So, you’ve been betting with my brother-in-law “Rocco the Bookmaker” for years, and you’ve finally decided it’s time to take the plunge; On-Line Gambling. But you’re worried. Am I going to get hurt sending money upfront to someone thousands of miles away? And you might not get paid until the end of the season. Sounds risky, right???? Sort of. But I do have some advise for all of you on-line gamblers…
Some books offer huge bonuses, only to go belly up right after football season (what a coincidence that is when most bettors take out money from the offshore bookies). Luckily for me, I’ve never had an offshore book go broke on me, yet… More on which services I use and my thoughts later in the article…
Must pay in advance
Sometimes hard to pay in advance
Far away, might not be able to get your $$ easily on Tuesdays
Some are licensed
Easy to compare lines
Don’t have to drive to your bookie on Tuesday evening to pay up.
Let’s start analyzing the Cons
With an offshore sportsbook, you must pay in advance. They obviously aren’t going to let you bet on credit when you are far away. You local bookie will let you dig a deep hole, but not these guys. You pay before you play. Likewise, from a local bookie, you usually settle up on Tuesdays. With an offshore book, due to the complexity of sending/receiving $$ (thanks US Gov’t) you usually leave your money in the sportsbook. So, it you have a HUGE week, there’s a good chance you might be greedy and give it back the following week. Nice racket..huh.
Now, the major problem with offshore sportsbooks is initially paying up (funding). It used to be simple, give them a credit card, and they charge your card an amount, and you have money in your account in 15 minutes. Not anymore, due to US regulations (and the massive amount of fraud claimed by credit card companies), credit cards are a tough way to currently pay. Although it still can be done.
However, let me tell you a story I have heard MANY times. Mr. Dummy uses his credit card to deposit $500 in an offshore sportsbook. Credit card company calls his home phone number to verify. No answer. Declines the transaction, and marks the credit card as stolen. Mrs. Dummy tries to use the credit card at the grocery store. Rejected! She talks to the credit card representative on the phone that says someone authorized a transaction for $500 to a gambling entity in the Caribbean. She says, no way (and/or she kills her husband). Credit card company chalks up another ‘fraud’ case, new card is issued, and husband has a red face.
Another method used to be PayPal. You could transfer $$ from your credit card to PayPal and have PayPal transfer $$ to the Caribbean. Not anymore, Ebay purchased PayPal, and now rejects all gambling addresses for transactions. Doesn’t matter if you are using a bank account or credit card for funding your PayPal account.
Western Union is always an available option, the money is there within an hour usually, but it costs $15 to send it, plus you need cash, and the kid at the grocery store gives you a strange look when you send $500 in cash to some address in the Caribbean.
There is a better way and you don’t have to get you hands dirty. NetTeller can link to your bank account. This takes a couple of days, and no one ever knows. So you link NetTeller to a bank account, then have NetTeller send the money to a sports book. There are things as a prepaid ATM these days, but I’m not sure how it works, so I’m going to ignore that method for now.
Let me give you some tips from personal experience
1) Always set up your personal, mobile, cell phone as the contact number for your credit card, sportsbook, local bank, Internet funds account, whatever. This #1, prevents your wife getting calls (very important). #2, if there is a problem, you are contacted very quickly. Change it now if you haven’t already.
2) I personally set up a separate electronic account, and have $25 taken out of my paycheck each week and deposited to the account. That is $1000/year to play with. Then, link this account to NetTeller. The wifey-pooh will never will find out!
3) Try to find a book with good bonuses, more on that later.
So now you have $500 in a sportsbook, was it worth all the effort???
YES!!! In a best-case scenario, you want to have accounts at multiple sport books. Why??? To get the best line! Ever lose a game by half a point. Ugly feeling. Especially if you know you could have gotten a better line at a different sports book. For instance, at one book, they always favor the RAMS (why, I have no idea, but you always get at least 1 point extra if you take the team playing the RAMS. So, if I like that team, I bet them at bowmans.com. You’ll notice different trends with different offshore/internet sportsbooks. Their goal is to make a profit, which means they have to split the action to minimize their risk. Thus, sometimes, you find different lines at different sportsbooks.
Some sportbooks have bonuses. For instance, at caribsports.com, if you put in $500, you get a square (worth $25 = 2.5%). Others will give you 10% in free cash to wager. Others will give you a 20% wager for free. Check around. One of the nice things about caribsports is their Tuesday promotion. If you bet on Tuesday, you bet a –102 instead of –110. Of course you must bet on Tuesday, so you have to do your research sooner in the week. They also have 2-team teaser ties win policy. Sportsbook.com has 1/2 price odds on Fridays and a gimmicky double your winnings on Monday night if you can guess the exact score of the game. Hey why not? Other books have better odds on parlays, etc. You’ll have to check them all out for yourself.
Don’t just look at bonuses though, it’s important to make sure the sportsbook is licensed by their country, and has a good reputation for paying out at the end of football season. It’s no fun to win $1000 in the season, only to find out the sportsbook won’t pay up. Usually when sportbooks are licensed, they put up a bond with the country that is forfeited if they break the rules. I’ll outline a few of them below
FantasySharks.com Shameless Self Promotion
Have you noticed the ads on my fantasysharks articles? It’s from one of the sites, sportsbetting.com. To be fair, the interface is ok, sort of plain. But, it has decent bonuses and is very well-established.
If you are thinking about setting up with this particular sportbook, please use our advertisement. We are not a pay site (every bit of information we provide is totally free!). We think we do a damn good job, but monthly server costs are expensive. So, if you’re thinking about betting with sportsbetting.com anyway, please click on their ad. We do get a kick-back if people sign-up through us. It’ll help alot and it won’t be any skin off your back if you were betting with them anyway.
They do have 5% juice on all Friday’s. In addition they are currently running three contests: the $1,500 Weekly Pick-n-Win, a sports quiz promo, the $500,000 Gridiron Pick ’em, a football prediction game, and the Win 100,000 Smackers, a scratch-card promo.
End of shameless self promotion.
The Other Sportsbooks
(Note, I usually check out www.bettorsworld.com where sportsbooks are reviewed.)
Bowmans (Bowmans.com) is in England (fun accent). I began with a phone account, and have since moved to the internet also. Very friendly. Shades the favorites a lot, so if you like dogs, this is a good place to bet. Average bonuses.
World Sports Exchange (wsex.com) is down in the Caribbean. They have been around for a long time, and have a simple, clean, text based interface. They are so popular and stable, that they don’t need crazy bonuses to attract people. The leader in the business in my opinion.
CaribSports (Caribsports.com) is also down in the Caribbean. Their interface is nice and clean, but a little more visual than Wsex. I like a couple of their ongoing bonuses. First their –102 Tuesday is great! You save 8% right there. Also, their 2-team teaser ties win rule is nice too. It’s helped me a couple times.
Sportsbook.com – They might be associated with vegasinsider.com. Decent lines and bonuses, 5% juice on Fridays. A friend even got a free tee shirt out of them for no good reason at all.
Gcsports.com – Very good bonuses, but these guys bug you on the phone looking for more $$ too often. Nobody likes being called at dinner-time to hear, “We’re running an extra 5% special right now, etc”. There were rumors they were having financial problems last spring, but GCSports was bailed out by someone.
If you are going to set up an account, you should go to bettorsworld, and read their more in depth reviews and their list. Plus, you might be able to split a bonus with a friend for a referral.
So, that’s about it on offshore sportbooks. Hope that answered all of your questions.
Make sure you put money in with a couple days to spare at the start of football season.
Make sure to ask for any/all bonuses available (i.e., refer a friend bonus).
Make sure to use your cell phone as your main contact.
Make sure to use multiple books, and get the best line possible.
Make sure not to bet more than 50% of your stake in any one week.
May all your bets be winners…