Bovada is a relatively new name in online betting but, in reality, it has been around as a legit sportsbook for over a decade. In December 2011, American bettors who tried to log in to either the Bodog.com or Bodog.eu websites were transferred to Bovada.lv and informed that their accounts and funds were accessible at the new address, which screamed on its front page: Welcome to Bovada. Long story short – same operator and same backend just different name.
Some people are scared off because the domain ends in .lv. Bovada’s name always appeared to play on the Bodog name that incorporates the American state of Nevada, while the .lv domain, normally reserved for the European nation of Latvia, could be viewed as standing for Las Vegas also. All while out of US ‘web’ jurisdictions. But that is enough about history. It is time to review what the Bovada experience delivers to American bettors today.
Slick website design
The first thing that hits you upon visiting Bovada’s website is that betting looks like a lot of fun. Entertainment has been at central to the Bodog/Bovada brand proposition and Bovada’s website conveys the impression that it is where the beautiful people bet and that they have a great time doing it. For professional sports bettors who make thousands of bets per month this is not for you, we recommend 5dimes (review) instead. Bovada looks like a cool place to have a bet or two, and we have personally seen how many of their VIP’s get treated – on Caribbean Islands of the Dominican Republic. Nobody left unhappy that was for sure…
Bovada’s slick landing page communicates its product range – sports, casino and poker – as well, plus the various bonuses that are on offer if one becomes a client. Bovada’s bonuses are not industry leading – for example, its sports offer is a 50% welcome bonus, up to a maximum of $250 American dollars – but they are presented in such an attractive way that the recreational bettors will love them in spite of the tough terms and conditions attached. One would have to turn over at least a few thousand dollars and enjoy a good level of success in order to withdraw any bonus-related winnings. In the past checks have bounced on some players, but Bovada reportedly corrected the processing errors which were caused by a payment processor so no issues have been found with Bovada paying players. As with all offshore sportsbooks rare delay of payments (2-4 weeks) due to the complexity of processing gambling funds can happen.
Informative editorial content
Bovada and its legitimate sister bookmakers have succeeded in the ultra competitive online sports betting business because their marketing and delivery has been excellent from the very beginning. Bovada’s website is easy on the eye, easy to navigate and easy on which to place a bet. Also, Bovada’s website features some decent content. Now, it is not the type of editorial that is going to blow away the world’s most serious bettors but it represents decent background information for the recreational bettor whom Bovada and bookmakers like it are targeting. Therefore, most people would view Bovada’s content as one of its strengths.
Good live betting service
Another of Bovada’s positives is its live betting service. While it is not in the same league as that of, say, Bet365 (doesn’t accept Americans), Bovada’s in-running engine works well and, crucially when time is of the essence, processes bets quickly. Betting in the run is a two-step process once one has selected the live event: first, select one’s bet amount and second, select the proposition outcome on which one wants to bet that amount.
Three sports betting product weaknesses
But Bovada has some weaknesses as well, shortcomings that will matter regardless of how much one bets and how seriously one takes their gambling. All of Bovada’s weaknesses pertain to its sports betting product.
1. First, it is not that broad. Admittedly, Bovada is making moves towards expanding its range to include more than just the sports that get headline billing in the United States of America but, for now at least, it lags behind most of its competitors in terms of offering the full box and dice.
2. Second, it is not that responsiveness. Bovada would have to be one of the last bookmakers to post odds on events. Now, this may not matter to recreational punters who get online and place their bets little more than a few minutes before the events in question get under way. But it will matter to anyone who likes to bet before the market moves, something that happens with most popular North American sports.
3. And third, it is not that competitive. Bovada has fairly high juice, even on mainstream sports. To make betting with Bovada worthwhile, punters need to check out its promotions during every website visit and take advantage of them.
Bovada and its related bookmakers have not prospered by accident. They have done a lot of things right over the course of the last two decades, including getting their pitch to recreational punters who like a bit of pizzazz perfect. Bovada’s marketing continues to be spot on.
But while Bovada is a serviceable online bookmaker, there are better alternatives out there, ones that offer a wider range of markets, trade them for longer periods and frame them at better percentages. It is sufficiently hard to win money in the long run when one obtains the best odds so it does not make sense to do most of one’s betting with a bookmaker which tends to have relatively high juice. This sportsbook is good for getting started, but with this book you might want to have one or two accounts elsewhere for better lines.