Picking an online sportsbook is hard work. Not only do you have to navigate the complicated legal waters of online gambling, you have to find a book that offers compatible features. That means researching the deposit and withdrawal methods for every sportsbook that catches your eye, while maintaining accurate knowledge of site reputations, ever-changing bonus offers, and differences in odds and available markets. It’s enough to scare a guy away from Web-based sports betting for good.
The goal here is to save you almost all of that work, de-mystify online sportsbooks, and give you an “at-a-glance” rundown of the pros and cons of the Web’s biggest and best betting sites. In fact, you’ll find links to all of our most recommended sportsbook reviews on this page, as well as all the guidelines in which we use to rate these online bookies. Without further adieu, here are the things that we use to rate the top sports betting sites today.
Best Sportsbook Sites
We consider a site’s reputation as an above-board business more important than any other feature. Books are asking you to send them money which they promise to hold onto for you and distribute according to the site’s rules and whatnot. Are you supposed to trust them on good faith? In a world where you can read reviews of your nearby McDonald’s on Yelp to see if they’re known for putting out cold fries, it just makes sense to consider a site’s general reputation before you fire off a deposit.
How do we determine whether or not a site is rogue? Luckily, the Internet provides all sorts of resources for looking up this information. From the blacklist and accredited list maintained at Casinomeister to the two plus two forums and any number of trusted review sites in between, we make sure we fully understand a site’s reputation before we make any kind of recommendation.
Sportsbook Deposit Methods
Making a deposit to an online sportsbook shouldn’t be complicated. In theory, it’s the simple transmission of data from one source to another. In practice, you have to deal with a few roadblocks. You want to match the methods available to you personally, the ones you’re comfortable using and eligible to use, with the methods accepted by a particular sportsbook.
Seems simple, right? It isn’t. Trust me.
Depending on where in the world you live, you may or may not even have access to a particular payment method at all. This has to do with gaming laws – particularly the UIGEA bill, which affects financial practices in both the US and Europe. It doesn’t help that the payment method market is also constantly in flux, with companies premiering on a weekly basis, others going out of business, and the rest spending all their time buying one another out.
We do this for a living, and we hate researching payment methods. The data changes pretty regularly, and some of these books don’t maintain a decent list of methods and terms anywhere on their site. It takes a long time to compare the available payment methods of just two or three sportsbooks. We’re dedicated to researching payment methods because we’re paid to do it. Let the professionals that write our reviews compare this information for you.
Bonuses & Promotions Offered
You either care about sportsbook bonuses and promotions or you don’t. For those of you who do, we dedicate a section of each book review to sharing the most current information on all sportsbook bonuses and promos. In each review, we comment on the relative value of the bonuses available, comparing them to an industry average. When available, we share detailed information about wagering requirements and other bonus specifics.
Odds & Available Markets
All sportsbooks are not created equal. US bettors have access to a limited number of books, thanks to existing legal restrictions. The differences between the online sportsbooks that Americans can access matter even more, because the market is so limited. One area where you can draw major distinctions between the world’s most popular US-facing sportsbooks is their lineup of available bets and the way they set their odds.
Some books are known for releasing particularly early or even particularly late lines, which may be good or bad depending on your personal betting strategy. Other books are known for offering a glut of available wagers, while some US-facing bookmaker websites specialize in just a handful of sports they know to be popular with a US audience.
Our reviews include all the information you need to compare your needs with what our list of popular sportsbook sites offers. If you’re looking for a niche sport, or hoping to find a book that specializes in the NFL or the MLB, our reviews will guide you in that direction.
Site Design and Functionality
Though we think a site’s design is probably the least-important of all the factors we cover, we understand why people are interested. Ostensibly, you’re going to be looking at this site a lot after you join, so you’d like for it to be easy on the eyes. Our reviews don’t just concentrate on cosmetic features. We think a site’s design is also tied up in site navigation and layout. After all, if it’s tough to find a feature on a site, that feature may as well not exist.
Good design doesn’t merit much copy. A review of a site that’s been well-designed might casually mention that the site looks nice, but we don’t often go on and on about color schemes and navigation bar layout. We’re way more likely to mention when a site is particularly ugly or poorly-designed.
So make sure to find sites with easy-to-use lines feeds, as well as a book that’s super functional when it comes to picking and choosing a game to bet on. In fact, you should definitely be looking to find websites that offer this when you’re viewing it from your desktop computer AND your mobile device as well. Smartphones and tablets are the wave of the future and are only getting more and more popular – and as the popularity increases these sportsbooks have been making some pretty impressive platforms that now cater to the mobile sports bettor.
Last but certainly not least, we’ve included every piece of contact information we could find for each sportsbook’s customer service department. We know that online bettors need to stay in touch with the service departments at their books, and for good reason. We also know that it can be tough to find phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and links to live chat, especially if you’re already flustered about a payment or betting issue.
Most, if not all, of the reviews on this site have all the available customer service options that are listed for each particular bookie. This includes actual phone numbers to representatives, as well as detailed times in which you can contact these people via the phone or even Live Chat.