There are dozens, if not hundreds, of independent bookmakers operating from high streets up and down the UK.
Some of these bookies have jumped into the online sphere and launched their own online platforms, but many still exclusively offer services to punters that physically walk through the door.
Trackside, or (‘on course’) bookmakers are exactly as the name suggests - bookies that stand at the side of a race track and offer racegoers prices on the day's runners.
Up to June 2022, these bookies were responsible for returning the official starting price for each race, but this all changed when COVID forced racing behind closed doors (it’s now calculated using off-course sources).
Only a tiny percentage of overall betting volume goes through on-course markets.
Whatsapp & Telegram
Bookies offering prices via secure instant messaging services like Whatsapp and Telegram have increased in popularity over recent years.
This style of service feels bespoke and is clearly something that appeals to certain types of punter. However, you probably miss out on some of the key features available at online betting sites, like bet builders.
If I could offer a word of caution, though: Make 100% sure that the bookmaker you’re dealing with over text is fully licensed and regulated to operate by the Gambling Commission.
Telephone is a bit of an old-school thing. It was probably the fastest way to get your bets placed in the pre-internet age, but online betting is now significantly more convenient.
Nowadays, telephone betting feels like (to me, at least), the preserve of the VIPs and high-rollers who are still looking for that personal touch.
Some major telephone betting operators have made impressive entries into the online space in recent years - Betgoodwin comes to mind in particular.