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Our In-Depth Guide to Sports Betting
In the United States, online sports betting is an excellent way to enjoy your favorite sports in an entirely new way. Transform yourself from a spectator to someone who has some skin in the game by wagering real money on real matches. In-person sports betting has been a fixture in cities such as Atlantic City and Las Vegas for years. Now, however, several states are adopting online access to this popular form of gambling. Thus, several online sportsbooks are increasingly available to US gamblers. With new sportsbooks, however, there is always the question of security and the best opportunities. Where can you safely engage in sports betting online? Which sportsbooks offer the most generous bonuses? This guide will address those questions and more.
Answers to Common Questions about Sports Betting
Is it legal to bet on sports in the United States?
Yes, with some additional explanation. There is no federal ban on sports betting in the United States, but states must individually permit the activity. Therefore, legal online sports betting only exists in several states. The two biggest states for online sports betting are New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Both of these states are historic frontrunners for physical casinos, so it’s no surprise that they should also take the lead in online sports betting.
Do I have to be a resident of New Jersey to bet on sports?
Yes, if the casino or sportsbook you are using is licensed for gambling in New Jersey. Presently, the casino or sportsbook must register its site with the Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) to acquire a license. Because this organization oversees all New Jersey sports betting, it is the final arbiter regarding legal online gambling behavior. Casinos and sportsbooks licensed for play in other states face similar circumstances, so generally, these sites will only be available in one state at a time.
How easy is it to find a sportsbook that offers a signup bonus?
It is surprisingly easy to find such casinos, as signup bonuses are one of the most common ways that sportsbooks and casinos entice new players to join. With that said, not all welcome or signup bonuses are equal. For example, 888 Casino offers its new players a 100% matching bonus up to $200. In contrast, Betfair offers new players $30 just for signing up, then a 100% deposit match up to $2,500. Visit our detailed casino reviews to learn where you can find the most generous bonuses.
Can I bet win real money by betting on sports online?
Yes! If you wager money on games and your pick wins the game, you receive real cash winnings. These winnings are dependent on the size of your wager and the match odds, so if you bet on an underdog and they pull a major upset, you can win a lot of money.
Can I withdraw my winnings into my bank account as usable cash?
Yes, though each sportsbook regulates this differently. In general, you may not be able to withdraw the funds using a different method than the one with which you deposited your initial funds. Additionally, sportsbooks also regulate bonus cash and winnings from bonus cash differently. The sportsbook may mandate that you wager a certain proportion or multiple of the winnings before it permits you to withdraw the funds.
Should I trust sports betting online?
In general, yes, but you should always remain alert regarding the trustworthiness of each sportsbook. If you found it from one of our reviews, then we’ve already done the hard work for you, and you can confidently sign up and start betting today. If not, however, you will want to ensure that the sportsbook is appropriately registered and licensed by a legitimate licensing body. Further, you should always be aware of the software and informational security of the sportsbook.
How are the betting odds determined?
The biggest factors when determining betting odds are the respective records of each competitor and recent events such as injuries and player absences. If a team consistently outplays their competitor, your winnings may be a small fraction of your wager if you bet on them and they win. However, if you bet on the underdog, then you may win many times your wager, sometimes quadrupling your bet, or more.
Can I use international sportsbooks if I’m a resident of New Jersey?
No, not presently. While international sportsbooks may establish a New Jersey version of their sportsbook, you can only use the domestic, New Jersey-compliant version. It is unlikely that the NJDGE will change this policy soon, so you should always keep an eye out for the New Jersey license to confirm that you can legally bet at that sportsbook. Fortunately, online sportsbooks also employ geolocation to prevent illegal gambling, so you do have an added layer of security in case you go to the wrong site by accident.
All the Details You Need to Know for Sports Betting
Sports betting can be a highly enjoyable way to take your favorite games to a new level. You can participate uniquely as you put money into the contest. When you browse through sports betting sites, you can see some ways in which online sportsbooks make gambling an enticing consideration. Nevertheless, you must observe the law regarding sports betting online so that you avoid legal troubles and other difficulties.
We encourage you to manage your money and information carefully. With the proper precautions, you can safely enjoy all the fun of sports betting without any of the hazards of identity theft or accidentally gambling illegally. Keep reading below to learn the necessary information in detail regarding sports betting in the United States.
Legal Situation for Sports Betting in the United States
As it stands, the legal situation in the United States is in flux. Since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018, the doors have been opened to online sports betting. Nevertheless, states are slow to move on this front, and most states still prohibit online gambling of any kind. New Jersey remains ahead of the curve regarding online betting, including horse betting and NFL betting. While other states such as Pennsylvania allow for in-person gambling and recently legalized online gambling, casinos and sportsbooks have not yet had time to take advantage of this change.
We expect that within the next few years, more states will allow online gambling. We have seen states like, Rhode Island lifting the in-person registration and Illinois as well as West Virginia legalize mobile gambling 2020. West Virginia's dispute was providing a considerable speed bump in the spread of online sports betting across the state. In 2022, we expect further developments and some of the highlights are Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Ohio expecting to launch in ’22. It’s also worth noting that even those states that permit online gambling require that the user be present within the state. Unless Congress passes a law legalizing online gambling across the United States, this restriction is likely to remain.
At the time of writing these are the current list of states in the United States offering legal online sports betting including full mobile betting with multiple sportsbooks options (we have marked states with in-person sign up requirements as it's a limitation):
|State||Online Sports Betting||Launch Date|
|Arizona||Yes||September 9, 2021|
|Colorado||Yes||May 1, 2020|
|Connecticut||Yes||October 19, 2021|
|Illinois*||Yes||March 9, 2020|
|Indiana||Yes||August 30, 2019|
|Iowa||Yes||August 15, 2019|
|Kansas||Yes||September 1, 2022|
|Louisiana||Yes||January 28, 2022|
|Michigan||Yes||January 22, 2021|
|New Jersey||Yes||May 15, 2018|
|New York||Yes||January 8, 2022|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||May 28, 2019|
|Tennessee||Yes||November 1, 2020|
|Virginia||Yes||January 21, 2021|
|West Virginia||Yes||August 30, 2018|
|Wyoming||Yes||September 1, 2021|
*in-person sign up required
How to Take Part in Sports Betting
If you live in one of the states that permits online sports betting, then you should continue reading to learn how sports betting works. In short, sports betting is operated by a casino or sportsbook providing an online platform for gamblers to use. These platforms may be accessible by computer or smartphone app. To use any platform, you must first sign up for the site and provide some identifying information. Once you’ve done this, you can collect a signup bonus (if the sportsbook offers it) or make your initial deposit. From that point, you can freely bet on sports using the sportsbook software.
How to Bet on Sports Safely
The most important aspect of safe betting on sports online is being aware of internet security. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people out there who would like to steal your information. The only way to prevent that from happening is to rely only on trustworthy online casinos and sportsbooks. While it can be difficult to tell some of them apart at a glance, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to know where you’re depositing your funds and with whom you’re betting.
If you’re looking for an easy way to review trustworthy sportsbooks so that you can safely gamble, then you’re in luck. We’ve reviewed numerous online casinos and sportsbooks, so you need only browse through our expert reviews to find one that suits your needs. Whether you’re looking to get started with NCAAF betting on college football games or have a more niche interest, we can help you find the right sportsbook for you.
Betting on Sports Safely and Responsibly
It’s essential to consider your sports betting in the context of responsible gambling. Admittedly, this concept is loaded with connotations of gambling addictions, but you can also consider it in terms of safe cash handling procedures as well. After all, gambling becomes a problem when it causes a negative impact on your life. Taking unnecessary risks regarding online gambling sites indeed constitutes a negative impact, so we encourage you to gamble responsibly in every sense of the word.
Each online sportsbook will offer a digital wallet that you can deposit funds into and from which you’ll withdraw your winnings. Different sportsbooks may have different layouts and accept various payment methods, but you should ideally look for sportsbooks that have seals of approval from online security auditing companies such as eCOGRA. Alternatively, sites that use reputable payment processors, including PayPal, are also safe options for your online sports betting.
As you gamble, you’ll find that many sportsbooks allow for self-exclusion and other regulatory options. If you suspect that you may gamble too much or easily lose track of how much you have spent, you should consider using one of these options. We encourage everyone to use all of the available tools to keep sports betting safe and fun.
Where You Can Engage in Sports Betting Online
There are numerous sites on which you can engage in sports betting. These sites run the gamut of production value, and each takes a slightly different approach to how it implements sports betting. You can browse our reviews to see our experts’ opinions on the best sports betting sites currently available. As you read through several of our reviews, you’ll begin to see the common threads regarding what makes a good, trustworthy casino or sportsbook. After all, online sports betting is more than just finding the first place to engage in MLB betting or NHL betting.
If you’re looking for safe options for a sportsbook, our top four sportsbook options are 888 Casino, BetAmerica, Betfair, and Unibet. Each of these companies is firmly established and offers you the security of knowing that you can contact their customer service for effective resolutions to any issues you encounter. Consider each of these sportsbooks to have the JustGambler’s seal of approval.
Exploring the History of Sports Betting
The United States has a long history of gambling. Even before the founding of our nation, the government used gambling as a source of income. The colonial governments started lotteries to fund their militias, and the Continental Congress followed suit to provide money for the war effort against the British. The next hundred years bore witness to the United States’ continued expansion, and gambling was mostly unaffected. However, in the late 19th century, new developments would alter the shape of the nation.
Following the Civil War, the United States continued to settle more territory in the west. These lands were much more thinly regulated than the densely populated eastern coast. Thus, in many western towns, casinos and gambling became staples and many people’s favorite pastimes. Gambling increased in popularity through the start of the 20th century, but after a series of match-fixing scandals, the government stepped in to regulate. Many parts of the country fell under a ban on sports betting except in carefully controlled and regulated circumstances.
This approach remained in place for a long time, but within the past several decades, we’ve seen this restrictive approach loosen up. Now, you can engage in everything from boxing betting to UFC betting both in-person and online depending on your location. By all accounts, sports betting in the US is due for a renaissance, which is something our experts are excited to see.
Strategies for Betting on Sports
Sports betting has some significant differences from gambling at table games or card games. In theory, there is nothing random to sports betting. Thus, the more familiar you are with the competitors, the better you will be able to bet. Nevertheless, there are still some strategies to discuss, as the biggest winnings in sports betting occur when there’s a major upset against all the odds.
When it comes to sports betting USA, the best way to bet is calmly. If you’re an NBA fan, you should undoubtedly get excited about the game - especially if your team is playing! Nevertheless, stay calm and rational when conducting your NBA betting or any other kind of sports betting. You may have heard a story or two about someone betting everything on an underdog team and seeing a big win from it, but the odds simply aren’t there.
On the other hand, if you’ve followed a sport for years and know the teams inside out, things are different. In those cases, you should feel more comfortable betting a little bigger on teams that are going up against stiff odds. However, remember that you’re operating based on your knowledge in that situation. Even then, though, you must always refrain from betting more than you’re comfortable losing. In the final equation, don’t overdo it and even if you lose, you’ll still have plenty of fun.
Money Management for Sports Betting
Our experts offer several pieces of advice to American players when it comes to money management. First, learn if there are any deposit or withdrawal fees at the sportsbook you’re interested in using. If so, you should factor those added costs by reducing the number of transactions you make. Second, if there is no fee, only deposit as much money as you intend to bet that day or week. Whether you’re using the website version or the sports betting app of a trustworthy sportsbook, you may be tempted to deposit larger batches. Unfortunately, a balance in your account may prove too tempting to resist, especially if you’d just lost a bet and feel like you need to reclaim your money through another bet.
Common Money-Losing Mistakes to Avoid
Here are some critical mistakes to avoid when betting on sports:
- Don’t always bet on the underdog. Despite the huge payout if they win, there’s a reason that the odds are usually so high!
- Neither should you “autopilot” and always bet on the team that has better odds. Not only will your payout be smaller, but it’ll be harder to make up for any losses you suffer.
- It’s also a bad idea to bet a 50-50 split on both teams, as you will lose money in almost every situation. The only times you’ll win more than you bet will be when the underdog wins, and even then you won’t win as much. Therefore, this strategy is even worse than always betting on the underdog.
- Try to avoid betting without consulting someone who knows more information about the teams. Those who are major fans of the team can often tell you realistic expectations and why they may expect an upset victory.
Sports Betting: Best Bonuses and Campaigns
Bonuses are always helpful for longtime sports betting players. Over time, you can accrue a significant amount of money in bonus cash, especially if you seize every rotating promotion that occurs on your sportsbook of choice. That being said, some sportsbooks offer better incentives and promotions for US players than others. Consider several of our favorite sportsbooks’ bonuses:
When you consider the matching deposit bonus of up to $2,500, Betfair provides gamblers with the most attractive option regarding bonuses. Beyond this, Betfair also offers periodic bonuses that are dependent on betting on specific sports. For example, the sportsbook will give you a $20 bonus wager when you bet $5 on baseball.
This sportsbook does not offer nearly as generous a deposit bonus as Betfair does, as it caps out at $500. However, it does follow suit regarding the incidental bonuses, as players gambling on BetAmerica can get $20 credits here and there when they bet on various sports.
- Hard Rock Casino
Hard Rock Casino’s sportsbook offers American players a free $100 sports bet to try out its service. Considering its initial deposit matching bonus of up to $1,000, players can receive a fairly significant total bonus of $1,100. With a few successful wagers, those bonuses can quickly become much more money.
Trustworthy Software Providers for Sports Betting Online
Sportsbooks engage several software companies to produce their user-friendly betting platforms. In some cases, the sportsbook itself will commission or create proprietary software. This approach has the advantage of giving the sportsbook complete control over the players’ experience. On the other hand, it removes our comfort of knowing that the software was created and tested by one of the accredited software production companies.
Among the regular software production companies, three stand out:
We put a lot of stock in the main online reviewing and award companies. Thus, it’s no surprise that we trust SBTech’s reputation considering they have won numerous awards from EGR, SBC, GIA, and CEEG. To add another layer of comfort and security, SBTech works closely with Microgaming and NetEnt, two of the most trustworthy casino game producers.
This company is a trustworthy provider that offers its users a positive account experience. Specifically, it permits players to re-examine their gambling history to observe patterns or only out of curiosity. Betscheme also offers users multiple payment methods and has maintained a clear focus on keeping the page accessible.
As a representative of the “independent” brands, Bwager is a company based in the Philippines. For the past ten years, it has developed reliable sportsbook software for numerous clients. It strives to provide software support for any size sportsbook. As time goes on and more states approve online gambling, this company is likely to extend further into the American market.
Putting Theory to Practice with Sports Betting
As with all gambling, the key is to participate in a way that lets you have fun without sacrificing more money than you’re comfortable spending on an enjoyable time. While you may get lucky and win a significant prize, you should never count on that or expect it. If you treat your bets as if they are spent money, then you have the right mentality of detachment. In other words, you’ll be calm if you lose, and you’ll appreciate the reward if you win.
Each sportsbook has a slightly different feeling to it, so you may find yourself drawn towards one rather than another. If you’re interested in online sports betting, look through our reviews and try your hand at one of the trustworthy sportsbooks that we recommend. With a responsible approach to gambling, you’re in for a great time. When your favorite team wins, maybe you’ll see a reward that’s more than just from being a fan!