The wave of legal sports betting in the US is raging on: New York is the latest state to expand its betting laws to include mobile betting. Florida is also on the verge of launching its first legal sportsbook later this year.
In total, more than 20 states have legal sports betting laws. Some states accept both in-person and mobile betting. Others stick to one form of betting. All the same, these jurisdictions are facing stiff competition from offshore betting sites.
What are Offshore Sportsbooks?
Offshore betting sites are sportsbooks based outside of the country you reside in—in this case, bookmakers licensed and located outside of the US. Offshore betting websites have licenses in foreign jurisdictions—Gibraltar, Malta, Curacao and Panama.
These licenses confirm a bookmaker is genuine and not a scam. They also give the sportsbooks authority to operate in countries with grey betting laws. For a long time, many states in the US had grey online betting laws.
You see, the PASPA Act of 1992 prohibited betting on sports but didn’t categorically single out online betting. Although this meant states couldn’t license betting companies, the law didn’t prohibit US citizens from betting at offshore sportsbooks.
Are Offshore Bookmakers Legal?
The question everyone asks is whether you can get into trouble with the law at betting at offshore sportsbooks. As mentioned, offshore bookmakers operate in the US due to grey betting laws in the country.
You can join and bet at an offshore bookmaker and the FBI won’t come banging at your door. However, the betting companies can’t set up their offices on the US soil unless they ask for licensing in a state that permits sports betting.
Are Offshore Bookmakers Any Good?
Offshore betting sites have been a boon for sports bettors in the US for many years. The explanation is simple. There’s a huge demand for betting services in the country. And overseas bookmakers provide this service efficiently.
Well, not every betting site is reliable. And as a result, it’s in your best interest to spend time before you pick the right bookmaker for you. Below is a short guide outlining some of the features to check in an offshore sportsbook:
- A Genuine License
A valid license is one of the most important features of a legitimate offshore betting site. If you come across an unlicensed bookmaker, consider it a red flag and look for a better bookmaker. Still on licensing, look for a license from a trusted regulator—Malta, Curacao, Panama or Isle of Man.
- Security Features
The best casino regulators require license applicants to create safe websites that secure their customers’ money and data. Still, it’s essential to look for necessary security tools, say an SSL certificate, general policies and data protection rules.
If a betting site lacks standard security tools, there’s no way of proving it can protect your data and money. Luckily, there are plenty of bookies that take data protection seriously and these are the sportsbooks you should join.
- Loads of Betting Markets
If you want to enjoy your time betting on overseas sportsbooks, pick a site with hundreds of daily betting markets. You could bet on football, baseball, hockey, basketball and soccer. Or you could wager on minor sports like eSports, tennis, boxing and cricket.
Of course, the point is to have a wide range of games to bet on, more so sports and leagues you love. If you’re a soccer fan, then you want to see the MLS, the EPL, the Champions leagues and the World Cup.
- Odds and Bet Types
Although often underrated, odds play an important role in maximizing or minimizing your profits. Choose a bookie with poor odds and you’ll forever make less money than you deserve. Pick a bookie with competitive odds and you’ll receive the best value for your bets consistently.
That said choosing competitive odds is just one part of the process. You need a bookie with a variety of bet types for every game. This helps you compare your options to determine the best bet type to place for maximum returns.
- Quality Bonuses
Do you like betting bonuses? Find a bookmaker with quality bonuses. Look at the bonus amount—choose a generous amount. Next, learn about playthrough—number of times you must playthrough a bonus to withdraw your winnings.
Consider joining a bookmaker with regular bonuses. The advantage is that you’ll qualify for free bets regularly. And in doing so, you can save money by betting using the bonuses. And you can also increase your profits when you win.
- Deposits and Withdrawals
Another sector of betting you need to check before you choose a bookmaker is the banking area. What payment companies does a bookie offer? Pick a sportsbook that supports your favorite payment methods.
Additionally, look at essential banking policies like limits, fees and payment speed. Unless you’re a high roller, you want a bookie that supports small deposits and withdrawals. That way, you could cashout your $20 profit stress-free.
- Mobile Betting and Live Betting
If you’re like 80% of the population, you browse the Internet primarily through a smartphone. That means you also plan to bet through your iPhone or android device. That’s not possible unless you join a mobile-friendly website.
If you’re a regular bettor, you probably know about and love live betting. It helps you wager on games while they happen. It’s exciting and potentially profitable but also pretty risky—you need to watch a game to bet on it during in-play betting.
Offshore vs US-Based Sportsbooks: Where Should you Bet?
An increasing number of states support sports betting. Should you use bet at state-licensed or offshore sportsbooks? The short answer is that it depends. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, there’s a variety of online betting sites you can use—these states permit online betting.
In many states, though, finding a reliable US-based betting site is challenging. In that case, you need to find a reliable offshore bookmaker. Ensure it follows the criteria we highlighted above to eliminate scams.