5 things to check before opening an online betting account
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Getting going in the world of online sports betting is an exciting but complicated prospect. There are lots of operators out there, all offering different services and promotions. So how do you know what you're looking for and where to take your business?
#1 Which bookmaker offers the best bonus?
The best bookies reward new customers setting up an account on their site with a welcome bonus. The right promo code can double your first deposit amount or get you free spins on selected games.
Take Bet365, for example, who offer a range of enhanced bonuses when you sign up with a special promo code.
Similarly, the current welcome offer for new sports betting customers on Ladbrokes is Bet £5 Get £20 with the bonus code BETMAX.
Bonuses are pretty good for getting started, but it's worth noting that you usually have to stake the sum of your deposit and bonus several times in order to withdraw any of the bonus funds.
#2 Can I bet from my phone?
Most operators have optimized their websites for mobile and tablet viewing and offer betting by text and phone, but the best have high-quality mobile apps compatible with most smart devices.
The William Hill's sportsbook mobile app has all the same features that you find on the website, from account management to live in-play betting. The apps extras include the Top Bets list showiug what everyone else is betting on at the moment and the Racing Post tab for the best racing bets by horse, jockey and trainer.
The Bet365 live sports betting app is another good one, but it doesn't currently offer any special mobile promotions, so although it makes betting from your mobile easy, it doesn't get rewarded.
There are a lot of good apps out there for iPhone and iPad users, but what about Android? William Hill and Bet365's sports betting apps are available on Android.
#3 Do they cover the sports I want to bet on?
Don't assume that every bookie will offer odds on your favourite sport. Football, tennis and horse racing are usually givens but you can't count on every operator to include sports like water polo and sailing.
William Hill has one of the broadest ranges of sports available for betting. As well as horse racing, football, tennis, cricket, golf and greyhounds, there are nearly 30 other sports including hurling, bandy and handball.
Bet365 is another strong contender, covering odds on less popular sports like wrestling, surfing and trotting as well as more unusual things like award shows and politics.
Of course, you have to remember that an operator can only provide odds if there are matches happening. So although you might see lots of sports listed, some of them might rarely have any available action.
#4 Will I get more if I bet more?
It's worth checking out what kind of rewards an operator is offering in the long run once the welcome rewards are spent up.
Coral offers a lot of accumulator bet insurance deals on football, tennis and golf as well as some attractive money-back offers for when your bet loses narrowly. A bet of six folds that loses by one result, for example, would be refunded by up to £25. A good deal, but only if your loss falls within in strict boundaries.
Ladbrokes offers quite a few special promotions on football bets, such as price boosts and special countdown offers in the run-up to major tournaments, meaning that playing more might get you more in the long term.
#5 Are the odds the same everywhere?
Each bookmaker decides their own odds, so taking a look before you choose an operator can be a good idea. Ask yourself which sports you're most likely to be betting on, then see how your favoured operator's odds compare to the competition.
Sometimes you'll find that a newer or less well-known bookie will offer more competitive odds, so don't limit yourself to the main players on the market.
As you can see, there's not always a huge difference between bookies and, even if an operator offers good odds on one bet, it doesn't mean that'll always be the case. So if you're looking for a long-term bookmaker, there are more important things to consider like the four points above.