Updated: September 2018
Betting on sporting events has been popular for decades in both the United States and in the United Kingdom. The market for sports betting is huge in both countries. In fact, they are the two largest betting markets in the world. While the action is fierce, there are some major differences between betting on sports in the US compared to doing the same in the UK.
While both countries bet heavily on football, the game is vastly different. Those in the UK bet on its most dominant sport, football, which is known as soccer in the US. US bettors prefer to wager on action in professional sports like football, basketball, and baseball. In England, punters – known as bettors in the US – bet heavily on soccer but also like sports like tennis, horse racing, and even darts.
The big differences in sports betting have to do with the use of varying terminology. While a business that engages in sports betting in the US is called a sportsbook; a company doing to the same in the UK is called a bookmaker. As stated previously, a person who engages in betting in the US is a bettor. The Englander who bets is known as a punter. In either country, bettors and punters can engage in a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers. In America, that type of bet is known as a parlay but in the UK, that type of wager is called an accumulator.
Another major difference between the US and the UK betting markets is the use of the moneyline system in the US. The moneyline system gives odds to both the favorite and the underdog. In the US, the favorite is indicated by the “-“ sign. For example, the Pittsburgh Steelers might be favored to defeat the Cleveland Browns. This would be expressed as -140. What it means is that a person betting $140 on the game will win $100. The underdog would be indicated with a plus sign. Using the same example, those betting on Cleveland, a +140 underdog, would win $140 when they bet $100. In the UK, punters are used to the decimal system, which is a little easier for people to calculate their winnings.
Online betting is gaining in popularity in both countries, and there are numerous sports betting sites available in cyberspace. WilliamHill is popular in the UK as well as the rest of Europe and is the most-searched gambling site in both Japan and China. Many sites will offer odds the US way or use decimal odds as in the UK. BetOnline is one of the well known online US sportsbook that has some of the fastest payouts around. Online sportsbooks or bookmakers will accept major credit cards as well as eWallets such as Paypal, Moneybookers, and more.