Are Online Betting Sites or Land-Based Sportsbooks Better?

Sportsbook Board Image Cut Into Closeup Image of Man Working on Laptop

Sports gamblers in the United States have more betting options than ever before. More states are legalizing gambling on sports, and even states that haven’t legalized sports betting yet have many online sportsbooks that are willing to take your bets.

Both online sportsbooks and land based sportsbooks have some advantages, so it’s not always easy to determine which the best is for you. Here’s a list of all of the advantages and disadvantages for each type of sportsbook so you can decide which is best for yourself.

Deposit Options and Moving Money

One of the most important considerations is how you get money into and out of the sportsbook. When you’re placing bets in a land based sportsbook you simply walk in with cash, pay for your bets, and then collect cash when you win.

When you’re placing wagers at an online sportsbook the situation is a little bit more complicated. Each online sportsbook has their own set of deposit and withdrawal options, but the fact is that you have to find something that’s safe and that works for you.

The best option is when you can sign up for an online e-wallet you can use to make deposits and get withdrawals. E-wallets work like PayPal, but PayPal doesn’t like to process gambling transactions. You can find other options, but if you’re located in the US it might be difficult.

Most online sportsbooks accept credit cards, and you can also find ones that accept bank wires. Some sports bettors use bank wires with land based books, so if this is the case for you then the process is pretty much the same.

Which Is Safer?

When you’re dealing with money you want to make sure you’re a safe as possible. I’ve read many articles about how unsafe online sportsbooks are and how much safer you are making bets in land based books and these articles are very misleading. The truth is that no matter where you make sports bets you have to take the proper steps to be as safe as you can.

People know that sports bettors carry cash often when they’re going to a land based book or coming out of one. So you can be a target when you place bets locally. And you can sign up for an account at a shady online sportsbook and lose your money.

But you can also do a little research and find a trusted online sportsbook with a long track record of taking care of their customers and be safe.

No matter which way you place bets, you need to do some research and use your common sense. I’ve placed bets at many different online sportsbooks and have never had one steal from me yet. But I always make sure I’m using a book that’s been around for a while and has a good reputation.

Better Lines

If you have the option to place bets in a land based sportsbook and an online sportsbook, one of the deciding factors can be the available betting lines. One of the best ways to improve your sports betting results is to find better lines.

I place bets online and locally, but most of my wagers are online. In my experience I can usually get better lines online than I can locally, but I’m not located in a place with many land based options. It’s also much easier and quicker to shop for lines online than to visit several different land based books.

I always recommend shopping for lines, so if you’re going to place bets online you should consider opening accounts in at least three or four different books. This lets you quickly shop for lines and place bets when you find a better line.

Travel and Time Considerations

This is common sense, but when you have to travel to a land based sportsbook it takes more time and money to do it than when you can simply log into an online sportsbook on your phone or computer.

When I’m busy I place my bets online, but when I’m not busy I don’t mind going to a land based sportsbook to place bets. I like the atmosphere in most land based books and enjoy talking about sports with other gamblers.

Closeup of Hands on Car Steering Wheel

A land based sportsbook with a good setup is also a nice place to watch a game that you have money on. Land based sportsbooks seem to be going the other way though, with fewer of them offering a good place to watch games. Instead, the ones attached to casinos are trying to drive bettors out of the book and into the casino where they’re tempted to lose more money on the casino games.


Other than finding better lines, the best reason to consider placing bets at online sportsbooks is to get a bonus. You can get a deposit bonus at many online casinos and sportsbooks, but you can’t get a bonus when you bet in land based books.

Bonuses help offset the vig you have to pay on losing wagers, so they offer a good way to limit your losses or maximize your wins. Some online sportsbooks offer free bets or cash back on losses as part of a sign up bonus or instead of a sign up bonus. All types of online sportsbook bonuses can help you offset your losses and the price of the vig.


The casino industry learned a long time ago that if they offered regular gambler perks in the form of comps for their play that it created more profit for the casino. Perks keep gamblers playing longer and give them the illusion that they’re getting something for free. This is why most casinos have some sort of comps or perks program.

You don’t see as many perk and comps programs offered by sportsbooks, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for them.

I’ve found more perks offered by online sportsbooks than land based ones, but this might be because of where I live.

Something that some sportsbooks do offer from time to time is promotions. You can find promotions that offer free bets or reduced vig if you keep your eyes open. Any promotion you find can help offset the cost of making bets, so sign up for mailing lists everywhere you place bets if they have one.


Some people avoid people as much as possible, while others enjoy getting out and socializing and meeting new people. If you want to avoid dealing with people, online sportsbooks are your best option. But if you enjoy socializing you should visit as many land based sportsbooks as you can.

People Celebrating at a Sports Bar

The way you place best in both online and land based sportsbooks is basically the same, and you can often find similar odds and lines online and off, so the big differences come down to other things like the ones listed on this page and how much you like to socialize.

Why Not Use Both?

The great news is that you don’t have to choose between placing bets in and based sportsbooks and placing them online. This isn’t an either/or situation. You can have accounts at online sportsbooks and place bets in land based sportsbooks.

I place bets in land based sportsbooks and have accounts at several online sportsbooks. I base where I choose to place bets almost exclusively on where I can get the best lines, because I know this is the only way I can win in the long run.

If you’re hesitant to try an online sportsbook, do a little research to find the most reputable ones available. You can find information and reviews about trusted sportsbooks on this site. Before you sign up for any online sportsbook, check out the deposit and withdrawal options to make sure you have a convenient way to move your money.

Also, make sure you take advantage of as many bonuses as you can. Always read the terms of bonuses before you make a deposit so you understand what you have to do before you can make a withdrawal.


Are land based sportsbooks better than online sportsbooks, or is it the other way around? Only you can decide which option meets your needs. Use the plusses and minuses listed on this page to make up your mind.

Of course, the best option might be to make your wagers online and in land based sportsbooks. When you use both options you can enjoy the benefits of each. This also lets you access the best odds and lines and receive deposit bonuses for your online bets.

Online sportsbooks are just as safe as land based books as long as you take the time to find ones that have a history of honesty.