Best US Sports Betting Sites for 2018

Did you know that the best online sports betting sites are owned and operated by huge public companies? These are the sites that everyone knows can be trusted. No one needs to worry about whether they’ll get paid their winnings, or whether their credit card details are secure. These sites are safe to use.

This is obviously great news for those who bet online. Or for MOST of them, at least. It’s not so great for Americans, as these sites don’t accept customers from the US. Why? Because of the legal situation. The United States hasn’t legalized and regulated online betting, and the big sites typically choose not to operate in unregulated environments.

We explain this in more detail further down the page. For now, the point we’re trying to make is simply that the options are a little limited when it comes to online betting from America.

It’s not all bad news, though! There are no legal betting sites within the United States, but there ARE some offshore sportsbooks that are perfectly happy to accept US customers. In fact, there are lots of them. The only problem is that you never know what you’re getting. There are some sites that can be trusted, but there are also some sites that are better off avoided. Some are genuinely top quality, while others are pretty poor.

Separating the good from the bad is not an easy task, but it’s not something you need to stress about. We’ve done the work for you and put together the following list of recommended US betting sites. These are currently the best sites around!

RankBetting SiteDeposit BonusGet Started
#1SportsBetting.ag Logo
SportsBetting.ag
50% Up To $1,000Visit Site
#2BetOnline Logo
BetOnline
50% Up To $1,000Visit Site
#3Bovada Logo
Bovada
50% Up To $500Visit Site
#4GTbets Logo
GTbets
100% Up To $1,000Visit Site

Now, anyone could compile a list of online sportsbooks and label them the best around. Why exactly should you trust our recommendations?

The answer is simple; this is what we do. The primary purpose of GamblingSites.com is to help our readers find the best and most suitable gambling sites. The clue is in the name! Sure, we provide a ton of other information and advice, too. Ultimately, though, recommending where to bet and play is our main focus.

Our rankings are ALWAYS accurate and up to date. We put an enormous amount of time and effort into ensuring this. We carry out extensive research into hundreds of different sites, and then thoroughly test the ones that make the shortlist. Each and every one of our recommendations has been personally vetted by us, and we’re experienced enough to know which sites are good enough to be considered one of the best.

If you’re looking for an online sportsbook to join today, we’re confident that the ones listed here are the best around. So put your faith in us, pick one of our recommendations, and get signed up. We promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Not quite ready to take the leap and sign up somewhere? Maybe the rest of the information on this page can help. Here’s what we cover.

Issues of Safety and Legality

We hear from a lot of Americans who want to bet online. Many of them have concerns about the safety and/or legality of online betting and want our thoughts on these issues before they get started. Because these are such common concerns, we figured we should address them here, too.

Since you’re reading a page about US betting sites, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re an American. We can also probably assume that you’re aware that sports betting is only fully legalized in the state of Nevada. You might not know all about the relevant laws, though, so let’s start with them.

First, let’s address the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. This is federal legislation that made it illegal to operate certain types of betting businesses. It also made it illegal to take wagers via wire communication (which basically meant the telephone). It did NOT make it illegal for an individual to place wagers, though.

Next, we have the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This is also federal legislation and it was passed in 1992. It made it illegal for individual states to operate or authorize sports betting of any kind. Nevada was made exempt, as were a couple of other states which are allowed to offer limited forms of betting.

Interesting Fact

The purpose of PASPA was to protect sports against the potential influence of gambling. That was the claim, anyway.

 

The act was supported by some of the most powerful men in American sports, including Paul Tagliabue, the NFL commissioner at the time. They were worried that widespread gambling on American sports could lead to corruption and game fixing, and that something like the Black Sox Scandal could happen again. That’s an incident from back in 1919, when players from the Chicago White Sox were accused of purposely losing the World Series after being paid off by gamblers.

Just like the Wire Act, PASPA did not make it illegal for an individual to place a sports wager. This is important, and you’ll find out why shortly.

Neither PASPA nor the Wire Act directly address placing wagers over the internet. Why? Because they were both introduced before online betting even existed. The Department of Justice, however, has stipulated that the Wire Act DOES apply to those who provide online betting services. This means it’s illegal to operate a sports betting site from within the United States, and it’s one of the reasons why many of the biggest sites don’t accept US customers.

Here’s the thing, though: sportsbooks that are based overseas don’t have to comply with PASPA and the Wire Act. They only have to comply with the relevant laws where they’re based. So if they’re operating in a jurisdiction where online gambling is legalized and regulated, are they actually breaking any laws? It’s not really clear.

What is clear is that you’re unlikely to get in any legal trouble for using an offshore sportsbook. As we stated earlier, neither the Wire Act nor PASPA makes it illegal for you to do so. So how can you be breaking the law? We’re not lawyers, and this shouldn’t be considered as legal advice, but we’re pretty sure you can bet online without worrying about getting arrested.

To summarize, here’s what we make of the legal issues surrounding online betting in the United States.

  • It IS illegal to operate a betting site within US borders.
  • Offshore sportsbooks are operating legally if they comply with their local laws.
  • It’s NOT illegal for an individual to use an offshore sportsbook.

The issue of safety is a lot easier to address. There are some risks involved in online betting, for sure, but we firmly believe that it’s possible to ensure your own safety by taking a few simple precautions. The most important precaution is to use the right sportsbooks (such as those we recommend above). We have covered the other steps you need to take in our article on online betting safety.

Attributes and Qualities of Our Recommended Sportsbooks

We already told you that we consider the sportsbooks listed above to be the best options for US residents. We haven’t told you exactly WHY, though, so let’s take care of that right now.

First and foremost, our recommendations all meet the following criteria:

  • Licensed by an appropriate governing body
  • Operating legally within a recognized online gambling jurisdiction
  • Trustworthy and reputable
  • Safe to use

We would NEVER recommend a site that’s operating illegally or that’s not properly licensed. Before we recommend a site, we must be confident that it is both safe and trustworthy. We take the above list of qualifications very seriously.

But a sportsbook isn’t necessarily great just because it’s licensed, trustworthy, and safe. It also needs to perform well in other key areas. Here are some of the attributes and qualities we look for when compiling our rankings.

Extensive coverage of sports and events

As an absolute minimum, a US betting site should cover the NFL, the NBA, and the MLB. That goes without saying. These are the major sports leagues in America, and the ones that attract the most interest.

We like to see more extensive coverage, though. College football and college basketball should be covered in addition to the professional leagues. Soccer, golf, tennis, boxing, and MMA are all popular among American bettors these days, so they should definitely be included. We also appreciate when sites cover the less mainstream sports and events, too.

Several banking options and reliable processing

This is super important. A lot of offshore sportsbooks are terrible when it comes to processing deposits and withdrawals, and that can be incredibly frustrating. Waiting too long for a deposit to go through is a hassle, but waiting forever to get your winnings paid out is even worse.

To be fair, it’s not easy to process online gambling transactions for US customers. The legal situation we outlined earlier means it can be a real challenge. There’s actually a piece of legislation called the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that makes it illegal for US banks and financial institutions to handle such transactions.

Nonetheless, the better sites find a way to deal with this challenge. They offer at least a few different options for depositing funds, and they usually get deposits processed without any problems. They focus a lot of their attention on making sure the payout process is as painless as possible, too. You won’t necessarily get your money in just a day or two, but you won’t be forced to wait weeks on end, either.

We particularly like to see sites accept Bitcoin these days. Using Bitcoin for deposits and withdrawals is a great method for online gamblers in the US, so we always look to see if this option is available. Check out our guide to Bitcoin gambling if you’re not familiar with this banking method.

Competitive odds and lines

A good sportsbook should offer competitive odds and lines. We don’t expect them to have the best odds and lines for every single market, but they should at least be close most of the time. This is something that directly affects how much you win, so it’s obviously important.

Attractive bonuses and rewards

Bonuses and rewards that offer genuine added value can be a great boost to your bankroll and are well worth taking advantage off. A lot of sites are very generous in this regard, but some are not. We obviously prefer the more generous ones.

An important point to note here is that the size of the bonuses and rewards is not the only thing we consider. Receiving a $1,500 bonus that comes with ridiculous wagering requirements and very little time to meet them isn’t as valuable as it appears. A smaller bonus with better terms is actually more beneficial.

Good customer support

This is something that often gets overlooked, but we think it’s important for two reasons. First, there are a variety of different situations that may cause you to need assistance. Perhaps you’ll have a problem logging into your account, or have some other kind of technical issue. Maybe you’ll have a question about a wager you want to place, or one about a recently requested cash-out. Such questions should be answered quickly and efficiently by a friendly customer support staff.

Second, we believe that the quality of customer support ANY company provides says a lot about what they think of their clients. Good customer support typically means that they genuinely care about them, while bad customer support suggests the opposite.

These may be the most important qualities and attributes we look for in a site, but they’re not the only ones. If you’d like a more detailed explanation of how we make our recommendations, please take a look at the following article:

Online Betting vs. Other Ways to Bet

The main purpose of this page is obviously to help those who are looking for somewhere to bet online. But what if you don’t want to bet online for some reason? What other options do you have?

Unfortunately, your options are limited. As we’ve already explained, sports betting is pretty much outlawed throughout the United States. Outside of using an online sportsbook, you’re basically limited to the following:

  • Betting with friends
  • Using an illegal bookmaker
  • Visiting Nevada

Betting with friends

Betting with friends can be a lot of fun, and you might even win some money. It’s not much of an option if you’re serious about your betting, though.

What happens if you want to place a three-team parlay? Are any of your friends going to take that wager with the high potential pay-out? Probably not. And what do you do if you want to back the Steelers for an upcoming game, and all of your friends want to back them, too? You can’t bet with each other when you want to back the same outcome.

Using an illegal bookmaker

We’ve included this as an option, but it’s not one we recommend. In fact, we strongly advise AGAINST using illegal bookmakers. Even if you manage to find a “trustworthy” one that provides a good service, there’s a good chance that he (or she) will get busted one day. That might happen just after you’ve had a good win, which means you’ll never get to see your money.

That aside, the fact is that you’ll knowingly be engaged in an illegal activity. Are you really prepared to do that just to place a few wagers? We’re passionate about sports betting too, but we’d rather not bet at all than break the law. It’s just not worth the risk.

Visiting Nevada

This is the most sensible option on our list. Nevada is full of sportsbooks that are 100% legal, and some of them are excellent venues. Here’s a picture of one of our favorites, the Mirage Race and Sports Book.

Sportsbook at the Mirage in Las Vegas

There aren’t many places better for watching and betting on sports, to be honest. The 85’ HD projection screens are always showing the latest events, there are plenty of betting options available, and there’s usually a great atmosphere here. You can even reserve VIP seating for little more than a hundred bucks, and that includes unlimited drinks throughout the day. What’s not to like?

Well, there’s one thing, actually. If you don’t live close to Nevada, you can’t just pop into the Mirage any time you want to place a wager. A trip to Nevada needs to be planned and organized and comes at a cost. It’s not exactly a practical solution for someone who wants to bet regularly.

Realistically, using an online sportsbook is the ONLY practical solution for those who wish to bet regularly.

Online betting is accessible, convenient, and offers a ton of other advantages, too. Still not sure if it’s the right way to go? Try reading the following article. If this doesn’t convince you, then nothing will.

More Recommended Betting Sites

It’s possible that you want more than “just” a good all-around sportsbook that accepts US customers. Maybe you’ve got some specific requirements or some personal preferences that are important to you. We get that, which is why we’ve also ranked the best betting sites in a variety of specific categories.

Here are some of the most popular categories we cover:

We’ve also compiled rankings of the best sites for betting on some specific sports events. Here are a couple of examples:

You can find a full list of the categories we cover on the following page: