How to evaluate a betting site before you sign up

There are well over a hundred different betting sites to choose from, so how do you decide if any of them are going to be right for you and your needs? In this guide we will show you the questions you need to ask in order to determine whether that site is trustworthy and whether they are going to cover your unique needs as a part of the betting community.

Do they offer markets for the sports I want to bet on?

This is a fairly obvious question and it’s fairly pointless opening a new account if you can’t place a bet on your favourite sports once you’ve done so. Most, if not all bookmakers will offer odds on the two most popular sports for gamblers – they are football and horseracing so if this is where your interest lies; then you won’t have a problem.

Beyond this however, it’s important that you don’t assume that your favourite markets will be covered. Some bookmakers’ list of available sports is relatively small by comparison to others and in some cases, even some of the more popular markets such as cricket and rugby can be excluded from what they cover.

So before you sign up, head to the individual bookmakers’ home page and all the sports will be listed in full – you don’t have to sign up in order to access them.

Are they a reputable name?

Generally speaking, if a bookmaker’s name is very familiar to you as a person then you should be able to trust that brand. Those that have had licensed betting shops on the streets such as Ladbrokes and William Hill are practically household names and that should ease any concerns you have over trust and privacy.

Similarly, if a company has invested lots of money into a heavy TV advertising campaign – Bet365 and BetVictor are two prime examples – then their names will start to become familiar to you and you’ll eventually feel more comfortable about using them.

Do they offer a welcome bonus?

In order to get you to sign up to their site, nearly every single bookmaker will offer something in the way of a welcome bonus in order to attract your business. Usually, this comes as a free bet by way of a matched deposit bonus when you first add money into your account, and some can be far more generous than others.

So have a look through the offers and see which appeal to you the most: They may average out at around £25.00 in free bets while some can go as high as £50.00 and there really is no catch other than the fact that if you use that free bet and subsequently win, you only get your winnings back – not the stake money as well.

Otherwise, it’s just a marketing tool that the bookmakers use to get you on board – so make sure you take advantage of it!

Are there terms and conditions attached to this bonus?

Naturally, there will be certain rules placed on this welcome bonus so it’s important to check them before you proceed and deposit real money. However, as we’ve said before, it is a free bet and there is no real risk or catch associated with it.

Some bookmakers may stipulate that you have to wager that free bet against minimum odds of say Even Money. So if you want to make some easy money by backing a big odds-on favourite then it may not actually be possible to do this due to the rule.

Most, but not all will say that you have to play through your own money before claiming the bet. So, if you deposit £25.00 of your own money to claim a £25.00 bonus, you have to use all of your money first in one bet – you can’t just use £1.00 and start playing with the bookmakers’ money straight afterwards.

Can I get a no deposit offer?

Offers such as these are popular with some casinos but they are much rarer for sports bookmakers. However, it is worth searching for them as it’s great to use the site’s money (and hopefully win!) to try out that bookie and penultimately see if you want a lasting business relationship with them.

How can I be sure of getting the best odds?

No bookmaker is going to offer the lowest odds for every sporting market, 100% of the time but you can make sure that they offer consistently good and competitive prices, to keep attracting your business.

Naturally, you don’t want to check every single site; every time you want to make a bet. But fortunately, there is a range of comparison sites that you can find with a simple Google search whom do all the work for you.

Find a site and do some checks on a range of events and if your chosen bookmaker ranks consistently well then you know you’ll be making a good choice if you decide to join them.