You want to place a bet on the Kentucky Derby or any sporting event. How do you go about finding betting agencies that are safe places to take your bet?
Sports betting is big business. In 2011, the Nevada Gaming Commission reported that $3.2 billion was placed on sports bets.
Then there’s the illegal betting. For example, about $60-70 billion is bet on college football and $2.5 billion on March Madness. Then you have fantasy football, baseball, and horse racing. That equates to a massive industry.
With this growth, comes a lot of fraud and scams that can cost you money. When you’re ready to put your money down on a winner, where can you go?
Keep reading to learn how you can find a legitimate sports betting agency.
Isn’t Online Betting Illegal in the U.S?
In Europe, you can’t walk a kilometer without coming across a sports betting place. They’re also able to take bets online. Brands like BWIN, Codere, Paddy Power, William Hill, and more.
There, online betting is mostly legal with individual countries such as the UK, England, and France overseeing online gambling.
In the US, it’s a little bit more complex. Right now, sports betting is legal in Nevada. New Jersey may jump into the fray, depending on how a Supreme Court case turns out.
Other states are gearing up laws in their state legislatures to allow online sports gambling pending the same Supreme Court case.
In the meantime, U.S. online betters are left to wager in places in Nevada, or offshore betting establishments, such as those based in Costa Rica or Curacao.
The first thing you should look at is the experience of the site. The more experience they have, the more likely they are to have a steady and happy customer base.
They’re also likely to have systems in place to take sports bets online and deliver a payout.
Read Online Reviews
Unless you live in Nevada, you won’t be visiting a retail betting location of an online sports betting site. You’re going to have to rely on your own research to determine if the site is legit or not.
Most of the information available will be online reviews. You’ll be able to quickly find out the worst things about the site, and you’ll know of some of the positive.
Licensed and Regulated
You’ll want to be sure that the site you use to place online sports bets is licensed and regulated. You’ll be able to find this information on a site’s about page or terms and conditions page.
For American gamblers, Nevada will provide the most regulation while betting offshore could come with additional risks.
In Costa Rica, it is legal for online betting companies to operate from there and the licenses are cheap. There’s not a gaming oversight board to oversee these online companies.
Because of the lax regulations, you could be signing up for a scam website.
Online Betting Sites are Regularly Audited
Sports betting agencies that are regulated usually have to go through regular auditing. This is to ensure that the websites are secure and betters have a great gaming experience.
Auditing companies will look at a site’s payout systems, how often the payout, and test all of their systems.
If you’re planning on using an offshore online sports betting site, you may have an issue with customer service. First of all, you may have trouble getting through to someone, and then you may get someone who doesn’t speak your language.
If you can’t find contact or customer service information for the site, keep moving along. That’s a great sign that’s not a legitimate site.
You’ll want to have some contact with customer service before you sign up. Check to make sure that they’re responsive and that they can answer your questions.
That will give you an indication as to how responsive they are. If they’re responsive and effective at the outset, then that’s a good sign that they’ll be there when you need them.
Sign Up Bonuses
Most online betting agencies offer bonuses when you sign up. They’ll usually be deposit matches. With a deposit match, you’ll need to deposit a certain amount of money to get started, and you’ll be matched anywhere from 10% – 100% of the deposit.
If a sign-up bonus seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Compare the Odds
As you’re shopping around for sports betting sites, you’ll want to compare the odds given to betters. The vast majority of sites will be very similar, especially for those who first sign up.
You’ll come across sites that offer incredibly favorable odds. These are the sites to stay away from.
Other Factors to Look for in the Best Betting Sites
Before you start planning that kitchen renovation with your winnings, there are a few more things you need to look at in betting sites.
You should find out if the odds change against your as you bet and win more frequently. As a beginner, you might find the odds in your favor and then get more difficult, making it harder to win.
There will be other bonuses offered by the sites. You may find that there will be restrictions and wager requirements in order to qualify. Make sure you read the fine print of the bonuses before you get too excited about them.
Once you find your site, check out the experts who regularly have information on lines and share their predictions.
There are great resources for betters. For example, the Ultimate Capper YouTube channel regularly posts lines and predictions for sports betting. You’ll come across the top picks for the Kentucky Derby, NBA playoffs, and MLB regular season games.
Find Legitimate Sports Betting Agencies
It’s not an impossible task to find legit sports betting agencies. Once you start reading reviews and looking at the length of time the site’s been in business, it will be easy to figure out the scams from the legit sites.
Then you can look a little deeper into the regulatory standards of the site to make sure that your payment information and your identity are safe and secure.
Taking all of these into account will ensure that you’re putting your money in an online sports betting site where you can win big.
If you want more great consumer tips, check out our consumer blog.