Joining an online sportsbook is, on average, such a simple process that you can be placing your first bet within 15 minutes of starting to create your account. While it’s a relatively straight forward process, we’ll give you the ins and outs and breakdown some of the more important aspects you should be aware of when signing up at an online sportsbook.

First, to set up an account, you will need to provide a few common pieces of personal information:

  • full name
  • current address
  • date of birth
  • current email address
  • telephone number

Depending on which website you’ve selected, you could also be prompted to create a username, or a user ID may be provided to you. If you are making your own username, be sure it’s something you can remember and won’t hate in a year, because you won’t be able to change it. If the ID is provided to you, be sure to keep it stored in a secure location so you won’t forget it.

Obviously, you’ll also need a password to accompany and protect your account. Typically, it will need to be longer than seven characters and should contain both numbers and letters to make it more secure. Keep it in a safe place and don’t share your password with anyone.

You want to treat your sportsbook account like an online back account; after all, it contains a lot of the same information. Be sure you log off after each use, and don’t use any “remember me” password functions on your internet browser. Your account shouldn’t be something any roommate or kids could easily access if they use your personal computer.

Accuracy of information

It’s important that the info you provide during sign-up is accurate. Sportsbooks do their due-diligence on all accounts created to prevent fraud and are able to run automated checks to verify that you have provided correct information. If they are unable to confirm an email address, or find that you don’t meet the minimum user age (usually 18 years old, but can be 19 at some websites) then your account request can be denied.

If you don’t have an active email, it’s imperative that you create one. Every online sportsbook will ask for one at sign-up. Using a defunct email isn’t an option as some sportsbooks will send out a verification email during sign-up. Even for the ones that don’t send verification, email will be their primary source of communication, alerting you to bonuses and perks. If you forget your login or password, you won’t be able to recover that information without having access to your email account. So don’t sign-up with an old student email because you’re afraid to give your current email.

Potential sign-up issues to watch out for

As long as the information you’ve provided is accurate, there’s not much that can go wrong during the sign-up process. Perhaps the most common issue is a failure to receive a confirmation email, and the solution is often as simple as checking your spam folder.

Sportsbooks limit accounts to one per user and sometimes one per household, so if you’ve already used the same address and email to sign-up for an account at that website before, you could run into problems. If you forget your old account information, contact customer service instead of trying to open a new one. This is the best course of action and will lead to a quicker resolution than creating the account and contacting customer service later.

You should also contact customer service if you encounter any other issues during sign-up. All reputable online sportsbooks will have a customer service department you can either call on the phone or converse with in a live chat window on your computer. They are ready to help you open you’re account and resolve any issues that may come up during the process.

If you’re a night owl or customer service isn’t available when you’re creating your account, it’s probably best to choose a site that has customer service reps available when you need them. There are a number of sites that have reps available 24/7 so keep this in mind when selecting a site.

Depositing funds into your online betting account

The first prompt you’ll receive once an account is set up is to deposit funds. This is another reason including accurate information when signing-up is so important: the name you used to create your account needs to match your payment information. On top of that, some sites send promotions and reload bonuses to your email address; providing a fake or inactive email only cheats you out of those opportunities.

Each sportsbook will have a maximum and minimum amount you are allowed to deposit at one time, and these can vary within each site depending on the method you use to deposit funds. A variety of deposit options are available, but the most common are: credit card/debit card, eWallet, Bitcoin and wire transfer.

  • Credit/ Debit Card – This is the most common method of funding an account. The deposit minimums are usually low (ranging anywhere from $10 to $50). While a credit card or bank account verification form can sometimes be required, your information will be kept on file, allowing for hassle-free deposits in the future. Credit card deposits process instantly and allow new bettors to begin right away. You must use your own credit card, though. If you borrow your wife’s or parent’s, it will get flagged for not matching the account holder’s information, and the deposit won’t be processed. However, prepaid Visa cards can be used to fund accounts, as long as they allow for international purchases (since most books are located off shore).
  • Cryptocurrency – More and more sites are accepting cryptocurrency as a viable payment the moving forward, which is good news for those who are hesitant to provide a sportsbook with their credit card information. Bitcoin was the first to be allowed at sportsbooks, making deposits quick and easy, and withdrawals to an online wallet relatively simple as well. As a result, Bitcoin is the most popular and widely accepted cryptocurrency. However, Litecoin is gaining traction with online bettors, and should be a potential option at some books too.
  • eWallet – Digital wallets offer the same feeling of security and ease of transfer as cryptocurrency, but akin to Bitcoin, specific eWallet brands aren’t accepted everywhere. Whether it’s PayPal, Skrill, Neteller or another brand, know that it may not be an option at a specific sportsbook. Your choices could be limited by geographic restrictions or other business reasons. (For example, Skrill is the only digital wallet sanctioned for use in the state of New Jersey.)
  • Wire Transfer – Available at large-scale sportsbooks, this is a slower method of funding your account, and has the highest minimum deposit requirements. However, there are also higher maximum deposits allowed, so this practice is typically only used by high rollers. There are typically fees from the bank for a wire transfer, but some sportsbooks may offer to cover those fees on your first deposit.
  • Person-to-Person – Services like Western Union and MoneyGram allow users to send money to locations around the world without having to share their banking information. The sender just goes to an office and gives their name, address, recipient’s name and payment destination (this info will be provided by the sportsbook beforehand). Then they’ll be given a reference number that the sportsbook will use to collect the money. It’s a discrete way to pay, but based on your location, it may not be the most convenient method. Fees can be high for this method too, although sportsbooks will usually cover the fees for deposits that are large enough (e.g. greater than $300).

For those worried about providing banking information, know that MTS only recommends the most respectable sportsbooks. Each website we rate has a comprehensive privacy statement, and will use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to ensure that the sensitive details you provide will be handled securely. Each sportsbook we suggest has a proven track record after years of service in the online gambling industry.

Each sportsbook is also licensed with the gaming commission within their nation of operation. That information will be located at the bottom of their webpage or within their terms of service. If you can’t find the commission that a sportsbook is licensed under, it’s one you want to stay away from.

As for when you can start betting, your account funds should be available almost instantly after deposit. Books will fund your account before the deposit has been fully processed, so you can begin betting right away. But be careful; if your deposit is reversed or uncollectible, all bets made will be forfeited.

Transactions can be denied for a number of reasons: insufficient funds, entering incorrect information, or your bank may not allow for transactions at a sportsbook. If you’ve investigated all those possibilities, contact customer service at the sportsbook. You may ultimately end up needing to deposit using another method.

If your deposit has gone through without issue, it should show up on your credit card/bank statements within 3 to 5 days. Be sure to keep a record of your deposit slip just in case. Sportsbooks will have a record of all transactions but it’s a good practice to keep a record for yourself.

While the initial sign-up is pretty painless, be aware that, down the line, you will need to produce documents to verify your account before you can withdraw any money. Most sportsbooks will want a scan of government issued ID, front and back scans of your credit card (if one was used to make a deposit) and additional supporting documents to verify your address, like a bank statement or utility bills.

Sportsbooks require such documentation in order to prevent fraud, restrict users from creating multiple accounts, and comply with customer identification program guidelines (programs designed to prevent the use of their websites for the purpose of money-laundering).

We’ll dive deeper into the withdrawal process later on, so you fully understand the ins and outs before you attempt to make your first withdrawal.