There are so many online sportsbooks out in cyberspace making so many claims about being the best that it’s difficult to discern which may be your best bet. Online sportsbooks are all located offshore, which translates into an outside of the United States. The fact that these companies are not regulated by the country in which one may reside can make potential bettors a bit nervous. But there are numerous steps that you can take to find a solid sportsbook, making sure your money is in good hands.
There are a few key elements to look for when choosing a sportsbook. Before sending your money online and laying it on the line, take some time to do your research and compare and contrast the various wagering platforms. Here are some considerations when it comes to identifying a reputable sportsbook.
A Sportsbook’s History and Reputation
Online gambling has been around for more than a decade. Look for a sportsbook that’s been up and running for at least five years and preferably more. Check out the book’s history through its website and also by asking friends if they’ve ever used the company’s services.
Go to handicapping sports picks sites and see with which companies they’re connected. The theory here is that a service that’s selling picks is not going to want to connect you to a bogus site where you get taken and they lose your business. (That’s a lose-lose, not a win-win situation and no one in the gaming industry wants that.)
Another thing that you can do is read the gambling-sports blogs. Bettors who are involved in the process and know the terrain frequent these sites. There’s a lot of giving and take on odds, teams, and sportsbooks.
Finally, check to see if the Off Shore Gaming Association (OSGA) has reviewed the site. OSGA is an independent “watchdog” agency created to help consumers locate and use reputable sportsbooks. Their job is to monitor the offshore sports gaming industry. You can access them at http://www.osga.com/ . When you go to a sportsbook see if they acknowledge that they’ve been reviewed by OSGA and if they allow you to easily access that review. If the company is willing to do that, then chances are they’re a sound service.
A clean, solid reputation goes a long way. It’s your money and your investment so you want to make sure you are entrusting it with a solid company. Do some research into a company’s past record and present reputation.
A Sportsbook’s Services
There are some basic services that any good site should provide. When investigating a site, you should have the feeling that they are there to serve you. Here are some essential ways in which a sportsbook should serve the consumer.
A sportsbook that provides bettors with the opportunity to wager on all or most major sports and even other events, such as American Idol, is preferable to one that simply carries some of the basics. Perhaps you’re only interested in NFL football, why would you need a sportsbook that does more? The answer is that you may never lay one dime on any of those other events or sports, but the fact that the sportsbook is involved in the ebb and flow of the entire industry is a good sign. You want to go with a company that’s up-to-date and constantly offering you more opportunities.
Also, study what types of bets the site offers. Straight, money lines, parlays, teasers, props, and futures are all standard. But are they also being innovative? Do they have a version of the If bet, can you put money down on match ups, and do they provide for reverse bets?
Along with betting on sports and other events is there the chance to play casino games and poker? How expansive are their services? The more ways in which a company connects with bettors, the more liquid and dependable they become.
You want to go with a sportsbook that readily presents information about their company, betting, and individual sports. Look for a sportsbook that first of all puts in the effort to tell you something about their operation, philosophy, and focus.
The best sportsbooks give bettors every opportunity they can to win and that means offering guides and articles focused on explaining how various bets work and how to bet on specific sports. You may understand the ins and outs of wagering on Major League Baseball and the run line, but you’re also interested in the ponies and don’t know the difference between a daily double and a trifecta. There should be information available clearly explaining how to put money down on each sport.
Ease in Transferring Funds
You want to be able to get your money to the sportsbook quickly and safely and you want to be able to withdraw it in a similar manner. The quick, reliable transfer of funds is an essential aspect of any reputable online wagering service. There should be numerous methods offered by the company for you to get your money to them. They should also provide you with the opportunity to quickly transfer your winnings back to your home base.
However, any sportsbook will have different policies for money transferred by check and those by a service such as NETeller or a major bank or credit card. If you’re using some sort of check, usually those funds are not accessible for about a week until the check has cleared.
The primary consideration when analyzing transfer services is that each manner of transfer is clearly described and the site’s policies regarding each service are stated.
Every site offers bonuses as a way to attract and keep clients. The main thing to remember about bonuses is that they are certainly effective in getting bettors interested in a site but that they are not the most important aspect of any sportsbook.
Read the bonus information carefully. Often there are restrictions on withdrawing bonus money. Shop around to see what different sites are offering. But never make the bonus your primary reason for going with one sportsbook over another. That initial hit of extra funds won’t mean a thing if your sportsbook isn’t trustworthy, solid and sound.
It takes a little bit of time and effort to discern the industry stalwarts from the fly-by-night operators. Remember to look for consistency, dedication to service and an ongoing commitment to the gaming and sportsbook industry. With a trifecta like that, you’ll be betting on a winner!