10.03.2021

Best Online Gambling Sites Reddit

What separates great online gambling sites from good ones in this category is the availability of a variety of banking options. Some have more than others, and that makes them a better bet to have one that works for you. Good online gambling sites have a decent selection of games or betting markets. Best Online Gambling Sites Compared 2021 - We've tested 100's of sites to help you find the top real money online casinos, gambling & betting options.

Online betting is an extremely convenient way to make money with your sports knowledge and hot tips. If you’re someone who knows how to pick winners, it’s time to start making some real money for those picks. Thankfully, you can start turning that profit without ever leaving the house. Below, we have a list of the best betting sites available in your area that offer the most trusted, reputable, safe, and complete online betting experience possible.

RankDE Gambling SiteSign Up BonusGet Started
#1Betway Sports100% up to €150
#222bet Sports100% up to €122
#3Spin Sports100% up to €200
#410Bet Sports100% up to €50
#5Guts Sports100% up to €50

These sports betting sites are just the tip of the iceberg. In the remainder of this guide, we’re going to cover a ton of different online sportsbook options as well as some crucial information to your success. Here’s a quick look at some of the information we’re going to cover. Feel free to click and jump ahead to the section that most interests you or scroll down and check things out in order.

Online Betting Sites by Country

Not every sports betting site in the world offers their services to every corner of the globe. In fact, some of the best online betting sites like to laser-focus their service to specific countries or regions. This allows them to offer bets on the most popular sports for that country, bonuses that fit that country’s tendencies, and ultimately, just a better all-around experience for a unique bettor base. If you’re looking for the top online betting sites that offer services to your country, check out the links we’ve provided for you below.


Best Betting Sites by Sport

Got a particular sport that you’re an expert at? Looking for specific sports to bet on? Did your sport’s season just end and is it time to find action and value elsewhere? Whatever the reason may be, many of you here are probably looking for the best sports betting sites offering action on a particular sport. While most of the reputable betting sites offer action on all major sports, many of them specialize in particular sports.

What does this specialization look like? It typically means that online betting sites are offering more bet types on that sport, more games, more leagues, and better promotions targeted at that sport. Basically, it’s going to seem like they’re playing favorites with a particular sport, and we are okay with that. If you are really looking for the best sports betting sites broken down by the sport they do best, check out the links we’ve provided for you below.


Top Sports Betting Sites by League

Each popular sport out there has it’s “top of the line” league, its main event. In every sport, there is one (sometimes two) leagues that stand out above the rest as the best places for bettors to make money. If you’re a highly-specialized sports bettor who has come here looking for the best action on a particular league, you’re in luck. The links below will take you to a sports betting site broken down by the league they offer the best action in.

Much like the sport-specific sites, these online betting sites will offer more bets, cover more games, and have more specialized bonuses for the games within these leagues. If you bet on sports and you’re ready to get into the real money betting action on a particular league, check out the links we’ve provided for you below.


Popular Sporting Events to Bet On

Whether it’s a major championship, the culmination of a tournament, or an iconic event, there are many special dates on the sports betting calendar to get excited about. The air just seems a little more refreshing when you wake up and it’s Super Bowl Sunday, or any day in March (March Madness), or even the morning of the Daytona 500. These are just a few examples of some of the busiest times for sportsbooks, both in person and online.

What does it mean when sportsbooks are busy? Well, besides lines at the brick and mortar spots, it means a ton of amateurs looking to place some bets will be pushing the lines in silly directions. This means incredible opportunities for you to make a killing. But you can only turn that serious profit if you’re wagering with a trusted sportsbook.

Different online betting sites seem to take major sporting events at different levels of seriousness. Some go nuts for certain major events while those same sites might ignore another major event. If you’re looking to bet on some of these events, you need to know which sites cater to them. The links below will tell you just that.


Best Online Sportsbooks By Type

Some of you out there might care more about the features of the sportsbooks you choose than the sports or events it specializes in. As long as they are a highly trusted betting site that covers major sports, you’re happy. That is, as long as they excel with the unique want or need that you have. Below, we have the site categories broken down by their area of expertise. These are the sites that absolutely blow away the competition when it comes to these elements of their product. The rest of their sportsbook is still great, but these are the areas they absolutely shine in.

What Makes These the Best Online Betting Sites?

We don’t just hand out our best online betting site recommendations loosely. Just because you offer sports betting action and have some cool graphics does not automatically make you a viable candidate. We have a very intensive and thoroughly mapped out process that we use to review every site. There are numerous areas of criteria that we check and recheck to ensure that we’re giving an honest view of what all our recommended sites have to offer.

What we would like to do now is give you a small glimpse into what that process looks like. Below, we have the top seven criteria that help some betting sites stand out above the rest.

Diverse Action Offered on Many Different Sports

Most bettors love to bet on sports of different levels and varieties. Whether you are a recreational bettor or a seasoned professional, you most likely have several different sports you like to bet on. Even if you’re glued to one sport, there are very few bettors we know that don’t throw at least a little action on major events like the Super Bowl or the World Series.

Because of this fact, it’s important that the best sports betting sites online cover a diverse range of sports and offer a diverse range of bet types. We want to be able to bet on all of the major sports out there as well as the less popular sports. We want to see coverage of a lot (if not all) of the games within those sports, not just the TV games.

Additionally, we want to be able to make a lot of different wagers on those games, matches, and races. Sure, picking winners can be a profitable way to approach betting, but there are so many other ways that you can turn predictions into cash. The best online betting sites that we’ve recommended are at the top of their game when it comes to diverse action.

Site Security, Trustworthiness, Industry Reputation, and Fast Payouts

If you think about it, online gambling sites are a lot like banks. They hold people’s personal information and large sums of their money. What does this mean? It means that they can potentially become targets of thieves and hackers much like banks always are. In order to combat this threat, they need to be on the attack when it comes to site security.

All of the sportsbooks that have made our lists are on the cutting edge of web security. They utilize technology, dedicated teams, and several other methods to keep you and your money safe and sound. New slot 2020.

But security is not the whole equation when it comes to how the site is run. We’re additionally looking for bookmakers that can be trusted and have a positive industry reputation. Ask yourself:

Online
  • Do they take care of their customers?
  • Are they fair?
  • Are their games fair?
  • What does the industry have to say about them?
  • Do they payout winnings? If so, how quickly?

All of these questions are where we begin our research when we are looking to determine the best online betting sites available. Thanks to a refined process, we’re confident that the sites you see on this page are the best in all three of these categories.

Competent and Accessible Customer Service Options

There will be times during your sports betting experience where you are going to need help. This might be something as simple as having a promotion explained to you or as complex as helping you move money across the world into your account. Whatever the issue is and no matter how big or small, you want to be able to get effective help quickly.

When we are working to determine the best sports betting sites, we take a deep look at the availability and efficiency of the site’s customer service. Can you get ahold of someone quickly? Do you have several different options to reach them? Is the person you first speak to able to help you with your problem? If not, does your more complex problem get escalated properly and fixed?

We would hope you never need customer service help, but that is just not realistic. The online sports betting sites we’ve recommended here have high-quality customer service teams that you can reach 24/7/365 from many effective mediums.

Juicy Bonuses and Expansive VIP Rewards Programs

This is definitely not the first thing we look at when picking out sports betting sites to recommend, but it is something that we certainly do not ignore. Sportsbooks compete for your business aggressively. The most common way that they do this is through bonuses, free stuff, and VIP rewards programs. A quality online sportsbook will have bonuses to help get you in the door and promotions to help keep you loyal. Basically, you should be getting free stuff and kickbacks at all times with whomever you decide to bet with.

The sites we’ve recommended on this page understand the importance of enticing new bettors and rewarding loyalty. When you choose one of these sportsbooks, you can be confident that you’re going to get a great bonus right out of the gate. Additionally, you can be confident that if you continue to bet with the sportsbook, you will be rewarded appropriately.

Because it is much easier to track your play online, you will get much more rewards and bonuses at the online betting sites than you would at a land-based sportsbook. Sure, they won’t have a waitress coming around bringing you free drinks, but you can take the free cash they throw your way and buy a lot of drinks for yourself if you want to.

Quality Mobile Betting Platforms

Our recommendations contain sportsbooks that offer incredible mobile betting platforms. Don’t forget that there are many ways to bet online. If you are looking for somewhere that you can bet at home, in the office, on the bus, or anywhere else on the go, these are the online betting sites you’ve been looking for. You can make all of your real money bets as long as you have a smartphone and a connection to the internet.

Continuous Innovation and Forward-Looking Management Team

The best betting sites we’ve recommended here are not resting on their laurels. They are run by management teams who strive to be on the cutting edge of the industry. They are constantly looking for the newest technology, the most innovated processes, and ways they can improve your online betting experience. This means new sports covered, creative, and always changing bonuses, growing VIP programs, and a user experience that is constantly getting more and more convenient.

How to Get Started Betting on Sports Online

Some of you here might be brand new to betting on sports online. If that’s you, welcome! Online sports betting is an incredibly convenient way to make your real money wagers without having to drive all the way to the sportsbook or casino. While this way of betting is extremely convenient, it may seem a little overwhelming at first. You may not know where to start, what certain terminology means, how to read the odds, or even what strategies to employ.

That’s okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. If you’re ready to get started right way, check out the resources we have for you below. These guides have all been created with bettors like you in mind. We’ll walk you through all the details you need to know about how to bet online. And we’ll make sure to do it in a way that isn’t confusing or overloaded with complex and unnecessary concepts.

Placing Your First Bet Online

The first place you should stop if you’re absolutely brand new to betting online is right here. We’ve put together a comprehensive betting guide to walk you through all the steps to get started. We’ll discuss picking out the best online betting sites for you, deciding what game or event to bet on, choosing the type of bet you want to make, and how to make all of that happen. By the time you get to the end of this guide, you will be fully equipped to make your first real money sports bet online.

Sports Betting FAQ and Terminology

“I’ll take the under on the circle game as long as the line doesn’t shift thanks to the late morning action from the sharps.” Yeah, if that sounded like Greek to you, that’s okay. Much like other professions, sports bettors have a tendency to talk in jargon. Once you learn the lingo, it makes things easier. But it can also seem like a foreign language to new bettors. In the first guide linked below, we’re going to walk you through all the important terminology that you need to know. If you want to be able to understand the experts (and sound like one yourself), this is the guide for you.

Got some specific questions about sports betting? Check out our frequently asked questions guide. As the name says, we cover the most frequently asked questions we hear from new sports bettors. This is a great spot to get some valuable information about the entire sports betting process from start to finish.

Understanding Sports Betting Odds

You paid attention in statistics and your other math classes in school, right? Yeah, we didn’t either. Unfortunately for us “math lovers,” sports betting revolves heavily around math, stats, and calculations. Sure, you can try and pick winners while ignoring the odds at the best sports betting sites, but you’re going to leave yourself at a pretty big disadvantage. If you’d like to get a good introduction into how to understand sports betting odds, check out the links provided below now.

Additional Online Sports Betting Resources

We’ve already covered a lot about betting on sports online, but there is still so much more to learn! One of the great things about online sports betting is that there is endless information you can use to increase your chances of winning. Below, we’ve collected all of our additional resources for beginners. These guides will help you get from where you are right now, into the sports betting action, then hopefully cashing out big winners sometime soon.

Sports Betting Strategy Guides, Articles, and Resources

The one thing we haven’t directly addressed yet in this guide is how to win. Sure, everything else we’ve covered will help you win. Choosing a reliable sports betting website helps increase your chances of winning, and so does knowing how the bets work and how to bet properly. But the one thing that will have a big impact on your profit level that we haven’t discussed yet is strategy.

In the guides linked below, we will dive into the foundation of sports betting strategies. If you want to do more than just be in the action, this is where you want to start spending your time. These beginner strategy guides will also feed into our more advanced strategy guides as well.

Online Sports Betting Legality and Laws

One of the most popular questions that we get from sports bettors all over the world is: “what online betting sites are legal in my area”? The follow-up question to that is also whether or not online sports betting is legal in their state, country, or region. In most areas of the world, online sports betting is completely legal. There are some areas where you do see some restrictions, but for the most part, these restrictions are not on the individual sports bettor, but the sportsbook themselves.

If you’d like a more in-depth look on the legality of sports betting in your area, check out the links we have provided for you below. We’ll take a deep dive into the law books and give you our opinion of what they mean and how they affect you. Most of you will have no issues whatsoever (including those of you playing from the US). But for those of you that need to see it clearer, the link below will help answer all of your questions to the best of our ability.

Tips for Picking out the Best Sports Betting Sites

  1. Test the Mobile Interface If You’re Planning to Bet On the Go
  2. Join Multiple Online Betting Sites to Shop Lines
  3. Stick to the Sportsbooks We’ve Vetted
  4. Test Out the Steps of Making a Bet
  5. Make Sure They Have Banking Options You Like
  6. Know That You’re Never Married to an Online Betting Site

Picking out a sports betting site is a big deal. Why? Well, making the wrong choice can set you up for failure and potentially put a big dent in your bottom line. On the flip side of that coin, making the right choice about your betting site can set you up for success and give you the best opportunities to make the most money.

The fact that you are here looking for advice on the best sports betting sites is already a huge step in the right direction. But maybe you’ve gotten this far in the guide, and you haven’t made a decision yet. What we’d like to do is give you a few quick tips to try and help you make that final decision.

Tip #1 – Test the Mobile Interface If You’re Planning to Bet On the Go

If you’re only going to bet from your desktop at home, this will not be important. But if you’re like most sports bettors, then you will want the ability to bet from anywhere. You never know when the lines are going to change in your favor or when you’re going to get a hot tip minutes before the start of a game. Make sure that you take a few minutes to check out the mobile platform of the site you are going to use. Most sports betting sites in this day and age have incredible mobile and desktop platforms that are seamlessly integrated (meaning you can jump back and forth between the two when it’s convenient).

Tip #2 – Join Multiple Online Betting Sites to Shop Lines

Having trouble deciding between two betting sites? You can join both of them. If you’ve read the strategy sections linked from this guide, you know that shopping your betting lines is a must-do practice if you are serious about making money from sports betting. Thankfully, online sports betting makes this practice much easier logistically. So, if you are stuck between a few options, you’re actually probably in a much better spot than you think. Just join both! It does not cost anything extra to join multiple sites.

Tip #3 – Stick to the Sportsbooks We’ve Vetted

We’re not the kind of people to ever tell you what to do. You’re all adults, and you are certainly smart enough to make your own decisions. That being said, we would like to advise you of something based on our experience in the online sports betting industry: Stick to the sportsbooks that we’ve vetted. We do not call these the best sports betting sites for the heck of it. We do that because these sites are safe, secure, and will offer you the type of experience you are looking for.

If you choose to go outside of the recommendations we’ve laid out here, you open yourself up to some danger. It’s very hard for the untrained eye to spot betting sites that are not looking out for your interests. By sticking with our recommendations that have already been fully vetted, you guarantee that you’ll have a safe and secure sports betting experience.

Tip #4 – Test Out the Steps of Making a Bet

Something that you may not know about online sportsbooks is that you will have full access to the entire site even prior to making a free account. This means that you can get the ultimate feel for what betting there would be like if you were an actual member. At most sites, you can search through the different bets, check out the odds, and you can even build betting tickets. The only thing that you’re not going to be able to do without an account is actually submit the bet. But you will be able to do everything up until then.

Take advantage of this. Make sure you are comfortable with the betting process. Make sure you fully understand how things work and ensure it all works for you. If everything is to your liking, then you can go ahead and make your account and get to making some real money bets!

Tip #5 – Make Sure They Have Banking Options You Like

One of the big perks of choosing to wager with an online betting site is that you’re going to have access to a lot of great banking options. This will make the deposit and withdrawal process much smoother. That being said, not every site is going to have the same banking options.

Make sure you take a minute and see what options they have for deposits and what options they have for withdrawals. You don’t need multiple banking options for both options, but you need at least one good one that you are a fan of.

Tip #6 – Know That You’re Never Married to an Online Betting Site

When choosing a site to join, you are not obligated to stay there. No matter if you have made 1,000 bets or 0 bets, you can leave whenever you want. All you have to do is withdraw your money and you are gone. What does this have to do with picking out the best betting sites for you? Well, don’t overthink the process. If you find something you like, give it a try for a few weeks. If it’s a good fit, awesome! If it turns out not to be the best fit, no big deal. You can always pick up and go somewhere else. It’s not like buying a car or a house where you are stuck with your purchase. You have a lot of freedom that you can exercise at any point in time.

Recent Sports and Sports Betting Blogs

Want to stay up to speed with all the latest happenings in sports and the sports betting industry? This is a key to success with your bets. Picking out a trustworthy online sports betting site can only take you so far. You will need to stay up to date with the latest news so that you can use those sites to make your masterful picks. Check out the latest sports blogs below!

Best Online Sports Gambling Sites

Skip the Headaches and Play at a Legitimate Site

You’re looking for a legitimate U.S. gambling site, but can’t decide which site to trust with your hard-earned money?

Good news! We’ve been in the online gambling industry for over a decade (several decades, really, if you add all of our experience together), and we’ve spent countless hours to bring you a list of the most legitimate sites.

Here’s what all of these sites have in common:

  • 10+ years in the business with strong reputations.
  • Attractive promotions for first-time customers.
  • Quick money withdrawals (relative to the U.S. market).
RankSitePlayBonus
100% up to €250
  • Great user experience
  • Lots of casino games
  • Strong welcome bonus
200% up to €500
  • Eight Figures of Jackpots
  • Fast and Safe Payouts
  • Generous Bonuses Available
100% up to €400
  • Top of the line games
  • Good weekly promotions and bonuses
  • 100% deposit bonus
100% up to €300
  • Casino games and sports betting
  • Excellent bonuses and promotions
  • 100% deposit bonus offer
100% up to €400
  • Lots of options to choose from
  • Strong bonuses and promotions
  • 100% welcome bonus

Why Bovada Is #1 in the U.S.

#1: Fastest Check Cashouts

Bovada gets 10 times as much traffic as its second best US competitor and still delivers check payouts faster than any of them. Bovada processes check withdrawals in 7 days; many of its competitors take weeks, some more than a month to do the same. (There are other fast options, like the #3-ranked BetOnline, which delivers checks in 14 days.)

#2: Service

An equally important aspect of Bovada’s operations is its customer service. If there ever was an indication of how much a company respects its customers, it’s the level of customer service the company provides. I haven’t found any US-friendly site doing this aspect of the business better (although 5Dimes is a worthy runner-up).

#3: All-In-One

Finally, all parts of Bovada’s business (sportsbook, casino, poker, racebook) are popular. Bovada is best-known for sports betting and casino games, however, even its online poker room has around four times as many players online as the second biggest US poker site. You can access all of their games with one player account.

… But You Should Know This

Bovada is recreational-friendly, perhaps more-so than any other US site. You’ll find few golden opportunities in their sportsbook (read more about their use of dual lines), they have a relatively high overall house edge (especially after recently increasing house edge in video poker games) and their online poker room only has “anonymous” tables.

Best Online Gambling Sites Reddit Streams

Although not everyone agrees with me, the recreational-friendly part is an advantage for skilled poker players. Since Bovada appeals to recreational gamblers, you’ll be like a shark among regular fish.

Bovada charges a 4.9% fee for credit card deposits (a lot considering how most sites charge nothing). The impact of the deposit fee is slightly compensated by their welcome bonuses, which are better than average.

All online gamblers look for entertaining games, attractive promotions and aesthetically pleasing software. To have a safe experience, however, you want a site to:

  1. Serve its customers with safety and respect,
  2. Operate with a reasonable house edge, and
  3. Handle money transactions promptly.

Yes, the third point is included in the first point but it’s also such an essential part of the customer experience that it must be mentioned separately. Many online gambling websites operate without an adequate level of service so these points are worth considering. It’s rare to find a combination of all three points.

Bovada fulfills all of the above criteria better than other sites but 5Dimes does well, too. In fact, I’m confident in ranking those two as the best USA gambling websites specifically because they deliver so well in the areas related to safety and trustworthiness. A site without proper customer service and safety measures is not one you should deposit money to, regardless of its promotions and whatnot.

What Are Some Alternative Options?

For Sports Bettors

5Dimes.eu is the best betting site in the US for the following reasons: they’re professional-friendly and offer reduced juice betting lines (in other words, less house edge). Before betting on any game, I recommend taking a look at the odds 5Dimes is offering. They’ve been a reliable sportsbook for over 10+ years — you’ll find few complaints about 5Dimes online, and the ones you find have been resolved quickly.

For poker and casino games, I would go with Bovada. But for sports bettors, it makes the most sense to have an account at 5Dimes.

Another Solid Option

BetOnline.ag is my third suggestion. It’s not significantly better than the others in any area but they’re simply a solid option. Prompt cashout processing, decent poker traffic, good sports betting options and entertaining casino games. Additionally, I’ve had good experiences with their customer service.

For sports bettors, BetOnline is worth signing-up at simply to be able to compare betting lines among a few sites. For poker players, BetOnline may offer some good games every now and then (keep in mind: you can bet on sports and play casino and poker games with the same account, so plenty of gamblers will stumble on the poker games eventually). For casino gamblers, BetOnline has a basic but reliable offering.

BetOnline charges a 6% fee for credit card deposits.

Is It Legal to Play?

The definition of ”gambling” and the laws surrounding vary depending on which state you live in.

In Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, some forms of online gambling have been legalized and regulated (only state-licensed sites are allowed to operate legally). In other states, it’s likely (although not widely agreed upon) that playing – and certainly operating – online gambling games for real money is illegal.

On a federal level, sports betting is the only form of prohibited gambling via the Wire Act of 1961. For several years, the Department of Justice (DOJ) maintained that the Wire Act applies to all forms of online gambling, but in December 2011, they corrected that stance by stating that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting – a result of a 13-page memorandum from the Office of Legal Counsel to the Criminal Division of the DOJ (source).

State laws, however, often indirectly prohibit gambling. Or to put it another way: it would be difficult to claim any forms of online gambling legal with absolute certainty in most states (lotteries and such aside). Most state laws indirectly prohibit gambling simply by making all forms of gambling unlawful that have not been made lawful.

Purely based on history, it’s unlikely you’ll get into legal trouble; then again, if something is illegal, you can get into trouble, and someone probably will. Gambling online may be illegal where you live. Contact a local gaming lawyer to get a better idea of your local laws.

Legal Troubles

Industry-changing events have taken place in the online gambling world – mainly concerning online poker – such as the UIGEA and Party Poker’s exit from the US market, or PokerStars’ exit from the US market in 2011.

Those crimes were committed by online poker operators, though, not players. Still, the mere fact that online poker companies were targeted was enough to cast a shadow over the legality of US online poker, and furthermore, players grew more and more worried about one of these sites getting shut down along with the money on their player accounts.

In fact, there is a legitimate reason to worry about dishonest US gambling sites taking your money. Some sites have indeed taken off with the money – a recent example is Lock Poker, which currently may owe its customers over $15 million. I created LegitGamblingSites.com mainly to give more exposure to the sites with strong track records of honest business practices.

The lawmakers, in that regard, have a point about not allowing unlicensed sites to provide online gambling games to US citizens. While that may not be the reason, it’s likely one of them. (If I had to guess, I’d say they’re more concerned about losing out on tax dollars and protecting the interests of brick & mortar casino owners such as Sheldon Adelson, although through the RAWA – Restore America’s Wire Act legislation – he tries to do that by himself.)

How to Move Money Around

Ever since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) became a law, US citizens have had a more difficult time finding a suitable deposit method.

There are only a few left, actually.

The most common deposit method for US citizens is still credit card deposits, out of which VISA is the most widely accepted brand, followed by Mastercard, with American Express being a distant third. Cards must be eligible for both international and online transfers.

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The alternative method is to use a money transfer service such as Western Union. Western Union is mostly a deposit-only method. (Bovada is an exception since they only allow you to withdraw money via a check.)

Why to use a money transfer service instead of a credit card?

  • A card deposit fails to go through. This happens every now and then, and the only way to know if your card will be accepted is to try. According to various forum reports, Vanilla VISA is declined at most sites while Netspend VISA has been successful.

    Surprisingly, players have had problems with card deposits even at state-licensed sites due to banks like Bank of America outright declining all gambling transactions. Things will likely get better with the new MCC codes for VISA, Mastercard, American Express and Distant which will help casinos to identify gambling transactions more accurately. It’s unclear how much of a help this will be since banks still have the right to decline transfers marked with the new MCC codes, and due to not wanting to violate the UIGEA (according to which they’re prohibited from knowingly processing unlawful gambling transactions), banks may decide it isn’t worth it and keep cancelling transactions even if they were for state-licensed sites.

    This is expected to change once bigger states – perhaps even the biggest of them all, California – join internet gambling, since declining the transactions will then affect such a large percentage of any bank’s customer base.

  • You want a faster cashout. While money transfer services cost more (many sites, like Bovada, allow one free check cashout a month), the money is usually delivered to be picked up at a local Western Union location in five days or less.
  • You don’t want a check cashout. You need to go to a cashier to cash a check. Most people would rather avoid doing this, especially since banks aren’t allowed to knowingly process online gambling related transactions (unless in Delaware, Nevada or New Jersey, but people have had problems in those states as well).

In general, you’ll have higher transaction costs with money transfer services than with a combination of credit cards and checks. BetOnline and Bovada are the only major USA sites charging for credit card deposits and most allow one free check cashout per month – some, like True Poker, allow a free check withdrawal every seven days.

How to use a credit card/check combination?

  1. Enter your credit card details online after which you have the money on your player account instantly.
  2. When done playing, order a check cashout, which will take from a week to over a month depending on which site you’re dealing with.
  3. Go to your local bank to cash the check.

How to use a money transfer service (like Western Union)?

  1. Go to their website or a live Western Union location and send money to the gambling site. (You’ll need to contact the gambling site first to get their transfer details.)
  2. When done playing, initiate the withdrawal from your player account.
  3. Go to a live location to collect the money.

State-Licensed Sites

As mentioned, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have legalized and regulated some forms of real-money online gambling. Delaware started with online poker but has since expanded into casino games as well; Nevada offers online poker games only; New Jersey offers online poker and casino games.

As you can see, not a single one of these states offer online sports betting. In New Jersey – clearly the biggest market of the three – there’s a clause according to which sports betting may be considered to be added in the future.

Requirements

You must be physically located within a state’s boundaries to play at the licensed sites. If you’re currently located in California but live in Nevada, you’re unable to play until you return to Nevada; if you’re currently located in Nevada but live in California, you can play as long as you stay within Nevada’s state boundaries.

Licensed sites have to make sure nobody outside of the state can participate in the games. Geolocation – identifying exactly where a person is located – has been difficult, and there are still people who are unable to play even though they’re located within those states. This is one of the reasons licensed online gambling sites have done financially worse than expected.

Only existing brick & mortar casino owners within those states can apply for licenses, although they can apply together with an existing online gambling site in a software-licensing agreement, like Caesar’s Interactive and 888.com have done. If a poker site kept operating in the US after the UIGEA of 2006, it will be subjected to a ”bad actor” clause in Nevada and be prohibited from operating in the state for now.

Online

Performance

Each state has had a rocky start, although New Jersey is doing OK. In March 2014, they did $11.87 million in revenue, which grew into $13.16 million in March 2015. A growth rate of 14.57% year-over-year is better than nothing, but still a far cry from the $1 billion within the first 7 months of operating Governor Christie expected (New Jersey gambling sites were launched in November 2013). In other words, his expectations were a little over $140 million a month on average, or about ten times the current revenue.

According to PokerScout.com, Nevada’s online poker revenue is going downhill. Year-over-year decrease in revenue of around 44% (from February 2014 to February 2015) is, no matter how you look at it, a disappointing result. Problems with card deposits and geolocation – both of which exist in other states as well – and player liquidity have undoubtedly contributed to the significant decrease. Players have to deal with fewer problems when playing at offshore sites, and as long as that continues, it will be difficult for state-licensed sites to gain major traction.

In Delaware, the state keeps all yearly revenue up to $3.75 million. Since total revenue for 2014 was around $2.1 million, gambling operators have made nothing. The main reason for such a low amount of revenue is Delaware’s population of 0.94 million (in comparison, New Jersey has a population of 8.9 million). Liquidity is important for online poker since you need lots of players to run games at various stakes, in several forms and throughout the day. Delaware is trying to improve its poker liquidity by combining player pools with Nevada but so far there hasn’t been a significant improvement to its online gaming revenue.

If all of the three states were to combine their player pools, it would create a poker economy of around 12 million people, which could add significant liquidity to the games and thus bring in more revenue to each of the states.

Offshore Sites

Gambling sites accepting US customers from outside of the three states are all ”offshore” sites, meaning they operate from outside of the US and have no license to operate within the US. They have obtained a license in some other jurisdictions – such as Antiqua & Barbuda or Panama – but many of those jurisdictions have less-than-stellar reputations.

The disadvantage of gambling at offshore sites is the lack of safety. For an outsider, it’s impossible to know how strict testing measures these sites go through to prove their legitimacy, and hypothetically, if one of them were to disappear from the internet tomorrow along with your money, what could you do about it?

Lock Poker, as already mentioned, is an ongoing example. They’ve now lost their license in Curacao (weirdly, they were able to keep the license easily over a year after refusing to process customer cashouts) and there’s nothing anyone can do to make sure Lock Poker’s customers have their money returned. All we can do is spread the word to the people who are considering signing-up and depositing money to their site.

The best thing you can do is consider the reputation of the site rather than the jurisdiction since all jurisdictions have had dishonest sites. The longer a site has been fully operational, and the fewer complaints it has generated, the better. Essentially, Bovada has been in the online gambling business since 2000 when Bodog.com was founded (the US-friendly operations of Bodog were re-branded as Bovada in 2011), and as mentioned, they’ve achieved an excellent reputation with a high level of customer service.

But there are advantages to playing at an offshore site, too, and you can legitimately argue that the advantages override the disadvantages. Offshore sites place fewer restrictions on customers, need less personal information and have to compete with lots of other sites (within US states, competition is limited) which forces them to be at their best in order to succeed. There are no geolocation issues either.

Safety and legality aside – although obviously, both are big considerations – offshore sites are the better option in almost every area. Since only three states have legalized some forms of real-money online gambling in the US, they’re the only places for internet gambling for around 96.4% of US population.

What’s Next?

US online gambling is in a transitional phase: after a long wait of legalization, three states have done it, mostly with lackluster success. Suggesting geolocation and deposit issues are resolved, revenue streams may grow. With online poker, though, most likely at least one of the bigger states has to legalize it and combine player pools with the others to create a meaningful poker economy.

A federal legalization would create much-needed competition and player pools, which in turn creates a bigger incentive for operators to participate and, in many ways, a better environment for gamblers. If internet gambling was to be legalized nationwide, every operator and their grandmother would want a license. As of now, it’s more beneficial for most operators to stay outside of the US.