There’s never been a better time to be a passionate sports fan. No matter how obscure your game of choice is, there’s a better than average chance you’ll be able to regularly keep up to date with the latest events all around the world from a location of your choice. In many cases there’ll be entire channels dedicated to your sport for you to dive into.
These are also glorious times if you’re partial to spicing up your viewing with a wager on the outcome of a particular event. The rise of global broadband and the emergence of a huge range of online sports bookmakers mean that sports betting for real money is now an option available across the globe.
In this article we’ll focus on everything you need to know about sports betting for real money online and cover what to look for in your provider, how to stay on the right side of the law and much more.
Sports Betting For Real Money: Who Can You Trust?
When there’s real cash on the line, you want to be certain you’re dealing with a legitimate operator. We’ll move on to account level items to look out for later on but start your search by looking for some or all of the following characteristics:
- Established local history: Sports betting is an established market in many territories and the biggest names online will usually have been in business for a number of years in your particular locale. This gives you some comfort as a customer in knowing that you’re dealing with a local business that understands your needs.
- Strong offline presence: The established presence we mention in the first point is often via an existing offline presence in real world betting outlets. Again, this indicates they know the local market and have a good track record of providing sports betting for real money to customers in your area.
- Solid range of competitors in local market: Competition is the bane of a bookies’ life but it’s great news for customers. You want a betting provider who’s looking to be at their best to ward off the competition not one who can afford to rest on their laurels.
Types Of Bonuses Available When Betting Real Money On Sports
Largely due to the incredibly competitive nature of online sports betting as an industry, players stand to gain from a wide range of bonuses and special offers. Here are the three most common types to look out for:
- Deposit bonuses: These bonuses from the bookmaker will match either your entire opening deposit with free funds or a percentage thereof. It’s a great way of getting some extra value at the beginning of your betting career with a particular provider. Many providers also offer recurring deposit bonuses for future funds transfers.
- No-deposit bonuses: No-deposit bonuses are essentially a free sign-up bonus where the bookmaker will put a certain amount of credit in your account (usually a relatively small amount) for you to gamble with before you’ve deposited anything. Think of them as a free trial offer.
- Special offers and promotions: All sports betting sites will run regular special offers and promotions throughout the year to keep their existing customers happy. These are often tied into major events such as cup finals and may involve deals such as refunding losing bets given a certain set of circumstances.
One point to be aware of with sports betting bonuses is to always check the terms and conditions on offer, particularly as they relate to cashing out. For example, in many offers there is a certain amount that must have been wagered before anything can be redeemed.
Account Level Details To Check On Real Money Sports Betting Sites
We’ve already covered some top level items to look out for with your sports betting provider but it’s on the account level that you really need to make your comparisons. Here is a list of things to insist on:
- Full sportsbook coverage: Even if you’re only interested in one particular sport, you’ll want to see a full range of markets on offer throughout the year. Be sure to check what’s available with both high-profile and more obscure events before you sign up.
- Mobile-friendly sites: With the ever-increasing rise in mobile usage, it’s more than likely you’ll need to use your provider’s site on the go so it simply has to be mobile friendly.
- Low account fees: Account fees should be minimal and clearly explained in plain English. Run a mile at the first sign of any deliberately confusing legalese.
- Options for watching in-play: Many of the largest providers have struck deals to provide live coverage of major events via streaming on their sites. This might save you some money on your monthly cable bill if it’s on offer.
- Easy funding options: Both funding and withdrawal should be quick, painless processes. Even if you’re not going to use them all, it’s always a good sign to see a solid array of funding methods supported.
- Full customer support: You want to see options for telephone, chat and email support clearly listed on the site or you should walk away.
- Dedicated apps: The majority of major bookmakers will offer dedicated iPhone and Android apps which can make your betting experience a much smoother one when you’re out and about.
Keeping Things Legal When Sports Betting Online
One common concern of people looking to wager real money online for the first time is how to stay on the right side of the law. Here at Bookmaker Analyst we strongly encourage responsible gambling and urge you to be certain you are acting appropriately for the jurisdiction you are in to avoid any unpleasantness.
The situation varies wildly from country to country and it is hard to give universally applicable rules so we will stick to an overview.
The UK is one of the friendliest environments for online sports betting and the industry is fully legal and regulated in Great Britain. You’ll find much the same situation across pretty much all of the European Union with some minor restrictions in countries such as France and Germany.
In Asia it is very much on a case-by-case basis. Some areas such as Hong Kong are famous for sports betting whereas it is completely prohibited in other countries such as Singapore.
The elephant in the global sports betting room is of course America where it is generally illegal thanks to the Federal Wire Act. The exception is certain states such as Nevada and New Jersey where sports gambling is permitted.
Types Of Sports Available For Real Money Betting
We’ve come this far in our overview of real money sports betting without considering the actual sports markets in play. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular options:
- Football: As the world’s most popular game, football naturally dominates the online sports betting world. The EPL is probably the biggest betting market worldwide but you should expect to see other major leagues such as La Liga, Seria A and the Bundesliga covered as well.
- Tennis: The constant churn of the ATP Tour makes it a great candidate for online betting and most sites will offer strong tennis coverage throughout the year, particularly when it comes to the four Majors.
- Golf: In much the same way as tennis, golf offers gamblers a nice mix of day-to-day tour events across the world and highly competitive Major tournaments to wager on. The difference of course is in the size of the average field, a factor which often throws up tempting odds if you have a favourite in mind.
- Horse racing: The sport of kings has been a favourite with punters since time immemorial and today is no different. You can expect to find full coverage of local meets and high-profile events such as the Aintree Grand National and the Melbourne Cup in any sports betting establishment worth its salt.
- Other sports: Most sites will also provide comprehensive markets for sports such as NFL, NBA and MLB in addition to regionally specific sports such as AFL and rugby.
Account Funding Options For Sports Betting Sites
When you’re looking to bet with real money, you’ll naturally need some way of funding your account and making withdrawals. The following four are the main funding methods you can expect to find online. It’s worth signing up with more than one of them to give yourself some backup on the account level:
- Mastercard/Visa: These two giants of the credit card industry are accepted by the vast majority of sports betting sites online. It’s not hard to see the reason why either. Industry leading standards of security and ease of use make both Mastercard and Visa a favourite of players and bookmakers alike.
- Paypal: Online wallets have gained a huge amount of market share over the last number of years due to their flexibility, speed of funds transfer and low transaction fees. Paypal is still the leading eWallet provider worldwide and worth signing up with.
- Skrill: Skrill has gained popularity in recent years as a payment platform, particularly in Europe. Expect to see it on offer in many sports betting sites. It makes an interesting alternative to Paypal.
- Bitcoin: With its occasional wild fluctuations in currency value, Bitcoin may be one for the more adventurous, tech-savvy gambler. It is an increasingly common payment option to see online however.
We hope this article has given you some solid pointers for where to start with sports betting for real money. When there’s actual cash on the table, it’s well worth your while taking a bit of extra time to carefully sift through the options available so we encourage you to check out some of the providers recommended on these pages and make your own judgement.
Good luck with your next round of wagers!
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