Scotland Betting Sites

Scotland Betting SitesScotland is famous for its tartan kilts, bagpipes, and picturesque mountains but it appears the country is also home to the keenest sports bettors in the entire United Kingdom. Figures published by the UK Gambling Commission in the fall of 2017 show us Scotland boasts the highest levels of participation in sports wagering – 68% of its population have wagered on the outcomes of sporting events in the preceding year. Scotland leads in online betting participation as well, with 10% of the participants in the 2017 survey revealing they have wagered online, in comparison to the 7% for the rest of the UK.

But the betting-related records the country holds do not end there. Scotland is also the place with the highest number of sportsbook shops located on a single street, Glasgow’s Dumbarton Road, where there are as many as 14 establishments you can punt in.

And indeed, bookmaking shops have become an inseparable facet of the Scottish landscape. That being said, many punters from the country have decided to take their sports betting action online due to the immense convenience web-based sportsbooks can offer. And why not when this comes with the added benefit of being able to choose from hundreds of betting markets and are offered odds that are much more competitive than those of rival landbased bookies?

Moreover, Scots get to enjoy a tightly regulated sports betting industry, with a huge number of online sportsbooks accepting punts from the country under the licensing of the local UK Gambling Commission. This abundance of options enables them to shop for the best odds on a variety of sports including Scottish favorites like soccer, cricket, and horse racing.

Scotland-friendly sportsbooks tend to run some of the best promotional deals an online punter could hope for as registered customers are often treated to free bets, enhanced odds, and cashbacks that help boost their sports betting bankrolls and add more value to their wagers. In the following article, we introduce you to the legalities related to sports betting in Scotland along with the key criteria that bear consideration when choosing a Scotland-friendly online sportsbook.

Legality and Regulation of Sports Betting in Scotland

Legality and RegulationScots are blessed with a liberalized sports betting sector which allows them to legally punt both in landbased and online sportsbooks. The country’s online sports wagering sector falls under the regulations of the UK Gambling Commission, which is good news for anyone who insists on having the peace of mind that a well-regulated betting market brings.

An exception is made for spread betting which is overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority. Horse and greyhound racing fall under the regulations of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and the British Horse Racing Authority. Pool betting on horse races is overseen by the Horserace Totalizator Board, also called the Tote, which was state-owned before bookmaker Betfred purchased it for £265 million in the summer of 2011.

And the beauty of the whole thing is Scots are allowed to make all types of sports punts imaginable, which is not always the case in some other jurisdictions. You want to back several teams with a parlay? That’s alright by UK laws. Or maybe you are interested in the more exotic outrights and propositions? This is also allowed on Scottish soil and so are a variety of other single bets on pre-match and in-play sporting competitions.

Unlike some other regions in the world, the laws pertaining to sports betting in Scotland (and the UK in general) are quite straightforward and easy to understand. Both landbased and online sports betting is legal in Scotland but requires licensing from the local regulatory body. The introduction of adequate regulations opened up the country’s sports betting market to foreign operators.

Some of the biggest sportsbooks in the world have already been granted licenses for servicing punters from the UK and Scotland, respectively. And the great thing is that punters from Scotland are not taxed on their sports betting earnings.

A Brief Historical Background

Key Sports Betting LawsScotland boasts a long and rich history where sports betting is concerned. In fact, the first recorded horse racing competition took place on Scottish soil sometime in the 16th century. Historical records suggest King James IV of Scotland alluded to the first horse race in Sand Leith as early as 1504. However, some historians believe the first ever race was held as early as 1160 in the Scottish town of Lanark.

King Charles II was the first monarch in the UK to offer monetary prizes and gifts to the winners in horse racing competitions. The Merry Monarch presented them with silver bowls and bells.

The turn of the 19th century was marked by an unprecedented gambling boom in the country, with an increasing number of sports receiving a piece of the betting action. Bookmaking started to take its modern shape, with bookies shortening or lengthening their odds just like they do in present days.

Sports betting was widespread among the members of the upper and the middle classes. Yet, members of the working class also partook in the betting activities, which became a form of escapism for many miners and factory workers.

As popular as it is, sports betting has not always been legal on Scottish soil. The gambling boom that took place in 19th-century UK caused a good deal of social backlash, which resulted in the emergence of anti-betting groups and the publication of specialized literature that aimed at warning society about the negative effects of gambling.

The government was under pressure to find a solution and it came in the form of the Gaming Act of 1845. Read further for more information on the most important betting laws that have shaped Scotland’s sports betting landscape into what we know today.

Key Sports Betting Laws for Scotland

TaxesThe betting boom the country experienced at the turn of the 19th century abruptly came to an end with the enforcement of the 1845 Gaming Act that rendered sports wagers unenforceable as legal contracts. It was followed by the Betting Act of 1853 which altogether outlawed running bookmaking shops across the UK. There were even cases of street bookmakers who were covertly tracked for days and then persecuted for illegally accepting betting slips and money from backers.

This continued well into the next century until sports betting was finally decriminalized under the provisions of the Betting and Gaming Act. This piece of legislation officially came into force on the 1st of January, 1961 and initially enabled only legal betting for nominal sums on games of skill like poker and bridge. Several months later, in May of the same year, bookmaking shops were allowed to open doors and commence their now legal operations. As many as 16,000 licenses were issued within the span of the next four years.

Loitering was not allowed under the provisions of the 1961 Act. In fact, most bookmaking shops boasted a rather shabby interior to discourage punters from hanging around for too long. They were expected to enter, make their wagers, and leave right after.

Even though it legalized sports betting across Scotland and the UK, the Betting and Gaming Act of 1961 had a pronounced negative effect on the greyhound racing industry in the country. Records suggest it has led to the closure of as many as 21 greyhound race tracks between 1961 and 1969 alone.

The Licensed Betting Offices Regulations of 1986 extended exclusively to Scotland and imposed restrictions on the advertisements that were allowed outside licensed bookmaking shops. Restrictions were placed on their opening hours as well. The regulations required the bookies to close shop between midnight and 7 am as well as between 6:30 pm and midnight.

Each bookie was expected to conspicuously display the legal gambling age for punters allowed in the establishment (which is 18 years old in Scotland and the UK in general), along with any possible deductions and limits on winnings.

But the single most important piece of legislation in the country is undoubtedly the Gambling Act which brought about an unprecedented expansion of the gaming and sports betting sectors. It was signed into law in 2005 and pertained to Wales, Scotland, and England. It legalized online betting and transferred licensing responsibilities to local authorities like the UK Gambling Commission and the Scottish licensing boards.

The sports betting operators were also permitted to advertise their products on radio and television. Betting companies licensed under the jurisdictions of Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Alderney, and Antigua and Barbuda were added to a “white” list and were allowed to legally accept punts from Scots and other UK bettors. The Gambling Act of 2005 also aimed at protecting minors and other vulnerable individuals from the harms that may result from gambling.

These liberal conditions continued to be in place until the Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill was signed into law in the summer of 2014. The legislation required all betting operators that accept punts from the country to first obtain licenses by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). If an operator happens to run both an online casino and an online sportsbook, a separate license must be issued for each of the two products.

The provisions of the bill allow only sportsbooks that are registered on the territory of England, Wales, and Scotland to advertise their betting products within the country. Additionally, licensees are taxed on their overall betting profits. The UKGC went as far as to propose an amendment that would block the money transfers to and form unlicensed betting sites but the House of Lords voted against it.

However, some of the world’s biggest providers of payment services and products like Mastercard, PayPal, and Visa approached the UKGC with a proposal to block such money transfers voluntarily. The UKGC even tried to force internet service providers in the country to block the access of punters to unlicensed sportsbooks and gambling sites but nobody agreed to comply since the regulatory body lacked the necessary court orders to back its demands with.

Presently, punters from the UK, including Scots, are not legally persecuted for registering and punting with online bookmakers that lack local licenses, although such operators are banned from advertising their services within the UK in general. However, the majority of large sportsbooks have already received their licenses from the UKGC so there is really no point in taking unnecessary risks with gambling on unregulated sports betting sites.

Scotland Sporting Events Coverage and Markets

Sporting Events Coverage and MarketsSports occupy a central role in Scotland where punters tend to favor bets on the soccer, horse racing, and greyhound racing markets. Soccer offers the most diverse range of options at Scotland-friendly sportsbooks, with customers from the country having a choice from a broad variety of markets and leagues, including the Premier League, the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, the Carabao Cup, the UEFA Europa League, the German Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A, the Spanish La Liga, the Portuguese Primeira Liga, the French Ligue 1, and of course, the Scottish League 1 and League 2.

Scots are presented with an abundance of bet types to choose from. They have the option to place single bets on the live and pre-match markets. Some of the available alternatives include Both Teams to Score, Over/Under, Correct Score, First-Half Result, Double Chance, Draw No Bet, and First Team to Score. Parlays with multiple selections are also common among bettors from the country.

Those who prefer betting on the outcome of horse races can choose from a wide selection of competitions from some of the biggest racecourses in the UK and Ireland like the Cheltenham, Ascot, Newbury, and Ludlow, among others.

Greyhound fans are also facing a decent variety. They can find good greyhound racing odds for the Greyhound Derby and the races that take place in the Hove, Newcastle, and Central Park. Some of the most popular options in terms of bet types are Win or Each Way, Tricasts, Forecasts, Trap Winner, and Top 2 Finish.

Other popular sports that receive good coverage at Scotland-friendly sportsbooks include golf, cricket, tennis, boxing, ice hockey, basketball, and snooker. Even bets on politics, TV shows, and virtual sports are available.

But there are other advantages of taking your action online if you are a sports fan from Scotland. Online sportsbooks of good standing tend to offer live-streaming services, radio podcasts with commentary, tips, and detailed statistics with the results of previous events.

The interface is normally intuitive enough to ensure quick navigation, with easy-to-use bet slips that calculate your expected returns on the basis of your wagered amount and the odds for the events you have selected. The odds on the in-play markets are updated as the events progress, with punters having the option to approve or decline the changes. Some bookies, like Betfair, even support betting exchanges where customers can lay their own odds and sell them to fellow bettors.

Popular Odds Format in Scotland

Popular Odds FormatMost reputable sportsbooks to accept wagers from Scotland offer punters a choice from three commonly available odds formats, the moneyline, decimals, and fractions. Yet, Scottish bettors favor the fractional odds they have grown accustomed to and this is usually the default odds format at Scotland-friendly online sportsbooks.

This format of odds expression gives you a clear idea of the amount you can potentially win, depending on how much you have staked. The odds in this format are expressed like so 20/1 and 12/5, for example, but there is no need to get intimidated – the term “fractions” is somewhat of a misnomer in this instance since the first number simply shows you the amount you can win while the second one corresponds to the amount you wager.

So if you choose to back a horse at odds of 20/1, this means you will collect £20 and receive your initial stake of £1 back. If the sportsbook offers you odds of 5/2 for this horse, you win £5 on top of the original £2 you have wagered.

Another thing to bear in mind is that sometimes fractional odds may be displayed in reverse, for instance, 1/5 or 3/10. These are commonly called “odds-on” selections where the amount you risk exceeds the amount of your potential returns with a winning bet. To use the example we provided above, a bet with odds of 3/10 requires you to stake £10 to win £3.

But what if you are not using base betting units of £1? You can calculate your returns from a winning bet by dividing your stake by the “fraction’s” denominator and then multiplying it by its numerator, after which you must add your stake to the result. It goes like this for the example with the 3/10 odds: [{£15/10}* 3] +£15 = £19.50.

Payment Solutions for Sports Bettors from Scotland

Payment SolutionsRecent developments in the field of technologies have made it possible for Scotland-friendly sportsbooks to roll out a variety of convenient banking options in addition to the usual card and bank-wire payments. Scottish punters have a vast choice of e-wallets to pick from, including widespread brands like Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz, and PayPal.

Prepaid solutions the likes of Paysafecard and the virtual cards by Entropay are viable alternatives for casual punters who wager smaller amounts and like to keep their sports betting budget in check. Of course, there is always the option to use your Visa, Maestro or Mastercard but if you are into punting on the go, we suggest you use Apple Pay which uses the fingerprint technology to confirm the identity of the punter.

This is an option for iPhone users only, but mobile bettors can also deposit smaller amounts via mobile-billing services like those provided by Boku. The deposits are added to their monthly mobile bill or are deduced from the available balance if they are using a prepaid card. Online banking is also widely available and so are eChecks.

Punters who choose the traditional bank transfers and paper checks have to wait several business days until the funds are credited to their available sportsbook balance. Some of the biggest Scotland-friendly betting brands have already embraced cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin so use this if you are looking for anonymous, free, and quick deposits and withdrawals. The minimum amount you can deposit usually ranges between £5 and £10.

Bonuses and Rewards for Scottish Sports Bettors

Bonuses and RewardsBonuses are one of the most important aspects that bear consideration when choosing a good Scotland-friendly sportsbook. In all honesty, nothing makes a sports bettor’s day like an appetizing promo deal that gives them additional cash to punt with.

There are usually lots of options to select from, but if you just registered at one of the sportsbooks recommended by Sportingpedia, we suggest you take advantage of its welcome bonus. This is usually granted as a free bet but to qualify you must deposit and wager the minimum amount specified by the bookmaker.

Note that there are normally minimum odds requirements for your first wager and if you fail to meet them, you will be disqualified from the promotion. Keep in mind some deposit solutions like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller are sometimes excluded from participation in free-bet promotions.

Scottish punters who hold existing accounts are often treated to enhanced odds for select events and price boosts. Those who prefer backing multiple selections with parlays are offered accumulator insurance, which guarantees they get a certain percentage of their original wagers back if one of their parlays’ legs loses.

In such instances, the extra cash is credited in the form of a free bet. When opting in for one such insurance promotion you must comply with the minimum selection odds as well as with the minimum combined odds for the parlay. We say this time and time again but it certainly bears repeating – never opt in for a sports betting promotion without reading its terms beforehand. Otherwise, there is a good chance you will violate one of the conditions and end up empty-handed.

Customer Support at Scotland-Friendly Sports Betting Sites

Customer SupportThe last aspect Scottish punters must consider carefully (but definitely not last in terms of importance), is the quality of the support service provided by the online sportsbooks they are interested in. We suggest you keep your eyes open for betting sites that offer you more avenues of contact as having more options is always a good thing when you struggle with an issue or need additional information.

It makes sense the live-chat facility is a must-have for any good online sportsbook. This is usually accompanied by round-the-clock availability. We urge you to test the service yourself before registering since some betting sites claim to support 24/7 live chats but when you try to contact them, it turns out the support advisors are unavailable.

Some sportsbooks would offer live chat only to registered customers, a policy we personally do not agree with since it works to the disadvantage of prospective customers looking for more information before they sign up.

Other common ways to get in touch with the support teams of Scotland-friendly betting sites include email, telephone lines (usually toll-free for those calling from the UK), contact forms, and callbacks. A friendly, prompt, and professional service is a common trait all good sports betting sites share, so keep that in mind when on a lookout for a new sportsbook to punt at.