Betting 101: Choosing Your Bookmaker(s)


Opening your first bookmaker account can be a daunting process but this guide will help you by providing everything that you need to know.

There are literally hundreds of bookmakers around the world, regulated by a number of different bodies accepting clients from a varying range of countries. So what should you consider before choosing your bookmaker(s)?

There are the, let's call them, monetary concerns to consider of course, such as bonuses, competitiveness of odds, attitude to winners and so on but these will be addressed in a later article. For now I would like to discuss more practical matters, as the reliability of a bookmaker is at least as equally important as the competitiveness of their odds.

1. Does the bookmaker accept clients from your country of residence?

Bookmakers face battles to appeal to a global community. Each country imposes an individual set of regulations upon both the punters and the bookmakers ranging from complete freedom to a lockdown of all betting activities.
Before opening a bookmaker account ensure that you are familiar with the gambling laws in your country in particular:
- Are you permitted by law to gamble and;
- Are there any tax implications?
Bookmakers will usually maintain a list of those countries to whom they will not offer accounts in their terms and conditions, otherwise you’ll know if your country qualifies by whether or not it appears in the country list when inputting your address information. Whatever you do, DO NOT make up an address in an attempt to get an account, please see why in the article on KYC requirements

2. Are you able to make a deposit?

Whilst most bookmakers are able to offer a variety of deposit options, it is not true of all. Prior to signing up please check the bookmaker’s cashier options which are usually found in their terms and conditions or alternatively contact customer services (often accessible via a live chat feature). A full discussion of the various options that may be available can be found in the Deposit/Withdrawal section

3. How is the reputation of the bookmaker?

In an ideal world all bookmakers would be scrupulous and your money would be completely safe. Unfortunately this is not the case and there is a long list of hard luck stories dotted around the internet after bookmakers have closed and clients have lost their balance.
Whilst there is always the possibility of the unknown unknown occurring, by researching your potential bookmaker you are reducing the risk that you have in depositing with them.
Both Sportsbookreview and Bookmakersreview offer a ratings guide and although by no means comprehensive, it is a good place to start. These ratings, especially for bookmakers at the top should be taken with a pinch of salt as the ratings are often provided by the site itself rather than users, however any bookmaker which receives the lowest rating or no rating at all should be avoided. There are plenty of betting forums around where further information can be found. Pay close attention to bookmakers which have a reputation of tardiness with withdrawals, these are known as ‘slow pay’ bookmakers and this is often an early sign that the bookmaker may be in trouble.
Another warning sign is the frequent voiding of bets. Bookmakers are entitled to void genuine mistakes, such as bets placed on games that have already begun at pre-match odds, before they have become aware of what is going on. The industry is full of stories of punters having their genuine bets cancelled for spurious reasons, the more stories relate the a particular bookmaker, the more the reason to avoid it.

4. Does the bookmaker offer the sports that I would like to bet on?

Whilst all bookmakers will offer major sports and the top leagues within those sports, there is still a wide range in other offerings. Fancy betting on Mexican baseball? Head to Pinnacle. How about table tennis? Bet365 or Bwin are probably the place for you. Whatever your specialty, make sure that your potential bookmaker offers markets prior to enrolling.

We are passionate about improving all punters’ chances of being profitable in sports gambling and are open to answering any questions that you may have. Please send us a message if anything is unclear or if you would like information on a certain aspect of sports gambling, after all, if you are writing the question it is likely that many others are thinking it.