What to look for in an online sportsbook before signing up is a loaded question. Every bettor is a little bit different. Some prefer an old-school, no-nonsense approach. Others are happy to have controlled chaos and a lot going on. Most bettors fall somewhere in between and want something that makes them feel comfortable.
The sportsbook you ultimately decide on will come down to a handful of different factors. At the end of the day, you may simply make a decision based on personal preference. Whatever feels right. Whatever offers the best bonus. Whatever has the betting odds you want at the time that you are looking.
There are five things that everybody should absolutely look for in an online sportsbook before signing up. We’ve covered most of them in our individual sportsbook reviews here at Sportsbooks.ag, but we’ll put them in a nice and neat list for you right here so that you have it handy and can consider these factors when you sign up.
Is it safe and secure?
This is the most important part of the equation. You have to be willing to put your money into a sportsbook because you know that your funds and your personal information are well protected. Sportsbooks that survive and thrive in this industry do so because they put the customer first. They ease a customer’s concerns and make a strong and firm statement about customer service and about safety and security.
If a sportsbook doesn’t have multiple layers of security through encryption technology, you don’t want to bet there. Your money and your personal information are likely to be at risk. It means that they do not prioritize their players enough to go the extra mile to give them peace of mind.
Think about it. When you go to buy or lease a car, doesn’t the salesperson tell you about the safety features? When you go to buy an appliance, doesn’t the salesperson tell you about the warranty?
If a sportsbook isn’t putting your safety and security front and center, they don’t care as much as other sportsbooks.
Do they have everything I want?
What do you want to bet on? Are you a big fan of Major League Baseball? Is the NBA your jam? (see what I did there?!) Are you a college football fanatic? Do you prefer esports? UFC? Bellator? WNBA? NASCAR? Formula 1? What do you follow and what do you want to bet?
Just about every sportsbook will have the betting basics. They’ll offer futures odds to pick a winner in a race or a golf tournament. They’ll have sides, totals, and money lines for the six major North American sports.
If that’s all you need, then your choices are pretty endless, so long as the sportsbooks you are looking at fill out all of the boxes on this checklist. If you want more, you may have to search for it. Do you want more prop bets? Do you want more teams listed in the futures market for the NCAA Tournament or more players listed to win the Heisman Trophy?
Look through the catalog of betting odds in the menu. Ensure that the sports that you are interested in are listed and click on them to see exactly how many betting options are available. Just about every sportsbook allows you to look at the odds even before you sign up. It’s not necessarily a test drive, but it is like window shopping. If you see what you want, go for it.
Are they flexible with deposit methods and withdrawals?
The best online sportsbooks are going to make things as user-friendly as they can. They are going to offer several different methods of deposit and withdrawal. While just about every top-rated sportsbook prefers Bitcoin these days, they will never turn you away for using a credit card, a bank wire, or a bank transfer like ACH or e-check.
Others are willing to get more creative, though. They will take payment processors like PayPal, Zelle, Skrill, or Neteller. They will maybe even take retailer gift cards or Cash App like USDice.
Withdrawal methods are usually more limited than deposit methods, but you want to find a sportsbook that pays out quickly, safely, and efficiently. Most sportsbooks will process withdrawals via Bitcoin, check by mail, or bank wire. Some will have additional options, like a credit card “refund” or will be willing to work with you on something else.
Remember, you can tell which sportsbooks put the customer first. The ones that make it easy to have a positive user experience. All of the things you look for in an online sportsbook have something to do with the user experience.
Is this a good deposit bonus offer?
Some online sportsbooks are like Hotel California. Once you get in, it feels like you can never leave. That is because of what is called a rollover. Some sportsbooks offer outlandish first deposit bonuses, but what users don’t realize is that the bonus funds carry an exorbitant rollover requirement. A rollover means that you must wager a minimum multiplier of your deposit funds plus your bonus money.
For example, if you deposit with $100 and get a 100% match bonus, you have $200 in your account. If the website offers the 100% match bonus with a 20x rollover, that means that you have to make $2400 in total wagers before you can withdraw. If you intend to be an active, high-volume bettor, meeting the rollover may not be that hard. If you don’t bet a whole lot, it can take a very long time to get to a $2400 rollover.
Read the small print on bonus offers. Understand what works best for you. Even though a 100% match bonus sounds great, a 50% match bonus with a 10x rollover may be a better option for you. Not all bonus offers are created equal. It is especially important to pay attention to what the rollover requirements are and to consider how easy or how hard that would be for you to achieve.
Would I be comfortable here?
There is nothing worse than being in a bad situation…unless you put yourself there. That is the absolute worst. We’ve all been in that scenario before. Something that seemed kind of sketchy or sort of iffy most definitely wound up being exactly that.
Don’t get fixated on the bonus offers or get tunnel vision because you saw one thing that you really liked. Joining a sportsbook is a long-term decision in most cases. You want to look at the total package and consider whether or not you can see yourself enjoying that site for a long period of time. Is that a site that you will be happy to visit and excited to be part of for the foreseeable future?
Don’t jump at the first thing that pops up. Do your homework. Read our sportsbook reviews. Think about yourself as a bettor and think about what matters most to you. Are you going to use the casino? The Racebook? The poker room? If you aren’t, maybe you want to focus more on a site that pays the majority of its attention to the sportsbook. If you want a one-stop shop for all of your betting and gambling needs, that can also have an impact on your decision.
Use your intuition. If it looks right and feels right, it will probably be right. It will be safe and secure. The bonus offers will be fair. The betting odds will be fair. Deposits and withdrawals will be pain-free and expedient.
Trust us here at Sportsbooks.ag to point you in the right direction, but trust yourself above all else because only you know precisely what you want.