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About Online Sports Betting Sites
Currently, US players are likely to have to venture outside of their comfort zone to place sports bets online. Sure, there is an ample supply of fantasy sports betting sites, but very few are legally entitled to offer the real to players. However, offshore sportsbooks have been providing their services to US players for years.
It is these casinos, which are often licensed out of Costa Rica and Curacao, which US players turn to for the time being. Until the United States fully legalizes sports betting online (even then, it would be down to each state to ratify their own laws) the US sports betting industry is somewhat restrictive. Nonetheless, there is a steady supply of players you can place your favorite sporting bets. What does each of these sites have to offer you, though? Let’s have a look.
What Makes US Sportsbooks Ideal?
There are always going to be things which tug on Americans’ heartstrings (and purse strings) more than others. A good US sports betting site will not only offer gameplay in English, but they will also carry the US dollar as their currency of choice. These bookies will also be able to offer you support and assistance via a method which works for you locally and offer safe and secure gaming, primarily by being licensed out of a respectable gambling licensing jurisdiction. If no licensing information is available, you are advised to stay away.
Now that you know a few snippets of information about what’s ideal for a US sports betting site, we should delve deeper into what makes a great US sportsbook.
US Sports Betting Markets
Arguably the most crucial aspect of any US sportsbook is the range of bets they take. Known as betting markets, these are the sports which players are entitled to bet on. Obviously, certain sports have more appeal amongst US sports bettors than others, and they mostly include the major US sports, such as:
- Baseball: Primarily MLB
- Basketball: NBA and college basketball
- Football: NFL and college football
- Golf: The US Open, PGA Tour and Ryder Cup, to name but a few…
- Hockey: Again, mostly just the NHL
- Horse Racing: Wagering on the Kentucky Derby is a favorite pastime
- Motor Racing: NASCAR and the Indy Car series are always popular
Of course, other betting markets are also available. It is not uncommon to find US sportsbooks which are prepared to take bets on tennis, association football, rugby, track and field, the Olympic and Winter Olympic Games, extreme sports, boxing and the UFC, amongst others.
Even bizarre bets can be wagered at some major US sports betting sites. You can readily find a range of wrestling (primarily WWE), political, entertainment and financial stakes at most of the biggest sportsbooks accepting US players.
A top US sportsbook won’t just carry betting markets which appeal to US players, though. They will also offer a flexible selection of bets and odds. Those odds are best delivered using American Odds, a set of odds specifically designed to work well with the spread and money line betting which Americans love so much. Of course, when betting on major sports which are more popular outside the USA, Americans may wish to try their hand at decimal or fractional odds betting, so it is good if USA sports betting sites offer those, too.
Big Bonuses and Promising Promos
Most US-friendly gambling sites are capable of offering promotions and bonuses to their players, and online sports betting sites are no different. US sportsbooks are known for their particularly considerable welcome bonus offers. It is not uncommon to find a sportsbook which accepts US players offering a welcome bonus which is staggered over several deposits. These welcome packages can often be worth several thousand dollars, sometimes more, sometimes less.
As well as welcome bonuses, sports betting sites will offer a flurry of one-off promos, linked to major sporting events which may be happening at the time. Loyalty bonuses and promotions can sometimes be found at major sites, although these are more usually linked to the online casino industry than the sports betting one.
What most online sportsbooks do offer players, though, is a selection of redeposit deals. When players choose to top-up their balance by continually depositing, don’t be surprised to find that they are offered additional match deposit bonuses.
Almost all US promos and bonuses at these sites come with wagering requirements and promotional bonus codes. The best sports betting sites will keep these as low as possible (with 35x or less play through rates) while promo bonus codes can be snapped up on the promotions page. If you don’t wish to claim a bonus, just choose not to enter the promo codes.
US-Friendly Banking Options
US players have not had an easy time of it when it comes to banking options. Most sites only carry a handful of options, simply because the payment method providers and/or banks won’t process transactions inexplicably linked to the online gambling industry. However, it is not the array of options which are open to you which causes concern; it is the fees and transaction times that they may have attached to them.
It is not uncommon to find US players having to withdraw their winnings via cheques or wire transfers at US sportsbooks. Not only do players have to wait weeks to receive their cash, but they may also face fees of $50 or more to withdraw. The best sports betting site will find other ways to allow players to withdraw, or at the very least cut out the fees.
Depositing is far more straightforward at US sports betting sites, with players able to use credit/debit cards to deposit in many cases. Bitcoin betting has become particularly popular amongst American sports bettors, since it allows rapid and near-instantaneous depositing and withdrawing of funds, and seldom comes with any fees attached.
Mobile and Live Betting Options for US Players
Mobile betting isn’t really possible at US sportsbooks, at least not in the same capacity as you will find at the UK and European online bookies. Sure, US players can open up their favorite sportsbook in their mobile device’s web browser, but it is a lot rarer to find a bona fide sports betting app which they can download to bet on the go.
Similarly, many online bookmakers suffer from not being able to offer live betting, in-play bets or live streaming of matches to their players. This option, while commonplace in Europe, might appear at US online betting once the shroud around their legality is lifted.
Getting a Handle on Support Options
Should you find that you are in need of customer support and assistance, you’re in luck. US sports betting sites are renowned for their ability to offer quality customer support to players. They will often provide players with toll-free telephone numbers, and fax numbers (if they are based in the USA), while live chat, e-mail and FAQ (frequently asked question) guides are also often on the table.
Support and assistance teams at USA bookmakers are often very polite, very efficient and equally as fast. If there is an issue you don’t comprehend or want to clear up (particularly with betting options) feel free to get in touch with the sportsbook’s customer assistance team, who are usually available around the clock as well.
Summing It All Up
We’ve talked a little bit about what players can expect to be able to find in a typical, respectable US online sports betting website. To sum it up, you should be looking for a sportsbook which offers reasonable and modest bonuses and promos with decent play through rates. You should be looking for a sportsbook which has banking options that suffice nicely, and ones which won’t bankrupt you with fees when it comes time to take home your winnings. You should also be looking for a site which offers top-notch security and safety and has an excellent track record in the industry.
You will also want to make absolutely certain that you are playing at a US sportsbook which can offer you many different betting markets. After all, US sports tend to be seasonal (and feature short seasons at that), so when it is your chosen sport’s off-season, there needs to be something else you can bet on if you wish.
The Future for online Sports Betting sites in the united states
As we hinted at, at the beginning of this piece; the US sports betting world is changing and changing fast. State lawmakers are already looking at ways they can get bills past at both state and federal levels in a bid to legalize online sports betting. In some states, the process has already begun to make headway. States can be broken up into four main bands, based on their progress:
- States Currently Discussing Legalising Sports Betting: California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia
- States Not Discussing Legalising Sports Betting At Present: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
- States Which Are Very Close To Legalising Sports Betting: Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, and New Jersey
- States Where Sports Betting is Already Legal: Nevada
Many of the states that are currently discussing legalizing sports betting have already approved laws to either look at the viability of sports betting or to implement it when the federal ban is dropped. Those states which are very close to legalizing sports betting are raring to go and could deploy their own US sportsbooks in a matter of weeks. As for the states not currently discussing legalizing sports betting at present; some have held preliminary talks but nothing more, some will be likely to address the issue once the federal ban ends, and others (mostly conservative states) are unlikely to legalize sports betting at any point in the future.
If these states are given the opportunity to proceed with their own gambling laws, what does that mean for the industry?
For starters, players in a state which has legalized online sports betting will no longer have to visit an offshore casino. They will likely be able to place bets on all the same markets, legally from inside their own state. Moreover, those sportsbooks will also likely to be able to include live betting and possibly even live streaming of major sporting events as happens at European bookies. Of course, the biggest reward would be the removal of nasty banking options and play through rates, since being licensed by the state themselves, everything would be legal, above board and have to comply with local state law.
We are a long way from witnessing the first proper online sportsbooks for US players launching at a state level, but the movement is gaining ground fast. It is a fascinating time to be betting on sports in the USA, to watch this space; things could be set to get a whole lot easier and freer shortly.