What Do the Most Popular Online Sportsbooks Have in Common?

Two Laptops Showing Sports in Front of a Pile of Money

The online sports betting landscape is littered with online sportsbooks. Surely, this comes as little to no surprise to most of you. Men and women have been betting on sports since the dawn of society.

After all, billions of dollars exchange hands every year on sports betting. Some estimates surmise over $150 billion are passed around illegally in the U.S. alone. That’s more than the GDP of Guatemala, Costa Rica or roughly 108 other countries.

So, with all of that money floating around, it makes perfect sense for companies to jump into the game in an effort to legitimize those dollars. And obviously, collect their sizable piece of the pie.

You may already be an avid online sports bettor looking to change your online sportsbook home or may be a complete novice looking to dip a toe in the waters. Either way, my aim here is not to tell you what sportsbook you should use. Rather, what the most popular sites are doing right. Hence, what to look for in a good online sportsbook.

What separates the contenders from the pretenders? Let’s take a look at what the most popular online sportsbooks have in common.

The Odds

Good odds are the first thing I like to see. As a gambler, I know the percentages are against me. Anything I am able to do in an effort to mitigate the damage is important.

The most popular online sportsbooks all offer competitive odds. They know that this will attract more customers and swing on the fence players to their site.

Win, lose or draw the more customers an online sportsbook has, the more earning potential they have.

If you haven’t shopped around for the best odds, you should take a look, around different sites. You could find yourself saving quite a bit of money by doing a little bit of research.

Live Betting

In-play betting puts you in the middle of the action. This feature in particular is popular with NFL gamblers.

The ability to place bets as the action unfolds is paramount for a seasoned sports bettor.

Top tier online sportsbooks provide live betting and, as importantly, do so with little to no delay. Keeping you in the mix for all your favorite games.


Most online sportsbooks offer you opportunities to place bets on countless sporting events. You have your choice of everything from the Super Bowl to the Rock, Paper, Scissors World Championship and anything in between.

Sometimes I need a break from betting on which team will have more pass attempts in the 3rd quarter. In times like this it’s great to have another avenue with which to scratch the gambling itch. Selecting an online sportsbook that also offers an online casino scratches that itch.

An NCAA Football Play

I find it very refreshing to take my mind off the frustrations I sometimes feel with online sports betting by heading over for a few hands of blackjack.

Having all of these available to me in 1 place makes life much easier. In fact, some of the skills you learn as a sports bettor can be advantageous in casino games.

The most popular online sportsbooks all make the maximum effort to ensure you have the optimum bang for your gambling buck.

Simple Banking

All of the most popular online sportsbooks make deposits and withdrawals easy and secure. The ability to deposit money into your account and retrieve said money out in a timely manner is high on any bettors list of priorities.

While it is always advisable to carefully go through the withdrawal terms and conditions. You should always understand minimum thresholds and fees when choosing an online sportsbook.

The best sites will keep both of these to a minimum.

Full Disclosure

The most popular sites gain much of their legitimacy by being forthright regarding all of their terms of service and very clearly communicate their regulatory status.

In a perfect world all betting sites would be regulated by one financial authority or another.  You want this oversight, as it helps to keep you protected. 

You should find evidence of the company’s transparency on the website in the form of clear, intelligible information that is easy to locate.

For example, if you contact the site’s customer service department with any questions, you should be met with a response that is thorough and answers your questions directly. You should be extremely cautious with any company whose customer service representatives attempt to dance around a specific topic.

The most legitimate companies offering online sportsbooks will be sure any questions or concerns are met head on. It’s no secret that it costs companies twice as much money to gain a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer.


Essentially, popular online sportsbooks all maintain a similar aesthetic. Mostly because all the top sites employ the same software developers.

However, you are sure to notice that each of these sites have their own unique web design. The online sportsbook competition among companies is fierce. So, the individual sites strive to be as original and divergent as possible.

By building the sites to be largely customizable, allow the online casinos to adjust the site for you and your betting needs. They are able to use this to leverage their particular business needs and build their specific brand.


You should know that nearly all online sportsbooks offer some form of a cash bonus as a way to lure new players and retain existing players. Some of the offers you can find are extremely generous. So, unsurprisingly, all of the popular online sportsbooks shower players with wonderful bonuses.

One type of bonus you’ll find is the “no deposit”. Online sportsbooks will bait new customers with free cash with no deposit required.

I mean, who doesn’t love free money? This can be a great way to get a jump start on your online gambling career, but please read and understand the terms of a no deposit bonus.

Typically with this bonus you’ll be asked to register a credit card before claiming the free cash. The site is probably not trying to steal funds from your card. Many reputable online casinos use this as a safeguard against people poaching multiple bonuses.

It also can help the casino distinguish the players that sign up strictly to burn the bonus money from the legitimate player. Some online casinos also require players to make a small deposit before cashing out winnings from a no deposit offer, again due to bonus abuse from other players.

No deposit bonuses typically have wagering requirements and game restrictions that apply.

Stack of Money With a Ribbon and Bow

Another bonus you are likely to come across is the “matching deposit”.

This one is fairly straightforward. The casino will offer to match a percentage of a player’s deposit. So, let’s say, a casino offers you 150% and you make a $100 deposit, the casino will then deposit another $150 in your account.

Bonuses of this nature range from 10-250% and I have sometimes seen even higher matches. If you do receive this bonus offer, expect to be required to wager through your initial deposit and the bonus several times. Again, there will almost certainly be certain restrictions and wagering requirements.

The “sticky bonus” may at first make some players turn up their nose. After all, it doesn’t look as sexy at first glance.

A sticky bonus stays in your account. Forever. Period. You’ll never be able to draw this money out to put gas in your car or enjoy a nice dinner out.

So, what good is it? Well, with more money in your account you’ll be able to gamble longer. Gambling after all is a numbers game and if you’re playing slots your theoretical chances of hitting a jackpot go up with every pull. I’ve always found it’s easier to stack up a good pile of chips at the blackjack table with $500 than $100.

I’ve seen online casinos offer this type of bonus up to $400. Sticky bonuses sometimes don’t carry any wagering requirements. So, it may just be worth it for you.

The most popular online sportsbooks will offer their own variation of these bonuses. What they all have in common is that they are going to be towards the higher end of the spectrum in regards to the amount of bonus money players receive.


Online sports betting will continue to grow in popularity and is steadily edging more and more into mainstream society. I believe in the next decade it will not be uncommon for bettors in the U.S. to be able to go to a game of their favorite team and place a bet without ever getting up from their seat.

You may rest assured that in the future sites will add new incentives and even more personalized features in an effort to keep up with competition. Online sportsbooks are here and they will be an evergrowing part of our lives for the foreseeable future.