What To Look For When Choosing A Bookmaker

Bookmakers are the entities that enable you to enter the betting world. No betting strategy or a bankroll management technique matters if someone doesn’t actually accept your bets.

Choosing a good bookmaker is important for your overall betting experience. Usually, how you feel about betting at a certain bookmaker depends on a mixture of factors.

Unless there is a bookie that gifts you $100 each morning as a goodwill gesture for being their customer and clearly separates itself from the rest of the pack, you have to choose wisely which company to trust with your money and personal data, and expect a satisfying betting experience in return.

This post outlines the most important criteria you need to assess when pondering whether or not to open an account at a specific bookmaker.

Licence For Your Country Of Residence

The most important factor when choosing a bookmaker is whether they have the legal permission to operate in your country. It doesn’t ensure that 100% of your betting experience will be flawless, of course, but at least you will have meaningful people to complain to in case something goes wrong with a money transaction or if you are having a dispute with the bookmaker.

Bookmakers that have obtained a licence to operate in particular countries have taken the responsible decision to do that in the best possible manners.

There is a grey market in the sports betting industry and you may be occasionally swayed to register, deposit and bet at an organisation without the needed licence. However, what will you do when one day you win a nice amount of cash and this bookmaker refuses to pay you? They don’t have an official entity to answer to so you may be left without your deserved profit.

Stick to bookmakers that are legally allowed to provide you their platform for betting. Using non-licensed bookies puts you at an unnecessary risk.

Bookmakers with a licence are always the best bet when you choose at which bookmaker to wager your money
Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay


Reputation is very important in the online betting industry. If the overall opinion of a bookmaker is very good, chances are that is very much the case. Likewise, bookmakers who alienate their customers quickly become the subject of severe negative comments.

Do your research in advance. If many people complain about a certain bookmaker, most probably there is something dodgy going on and you should also avoid that bookmaker. 

That being said, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give a chance to newly established bookmakers who still don’t have any reputation at all, be it positive or negative. Everyone needs to start from somewhere so if nothing is obviously worrying at a first glance, it may be worth opening an account at such bookies too. Read on for the rest of the crucial aspects of an online sports betting site you need to consider before registering.

Sports Betting Payout

The odds different bookies offer on the same sports event are not always the same. Some bookmakers have higher payout for you than others and respectively operate at a lower margin. This means the commission they take as a result of providing their sportsbook platform to you is lower. For more detailed analysis on this topic, have a look at how bookmakers actually operate.

The bottom line is that you would prefer to bet with a bookmaker operating at a 104% margin than with such at a 112% margin, for example. Sports betting payout at a given bookmaker also varies from sport to sport, league to league and even game to game basis. That bookmaker may have unattractive odds for NBA games, but may simultaneously offer you the best prices on the market on tennis matches. This discrepancy in the odds offered for the same game is the main reason why you should bet at multiple bookmakers.

Nevertheless, there are some bookmakers which have very miserable payout across the board. If you stumble upon such a betting company which has obvious unfair odds that are out of sync with the rest of the market, avoid them and invest your time and money elsewhere instead.

First Deposit Bonuses

Almost all bookies offer new customers a welcome bonus on their first deposit. Free bets, deposit bonuses with rollover conditions, enhanced odds – these are the most popular means with which bookies strive to catch your attention and attract you as a new player.

Carefully examine the terms and conditions of every welcome offer. Some of the sign-up bonuses provide great value for your betting and you should definitely open an account at the bookmakers offering them.

On the other hand, there are welcome bonuses that contain hidden traps, like having to roll over your deposit and bonus amount combined 20 times before you attempt a withdrawal, or that you need to bet only on selections with minimum odds of 2.50 while rolling over the bonus. These are just examples of promotions that maybe are not worth your time and money.

Ongoing Betting Promotions

After you have already used the first deposit bonus at a bookmaker, a key ingredient that defines your overall betting experience with them is the amount, variety and attractiveness of ongoing promotions available on their site. It’s one thing to bet at a place offering you 1-Miss Acca / Multiple Insurance, Money Back Specials, Price Boosts, Loyalty Programmes and so on, and an entirely different experience betting at a bookie that doesn’t offer any of these enhancements.

If you are a passionate tennis fan, betting at a place offering ongoing tennis promotions is times better than wagering at a place that doesn’t bother to do the same.

Some bookmakers may also offer you hidden bonuses directly via email or live chat. Of course, you won’t know about this possibility until you’ve registered and already have had a betting history with that bookmaker. Nevertheless, while performing your online research about the bookie reputation, you may encounter stories of other users who have been privately offered such bonuses.

Deposit And Withdrawal Methods

A good variety of popular worldwide payment methods is a good indicator of a bookmaker’s stability, reputation and reliability. Almost all bookies work with debit / credit card transactions and bank transfers. Other contemporary payment methods which many bettors prefer are e-wallets such as Skrill and Neteller. Paysafecard and PayPal, among others, are also among the most widespread means of executing a transaction with a sports betting provider.

Recently, more and more bookmakers are starting to offer the possibility of cryptocurrency transactions. There are even bookies specialising only on Bitcoin as available currency for deposits and withdrawals, while all their promotions exclusively use Bitcoin too.

If you prefer using only one payment method, make sure the bookmaker has it on their platform.

The crucial aspects you need to assess are:

  • Minimum amounts to deposit and withdraw – usually the lower these are, the better. Look carefully for bookmakers requiring you to deposit considerable amounts such as $100 as their minimum amount, and requiring a similar figure when you wish to withdraw your funds.
  • Deposit and withdrawal fees – stay alert about these. Nowadays, the norm for most bookmakers is that they won’t charge you any additional fees when you perform a financial transaction at their website. However, there are still some bookies who do that. Be especially cautious about terms and conditions which state the bookmaker will charge you a flat fee for each withdrawal, e.g. 10%. If you wish to withdraw $400, a fee of $40 is ludicrous and you should avoid bookies with such terms at all costs.
  • Time for withdrawal – you should strive towards betting at bookmakers who offer very quick withdrawal times. The top bookies in the industry don’t need more than a day to pay you, with the very best ones performing this action instantly upon request. However, there is the other type of bookies who make you wait 5 or more days before seeing the money you’ve earned into your bank account or e-wallet which can be very frustrating. And you can be sure that the very same bookmakers that do this will accept your deposit immediately instead of hesitating 5 or more days whether to do it 🙂

Pay close attention to the banking aspects of a bookmaker. After all, besides the entertainment and thrill behind betting on sports, at the end of the day what shrewd bettors do is make a profit. You don’t want to have a bad user experience every time you wish to withdraw that profit, so pick your bookmakers carefully.

Minimum Bet Stake

Everyone has had the urge to put $0.5 on a 10-fold accumulator chasing big profits. Before registering and making your first deposit, have a quick glance at the section in the bookmaker’s terms and conditions that talks about the minimum bet stake.

Some bookmakers have figures such as $2 for your minimum bet. I wouldn’t classify this as unacceptable, but it takes the aforementioned long-shot accumulator possibilities away from you. Bet only at bookmakers that satisfy your minimum stake requirements and needs.

Easy Navigation And Intuitive Interface

After you’ve considered all of the above, check the usability of the bookmaker website. Is it effortless or is it causing you needless difficulties?

Open the site on your laptop or load the page on your smartphone. Does everything instantly make sense? Try finding your favorite sports branch and the available betting options for a game you wish to put a flutter on. Does it take you more than 10-15 seconds to achieve this?

If the navigation and interface are confusing, you need to have this in the back of your mind. After all, you are going to use this bookmaker site frequently to bet on sports events, and if it constantly causes you problems finding quickly what you want, it’s going to become very irritating at some point.

Sportsbook Depth And Quality

Some bookmakers have very limited coverage across sports and leagues, offering only the most popular ones worldwide, such as the English Premier League, Champions League, NBA and so on. On the contrary, other bookmakers, in addition to covering the same famous competitions, also provide you with the opportunity to bet on niche sports and leagues.

Imagine you are a passionate snooker fan or you have local knowledge of the third tier of Argentinian football. That gives you an edge which enables you to make value bets. In such a case, it’s crucial for you to find a bookmaker that actually offers these sports and leagues for betting.

To dig one level deeper, the amount of betting markets within a specific sports event is also vital. Bookmaker A may offer only the straight moneyline 1X2 market on third Argentinian division games, whereas Bookmaker B may also have Over/Under, Asian Handicap, Corners, Cards, Minute of the first goal, Clean Sheets and any other football betting market that exists. It goes without saying that you are going to pick Bookmaker B and place the majority of your bets there.

The depth of a sportsbook doesn’t end here. Nowadays, functionalities such as live betting and cash out facility are not competitive advantages for a bookmaker but a mere necessity. It’s hard to comprehend but there are still some bookies out there who don’t offer their players the opportunity to bet while the event is in-play or to cash out their bet. When you contemplate whether you should open an account at a certain sports betting company, quickly check these in order to avoid disappointment at a later stage.

Customer Support

It’s very important for a bookmaker who strives to make a serious impact in the sports betting world to have a top-notch customer support. Sooner or later, you as a customer will reach out to these guys. You will most likely have conversations about terms and conditions of a bonus offer, documents and identity check, deposit and withdrawal clarifications and much more.

Online bookmakers customer support is vital for your top betting promotions, sports bonuses, banking and overall user experience

Three aspects in bookmaker’s customer support have the biggest impact on your positive betting experience:

  • Working Hours – 24/7 is the norm in 2019. This is important for you, because whenever you have an issue at your online bookmaker, you usually want it fixed ASAP. You wouldn’t wait for a solution until the next day due to the fact the bookie’s customer support works only until 10 PM and there are no night shifts.
  • Method of Contact – Beware of companies which only provide email as a form of getting in touch. This type of communication can take days or even weeks to materialise properly. What you need in online sports betting is preferably live chat, but also a contact phone number. These are the forms of contact that are expected to resolve your problem quickly.
  • Overall Helpfulness – A great quality of customer support leaves a very positive impression to the bettors. As opposed to that, an incompetent support agent who can’t address your queries adequately can leave a sour taste in your mouth which leads to you questioning whether betting at that bookmaker is worth continuing. Test the support agents before you open an account. Go to the live chat and ask them clarifying questions about their first deposit bonus. If needed, pretend that you don’t understand key terms and conditions even if you actually do. This is a wonderful test which will tell you a lot about the overall quality of the bookmaker. These companies know the crucial role their customer support plays to ensure players satisfaction. If a bookmaker hasn’t invested the necessary resources for a competent and friendly customer support, you can’t expect excellence in the other elements contributing to your customer experience such as variety of banking methods, good bonuses and promotions and so on.

Where Do You Bet On Sports?

In the betting world, there is a multitude of online bookmakers that compete with each other to grab your attention as a prospective customer. The same is valid for the effort they make to retain you as a customer after you open an account with them.

This article has outlined the main variables to consider before opening an account. Choose wisely where to register and give a good boost to your sports betting success.