Established in 2011
Located in Canada
Only clients from the United States of America (USA) are permitted.
The only supported currencies are USD and Bitcoin.
Even though the Bovada brand launched only in 2011, it is important to note that it was powered by Bodog. The latter has been in the online sports betting business since the early 2000s and is a very well-established brand. Bovada was created with the sole purpose of serving US customers, while making sure Bodog would not get in legal trouble with the American justice.
The history of Bodog is interesting and full of ups and downs. For those of you who have been in the sports betting industry since its early days like me, you may recall a sportsbook called WWTS (World Wide Tele Sports). Bodog bought them for 9 million dollars back in 2006, a move that helped boost even more Bodog’s reputation. In 2007, Bodog lost a lawsuit for patent infringement against 1st TECHNOLOGY LLC for a whopping 49-million dollar amount. Click here for more details about the history of Bodog and Bovada.
The founder of the Bodog brand is Calvin Ayre, a Canadian entrepreneur that has lived an eventful life. You can read his story here.
The current owner of Bovada is the Mohawk Morris Gaming Group (MMGG), a company operating from Kahnawake, an Indian Reservation, in the province of Quebec in Canada.
The CEO of MMGG is Alwyn Morris. He has won a gold medal as a sprint kayaker at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He was the recipient of the Order of Canada in 1985, not only for his success in sports but also for his implication with young children.
Easy-to-beat lines: One of the biggest advantages playing with Bovada is their soft lines. If you open an account with them, you will regularly find lines that do not follow the general consensus. That’s a great positive for smart bettors.
Trustworthy sportsbook: They have a good reputation through the Bodog brand. Being in business for a long time is often key to the trust factor, and in this case Bodog has been servicing its customers since the early 2000s.
Decent promotions: Their bonuses are okay, though not great. Initial depositors receive a 50% match play up to $500 if you make a Bitcoin deposit or up to $250 with any other deposit methods. In both cases, players need to roll over the amount of the deposit plus the bonus five times (5x). As a side note, the rollover requirement used to be 3 times, but unfortunately it was eventually raised to 5 times, making it less enticing for players. Also, there were no reload bonuses at the time of this review.
Broad selection of props/alternatives: The number of sports covered by Bovada is above-average, but it’s the number of proposition and alternative bets that really stand out and make this sportsbook an attractive destination. On NHL games, you can bet on whether a specific player will score a goal or not or whether he will score a point or not. There are lots of betting options on MLB games, like the total number of hits, runs and RBIs by a particular player, or matchups between two players for that same metric, or whether a player will record a hit or not, or the total number of hits + runs + errors in a specific inning, etc. There is no shortage of player prop bets on NBA games as well: number of points, number of rebounds, number of blocks+steals, etc.
Tip-top live betting framework: In-play wagering is well-covered at Bovada. You can place live bets on all games on major sports. They have a nice game tracker that allows you to easily follow the game even though you cannot watch it on television.
Prompt and effective player support: Their customer service is extraordinary. Not only do they offer phone support 24 hours a day, but many players have reported getting email responses very promptly. They are much quicker to respond than the norm. Too bad they don’t have a live chat, though.
Smart bettors are not welcome: As mentioned earlier, Bovada’s lines are much easier to beat than many other bookies. However, enjoy the ride while it lasts because they have a strong tendency of limiting or banning winning players. I have personally experienced it back in the days where Bodog accepted residents from the province of Quebec. I beat them quite hard on NHL (National Hockey League) player proposition bets, but they eventually lowered my betting limits in a big way. So if you have the intention of opening an account with them with the clear objective of abusing their soft lines (which is a good idea), be aware that it won’t last forever.
Slow-pays? We have conflicting information regarding payouts. I have personally been paid by this sportsbook in the past (via the Bodog brand) and many websites/forums are talking about them processing withdrawals quickly. However, I have found an alarming number of complaints about slow-pays on other forums. It’s not just the number of complaints that worry me, but also the fact that several ones were posted in 2016 or 2017. So who is right, are they quick or slow to pay out players? See the “Player Experiences” section for more details.
Disadvantageous lines: Their odds are generally lower than most bookies, which means they have higher than average juice. That’s especially true on live betting events where you regularly see a -120 line on one side versus -115 on the other; a 35-cent spread is large and therefore much harder to beat. It is becoming more and more common to see bookmakers offering a 10-cent spread (“dime lines”) on MLB games, but you won’t find such advantageous lines at Bovada, where the spread remains at 20 cents. On smaller markets, the spread can vary between 30 and 45 cents (for example -150 versus +115), which is bad for players.
Few transaction methods: Deposit and withdrawal methods are very limited (only two each!).
- Cashier's check
- Credit card (Visa, Mastercard and some Visa Gift Cards)
A player gave away a couple of his picks for the day, and a discussion ensued about Bovada. A poster made the following comment: “Their lines for baseball are atrocious. They take forever to hang their football lines. They limit and boot people who show any indication of having a clue about what they're doing. I could go on and on. BUT....They're great for betting dogs and they do pay, no one can refute that."
ANALYSIS: I agree with everything this person said; it is in accordance with my list of Pros and Cons above. Specifically, I mentioned Bovada’s soft lines which often lead to profitable bets on underdogs.
I found 4 users’ comments about Bovada at the link below. They are not so great, most negative comments revolving around players being limited or bonuses being taking away because the player looks like a “professional” gambler.
ANALYSIS: It confirms how harsh they are with winners, and how quick they are to react.
Many people on AskGamblers.com have filed a complaint over the past two years regarding slow withdrawals. Some of them had to wait up to 3 months before getting their money back, which is worrisome. I’ll link out to three stories, but there were a lot more than that (all about delayed payments).
ANALYSIS: I’m pretty confused about finding so many bad user experiences related to payouts with Bovada, while I have also found many forums where people are praising them about that same topic.
A Redditor asks whether Bovada is legit/safe or not. The original poster got many replies, here are some quotes which are representative of all the comments made:
- “I've personally never had any problems with bovada, and I've used them for a while now.”
- “Bovada does not ask you for DL even when you cash out. Plus, its one of the only sites that allows you to withdraw money for free (once a month). Check comes in after about 4-5 days via FedEx. I have had no issues so far.”
- “Bovada is safe and legit. I've been active with the site for around 10 years, back when it was Bodog still. Bodog was sold to MMGG back in 2006 and then changed over to Bovada in 2011 I think (…) I've made numerous deposits and withdrawals over the years, albeit never huge amounts of money, but they payout timely without issue.”
- “Bovada is legit. I cash out atleast once a month and get my money in like 4-7 days. Im from US too if that helps.”
ANALYSIS: This time we are witnessing many good words going Bovada’s way. It illustrates what I said earlier in my review about hearing conflicting information with respect to withdrawals with Bovada.
This may be the top choice among casual US sports gamblers. Why? Because these types of sports bettors don’t have to worry about getting limited, nor do they care about the relatively low betting limits in general (between $500 and $2000 even on bigger leagues). Professional players will be excited about their soft lines, but need to keep in mind that they might get limited more quickly than they think.
No matter what kind of player you are, upon joining Bovada you are benefiting from their good reputation, a caring customer service and fairly good bonus offers. The variety of markets and betting choices is very attractive too. All in all, this is a pretty solid sportsbook, but I’m going to keep my ears open to clarify whether they do pay promptly or not since I found players praising them about payout speed, while others were bashing them.