With the rapid growth of online sports betting in the US in recent years, there have never been more sportsbooks available for bettors to wager with. While there are plenty of awesome options out there, unfortunately, this growth has also seen an increase in illegal sportsbooks that are shadier than a palm tree.
Signing up with an illegitimate sportsbook comes with a ton of risks including things such as delayed or non-existent payouts, no customer service, viruses infecting your computer or mobile device or even stolen personal security and financial information.
Thankfully, to help you avoid these pitfalls, the team at Bet Basics has come up with a helpful list of things to look for to ensure you’re signed up with a legal sportsbook,
Make sure its a Bet Basics recommended Sportsbook
The first and easiest step to ensuring you’re not betting with a dodgy bookmaker is to sign up with one of our Bet Basics recommended 100% licensed and regulated legal sportsbooks.
These sportsbooks all adhere to the rules when it comes to honoring your bets and are reliable in terms of handling your money. Plus, you’ll find exclusive Bet Basics bonus codes that will give you more bang for your buck.
The obvious top sportsbooks recommended by the team at Bet Basics are BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars but we have other top legal sportsbook offers, all 100% licensed & regulated.
Find the Sportsbook’s operating license
Any legitimate sportsbook will have their official operating license confirming their legal right to operate featured somewhere on their website. Often this is located at the bottom of the home page, as it was with BetMGM’s Arizona licensed online sportsbook pictured above.
Instead of conducting a thorough search to find licensing information somewhere on the sportsbook or casino site, let Bet Basics do the work for you – we reviewed dozens of casinos and sportsbooks, dropped all illegal ones and kept the ones you can play with without fear. It's probably not worth the risk of handing your money and personal information over to any sportsbook if it's not licensed and regulated.
Check they use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protection
Without boring you with too much technical jibber-jabber, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protection ensures an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. In other words, this means that all data shared between you and your online sportsbook, such as your personal and financial information, remains private.
SSL protection is indicated with a padlock icon and https:// at the start of the website’s URL. If you find a sportsbook that’s missing this small, but vital detail, it’s best to steer clear as they’re almost certainly out to try and scam you!
Ensure they require identify verification for payouts
Requiring identity verification for payouts is great indication that a sportsbook is adequately following the legal protocols required of it.
Sportsbooks need to confirm the identity of those wagering with them for a number of reasons. These include making sure each bettor is legally authorized and old enough to gamble within the state or country they’re in, as well ensuring they’re not unknowingly allowing criminal activity such as money laundering.
If a sportsbook doesn’t require identify verification from bettors, it might be an indication they only want to take your money and don’t have any intention of actually paying you out!
Ensure they look the part!
If it smells like a fish, and looks like a fish… it’s probably a fish! Sportsbooks are no different.
A sportsbook that puts significant time and money into creating an enjoyable user experience with a slick, easy to navigate website and mobile app is the sign of a sportsbook that would make the same efforts to ensure they meet all legal requirements to operate.
A fishy illegal sportsbook wouldn’t go to the lengths or make the financial investment required to provide a high quality user experience. They’re more likely to put together a shoddy website held together by the whatever the digital equivalent of gaffer tape is so they can take your money, rip the whole thing down and disappear forever.
Check they provide high quality customer service
As with a fully functioning, easy to use website and mobile app, only a legitimate sportsbook would put the time, money and effort in to provide high quality customer service to its bettors.
Having informative and responsive avenues to communicate with the sportsbook is usually a good sign you’re dealing with a bookmaker who is doing everything above board.
Make sure their promo offers aren’t too over the top
While many legal sportsbooks offer any number of promotional offers such as bonuses, free bets and deposit matches, bettors should be wary of anything that seems too good to be true! Some illegal sportsbooks will offer $1,000-$5,000 bonuses as welcome offers, but they will tie-up your cash and won't let you withdrew your wins.
Check out the promotions being offered by some of our Bet Basics recommended 100% licensed and regulated legal sportsbooks to get an idea of what is common amongst the industry leaders. Any offers that are dramatically better than these should set off some alarm bells in regards to legitimacy!