What is low and high stake betting?

Our guide to high and low stake betting sites

The answer might seem blindingly obvious: it’s the size of the stake placed on the bet! But like many questions that seem to have obvious answers there is a much more nuanced set of factors behind it. The terms themselves are relative for most people, what one punter considers a high stake might be seen as low by another. Even different bookies might have different views.

To get a better answer one needs to look at how low and high stakes gambling are handled elsewhere, how the UK sports betting market handles (or doesn’t handle) high stakes and what the implications are for the gambler.

Some Great High Stakes Betting Sites:

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Min. Deposit

£5

Website

Regulated by

MGA, UKGC

Founded

2000

Owner

Bet365 Group Ltd

Offer terms

New Customers only. Up to £100* in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5* or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.

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Deposit methods

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New Customers only. Up to £100* in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5* or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. | T&C apply

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  • Established 1934
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Min. Deposit

£10

Regulated by

MGA, UKGC

Founded

1934

Owner

WHG (International) Limited

Offer terms

18+. Play safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.

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18+. Play safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. | T&C apply

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Min. Deposit

£5

Website

Regulated by

MGA, UKGC

Founded

1926

Owner

GVC Holdings

Offer terms

18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + T&Cs apply.

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Deposit methods

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18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + T&Cs apply. | T&C apply

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Screenshot of the BetVictor offer

Min. Deposit

£5

Regulated by

MGA, UKGC

Founded

1989

Owner

BetVictor Limited

Offer terms

18+ New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days.  Plus a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. PayPal and Card Payments only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.

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Deposit methods

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18+ New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days.  Plus a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. PayPal and Card Payments only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly. | T&C apply

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Min. Deposit

£5

Regulated by

MGA, UKGC

Founded

1886

Owner

Entain plc

Offer terms

18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min €5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x €5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.

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Deposit methods

5

18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min €5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x €5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. | T&C apply

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Min. Deposit

£10

Website

Regulated by

MGA, UKGC

Founded

2017

Owner

Argyll Entertainment AG

Offer terms

New customers only. Qualifying bets must be placed before midnight 31/12/20. £10 Free bet credited when your first bet on Glory Goals settles. Min odds 1.6. Free bet min odds 1.1 and must be used in 7 days. 18+ BeGambleAware. Full terms apply.

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Deposit methods

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New customers only. Qualifying bets must be placed before midnight 31/12/20. £10 Free bet credited when your first bet on Glory Goals settles. Min odds 1.6. Free bet min odds 1.1 and must be used in 7 days. 18+ BeGambleAware. Full terms apply. | T&C apply

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Min. Deposit

£10

Website

Regulated by

MGA, UKGC

Founded

2016

Owner

Mr Green Limited

Offer terms

New players only. Minimum stake $/£/€ 10, minimum odds 1.5, stake not returned. 10X wagering the winnings from the free bet. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Free bet is valid for 7 Days from issue. Max conversion: $/£/€ 20.Excluded Skrill deposits. Full Terms Apply

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Deposit methods

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New players only. Minimum stake $/£/€ 10, minimum odds 1.5, stake not returned. 10X wagering the winnings from the free bet. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Free bet is valid for 7 Days from issue. Max conversion: $/£/€ 20.Excluded Skrill deposits. Full Terms Apply | T&C apply

Rolling in casinos

The term high roller, as well as its less frequently used sister phrase low roller, originates from casinos. A high rollers is simply a gambler that stakes large amounts. Low rollers, on the other hand, tend to be the more average gamblers, possibly knowledgeable about what they are doing, but playing for smaller stakes.

The division is not just a behavioural one. Casinos divide their customers into the two categories and adapt their business around them because it helps make them a more profitable business. Players are likely to play longer if the game is to their tastes. The high roller will likely bore quickly of a game where the potential winnings are small, and the low roller will quickly find themselves priced out of games with high rollers. By having tables divided between them, gamblers can play at games that suit their tastes, and casinos hope people will gamble for longer as a result.

Anyone who has visited Las Vegas will have seen another aspect of this with the hospitality on offer. The free food and drink is not courtesy of an altruistic casino, but instead to encourage people to stay longer. However, while the low roller may enjoy a free buffet, the high roller may well have arrived in a complimentary limo and have the pick of the casino’s finest menu.

Low and high stakes in sports betting

Dividing punters into low and high rollers makes less sense in sports betting. Instead of staking into a game in which the gambler is playing and can influence, they are betting on an event, with a specific amount at specific odds. In broad terms how big the stake is unimportant to the bookie, administrative costs aside, their bottom line is the same whether it’s just one £10,000 bet or a thousand £10 bets. However, there are some ways in which the division is relevant.

Most UK gamblers are low rollers. There are a significant number of regular gamblers in the UK, but they place small bets. Perhaps a flutter on their team to add some interest and excitement to the Saturday afternoon game. The win is not life changing, but instead it adds to the enjoyment of life: their team won, and they got a few quid to help toast the victory.

However, the high stakes gambler would put a significant amount on the outcome. Rather than a tenner on their team they may have placed £10,000 on a team to which they had no loyalty but expected to win. And, obviously, they will have more than a few quid in winnings.

The stakes may also form part of a gambler’s betting strategy. Sports betting is not a mathematical science and the odds offered by bookies do not represent probabilities, but instead reflect the views of the betting market. Although this market is not always correct it can be remarkably accurate, especially on events that are less reliant on chance. A gambler may, therefore, seek to minimise their losses by mixing high stakes bets at low odds with low stakes bets at high odds.

A key point of differentiation between a low and a high stake gambler is the motivation. Low rollers will gamble for many reasons, only for some will it be a hobby they take seriously on its own merits. Those that play high stakes, either exclusively or mixed with some low stakes, are highly likely to see gambling as its own pursuit, not ancillary to another interest.

The bookies’ view

Bookies, publicly at least, do not differentiate between low and high stakes gambling. Sports betting is a mass market activity so a bet is a bet. Their profits come largely from a high volume of relatively small stake bets and their business models are geared towards promoting and managing that market.

Additionally, there are a number of limits on both transactions and wins that may give the appearance that bookies are not interested in high stakes gambling. However, most bookies do offer loyalty schemes, often largely unadvertised, that are aimed at their high rolling customers.

Deposit limits

Many bookies will limit how much can be deposited in a single transaction. There are a number of factors that affect these limits, from money laundering regulations, conditions set by the payment operator and the bookmaker’s own choices. For example, William Hill will allow you to pay in £99,000 in a single debit card transaction, but only £10,000 by bank transfer even though it may well be coming from the same account. If you are hoping to use PayPal as your eWallet with them you are even more restricted with a maximum deposit of £5,500.

Winnings

Bookies also have limits on how much you can win. If you are betting high stakes then, depending on the sport, this might become an issue at a surprisingly low level. Most bookmakers will advertise their highest limit, usually offered on top-flight football, while tucking away the lower limits for other sports in their terms and conditions.

Betfred, for example, take bets on a wide range of sports and events. In common with many bookmakers their maximum win is £1,000,000 for bets on top-flight football leagues and competitions. When you move away from that category the maximum varies dramatically. While £1,000,000 might be more than adequate for a high stake bet on the Premier League, their maximum goes as low as £10,000 for a bet on Australian soccer, dramatically limiting the opportunities for high stakes gambling.

While these are extremes, it is worth checking the maximum wins for specific sports with your bookie. For example, in general the maximum win for most sports with Betfred is £100,000. While this is likely enough for most punters, it can be limiting if you want to place high stakes, especially if the odds are longer.

Withdrawals

Again, bookies can limit the amount you can withdraw in a single transaction. This can have a big impact if you are a high stakes gambler and have a big win. Ladbrokes, for example, have a daily withdrawal limit of £5,000, although you can request a larger withdrawal via customer services. Given the potential £1,000,000 maximum win it would take 200 days to get at all your winnings if you withdrew at the advertised limit.

Loyalty schemes

Despite the potential constraints on high stakes gamblers bookies do recognise their business value and frequently offer perks to them. These vary from bookie to bookie, but like the refreshments in a casino the intent is that by offering something to the high stakes gambler it encourages their loyalty. These schemes are, generally, not widely advertised. While bookies want to reward their best customers, they are equally keen not to make other customers feel less valued as a result. Additionally, responsible bookmakers cannot appear to be incentivising people to gamble more.

The opaque nature of loyalty schemes means things like the entry criteria and benefits for each bookmaker are unknown, however, there are broad similarities between the offers each make. Generally, an invitation to join a VIP scheme will be based on the level of custom with that bookmaker. This is clearly more likely to happen to a high stakes gambler, although it is not impossible for invitations to be extended to gamblers that bet low stakes at very high volumes.

The perks that are offered will vary, some bookmakers’ VIP offers are tiered, for example, so the better perks are reserved for the bigger gamblers. Some are also tailored, so the perks might be related to gambling habits: customers who bet exclusively on a single sport will receive offers related to that sport.

Despite the variance, there are several features that are frequently part of the VIP offers including

  • Prize draws. These are one of the easiest to offer, and simply give the VIP members an extra chance to win.
  • Again, something that’s easy for a bookmaker to offer. These might include things like better odds or even cashback offers.
  • Better service. Many bookmakers will offer their best customers a personal account manager, so a customer will be able to easily get support, perhaps even from a named individual, if they need it. They might also offer enhanced service, increasing deposit and withdrawal limits, and offering faster transactions.
  • Special events. For many this can be the best element of a VIP scheme. Bookmakers will offer access and hospitality at sporting events, giving their best customers the literal VIP treatment.

Most bookies will monitor their customers’ activity to identify potential VIP members early, but if you are a high stakes gambler it is always worth contacting them directly, especially if you are new to them, to see if you might qualify.

The best bookies for high stakes gambling

It is not possible to choose a single best bookmaker for high stakes gambling. The differences between each on things like maximum wins or deposit and withdrawal limits mean that much will depend on the preferred sport, or sports, and betting methods of individual gamblers. There are, however, a number of factors that will help identify which bookie is best.

Most important is which sport you want to gamble on. For most mainstream sports there is little to choose between bookmakers and there is generally consistency in the maximum wins. In football, for example, all the big names offer a £1,000,000 maximum for high-profile leagues or competitions. The outliers are Bet365 and William Hill who, notably, offer a £2,000,000 maximum in football.

If you want to bet on less popular or lower profile sports, however, then a little research may well pay dividends. If you were looking to bet on American football, there are significant differences between bookies. Regardless of which side of the pond’s football you prefer William Hill are generous. If you want to bet on an NFL game they offer a £250,000 maximum win. Betfred, by comparison, only offer £100,000. However, if, like many Americans, you take the college game seriously and want to bet on an NCAA match then things look very different. While you can still win £100,000 with Betfred, William Hill’s maximum plummets to £25,000.

The second factor to consider is how you bet. There is, again, significant consistency between major bookmakers, but it’s worth checking if you want or expect to be making large deposits or withdrawals to your account to ensure your bookmaker can meet those needs. Will you be able to deposit the amounts that you want to bet? And if you have a big win, can you easily access your winnings or will you find it a lengthy and frustrating process?

Most bookies tend to allow unlimited deposits or have a generous cap of around £100,000. They are frequently more restrictive on withdrawals, though. Betfred, for example, allow you to make unlimited bank transfer withdrawals, but if you gamble using an eWallet then, depending on which you use, you will find yourself limited to withdrawing between £4,000 and £6,000 day.

Finally, if you are a high stakes gambler it’s worth thinking whether you are using a big enough bookmaker. The maximum wins are a good proxy of this. While Bet365 and William Hill offer £2,000,000 maximum wins, and established names like Betfair, Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power all offer £1,000,000, smaller bookies like 888sport have a maximum of just £250,000.

While this might appear to suggest arrogance, the bigger bookmakers have advantages. They don’t just offer bigger wins but tend to have better VIP offers and better services because of the resources they have available to manage high stakes gamblers.

Our Top Betting Offers:

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About the author

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".