About the betting industry
What is betting?
Betting is defined by the Gambling Act 2005 as the making or
accepting of a bet on the outcome of a race, competition or other
event or process; the likelihood of anything occurring or not
occurring; or whether anything is or is not true.
A transaction may still be a bet despite the
fact the race, competition or event has already taken place and one
party to the transaction knows the outcome. So by way of example
two parties could have a bet on the date of the Battle of
The most common form of betting is ‘fixed odds
betting’ whereby the customer bets a stake to win a fixed amount
calculated by the odds available. For example a £10 bet at odds of
2/1 would return £30 (£20 of winnings + £10 stake) if successful.
If unsuccessful the customer would lose their £10 stake.
What types of betting are there?
General betting licence holders are able to
offer facilities for betting:
- From betting shops (off-course)
- on tracks (on-course)
- by remote means
(including online gambling).
Pool betting incorporates:
- racecourse pool betting
- football and other sports pool betting
- ‘fantasy football' type competitions.
betting can be conducted remotely or non-remotely.
Remote pool betting is
conducted, for example, via an online betting site run by one of
the football pools operators. Non-remote pool betting is conducted
in person (for example, the Tote, which accepts pool bets on tracks
and in high street betting shops).
Pool betting differs from fixed odds betting
as winnings are determined by reference to the aggregate of stakes
paid into the pool. The return to successful customers therefore is
calculated by dividing the total pool (minus commission) by the
number of winning tickets.
Betting intermediaries facilitate betting
between two or more parties. They do not have liability for
the bets but often derive a commission from the successful
party. Betting intermediaries can be
remote or non-remote.
intermediaries, which includes betting exchanges, generally
operate through the internet.
Spread betting: The Gambling Commission
does not regulate spread betting. This is the responsibility of the
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Further information about betting
More information about the betting industry is
available in Gambling Industry Statistics.
Page last reviewed: April