Online sports betting is a hugely popular activity that can enhance the excitement that comes with live sports. Below, we have put together a list of the very best betting sites that the industry has to offer, including US offshore betting platforms.
|What We Check For:|
Online gambling has become widely available and more popular in today’s age. It’s a way to easily bet or play casino games from the comfort of your home. However, as many bookmakers and online casinos have popped up, there remains some who are untrustworthy. This is why players and bettors should research the betting operator and online casino they’re playing at to ensure it’s secure and trustworthy.
There are several elements to look out for, namely licensing, banking, customer service, bonuses, and sports selection. The US has strict laws surrounding online gambling and sports betting was illegal in most US states until 2018. To understand why sports betting sites are what they are today, players should understand the history of sports betting.
Betting Laws In The USA
To look at what makes a betting site the best, it’s important to understand how the history of sports betting evolved. While each state has its own laws surrounding sports betting and online gambling, federal law still remains superior to all state laws. Three federal laws had a major impact on sports betting:
- Federal Wire Act of 1961
- Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA)
- Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA)
The Federal Wire Act outlaws interstate sports betting while PASPA made sports betting illegal across the US. It was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional and allowed states to regulate it as they see fit. UIGEA is related specifically to online gambling, stating that financial transactions related to online gambling are illegal for gambling service providers.
There are also state laws that apply and as such, different states can have different restrictions. For example, Nevada still mostly bans online gambling, except for games of skill and sports betting. However, they have restrictions on their sports betting to ensure the land-based bookmakers still provide sportsbooks and all bettors have to be present in Nevada while betting online.
Requirements For Online Sites
Bookmakers generally come hand in hand with online casinos. When looking to play at any online gambling site, there are several universal elements to consider.
All secure and trustworthy casinos are licensed. This also means the applicable gaming authority regulates the casino or bookmaker. Players then know it’s safe to play at, for the most part.
Every online site must have a valid license from a reputable authority. This demonstrates that it’s a legit platform for real money gaming. In addition to meeting legislative standards, licensed gaming sites must operate ethically and fairly. For extra security, players can check whether a third-party testing agency tests the casino for the fairness of their games. Players can also look at the terms and conditions of the online casino.
Playing and betting online in the US comes with some complications due to the US’s gambling laws. Many major banks and credit card providers won’t facilitate financial transactions related to online gambling. As such, players should ensure there are other methods of payments allowed.
Popular payment methods include PayPal, VIP Preferred e-cheque, Play+ card, online banking (ACH), PayNearMe, and more. While Skrill, Neteller, and other payment methods are offered, they generally come with higher transaction fees. Bitcoin is also one of a number of cryptocurrency services that are available with betting sites.
Players should also ensure that the minimum deposit is low, preferably under $10. They should also check what the withdrawal limits are. High maximum withdrawals are the best, especially in the case of a big win. The payout speeds should follow industry standards. This means that e-wallets should payout within one to three days, with online banking taking up to five days.
When an online bookmaker is untrustworthy, they have most likely treated other players unfairly before. One factor to research before playing or betting at a site is to see what other players have to say about the website. Look up reviews and complaints to ensure this is a fair site to bet at and that there won’t be unfair terms or long payouts. It’s also better to play at a site that provides good customer service and has 24/7 support, should players encounter a problem.
The best is when there is a live chat available to players, as well as a support email and phone line. Players should have clear instructions on the steps they can take when reporting a complaint or dispute. If the terms and conditions state the dispute resolution is up to management or an offshore governmental body, it means the bettor has virtually no protection. These betting sites should be avoided.
While it sounds obvious, ensuring the website is user-friendly and easily navigated is a factor that’s often overlooked in the beginning. Bettors want to ensure that it’s easy to navigate the sports betting page and that they have a search function or navigation tab to use. They also need to check whether it’s easy to see any live betting pools, their current bets, and live matches on the page.
This includes easy access to their account profile and clear visibility of their cash balance. The website should load fast, with games quickly ready to play, and buttons being easily accessible. Often, the best betting sites also offer a mobile app and this mobile app should be available on the App Store or the Google Play store. The app should provide the same quality of experience as the website, with easy mobile navigation and access.
To incentivize players, bonuses are crucial. Many top bookmakers provide players with welcome bonuses and sometimes no deposit bonuses. The common bonus to receive at a betting site is free bets or risk-free wagers. Free bets are usually given as a deposit bonus, with the player’s first deposit being matched and bonus cash awarded for free bets.
Risk-free wagers are where a player’s first 24 hours are risk-free, meaning they get credited their bet amount if the bet resulted in a loss. There are also the so-called reduced juice wagers, which refers to when the house vig is lowered on a bet. This means the sportsbook is taking less of a cut and players can win more on those bets.
When considering the bonuses, it’s crucial to read the fine print and see what restrictions are on the bonus. Whether it has a time restriction, minimum deposit, or other requirements, players need to keep it in mind when analyzing the bonus. It’s also best if the betting site offers some form of loyalty program or cashback. Often, cashback will be offered, whereby the bettors receive back a certain percentage of their losses.
Sports Betting Requirements
When betting at a real money online betting site, players should look for the best possible experience for them. If they like playing casino games, it might be better to sign up at a betting site that also offers an online casino and live casino games. Players should also ensure their options on the sportsbook side are large, with different sports being offered and live betting available.
Some betting sites also offer a racebook with the sportsbook, which is often preferred. There are some requirements all good bookmakers should meet. For players new to the sports betting world, bookmakers refer to the professional gaming operator or body that offers services related to sports betting where money can be won.
Odds are an important factor in any betting site, as they show how much the bookmaker believes a win is possible and how much players can win when betting. Odds refer to the probability of a team winning. It can show which teams are the favored ones, so even players lacking intimate knowledge of a specific sport can see what the bookmakers believe.
While most betting sites offer odds more or less in the similar range for the same events, some offer slightly better odds. The odds for sports bets determine the player’s winnings, with 2/1 being better than 15/8. So players need to research the odds the betting site offers and find the most competitive odds. The higher the odds, the more money can be won.
When Are Lines Released
When using betting sites, lines refer to the points spread. This is the betting line that lists the odds or parameters for matches and gives the players an idea of how the bookmakers view the bet. These lines determine the favorite and underdogs of a match. A line is created between two teams, with two possible outcomes and the odds for the wagering are determined.
The earlier the betting site releases lines, the better for the player. It shows the bookmakers aren’t just following the trend but rather doing their own research on the betting market. Generally, these lines are released the night before the match or the day of the match.
Selection Of Sports
When looking for the best betting site, players want to look for sites that offer a variety of sports to bet on. This doesn’t just include the popular sports like NFL, NBA, NHL etc., but also less well-known sports that are good to bet on. This means any players can use the betting site, as there is something for everyone.
It also shows that the online casino is committed to sports betting and tries to offer the bettors the most possible. A greater range of betting markets opens up new doors and allows players not to have to bet it all on big matches. The betting sites should also offer live betting. Whereas normal sports betting consists of making a bet before the match, live betting is made during the match.
Bettors get the opportunity to make bets as the matches unfold, making their bets in real-time. This allows bettors to still participate in the match, even if the cutoff time for online betting has passed. Another game type that has become more popular in recent years is eSports.
Unlike virtual sports, which refer to online games, eSports refer to virtual sports games played between real players. It basically refers to a live sports match played virtually. Bettors also receive the opportunity to bet on these matches if eSports are offered on the site.
How do I choose the best betting site for me?
Keeping in mind the common elements bookmakers should have, players need to consider whether they want a wide variety of sports to choose from or if they rather prefer a large bonus. Ultimately, choose a site where the main feature is the same as what you want from sports betting.
What is the best sport to bet on?
There is no correct answer, as this differs from person to person. Generally, when starting it’s best for players to bet on a sport they have the most knowledge on. As they become more experienced bettors, they can branch out to other sports.
What does vig mean?
Vig, or vigorish/juice, is the commission bookmakers levy on all wagers bettors make. This is how bookmakers make profits and it’s already worked into the bet.
Is there a limit on how many online betting sites I can use?
There is no limit, as it depends on the bettor’s betting strategy. Bettors can sign up to as many or as few betting sites as they want.
Top Betting Sites
Looking at what elements a sports betting site should have allows players to improve their understanding of betting sites. A top betting site is identified by having competitive odds, releasing its lines early, good welcome bonuses, a loyalty program, and more. But a bookmaker can have all of that and still be untrustworthy.
This is why bettors need to ensure the platform is properly licensed and regulated in their state. Bettors should do their own research, using these points as guidelines. When in doubt, it’s usually best to read the site’s terms and conditions, as any restrictions will be listed there. It’s also a great idea to read different reviews on the bookmaker to understand how other players experienced them.
All US licensed casinos are listed on the US government website under the iGaming divisions. Players can also research which bookmakers are available in their state, as interstate sports wagering is illegal. Bettors should always remain cautious and ensure they’re using a trustworthy online betting site that is licensed, regulated, and fair.