By far, the most common concern with users who want to bet on sports or casino games online is safety and legitimacy. The term offshore sportsbook has always had a negative stigma around it, and many associate it with sketchy bookies that you’d see in the movies.
Many avoid offshore sportsbooks because they are scared their credit card information will be stolen or that they won’t be able to withdraw funds when they are ready to claim their winnings. While we can’t tell you that absolutely won’t happen – we can tell you that there are things to look for in an online sportsbook that will help you avoid those situations.
Not all sportsbooks are created equally. Many reside in different areas, from the Caribbean, to European islands, you can find them operating around the globe, and depending where the sportsbooks calls home, they will have a set of regulations they must follow to maintain their license. It’s advised to look at a specific sportsbook’s license and conditions thoroughly before signing up.
If security is your main concern with online sportsbooks, keeping an eye on longevity – i.e. how long the sportsbook has been serving sports bettors online, and their payment processing speeds. How fast a sportsbook promises a payout of your winnings will ultimately show you how trustworthy and reliable they are. The top sportsbooks will have payouts in your account in the one to three day range.
Sportsbooks do have practices in place to ensure safety and security of user data and information. Always look for SSL security certificates on the sportsbook – if they have one they will display the icon loud and proud. This means your data is encrypted and stored safely.
Another thing to look for in an online sportsbook that many tend to miss, is that sportsbooks offer self-exclusion or betting limitations you can set yourself to ensure you aren’t betting more than you can afford. These features are on the best of the best sportsbooks in the industry, and if the sportsbook wasn’t legit and concerned about the users, they wouldn’t have this feature.
It was assumed that with legalizing sports betting in the United States, there would be a reduction in offshore sports betting, but that’s not the case. Canada has always had sports betting products regulated by their local lottery, but doesn’t offer single game wagers, which many Canadians don’t like.
Across North America, many are sticking with the offshore sportsbooks if they can, mainly because the top sportsbooks have been around since the 1990’s and have such a wealth of sports betting options.
The main reason why people are sticking with offshore sportsbooks over actual legal, state-run sportsbooks is due to convenience. Only a handful of the 23 U.S. states who have legalized sports betting actually have online betting, so sports bettors would need to visit a physical venue to place a wager. Who would want to leave the comfort of their home to place a wager when they can do it from an app on their phone?
The other big advantage to betting offshore is that your winnings aren’t taxed by the state. A U.S. based sportsbook will tax winnings over $5,000. Also you can use your Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency to place your wagers or withdraw money.
Whether you believe offshore sportsbooks are risky or not, you should still do plenty of research before signing up for one. Read plenty of sportsbook reviews before signing up at any gambling website. Whether you live in the U.S. or Canada, be sure to only choose one of the top sports betting sites available, offshore or not.