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There are a number of traditional sports betting sites that could claim to offer the best online sportsbook. The industry is dominated by familiar brands that have a background in retail betting and other firms that only operate online. Potential new customers must assess the features on each site to determine the best online sportsbook for their needs.

Some bettors are attracted by lucrative welcome offers and dynamic concessions for existing customers, while others want to place bets at the best odds. The quality of customer service and the range of banking methods are other factors that bettors consider when identifying the best online sportsbook. A fully functional mobile app for the most common devices is another measure of quality.

Sports Betting Welcome Offers

One of the indicators of the best online sportsbook is the value of the welcome offer. The established brands all offer potential new customers an incentive to open an account, deposit funds and begin betting. Welcome bonuses can also be judged on the transparency of the Terms & Conditions and whether the offer is easily achievable. Staking and odds restrictions are integral to the ease with which new customers can claim bonuses when they open an account.

Licensing authorities monitor fairness in welcome offers, and the best online sportsbook will comply with the guidelines required by their license. There is a cost associated with compliance and firms looking to be seen as the best online sportsbook will invest in meeting the requirements. Here are three types of welcome offers that can be informative for gamblers looking to identify the best online sportsbook from the leading operators in the industry:

Matched Deposit Bonus

Some welcome offers credit the bonus once a customer makes a deposit after registering an account. If the qualifying deposit and bonus are for the same value, the welcome offer is a 100% matched deposit bonus. The best online sportsbook will offer a higher bonus than the deposit. Some operators offer €/$/£30 in the form of free bets after a deposit of just €/$/£10. This is an example of a 300% matched deposit bonus. A bonus can be for up to €/$/£100 in the form of bet tokens, which means the player must deposit €/$/£100 for a 100% matched deposit bonus.

Matched Bet Bonus

Other welcome offers credit the free bet bonus once the first bet has been settled. If the bonus is for the same value as the qualifying bet, it is a 100% matched bet bonus. The bonus is half the first bet, the offer is a 50% matched bet bonus. If the bonus is twice the first bet, the offer is a 200% matched bet bonus. Firms who are trying to become established as the best online sportsbook will provide a bonus that is of greater value than the qualifying bet. Generally, there are timescales during which the first bet must be placed to qualify for the free bets, and the free bets have to be used before they are lost.

Matched Deposit and Bet Bonus

Another type of bonus is related to the total of the first deposit and bonus. This type of bonus is not typical of firms who are perceived to be the best online bookmaker. If the deposit and qualifying first bet are both for €/$/£10 and the bonus is for €/$/£20, we have a 100% matched deposit and bet bonus. If the total of the deposit and first bet has to be rolled over several times at minimum odds the welcome offer is not attractive. However, this type of bonus is not typical of firms who could be considered to be the best online sportsbook because the rules are too restrictive.

Other Sports Betting Promotions

Some online bookmakers focus on providing new customers with a generous welcome offer. Competitors concentrate resources on dynamic bonuses for existing customers. These ongoing bonuses are sometimes sport and event specific. The range of promotions for existing customers is a good indicator of the quality of a service and whether an operator can claim to be the best online sportsbook. These offers are heavily promoted online and in the mainstream and sporting media.

Once a bookmaker has acquired a new customer, the objective is to ensure loyalty with a range of ongoing offers for current players. These offers have a window during which customers can take advantage, but the timescale is limited. The best online sportsbook will continually introduce offers across several sports and events. Here are three common sports specific concessions for existing customers:

Sports Betting Extra Places 

Some leading bookmakers offer extra places for major horse races over the jumps and on the Flat. Each way bets are settled in line with industry standards, and the place terms depend on the type of race and number of runners. The best online sportsbook will offer extra places for many big races during the season. The Grand National is a handicap with more than 16 runners, so the standard terms are one quarter the odds for the first four places. It is common for bookmakers to offer one or two extra places for this race. Firms who are trying to be seen as the best online sportsbook will still offer one quarter the odds when they promote extra places.

Sports Betting Acca Insurance

One of the most popular football bets is the accumulator. Customers combine the winner of four fixtures or more and the odds are multiplied to calculate the return. This bet provides the potential for a decent win for a small stake. However, each selection must win for the bet to be successful. It’s very frustrating to pick six teams, and five prevail. Some bookmakers provide insurance against one losing selection in an acca with a refund in the form of a free bet. In some cases, the free bet must be used for another accumulator, but the best online sportsbook will allow the customer to use the free bet on any sports market without restrictions on winnings.

Sports Betting Acca Bonus

Another accumulator related concession is a bonus on winning bets. There is a scale of bonuses based on the number of selections in the bet. The bonus usually applies for four folds up to 15 folds and higher, and the range is from 5% to 100%. That means if a customer correctly predicts 15 match results, the winnings will be doubled as part of the acca bonus promotion. Some bookmakers put a limit on the stake and the maximum return, and these limits appear in the Terms & Conditions. Operators who are seen as possibly the best online sportsbook will not apply such limits.

Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling in a major topic in the Press and there have been many negative stories. Bookmakers now have to be seen to be committed to responsible gambling. The best online sportsbook will work towards the objective with procedures that help problem gamblers control their betting. Self-exclusion and daily betting limits are positive steps to ensure responsible gambling and the best online sportsbook will put these procedures in place to back up statements about this issue.

Customer Service

Online bookmakers offer an extensive Help facility and a FAQ section. However, some customers prefer to contact a member of the support team to discuss issues and receive the answer to questions. The best online sportsbook will display contact details and offer Live chat. Ideally, customer service departments should be available 24 hours a day, and firms considered to be the best online sportsbook will offer a full service. Customers have the option to contact the department by phone, email and live chat.

Payment Methods

Bookmakers allow customers to make deposits and withdraw funds with credit and debit cards, e-Wallets, Bank Transfer and prepaid. Deposits are immediate and free while withdrawals are subject to delays but don’t carry a charge. The number of banking methods is an indicator of quality, and this is an essential factor when potential new customers are looking for the best online sportsbook. Fast payments are important and build trust in the best online sportsbook.

Mobile App

There are now more sports bets placed on mobile devices than desktop computers. The best online sportsbook will have downloadable apps for Android and iOS devices and a website version of the app. The best mobile apps are easy to navigate and must be fully functional. Operators looking to be the best online sportsbook offer decent apps for the leading mobile devices. Speed and ease of use are key factors for customers placing bets using mobile devices.

Closing Comments

The best online sportsbook will offer a generous welcome bonus, lucrative ongoing concessions for current players and effective banking and customer support systems. Many bookmakers are trying to be recognized in that way, which means there is a great deal of competition in the race to be the best online sportsbook.