The days of Ladbrookes, William Hill, and even Coral's high street dominance has gone, and replacing it a quick and easy way to bet has come along.
These three big names have been joined by a hundred other internet sites giving you home based gambling at your fingertips.
A lot of work has gone into the domains, form the front end IT guys making the site useable attractive and appealing, through customer service back up and online support, right up to the lawyers making sure the T&C's a firmed up to a standard that they can't be caught out.
All this stuff is great but how do they get you onto the site in the first place? Well they do it by offering you a free bet, at least that's how it's advertised.
However it's not as simple as opening account and the Bookmaker whoever it may be sticks £50 in your account and says 'here, go and place a bet'.
What they are looking for is commitment, in the hope that in the long run they can generate revenue from your losses.
To do this there are conditions to getting your free bet, the different types are listed below.
If you place for example £30 in your betting account then the bookmaker will match this and also place £30 in your account 2.
Value added match bet.
If you place £30 in your account then the bookmaker will match this plus extra, for example 150% match would mean they credit you £45.
Refund on losing bets.
If you open an account and deposit and bet £30, the bookmaker will refund this if you lose.
The situation is complicated further by what is known as rolling over the bet.
For example in the terms and conditions it may state that even if your bet wins and they match your deposit and that bet wins too, you may have to gamble further with that money until you can withdraw your winnings (should there be any by then).
Also, there are often little hidden conditions such as placing the first bet on the same day as opening the account in order to receive the bonus.
Since there is only one chance to take advantage of any free bet offer it's vital to get right first time.
The offers are nearly always for new members and you can't join again using the same home address, IP address or bank card.
In conclusion, the free bets on offer by on-line bookmakers are worth it, and with so many around you can make it extremely profitable to take advantage of them all.
However don't rush into joining bookmakers left right and centre.
Take time to read their very lengthy terms or conditions or better still find a site that summarises all the deals and the best way to take advantage of each one.