Online sportsbooks offer you a convenient way to wager on sports through your computer or mobile device. However, you should always ensure that you’re dealing with a reputable betting site before taking advantage of this convenience.
You can trust most internet sportsbooks when it comes to withdrawal processing, fair policies, and data protection. Unfortunately, there is a small percentage of sites that aren’t trustworthy in one or more areas.
The purpose of our website is to help you avoid corrupt bookmakers while finding quality online sportsbooks. We thoroughly research every wagering site that we endorse. Below is an overview of our top recommendations for internet bookmakers.
Top 3 Most Trusted Online Sportsbooks & Betting Sites 2018
Finding a trustworthy online sportsbook or sports betting site can be difficult. In many parts of the world, online sports betting is still considered illegal. In other countries like the U.S., even though sports betting is now legal nationwide, states have been slow to license and regulate online betting, which means using an offshore sportsbook if you want to bet online from the United States.
Below you’ll find our recommendations for safe, secure, and reputable online sportsbooks that accept players from your country. We also go on to explain our methodology for vetting online sports betting sites for trust and reliability.
How do you find a trustworthy online sportsbook?
The hardest part of finding quality betting sites is knowing what factors to consider. Some points are obvious, including sportsbooks that pay withdrawals on time and keep your data safe. However, other aspects are less evident, especially when you don’t have an abundance of time to research gambling sites.
We’ve put plenty of time into the matter and found that acclaimed internet sportsbooks offer the following qualities.
Fast withdrawal processing
Timely payouts are a hallmark of any good online sportsbook. You shouldn’t have to wait days or even weeks for a withdrawal to be processed.
Solvent and credible sites don’t have trouble processing cashouts within a sensible timeframe. Struggling or greedy internet sportsbooks are a different story – they delay payments for two reasons.
One reason involves cash-strapped betting sites trying to control the flow of money. Slowing down withdrawal speeds allows these bookmakers to hold on to customer funds longer.
The other reason involves sportsbooks deliberately trying to make gamblers impatient. An impatient bettor is more likely to cancel their withdrawal request and continue wagering the funds. This scenario allows the bookmaker to earn additional juice (a.k.a. vig) from customers.
In any case, be wary of betting sites that don’t make timely payouts.
Fair anti-sharp policies
Many online sportsbooks — especially smaller ones — have policies in place to ward off professional bettors (a.k.a. sharps). These sites want to avoid sharps who wager large amounts of money on one side of a line, causing the line to become unbalanced and expose a bookmaker to more risk.
Reducing deposit and withdrawal limits is a common way to discourage pros. Betting sites may also include terms and conditions that state how they confiscate winnings from sharps.
Sportsbooks with an anti-sharp policy should always be certain that they’re taking winnings from professionals. Using the sharp excuse to avoid paying big wins to recreational bettors is crooked.
Internet sportsbooks obtain licensing to operate within a given jurisdiction. For example, a Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) license allows bookmakers to offer services to any country or territory covered by the GBGA.
Licensing authorities differ in quality – some do a better job of vetting applicants and enforcing high standards than others. The GBGA, UK Gambling Commission, and Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) are some of the most-respected jurisdictions. Antigua & Barbuda, Costa Rica, and Panama are considered lower-tier.
Trustworthy parent company
Knowing the parent company behind a betting site is also vital when verifying trustworthiness. A parent company should have a respectable history that’s free of scandals and other negative incidents.
For example, GVC Holdings is a massive brand with a good reputation that operates several sportsbooks including Betboo, bwin, Ladbrokes, and Sportingbet.
You don’t need to choose a site with a huge brand like GVC Holdings behind them. However, the sportsbook’s owner should at least have some visibility.
Scroll down to the bottom of a betting website to find an “About Us” link and look for the parent company’s name. If you still can’t find an “About Us” link, look on the terms and conditions page.
One more option includes looking for the company’s name with various Google searches. If your searches turn up nothing, you’re likely dealing with a sketchy operation.
Visible company hierarchy
Once you find the parent company that runs a betting site, you want to make sure that the owners and management are visible too. Owners and top executives should be proud of their product and unafraid to reveal their identities.
If you were to research William Hill’s company hierarchy, for example, you’d find that Capital Group is the largest shareholder (9.97%), Philip Bowcock is the CEO, and Gareth Davis is the Chairman.
Disreputable companies, on the other hand, are veiled with their ownership group and management. If you research a sports betting company and can’t identify a single name behind the operation, then a red flag should be raised.
Responsive and helpful customer support
Every high-caliber gaming site should offer excellent customer service – bookmakers are no exception. Look for a site with support that’s skilled at responding quickly to players and offers expert answers.
You can get a feel for the quality of a sportsbook’s customer service by browsing websites that allow gamblers to leave comments. Sites with low ratings and numerous complaints regarding their support department should be avoided.
Secure website that protects your data
Registering for an online sportsbook account requires entering personal details like your name, home address, email, and more. Placing a deposit involves submitting sensitive banking information.
You don’t want third parties obtaining any of this data because they could use your banking option or steal your identity. To avoid this, look for internet sportsbooks with secure websites.
Secure websites feature “https://” at the beginning of their URL address. The “s” stands for “secure” and lets you know that any data you exchange with a casino’s browser is encrypted.
Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox users can also look for a padlock symbol to the left of the URL address. A padlock is another sign that the sportsbook site you’re dealing with is secure.
Major online sportsbook scandals
Online sportsbooks are like any other business in that they rely on a good reputation to thrive. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about being victimized by most sites.
However, some bookmakers have scammed their customers through various methods. Below you can see some of the worst scams in online sports betting history.
- BetOnSports owner is arrested, and customer funds are lost – BetOnSports was one of the early successes in the internet bookmaking industry. At their height, they handled $1.8 billion worth of annual wagers. However, owner Gary Kaplan was arrested for racketeering in 2006, after which the entire operation fell apart. BetOnSports closed down that same year without paying $16 million in customer funds.
- BetIslands shuts down in less than two years – BetIslands launched in March 2011, and it did not last long. They closed in December 2012, owing their customers $1.5 million. This sportsbook was reportedly owned by John Kreta, who also had ties to the now-defunct EzStreetSports and 7RedSports.
- Oddsmaker confiscates $250k in winnings – Oddsmaker enforces a policy against sharp betting and reserves the right to confiscate winnings. They may have overstepped their boundaries in 2012, though, after refusing to deliver $250,000 to some gamblers. Oddsmaker claimed that the customers were sharps, but industry watchdogs remain unconvinced.
- WSEX closes without paying customers $1 million – The World Sports Exchange (WSEX) had a long run that began in 1995. However, the operation experienced financial problems in 2013 and shut down on April 19, 2013 – the same day that co-founder Steve Schillinger was found dead of an apparent suicide. WSEX failed to pay its customers a combined $1 million after closing down.