Choosing the Right Betting Site
Sports and betting go hand in hand but, unless you live in Las Vegas and can go to a live sportsbook at a casino, finding a trustworthy betting site can be a daunting task. Which sites can you trust with your personal financial information? Which sites will grade betting slips quickly and honor payouts? These are some of the details we obsess over, and we won’t recommend a betting site to our readers until we’re sure it’s rock solid.
All of the sites in our top 10 list meet or exceed our minimum standards for security and safety. But those aren’t the only two factors we consider when rating sportsbooks. Our team of reviewers personally uses each site they rate and deep dives into details like bonuses, betting software, customer service, ease of deposits, supported payment methods, bonus rollover requirements, reputation, and a checklist of other points.
If a sportsbook falls below our stringent requirements, it will be removed from our recommended list and our review will note that it currently fails to meet our standards.
Our top 10 list is curated by our experts to provide the best options available. While you may want to open accounts with a few different sites for line-shopping purposes, you don’t need 100’s to choose from. We’ve done the hard work for you by zeroing in on the best sites and weeding out the bad ones.
We’ve only included a select number of sites for good reason. Our research indicates that, as a percentage, very few online gambling sites meet our stringent standards. Below you can see the proportion of sites that actually meet our criteria versus how many exist online in total:
Out of the 100’s of gambling sites available online, only a select group are worthy of even getting a review on our site. The reasons for not making the cut vary: some have a poor history of paying customers, some don’t protect customers information, others have a bad reputation, and some are just plain fraudulent.
Who Reviews and Rates Our Sportsbooks?
Since Randy and Zack first founded Sports Betting Dime in 2005, it has grown into something much more than they ever dreamed it would be. While they did write the original reviews, they now employ a team of reviewers and editors whose job it is to make sure each sportsbook has up-to-date information and is worthy of being listed as a top sports betting site.
Today each reviewer is an expert in their own right and must meet the following qualifications:
- have a minimum of five years of online betting experience
- have a demonstrated knowledge about key sports betting principals
- have personally tested each site they review, specifically by:
- placing bets on the site;
- making withdrawals and deposits;
- interacting with customer service;
- scrutinizing the bonus terms, rollover requirements, and other promotions to ensure they are valid; and
- reviewing their privacy policies and ensuring their website security practices are up to date.
Like a good food critic, our reviewers do not identify themselves when conducting reviews. This is done to ensure they are not given preferential treatment, and can provide an unbiased report of their interactions with customer service representatives.
Website Financial Security & Trust
One of the single most important aspects of a sports betting site is its financial security. They are responsible for:
- accepting your money when you make a deposit;
- accepting wagers when you place them;
- sending you money when you make a withdrawal.
Having a solid track record in these three areas gives a site a trustworthy reputation. It means they’re operating above board.
Arguably even more important, however, is a site’s current financial status. Online betting sites hold money in your account so it is available when you want to place a wager. Unfortunately, as with any business, sportsbooks do come and go, and even with strict licensing requirements, there have still been instances where funds have not been recoverable by bettors when sites shutdown.
So one of the most important aspects to listing a site on our top 10 list is to ensure there are no current reported financial issues and that the site is a going concern.
All of our listed sportsbooks have active licenses by at least one of these remote gambling licensing authorities: Malta Gaming Authority, Antigua Gaming’s Directorate of Offshore Gaming, Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association, Curacao eGaming, Costa Rica, Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and Panama’s Game Control Board. These seven jurisdictions are world leaders licensing eGaming operators.
Each serves as a regulatory body, responsible for governance and oversight of all gaming activities originating in their regions, ensuring the integrity of those who provide gaming services.
Sports Betting Sign-Up Bonuses
Virtually every gambling site offers some sort of promotion for players to join. We dub these “sign-up bonuses.” Each site will offer something slightly different. Those that cater to European customers often offer free bets or other promotions like multiplying winnings on your first bet. Other sites will match your first deposit.
While there is a wide range of bonuses available to new bettors, we classify each promotion as a “Sign-up Bonus” or “Deposit Bonus”. The reason we do this is simple: though the specifics vary, each one is a bonus that is tied to your first deposit.
We generally use three different formats on how we display this bonus information:
Bonus Format #1: 100% up to $200
In this first example, a deposit-match bonus, the 100% is the percentage you will receive as a bonus and $200 is the maximum amount the betting site will give you. So if you went ahead and made a $75 deposit, the site would credit your account with an additional $75, taking the amount you’d be able to play with to $150.
If you decided to deposit $500 on your first deposit, the sportsbook would only give you an additional $200 as that is the maximum amount under that bonus offer.
Bonus Format #2: 3x Winnings on 1st Bet
This bonus will not get you any extra cash initially, but could earn you a sizeable addition to your bankroll. In this example, the sportsbook is not going to match the amount you deposit, but will instead will give you a bonus on the amount you win on your first bet.
So, say you placed a single-game moneyline wager and your team won; the sportsbook would credit your account with your winnings plus a multiplier of three. If you made a $25 bet on a +175 monleyline and won $43.75, you’d be credited your original $25, plus your winnings of $43.75, plus an additional $131.25 (i.e. 43.75 x 3) for the bonus!
Bonus Format #3: Bet £10 Get £30
In this last format, the site is offering to credit you with free bets, based on your first bet. The “£30” represents the maximum given for this promo if you placed a £10 wager as your first bet. You won’t just get £30 to play around with however you see fit, though. Instead, you’ll get three £10 wagers to use going forward.
If your first bet is only £5, then you’ll only get £15 in free bets (3 x £5).
So if you sign up for a betting site with this promotion, you won’t be credited with the full amount to bet with all at once, and that can come as a surprise to new bettors. That’s just one example of why it is a very good idea to read our full reviews and the specifics of each sign-up bonus. That way, you’ll know exactly what you will be getting.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t note one important aspect of bonuses at this point: with each of these examples, you are required you to “clear” your bonus dollars before releasing bonus money into your account. This means that, in order to qualify for the bonuses, you’ll need to place a certain number of wagers. This is referred to as “rollover”.
Each sportsbook has slightly different rollover requirements. Be sure to read up on the requirements for the specific site you want to join so you fully understand when bonus money will be released into your account.
If you try to withdraw funds from your account before clearing the bonus requirements, you many end up forfeiting your bonus all together. Rollover requirements are a detail that many new bettors don’t understand before they jump in, claim a bonus, make a bet, and then try to withdraw their funds. Messages pop up every day on forums seeking clarification on this point as it’s a technical one many bettors aren’t even aware of. Customer service agents on the other end of complaints are all too familiar with this scenario.
Beyond the rollover requirements, read the sports betting bonuses page for everything there is to know about bonuses. That article goes into much more detail on bonuses including what types of bonuses are available after you join a site, such as reload and referral bonuses.
You Don’t Always Need a Promo Code
Some betting sites require you to use a promo code when signing up, others do not. If a unique promotional code is required to obtain a bonus, it will be listed on our review page. If you don’t need a code to get the bonus, then simply clicking through and signing up for the gambling site of your choice will automatically get you the best possible offer.
Best Bonuses Available, Period
If a bonus is listed on Sports Betting Dime, you won’t find a better offer anywhere else.
We want to make sure you get the absolute best possible sign-up bonus when joining a betting site. Our reviewers continually update bonus information and codes as soon as they become available with the best possible sign-up offer for our readers.
Sports Can You Bet On
Every betting site listed will have odds on all major sports leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college football and basketball, plus soccer and major boxing events.
Our sports-specific pages, below, list the top-three betting sites for each sport along with articles that go into specific details so you can learn the ins-and-outs before placing a bet.
Most sportsbooks listed will also include odds on tennis, golf, cricket, mixed martial arts (including UFC fights), professional wrestling, and rugby.
A few sportsbooks list more niche betting opportunities like e-sports, motor sports, futsol, cycling, darts, snooker, and entertainment props. If you are looking to bet on one of these niche sports, then take some time to figure out which sites offer your sport of choice. You don’t want to go through the process of creating an account and making a deposit only to find that you’re not able to place a wager on what you want.
Other Site Features
Beyond what has been covered here, there are a host of different offerings from each betting website that necessitate reading individual reviews. While we have provided our top picks, if you are looking for something specific, or want to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a particular site, there is no substitute for spending a bit of time digging in and learning about each one.