Tips on How to Find the Best New Betting Sites in 2021
So, you’re interested in finding a new betting site, are you?
Cool – I don’t blame you. A new anything is often more interesting and exciting than something routine.
However, before we get into the list of new sportsbooks and the details on how to find them, I want to tell you why established sportsbooks are better.
- They have a reputation, for better or worse. It’s easy to tell if they’re safe and legit …or not.
- They usually know what they’re doing. Business is hard, and if a sportsbook has been around for a few years, much less 10-20+, there’s no reason to think they won’t be around 10 years from now.
- They have the kinks worked out. They’ll have payment processing, their odds/prices, offers and so on, dialed in.
- They’ll usually understand that customer service is important, and will do a good job in this department.
Overall, regardless of whether the site is a top-shelf, must-join sportsbook, or worthy of the scrap heap, an established sportsbook will always be better, as there’s far less risk.
All of their cards are on the table. This makes it much easier to determine if you should join them.
I point this out because my recommendation is that you use an account at an established sportsbook (or three) before you join a brand-new bookmaker. You should have experience with how a legit betting operation runs so that you hold the new sportsbook you join to some standards.
I don’t expect everyone to follow this advice, though I tell you for your own good.
And that’s because humans crave novelty. And, we also like risk – even if it’s to our bankroll. So we’ll continue to check out new betting sites regardless.
And that’s okay, because as long as you know what you’re looking for, you can avoid shipping your bankroll to the blackhole that’s otherwise known as shady sportsbook-land.
We’ll get into what to look for in a minute.
But first, we want to show you the best new betting sites for 2021. If you want to find a new and legit betting site, but don’t want to do the hard work yourself, then I recommend choosing a sportsbook from the list below.
Want to Join a Brand-New Sportsbook? Here’s What to Look For
It’s risky to join a brand-new sportsbook. Most new companies simply don’t survive in the long run – and that’s a fact.
But even if it wasn’t a case of money, a poor USP, or even the product itself, most new sportsbooks are avoidable because they end up being scams.
I’m not sure why it is, but so many “businesses” exist purely to take your deposits. And when it comes time to pay you back out…?
“Sorry, sir – we won’t be able to pay you for several weeks or months, or at all, since – you know – you broke the terms and service that we added, like, 5 minutes ago.”
It’s ridiculous. This would never happen (for long) offline in any major country.
Anyway, we do our best to vet these sportsbooks with our reviews. But we don’t know of every sportsbook that launches, and we aren’t always able to review them as soon as they do launch.
In other words, maybe you’ve come across a sportsbook you’d like to check out, but you have no idea if they’re any good or not.
What do you do then?
It’s not going to be easy, but you’ll have to do a little research. You’ll find all the things we recommend looking for (which are things we do look for when writing our own reviews) when vetting a new sportsbook below.
I recommend setting aside an hour or three per sportsbook, depending on how much information about them exists online, as well as whether it makes sense to continue researching them after each of the following phases.
Phase #1 – Research the Company
The first phase is to research the company itself. You want to look at things like their background, who owns them, if and where they’re licensed, banking options, and so on.
If things don’t pan out here, then nothing else will matter. If they have a reputation for being slow about paying their customers, does it really matter if they offer reduced juice on MLB games?
What I mean is that, if things don’t pan out here, then you can cut your research short and save yourself time. Use that time to research a different sportsbook instead.
Let’s get into the specific company-related things that I recommend you research.
The Sportsbook’s Reputation
You want to find out what others think of them. This includes both customers and review sites.
For customer reviews, there are several places you can look:
- Review Sites
- Social Media
- Watchdog and/or consumer sites
For review sites, I recommend typing the sportsbook’s name + review into Google. Then click on the results you find on the first page or two.
If you already have a few review sites you know you can trust, I recommend just bookmarking those and using those for every sportsbook you’re thinking about joining.
The ones I often turn to include:
Regardless of where you look, you shouldn’t take anything you read as gospel, because places like forums and review sites have SOME bias, as they usually receive compensation for sending new customers to sportsbooks.
And as for everywhere else that customers lurk, you’ll find that many bettors are crybabies that will scream ‘scam’ whenever they lose.
You can’t trust either type of source 100%..
What you want to do instead is look for patterns. Because where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. One or two complaints of slow pays or voided winnings doesn’t mean much. But if most complaints revolve around one of those things (or anything else), you can probably put more weight behind it.
Last thing – never put much weight into reviews that give a betting site, much less a brand-new betting site, a perfect score.
When something looks too good to be true, it is.
The Parent Company
Something else you should look into is the parent company of the sportsbook. And if there is one, look at the management company, too. Especially if you can’t find any information about the sportsbook itself.
The reason you want to do this is because often the parent company is known for shady things. And if they have or launch multiple sportsbooks (while closing the shady ones once they become ineffective), that should come up during your research.
If nothing comes up about the sportsbook or the parent company, then do a little digging into any of the other gambling properties they might own. While it’s not a perfect approach, you can assume that how they run those properties (for better or worse) is similar to how they’ll run the new one.
Who They’re Licensed and Regulated By
The next thing I recommend looking into is whether the sportsbook is licensed. Most are, as it’s a pretty small hoop to jump through, relative to the potential amount of money they can make.
So you don’t want to just stop at IF they have a license. I also recommend finding out who the license is through. And that’s because each jurisdiction does things differently. Some are stricter than others, which is good for the player.
You can learn more about each jurisdiction and how strict/lax they are on our gambling laws page.
This doesn’t mean you need to pass on a sportsbook simply because they’re licensed in Costa Rica. But you should at least consider the jurisdiction when deciding to join a new sportsbook. The more lax a jurisdiction is, the less help you’ll receive if a new sportsbook screws you over.
The Banking Methods They Accept
You want to make sure the sportsbook has at least one banking method you can use for both deposits and cash-outs. But, preferably, they should have several in case any are removed.
We cover banking in detail elsewhere on the site, but I recommend making sure the sportsbook accepts credit/debit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers. Bitcoin is highly recommended, too – especially for Americans.
Beyond that, you want to see whether they charge fees and, if so, how much.
You also want to look at banking limits, especially cash-outs. And you want to see what the max you can win on a single bet is, and whether that’s paid to you all at once or in installments.
And… that’s it.
These are the most important things that I look for pertaining to the company itself. The most essential things are to make sure they’re not shady, and that they have banking options with reasonable limits and fees.
If all things check out here, you can move on to the next phase, where you’ll look at the sportsbook’s betting options and limits.
Phase #2 – Betting Options and Limits
Lots of sportsbook review sites would normally talk about promotions next. But I think that’s a bad move. You don’t join a sportsbook for their reduced juice, but for their sports coverage, betting options, and limits.
So those are the things that I recommend you research. The following section will go into more detail about what you should look for.
Their Sports/Market Coverage
It’s crazy how different sportsbooks are in terms of what sports and markets they cover.
Some sportsbooks cover the mainstream sports/leagues – baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey, etc.
Others will cover nearly everything under the sun. In addition to the mainstream sports, you can find more niched coverage that may include esports (video game betting), political betting, entertainment betting, handball, and so on.
Not only that, but some sportsbooks clearly cover some sports/markets better than others. You may find that one sportsbook has a great selection of soccer and golf options, but sucks at football and esports.
There’s not a right or wrong, per se – it comes down to what you want to bet on.
Types of Bets You Can Make
This is similar to sports/market coverage. Some sportsbooks will offer things like straight bets, handicaps, props, etc., while at others you’ll find Asian handicaps, parlays, futures, accumulators, and so on.
It comes down to knowing what you (may) want to bet on, and whether the sportsbook offers it.
You’ll also want to check into whether they offer live betting, if that’s something you’re interested in.
Do They Have Limits?
There are two things I recommend looking for here:
- What are their betting limits?
- Do they limit their players?
Some sportsbooks list what their betting limits are, while others do not. If they do list them, you’ll likely find them in their rules section, or in their terms and conditions.
Betting limits can vary wildly, ranging from a couple hundred bucks to tens of thousands of dollars. It will vary from sport to sport, and even from bet to bet. I’ve even seen some sportsbooks vary their limits from day to day.
Limits will also vary based on the player, as many sportsbooks limit winning/consistent bettors. Sometimes the sportsbook will make it pretty clear that they’re not interested in winners, whether by prohibiting arbitrage, or offering betting opportunities or offers that clearly appeal to recreational bettors.
If they don’t say that they limit winners, you might find something that says they reserve the right to limit players in their terms. Or maybe you’ll win some money and find out the hard way that your account has been capped.
Other times – as is the case at sportsbooks like Bovada – they offer two different sets of odds (dual lines). One is for recreational players, while the other is for sharps. It’s hard to tell when a sportsbook does this unless you find the information online, or are experienced enough to spot it when/if it happens to you.
Ultimately, whether a sportsbook has low limits or limits winners doesn’t have to keep you from betting there, though a sportsbook with fewer limits is generally better. But you do want to know beforehand to either take advantage of it before it happens to you and/or to keep your account in their good graces.
Another thing to consider is the sportsbook’s odds, or profit margin. This isn’t my strong suit, so I can only give you a general idea of what to look for.
What you want to aim for are profit margins in the 5% range. Some sportsbooks hit this or lower, while others are much higher.
The higher the profit margin is, the more you pay in fees. This cuts into YOUR profit margin.
Now, it’s not as cut and dry as “look for 5% margins.” A sportsbook’s profit margin will vary based on the sport/market and type of bet. So it’s helpful to know what types of bets you plan first so you can get an accurate number.
Those are the things I recommend looking for betting-wise. If everything looks good this far, the next two things I recommend looking into are the sportsbook’s offers and their software/features.
Let’s look at offers next.
Phase #3 – What Offers Can You Claim?
I think too many people worry about offers when scoping out a sportsbook, new or not. It’s hard to blame them, though.
Offers are exciting – who doesn’t want free money, cheaper bets, or other perks?
But it’s not as important as making sure the sportsbook is safe and honest, or that they have the banking options and betting opportunities you want, at reasonable limits.
Don’t forget that. Now, with that in mind – what do you need to know about sportsbook offers?
First, sportsbooks offer all sorts of promotions. Here are some of the perks you can expect to find:
- Welcome Bonus – usually a match offer reserved for first time depositors.
- Reduced Juice – get -105 lines instead of -110, for example.
- Free Bets – make a bet, either on a specific game or from your mobile device. If you lose, the sportsbook will pay you back up to so many dollars.
- VIP Program – receive points for every $X you wager. Points can be turned in for cash back, and/or used to determine your VIP status, and thus the perks you can claim.
- Reload Deposits – similar to welcome bonuses, except that they’re for existing customers.
- Refer-a-Friend – receive a flat fee, or percentage of your friend’s deposit or deposit bonus, for every real-money bettor you send to the casino.
Those are the most common. But you’ll also see variations of these offered for a specific sport, league, game, etc.
There are unique offers, too. I’ve seen tournament brackets, parlay contests, insurance bets, etc. But those vary from book to book, and is too in-depth to address here.
There’s not a right or wrong as far as offers go. It comes down to what you want to claim.
Personally, I’d look for a reduced juice deal that’s long-term (like the life of your account), similar to 5Dimes. Other than that, I’d look for a VIP program.
I’d much rather have long-term perks than have all the money upfront. Especially since most sportsbook deposit bonuses are relatively small.
But, as I said, the choice is yours. If you’re not sure what types of offers you’re most interested in, I suggest reading our promotions page that tells you more about different kinds of offers, how they work, and so on.
This page will also explain how playthrough terms work.
That’s important because these vary so much from book to book. For example, I’ve seen sportsbook that require a 5x rollover on the bonus – which is pretty standard – and I’ve seen others that want a 10x the deposit AND bonus – which is 4x as much (assuming the dollar amount is the same).
Do you see what I mean?
And the more you have to wager before you can cash out, the more risk there is that you won’t have anything to cash out because of variance (losing). So, all things being equal, you want the smaller playthrough.
But that’s not all.
Most sportsbooks also spell out how small/big the odds you need to bet on are. And you’ll often be told how much you can bet total, the max you can win, and so on.
It’s hard to spell all of this out for you here. But you’ll want to check the terms out for every offer you think you want to claim, and at the very least, make sure you’re up to the task of clearing it.
Otherwise, double check that the sportsbook will let you waive the offer when you make your deposit (and, more importantly, the proper way to do that).
Phase #4 – What Are Their Software and Features Like?
Alright, last up – software and features.
These are some of the things I look for regarding a sportsbook’s software and features.
Do They Offer Mobile Betting?
Is the sportsbook mobile responsive? Can you view it, much less place bets and handle anything else you need to, from your phone or tablet? Are all features and offers available to mobile users?
Most sportsbooks are mobile responsive, but not all of them do a good job of it. So it’s important you double check this BEFORE you sign up and make a deposit.
Some sportsbooks offer native apps, too, even if their site is mobile responsive. Their native apps will likely perform better than their browser sportsbook – though whether the difference is notable varies. But they may have extra features not available to mobile browser users, which may make using the app important to you.
If They Offer Live (In-Play) Betting, Then Do They Offer Live Streaming?
If they offer live betting, do they offer live streaming too? Some sportsbooks do, some don’t.
I’m not sure the proper name for it, but many sportsbooks offer the virtual play-by-play instead of the live streaming.
That’s not the same thing, in my opinion. If I want to watch live streaming, then I want to be able to watch the game – not some delayed, virtual alternative.
But whether that’s a big deal or not is up to you.
If the sportsbook DOES offer live streaming, you’ll also want to see if they have any limits or restrictions to using it.
Many sportsbooks require that you at least have a real money account. Others will want you to have a certain amount of money in your account, while others say it’s okay that you have nothing, as long as you made a bet within the last 24 hours.
Others will require the real money account, whether you have money in it or not, for the sportsbook. But then they WILL want money in your account if you plan to watch the horses.
It varies from sportsbook to sportsbook. So make sure to read their terms or rules or live betting page. The info should be there.
And, if not, you can always contact support.
Early Cash Outs
Another neat feature some sportsbook offer is the option to cash out your bet early.
The idea behind this feature is twofold:
- To limit your losses, cash out your bet early when your prediction isn’t going the way you want.
- Cash out your bet early to collect some profit now rather than later (or not at all).
In addition to this feature, some sportsbooks will also give you the option to cash out a portion of your bet, while leaving the rest on your original bet.
It’s a pretty neat option, if you can find it.
And… that wraps it up for what I recommend that you look for in a sportsbook.
One Other Thing to Remember
Now before we conclude everything below, I want to point something out – something that’s important to keep in mind while researching new betting sites.
Despite some of my negativity about new sites, I do think it’s important to cut them some slack in a few areas.
- Their promotions
- Their sports and market coverage, betting options and odds
- Their cash-out, win, and/or betting limits
Well, in most areas, I guess.
In other words, a new sportsbook is just that – brand new. And unless they’ve launched several sportsbooks already – in which case, I don’t think they have any excuses – then I wouldn’t be so hard on them. They’re probably just figuring stuff out, or adding different options and features as they go.
That doesn’t mean you need to sign up now. I mean, if you really want to use Bitcoin or a reduced juice promotion, and they don’t have it, then don’t join. You don’t need to make yourself miserable.
However, that doesn’t mean you should write them off permanently, because they might offer those things in the near future.
If there’s anything you should take away from this page, it’s this:
New sportsbooks are risky, and if you want to join a new gambling site, it’s important that you do your due diligence to make sure that casino is safe, and that they have what you’re looking for.
Otherwise you run the risk of getting screwed over.
Now, if this sounds like a lot of work, you can always refer to our list at the top of this page. We’ve already reviewed each sportsbook listed. You can read each review to see what each book offers, and what our thoughts are about each one.
Of course, if nothing appeals to you, then there’s nothing wrong with waiting, either. There’s always a new sportsbook launching or about to launch. You don’t need to be in a rush.
Don’t forget that. Please.
But if you do see something you like, and you’ve done your due diligence, then go for it. Despite the risks and their many faults, many newer sportsbooks are going to be better than many existing sportsbooks in that, from the get-go, they’re more likely to adapt to new tech, mobile sites/apps, and features.
Just make sure you do your homework first, and continue to keep your ear to the ground by joining forums and finding a few review sites you can trust
Do this, and you’ll increase your chances of finding a legit new betting site you enjoy using day in and day out.