How to Check the Reliability and Legality of Sportsbooks

How to Check the Reliability and Legality of Sportsbooks

If you are considering betting on sports or you are thinking about trying out a new bookmaker, there are many factors to weigh up before you make a decision, but perhaps the most important is establishing the reliability and reputation of the sportsbook you are planning to use.

 There are many reliable and legal sportsbooks available, like listed at, but unfortunately, the rapid expansion of the sportsbook sector has led to the proliferation of illegal or unreliable bookmakers. So, how can you separate the good from the bad and why does it matter?

 The Importance of Legal Betting

 If you bet with an illegal bookmaker, the consequences can be significant. For a start, you have no guarantee or recourse to access your winnings. An illegal bookmaker can simply refuse to pay out and there is nothing you can do about it.

These sports betting operations can also put your financial and personal details at risk, as they are not legally obliged to protect your data. It is also often the case that illegal sites are associated with crime, so by betting with them, you are potentially funding further illegal activity.

Check the Licence

If you only take one step towards checking the reliability of a sportsbook, that should be to check the licence that it holds and the regulatory authority that it is supervised by.

In the case of UK bookmakers, that licence is awarded by the UK Gambling Commission. The UKGC requires all its licensees to maintain high standards of data protection, fairness, customer protection and integrity and has shown a willingness to punish operators that fall short of its standards.

Unfortunately, not all regulatory authorities are as proactive and effective. Look out for sites that are regulated by one or more of the following regulators, as these are among the most respected: 

 Most European regulators, along with US state regulators are reliable bodies, but take care if the bookmaker you are considering is licensed by smaller regulators such as Curacao.

Check the Tech

Another important step is to check the security and data encryption policies of a betting site. You should only bet with sportsbook sites that offer the latest SSL encryption and ideally, you are looking for sites that are happy to display certification of their security procedures.

If in doubt, you can contact the site directly and ask them to give you more information. Reputable sites will be happy to provide you with the necessary details and in many cases will display their security credentials on their home page, along with contact details. 

Responsible Gambling 

Another useful method to check the reliability of a gambling site is to head to its Responsible Gambling section. Sites that are licensed by a respected gambling authority are required to take active measures to protect their customers from the risk of gambling harm. If a site does not provide details of its policies on Responsible Gambling and does not offer a variety of tools to help those at risk, then this can be a sign that the sportsbook is not taking its responsibilities seriously and could be unreliable.


Sports betting should be a fun leisure activity, but betting with unlicensed or unreliable operators can turn the fun into a nightmare. To ensure that you do not suffer at the hands of unscrupulous betting companies, taking the steps outlined in this article can minimise the risks and make it easier for you to identify betting companies that are secure and reputable.