-known name will be independent.
Conversely, however, the vast majority of online-only sites will be owned by a larger parent company. That’s not to say that none of them are independent, but the chances are high that they will just be white label sites run by a larger operation such as the ones that we’ve looked at in more detail elsewhere on this page.