As the book shopping season is in full swing we felt some helpful pointers should be covered on selecting the right book to fit your needs.
Question: The top question you should ask of your book is “Where are you located and how long have you been in business.”
Answer: Some of the best jurisdictions are Antigua, Curacao, Margarita Island, England, Australia and of course, Costa Rica. Some of the places that have had problems over the years include Venezuela, Dominican Republic and St. Kitts. The offshore industry has been alive and kicking for about 10 years – anyone telling you they have been around longer than this is not speaking of their operation offshore! The vast majority of books have surfaced in the last three years.
Question: Next in the questioning should be regarding money transfer and the fees associated with the sending and receiving of funds.
Answer: Every book will do Western Union and should do Bank Wires. Western Union, obviously is the quickest method and you can easily request your money back that way – after all, sending cash is just like getting cash back. However, larger sums of money will cost more to be sent to you. Most books will pick up the fees when you send them a deposit. Mastercard is almost a thing of the past offshore so its either Visa or money transfer methods such as NeTeller and PayPal. Both of these services have proven to be valuable to the gambler and a way to use more credit cards and your checking account to fund your sportsbook account.
Question: How often can you request a payout and how often do they actually do payouts?
Answer: The vast majority of books will let you request a payout seven days a week but most only pay out on certain days and certain times. It really varies here with most books paying out by noon Monday through Saturday. Same day payouts are more of a rarity than the norm, with much of the recent scams that have been perpetrated on the books. Generally your money can arrive to you within 48hrs.
Question: “What are your hours of operation?”
Answer: Ask about both wagering and customer service. During the NFL season many books will offer 24 hour wagering and should be open at least 10 hours per day for customer service. Look for a book that is open when you are used to putting your plays in.
Question: The Bonus.
Answer: Many books will be offering you the world to sign up or deposit. Be careful about too much of a good thing – though a 40% bonus looks good collecting it may be difficult. Which leads to . . .
Question: “WHAT ARE THE STIPULATIONS FOR GETTING THE BONUS!!! ??”
Answer: Yes in all caps! This is perhaps the most important question for you to insure that there are no problems when you go to withdrawal some of your winnings. Every book wants to see action – you will have to roll your money over (usually plus the bonus) two, three or up to five times before being able to withdrawal any of your original deposit. Most will also be looking to keep you as a client. Across the board is a 30-day stay, with regular action, policy.
Question: “What is the minimum deposit and what are the minimum and maximum wagers on the sides and totals?”
Answer: This will vary all across the board. Find a book that suits your needs. Keep in mind almost every shop has lower Internet minimums and maximums that over the phone. The industry standard over the phone is $300 minimum deposit and $50 wager over the phone, though many books are going with a $25 wager this year.
If you are still on the phone with them at this point, it gets to be time to ask the more difficult questions. Here is where customer service and professional clerks come into play. This will make or break an organization. The good clerks will know this information without having to put you on hold or get a supervisor.
Question: “When are your lines posted for next weekend’s games?”
Answer: If you are a line watcher or an early bettor this is extremely important. Last year many books were putting their lines up late Sunday night.
Question: “What are your teaser and parlay odds. ”
Answer: The industry standards are 10/13 on a two-team, 7-point teaser and 13:5 on two team parlays. If the clerk has to put you on hold or seems unsure and you plan on playing this type of action – get a supervisor to clarify before signing up!
Question: “Are their backup phone numbers and a backup website that I am able to use?”
Answer: The answer should be Yes and Yes. If the beginning of last season was a lesson to everyone with busy signals and disrupted websites and downed servers – it is to have backups!
The bottom line is to do your homework, as there is a good shop out there to fit anyone’s needs. Whether it is a FREE payout a week or reduced teaser juice, the right book can be found by asking the right questions. In addition, get feedback from others you know who play offshore and check with the various watchdog agencies. I simple email to one of these organizations could save you days of heartache after you ask for that first payout.