We live in a world in which betting, in all its variations, has become a 24/7 global business. Gone are the days when you literally had to leave your house to place a bet or play on a slot machine.

Now, you don’t even have to leave your sofa, and in some respects, this is a good thing. Competition for your valuable custom is at an all-time high, and when you have a vast array of online bookmakers and casinos vying for your business, you are the one in control.

So, how do you choose? Firstly, you have to decide what kind of bets you want to place. Horse racing is one of the biggest sports in the UK, second only to football in terms of betting revenue as well as attracting huge viewing figures domestically and internationally.

Festivals at Aintree, Cheltenham and Royal Ascot can generate millions in revenue for bookmakers, and while for most of us, a couple of each-way bets on the Gold Cup or the favourite in the Grand National may be the extent of our involvement, for many, live horse racing betting has become the de facto way to gamble.

But just what exactly is live betting, and is it suitable for everybody?

How does live betting work in horse racing?

Also known as in-running betting, instead of placing your bet before a race starts, you bet while the race is taking place.

The horses are galloping down the course, and you think you can spot the winner, so you place your bet while the race is still on.

You basically get to react to the race as it unfolds before you.

For many people, the pressure of making such snap decisions may be too overwhelming but for the horse racing enthusiasts who can tell at a glance which horses want to race, it’s the perfect opportunity to place a bet.

Given that most online bookmakers provide live-streaming options for individual races, they can also provide real-time odds that chop and change as the various runners start to progress or fall back and out of contention.

Which bookmakers provide the best in-running options?

When it comes to determining where you should spend your money, you are spoiled for choice in the UK.

The online bookmaker industry is inundated with incredibly reputable companies, any of which would be a great choice depending on your specific needs.

And that is only half the problem. Since there are more than 30 bookies to choose from, it’s unrealistic to assume you have the time to check them all out.

Thankfully, you don’t have to, because Liam Hoofe at talkSPORT has done it for you. He has gone through 31 different online sites and ranked his top 10, which is no mean feat.

With helpful snapshots of the pros and cons of each site, it’s really easy to pick an option based on your specific requirements.

For example, if you’re an avid esports fan, then Liam suggests BetUK as his top pick, stating: “It offers a huge range of markets and has carved itself a niche as one of the best Esports operators around.”

If, however, you lean more towards spread betting, then Spreadex gets the thumbs up for its excellent customer support, live streams and spread betting options.

Interestingly, and beating out some of the bigger players in the market, Kwiff comes in at number 10, with a score of 3.9/5.

Despite being relatively new, Kwiff offers some of the most competitive odds in the industry, as well as having a solid selection of live streams.

The talkSPORT guide is one of the most current and thorough reviews of online bookmakers available and is perfect for anybody in search of a new betting home.

The strategies

Now that you know where to find the best bookmakers offering live horse racing bets, it’s time to implement some strategies to maximise your chances of winning.

I’ll start with the obvious – do your research.

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people will back a horse because they like its name. That may work for huge races like the Grand National, where anything can and does happen, but outside of that one race, you can’t cross your fingers and just hope to get lucky.

Even if you have only a few minutes, look over the form and check out your horse’s past performances in comparable races.

Look at which runners consistently win when up against the same opposition. Is there a solid jockey partnership, such as Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle? Has your horse run at this distance before? When was the last time he ran a great race?

Find something that can give you an edge and whittle down the choices before the race even starts.

The second important thing to remember about live horse racing is your technology needs to be up to scratch. Make sure you have a good Wi-Fi signal, because buffering and streams freezing mid-race only lead to panic betting.

And that brings us nicely to the third point, which is your reaction time. Given that some races only last a couple of minutes, you need to be able to react quickly and decisively.

Read the race, make a decision and place your bet. If you’re the kind of person who generally needs to mull over the finer points of a race, then this type of betting may not be for you.

Lastly, manage your bankroll. Anybody can miss a strategic ride by a jockey who spends most of the race holding up the rear, and almost nobody can predict a fall.

If this happens and you lose your bet, move on. Don’t dwell on it. Simply regroup, take a few minutes out and come back to the next race with a clear head.

It has been said a million times: don’t chase your losses. Nobody wins all the time, and that is part and parcel of betting, more so in live betting because the situation is changing at such a rate.

That is why managing your bankroll is so important. You should be able to take the occasional hit and still stay in the game.

Conclusion

Live betting on horse racing is a really engaging way to enjoy the sport. However, in order to be successful, you have to be disciplined and recognise that the more you know about the sport, the easier it is to read the races.

My tip is to go back through videos of races you haven’t already seen, and try to predict which horses you think will win before the race ends.

Practice makes perfect, and if you can start to spot the signs of horses having the race of their life versus those that are not, then it will increase your chances of winning when you bet for real.