A 10 Point Guide to Online Betting in the US and Canada

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you will have noticed that sports betting is now a legal form of entertainment in the US. That’s right, you can now legally place bets on baseball at bookmakers in 30 different states and at online bookmakers in 18 different states. 

But did you know that Canada is not far behind? 

Last year a bill was passed in the Canadian Senate to allow single event sports betting. That means Canadians can bet on the winner of the Super Bowl, every Major League Baseball game, National Hockey League, UK Premier League football and just about any and every other sport you can think of.

The legalisation of sports betting for our northern neighbours has been a catalyst for the launch of a regulated gambling market in Canada, opening up province by province, much like the US is opening up state by state. This means soon private betting firms like PointsBet, Bet365 and theScore will be in operation. 

The first to go is Ontario whose market will be live on 4thApril. 

All things considered North America is very much primed for a gambling revolution in the next decade. And with that in mind, we thought we’d help those new to the game with this 10-point guide to betting online.

1. Get Free Bets

The first thing you’ll notice if you type in ‘US online sports betting sites’ to Google is that there is a lot of choice. And it’s a competitive market – all those betting operators want your business. And they are prepared to splash the cash to get it. Analysts believe that in New York in the first month of wagering since the regulated market opened in January operators have lost millions from paying out free bets to new customers. 

They don’t mind though – once you are signed up, you’ll keep spending and they will re-coup that money. 

Free bets are the currency of online sportsbooks. As sites compete for your business this is a great time to grab them, wherever you are based. So don’t miss out. They are usually in the form of a match bonus – say, deposit $500 and get $500 free bets – or a risk-free bet – if you lose you get your money back. Some New York operators are literally offering $1,000s to each customer as an incentive to join.

We repeat – now is a great time to sign up!

2. Apps vs Websites

In the mobile age there are two ways to gamble online – via a website or via an app. The markets are the same on both but downloading an app onto your phone gives you direct access to bets with one click from your home screen. 

Most sportsbooks want you on their app though. It means they can send you alerts easily about new betting options and promotions. So, it’s worth considering downloading one of those apps once you’ve signed up to a sportsbook. 

3. Bet Responsibly

Playing responsibly is a big part of gambling online. With bets available at the touch of a button you can easily find yourself spending more than you can afford. There are multiple tools in every gamblers account to help them budget each month, including time-outs, deposit, wager and loss limits, self-exclude options and links to addiction charities. If you ever feel you are spending too much time and money on betting then make sure you take a break or seek help.

4. So Much Choice

It is a feature of online betting sites that there will be an overwhelming choice of markets to browse. You can bet on sports in every continent, country and city across the globe, from National Hockey League to Premier League Soccer, Indian Premier League Cricket, and every level of every sport imaginable. 

Don’t be overwhelmed by the choice and tempted to bet on everything. Stick to what you know. And do your research. There are plenty of online guides to the different betting opportunities in each sport. This page gives an outline of the basic betting opportunities in ice hockey for example. And there are plenty more like it if you are prepared to look around. 

5. Bet At Licensed Sportsbooks

Betting is opening up thanks to regulation in the US and Canada. That means licensing bodies are handing out licenses to betting operators who have been vetted to ensure they provide fair, safe and secure gambling. Make sure that you only play at sites which display their license information on their pages. 

You can find a list of US regulators here

6. In-Play Markets

One of the most exciting aspects of betting on a baseball, football or hockey game online is in-play markets. These allow you to bet on the action as it happens. For example, what minute will the next touchdown happen, will there be another home run, how many goals will be scored before half time. The list is endless.

In-play bets are made and settled within the game time. It’s a sports bettors paradise … or downfall. So enjoy, but beware!

7. How To Deposit

Getting money into your betting account online can be done in a number of ways. Visa and Mastercard are the most popular but there are countless alternatives, including eWallets like Paypal, mobile phone services like Apple Pay, Google Pay and BOKU, and pre-paid cards like Paysafecard. 

Each option has different pros and cons so take some time to read up and find out which is the best for you. Some may charge a small fee, others are quicker to process withdrawals, and others are best for mobile betting fans. 

8. Mobile Casinos

As we have already mentioned, mobile betting is what it’s all about in online gambling. It’s not just sports books that you can gamble online with. Casinos are also huge, and whilst not all the States and Provinces where sports betting is live have legalised casinos yet, most will in time. 

The most popular mobile gambling products for casino players are the video slots. There are literally 1,000s to choose from, including progressive jackpots with prizes of $1,000,000s to be won. Alternatively, you can play at tables with live dealers. Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and Craps all feature at most virtual casinos with action streamed from game studios across the world. It is one area of online gambling that everyone should try.

9. VIP Programs

Free bets are being dished out in the millions right now, and for those who go on to spend significantly, the party will continue! VIP programs are a big feature of online sportsbooks and casinos. Those who spend enough are treated to exclusive tickets to big sporting events like the Superbowl, as well as exclusive free bet promotions, personal account management, increase wagering limits, access to new games before they go live, super-fast withdrawals and lots of other benefits. 

So, if you are spending big (probably more than $1,000 a month at least) then look for information about VIP programs on the site you bet with or wait for a call from their VIP manager. They should be more than ready to offer top tier hospitality. 

10. Odds Comparison

Finally, the wave of online betting opportunities in the US and Canada will come with many new ‘odds comparison’ sites. These are websites that collate the latest live odds from all the licensed online bookmakers in your state or province so that you can pick the best value. Comparison sites are huge in the UK and Europe and they will be here too. Just type in ‘odds comparison’ to Google and you’ll see what we mean!

Those are 10 points you need to know before you start betting online. Keep them in mind to get the most out of this exciting time for sports fans.