The world of sports betting is quite different in different parts of the world. If you live in Asia or many parts of Europe, you believe that having a betting partner close and ready to work with you is the standard reality – and it’s not. The United States, one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, has long had a war on sports betting.
Thankfully, in our times, one can practice sports betting from US territories, under certain conditions. The purpose of this article is not only to highlight these conditions, but also give some inputs around the best sports betting websites for US customers, and the special welcome offers and signup bonuses they have for new players who want to try their hand at online betting
Betting on sports in the United States has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry over the past decade or so. While most people might think of Las Vegas when it comes to the actual sportsbooks that handle the betting action, this growth has been primarily fueled by a number of US online sportsbooks that especially cater to players in the United States.
Best Online Sportsbooks For US Players
What makes the best online betting websites different from the rest? Lots of things, actually. The biggest differentiator for US customers is, of course, the legality and reputation of the website – nobody wants to start betting only to find out that some shady company ran away with all your money.
Another big differentiator is their welcome offer, meaning the amount of money they offer as a bonus for new customers who join their website. And last but not least, there are a wealth of other factors like the company’s customer support, their sports offer, the quality of their odds, money management, and much more. Sounds complicated? It might be, but that’s why we’re here: we do this analysis so you don’t have to.
Choosing the best US sportsbook can be simple if you read our reviews and analysis thoroughly. In this industry, there is no “one-size-fits-all”, so some input from the punter is required. No two betting enthusiasts are the same. Some play to make serious money, while others play more for the “fun” factor, to watch games with a little extra incentive.
Some prefer to place small bets, while others are big players and often place several hundreds of dollars on a single selection. Some punters prefer going with the flow and trusting their gut, while others have very disciplined betting systems. At the end of the day, there is an online betting site and some great bookies bonuses for everyone – all you have to do is look.
Is Online Betting Legal In The USA?
But first things first – we have to clear the legal aspects around the US sports betting industry. We won’t go into history that much. In short, sports betting was illegal in almost all states, with the exception of Nevada, for the longest period of time. There was a law called PASPA which prohibited US companies to take wagers from US citizens which was in effect until 2018, when it was rejected by the Supreme Court.
This doesn’t mean that sports betting is now widely legal in the United States, because it’s not. Only a handful of states have joined Nevada in legalizing sports betting, and these states are Delaware, Montana and Oregon. Most states can now pass their own gambling laws, at least until the US Congress will pass a federal law.
Notice how we mentioned that the interdiction set by PASPA was for companies? That’s exactly how online betting can be legal in the US. To summarize:
- It is illegal for a sportsbook to operate within the United States
- It is not illegal for a sportsbook operating outside the USA (for example, an offshore) to accept customers from the US
- It is not illegal from people inside the United States to use offshore sportsbooks
That’s how the websites we’re about to present work at the moment. They’re headquartered outside the US, in places like the Caribbean, and cater to US customers. The issues with legality in the United States have deterred many of the biggest players in the industry to accept customers from the US, mostly because they don’t want the legal hassle.
That doesn’t mean that the betting websites which operate in the US aren’t up to the required standards, it just means that they’re not that famous. We’re here to make sure that we analyze them thoroughly, because US punters can finally bet on the sports they love which brings us to our list of requirements around an online betting site.
How To Find The Best Sportsbooks In The US
These requirements are the answers to the question “what makes a sports betting website great?“. We’ll provide the requirements in the next paragraphs, as well as a couple of answers at the end – a list which we believe are, at this moment in time, the best bookmakers for US betting enthusiasts. Our criteria are:
Legality. We’ve discussed legality in depth in the previous paragraphs, so there isn’t a lot to add. In short, although you’re using an offshore sportsbook, make sure that they’re certified by the appropriate gambling authorities for the country they are headquartered in. If all their licenses are in order, you can usually rest assured that they’re a competent bookmaker and won’t just run away with your money.
US sports leagues. Accepting customers from the United States is one thing – catering to their needs and wants is a completely different affair. Americans are crazy about sports – this is a well-known fact. They’re especially crazy about baseball, basketball, football and hockey, and less so about soccer and tennis, which are leading sports in other parts of the world.
A serious sportsbook which wants to attract US customers has to have large offers around the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS and NBA, as well as most college leagues in the US. American punters are rarely interested in other sports, for a wealth of reasons like lack of serious fan bases, lack of sports enthusiasts, time zone differences, and other things.
Welcome offers and bonus schemes. This is the biggest differentiator between betting websites. More often than not, customers will choose their favorite bookmaker depending on the amount of “free money” they can receive in the form of bonuses – both at signup and afterwards. Of course, this is not free money, since it is subject to rollover conditions and other rules, but this doesn’t stop sportsbooks from constantly trying to one-up each other, much to the delight of punters.
Number and quality of lines. Most sports on which Americans love to bet involve “lines”, the American expression for handicap betting. Simply put, sometimes it isn’t enough to just know who will win a game, it also matters to know by what margin. The more lines a certain bookmaker offers for a game, the more choices you have as a punter to fine-tune your betting idea. If a sportsbook only offers the most basic lines, you might want to look for different alternatives on the market.
Live betting has become more and more important in recent years, given the wealth of devices which you can use to watch a sports game. Just think about this: you’re on your smartphone, watching a sports stream, and are struck by inspiration and want to place a bet. Your bookmaker must be able to accommodate this request in a matter of seconds, not minutes, or else your window might shut. A quality live betting service offers little to no lag, lots of options, as well as the possibility to watch games directly in the broker’s platform.
Mobile betting usually goes hand in hand with live betting, but not always. More than half of the traffic on the entire internet comes from mobile devices in 2019, so not having a mobile-optimized website (or dedicated betting app) is not acceptable. It’s no longer a differentiator – things like ease of execution and operation are. A mobile-friendly website is a minimum requirement nowadays.
Customer support. Gone are the days when people considered acceptable to wait days for an answer from customer support via e-mail. Now, they all need quick, professional answers, preferably in real time, and without the need to use a phone. The brokers which offer live chat on desktop and mobile seem to have a lot of more positive reviews than their counterparts which do not offer this feature.
Money management. People use their debit and credit cards for online betting. This is the standard nowadays. But what about e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill or Neteller? What about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin? What about prepaid cards? How anonymous are the transactions? These are all questions a sportsbook must answer. Although many of them accept all kinds of means to deposit and withdraw money, be wary – some of these procedures might not qualify you for bonuses. Read the terms and conditions carefully before opening an account.
These terms are usually clearly posted on their website and they can easily be ascertained through their customer service department. When it comes to wagering on the games themselves, each of these books will offer betting odds for any number of sports, not just US leagues betting but also other sports competitions around the globe.
Betting Odds Forms Available In The USA
Primarily, there are three different forms of betting odds available. You will hardly miss this in USA betting sites.The first is the moneyline kind of wager. This is the one you bet on the team or individual you think will win the match without any point spreads or variables. You simply need to choose the team you think will win and bet on it. This is the common variation of betting mostly used.
Another common mode of betting is the point spread. When betting on the spread, you will be allowed to wager on the score difference between the teams playing. When there is a spread of 7 and you bet on the favorite, the team will have to win by 7 for a push or by 8 to make a win.
The over/under otherwise referred to as the total score kind of betting is another odd variant you ought to know about. This bet gives you the opportunity to bet on whether or not the total score between all competitors will be below or above the amount that has been predetermined.
Understanding American Odds
American odds are easy to understand and work with. The number that is represented on the odd indicates how much you need to bet to win $100. When the number is preceded with a ‘+’ sign, you will risk less than $100 to make a win of $100. When it is preceded by ‘–‘ sign, you will need to risk more than $100 to make a $100 win.
The majority of sports betting sites is in the form of wagers on sides and totals. Betting a side in a game usually involves a point spread where the favorite gives a set number of points to an underdog to even the playing field. Sportsbooks also set money lines on certain games where the odds are based on a set return for both the favorite and the underdog off a base of 100.
A wager on betting odds for a total involves the final score either staying “under” or going “over” a set number. There are also a wide variety of “exotic” bets in the form of parlays, teasers and pleasers, reverse bets, if-bets and round robins just to name a few. Most sportsbooks offer a thorough explanation of all these type of bets on their website.
Recommended US Online Sportsbooks
Those are the things we judge sportsbooks by, and strongly recommend you use them as well, if you want to conduct independent reviews. Ours are done over a longer period of time, not just a few days – we usually open an account with a betting operator and play at least a month or two before reaching conclusions. In this time, we run into problems, we win, we lose, we do it all to make sure we have the ultimate sports betting experience and aren’t easily fooled. There are a few websites which stand out from the crowd after this process, and we’re more than happy to share them with you:
Sportsbetting.ag is one of the up and coming competitors for the title of best sportsbook for US customers. They’ve only been around for a few years, but they’ve raked up quite a number of customers. They’re an all in one gambling site containing a sportsbook, a casino, a poker website and a skill gaming platform, although most of their traffic is done on the sportsbook. They also benefit from having a great name which appears at the top of Google searches, which brings lots of leads to their website. Their responsibility is to transform these leads into paying customers – a job which they do brilliantly so far.
Bovada is a titan of the US betting industry and one of the more recognizable names in the industry – and all for good reason. They’re an industry leader in the US since their rebranding as „Bovada” in 2011 and are mostly known for their very wide offer. They offer everything from classic sports to politics, special selections and whatnot, and we’re really surprised with how deep they can go. They accept many kinds of payment solutions, have many useful sections (such as NFL match previews), and provide great welcome bonuses for new customers. They’re one of the go-to choices for most of our readers, and we can’t think of many things we can blame them for. For a more in-depth review, visit our bookmakers review page.
Betonline, the final broker which we wish to mention, is also one which profits from google searches a whole lot. Lots of people reach the website, and a good number of them actually open accounts with the broker. They’re an overall good pick, excelling like money management, new technologies, and the way their website and solution works overall.
If you want to learn more about these bookmakers, as well as many more from the American sports betting industry, please visit our Bookmakers Review page. You will find long, in-depth articles on all the sportsbooks mentioned above, and a lot more. In those articles, we carefully analyze all the components of their offer and their business. We also give conclusions at the end of each article, if we recommend opening an account with them – or not.
At the end of the day, we hoped we were able to shed some light on how the current state of the American sports betting industry looks like, how betting sites should be analyzed, and who we believe are the leaders of this industry nowadays. These are general pieces of information which will be useful for anyone wanting to start (or continue) their sports betting journey in the US. We know how much Americans love sports – it would be a shame not being able to place wagers on them.