Choosing the right online sportsbook isn’t as easy as you might think. Astute customers must weigh multiple criteria including legality, reputation, payments and wagering menu. Locating and assessing this information can take time. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to focus your search on trustworthy resources. Use the following guide to navigate your search.
Online Sports Betting Legality
Legality varies depending on your jurisdiction. Note that one must consider both states, provincial and national laws.
The United States Supreme Court recently overturned PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) after a lawsuit brought by New Jersey. This meant that states could legalize sports betting individually. Before this decision, it was only legal in Nevada.
Now New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Delaware have legalized sports betting. Most offer some form of online wagering via mobile apps and websites. Other states have legislation in the works.
Sports betting is also legal in much of Europe, Canada, and Australia. Customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland have easy access to both online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Other European nations have more restrictive policies, often limiting citizens to companies licensed and regulated within their borders.
Once you’ve found a few operators in your area, make sure to perform some basic due diligence. Three types of websites are best for comparing online sportsbooks: gambling portals, forums, and odds shoppers.
While gambling portals take many forms, they are easy to identify. Look for websites with betting tutorials, sportsbook reviews, promotions and sporting news paired with clear links to sportsbooks. These portals make a commission for referring your business. Their livelihood depends on customers being treated fairly. That means they’re likely to advertise the most reputable brands.
Well-established forums are also useful for vetting operators. Look for forums with a large and active membership. Make sure the bulk of the discussion is focused on sports betting and sportsbook websites. Forums like SBR are great for United States customers looking to bet offshore.
Finally, odds of shoppers are another place to check. These sites list odds on a matchup from multiple online sportsbooks. This allows punters to get the best odds on their bets. Many sites like OddsChecker.com only feature the most trustworthy sportsbooks. Like portal webmasters, odds shoppers cannot afford to send customers to a rogue operator.
Make sure sportsbooks will accept your deposits and promptly payout your winnings. Payment methods and speed will vary by jurisdiction.
United States customers betting legally at state-licensed operations should expect almost immediate deposits and payouts. Deposit using ACH, debit cards, e-check or Paypal where available. Expect payouts using the same method. Occasionally, large winnings will be paid by bank wire, direct deposit or paper check.
United States customers betting at offshore sportsbooks will need to tolerate some inconvenience. Deposit using credit cards, debit cards, e-check, cryptocurrencies or bank wire. Credit card deposits often incur modest transaction fees. Payouts can be much slower than betting in person at a Las Vegas brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
The fastest way to get paid is to have your own Bitcoin wallet. Gambling portal SportsBetting3.com reports that both bank wires and check-by-courier are common alternatives. Unfortunately, ACH, Direct Deposit and Paypal transfers are not allowed.
Payment processing for customers in Canada, Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom is much simpler. Most will be able to use local credit and debit cards (Maestro, Solo, Sofort), e-wallets, bank transfers and bank wires. Payouts are also a snap. Remember, these highly regulated markets have strong penalties for companies that stiff customers. Getting money in and out of a sportsbook should be easy for anyone betting outside of the USA, save highly controlled markets like those in East Asia.
What’s on the menu?
Once you’ve found the right sportsbook, make sure it offers everything you need. Note that most sportsbooks naturally focus on sports betting. Many will also have a full casino, poker room, horse race book, financials and e-sports.
It’s best to choose a one-stop shop if possible. Exceptions include discerning customers who prefer more elaborate casino and poker experiences. In that case, it’s best to play at a website that is primarily one or the other.
USA bettors will find the vast majority of sportsbooks have the same wagering options. A closer inspection will yield differences between lines, wagering rules and limits. Most sportsbooks will happily accommodate the true recreational player. Sharp players or “wise guys” may quickly discover that they get different lines and deposit limits. Serious sports bettors should stick to sharper books like 5Dimes.
Recreational customers from other countries should expect the same treatment. Professional punters should seriously consider establishing an account with Pinnacle, one of the world’s leading online sportsbooks. It accepts sharp action and higher limits from non-USA customers.
Note that major European books like Bet365 have everything an online gambler needs to stay busy. Smaller European operations that focus chiefly on sports may have a modest casino or poker room with a common wallet. While the gaming experience may feel more basic, the common wallet ensures your deposits and payments will process quickly whether made in the sportsbook, casino or poker room.
Never click the first ad you see, as tempting as it might be. Research an online sportsbook the same way you’d research a land-based operator or banking institution. Always be careful where and how you deposit your money. Unscrupulous online sportsbooks are increasingly less common, but still, surface from time to time. Save stress, time and money by investigating a sportsbook before you open a new account.