Land based sports betting has long been confined to specific cities. For example, Las Vegas is the only place in the United States that features land based sportsbooks.
But everything changed when online sports betting came along in the mid-1990s. Now you can quickly place wagers through your smartphone or tablet.
Given the convenience of internet sports betting, one might wonder what the point is to land based sportsbooks.
But the truth is that brick and mortar venues have some major benefits. Of course, they also have drawbacks too when compared to their internet counterparts.
Follow along as I cover the differences between land based and online sportsbooks.
The main reason to wager at brick and mortar sportsbooks is the experience.
Vegas sportsbooks offer a number of flat screen TVs and comfortable lounge furniture. This makes land based venues perfect for times when you want to hang out with your friends and watch the game in person.
Another nice thing about brick and mortar sportsbooks is that many of them serve alcohol. This only adds to the experience when you can have a drink with your buddies while seeing if your bet comes through.
Some bettors also enjoyed the face to face interaction with the sportsbook workers and cocktail waitresses.
Online sites certainly have their benefits as well. But a social atmosphere is definitely not one of the pluses.
Instead, you simply place online wagers through faceless software. And while you can still watch the games with your friends, the experience isn't exactly the same as sitting in a posh sportsbook with multiple TVs around the room.
Taking everything into account, those who appreciate the social aspect of sports betting should head to their nearest land based establishment.
This is especially easy to do in countries like Ireland and the UK, where betting shops are practically around every corner.
Comparing odds at different sportsbooks is a great way to find additional value on your bets. Let's look at an example of comparing odds:
Any additional value you can gain on a line will improve your chances of winning. Unfortunately, this is much harder to do at brick and mortar sportsbooks.
This is even the case in Las Vegas, where you have access to dozens of sports betting venues.
If time and travel money isn't an object, you can always visit different Vegas sportsbooks to see what their lines are. A better option involves calling the books to ask about their lines on a certain game.
But even this is inconvenient because you need to both call and speak with somebody before you know the odds.
Compare this to online sports betting, where you can use your smartphone to quickly travel from site to site. This allows you to compare odds for a particular game and pick the best price within minutes.
Another difference I'd like to point out here is how land based sportsbooks normally offer worse odds than their Internet counterparts.
The reason why is because brick and mortar establishments have a lot of additional costs. These include more employees, higher utility bills, lounge furniture, and other things that online sportsbook don't worry about.
For this reason, it's no surprise when you see land based sportsbooks offering lesser odds because they need to make more "vig" to cover extra expenses.
Sportsbooks do their best to cater to their regional audience. This is especially the case with smaller books that want to streamline their betting action towards the most popular sports.
For example, UK based sportsbooks center their lines on soccer (football), cricket, and rugby because these are popular sports in the country. On the other hand, Vegas establishments offer lots of action on (American) football, baseball, basketball, and hockey.
Given that people are physically visiting land based sportsbooks, there's little need to offer lines on sports that are popular in other countries.
This works for most bettors because they only want to wager on the popular sports. But it also leaves out those who enjoy wagering on contests that take place outside of the region.
If you're an avid rugby fan living in the US, then you won't find many lines throughout Vegas.
This is where online sportsbooks are useful because they offer lines on a large variety of sports. You can find action on obscure sports like badminton, darts, table tennis, and soccer when betting online.
The only catch is that you'll sometimes run into the same problem of dealing with an internet sportsbook that focuses on a particular country or region.
US friendly books like Bovada and BetOnline offer plenty of lines on baseball, basketball, boxing, football, hockey, and mixed martial arts.
You won't, however, find much in the way of cricket, rugby, and soccer when compared to UK focused sportsbooks like Bet 365, Ladbrokes, and William Hill. Compounding matters is that the latter three sportsbooks don't accept American players.
But overall, you stand to find a larger variety of sports at internet sites than you will at land based sportsbooks.
Most people who bet at online sportsbooks are low rollers who wager less than $100 per contest. This is why many Internet sportsbooks can get away with offering low max limits on bets.
Oftentimes the max wager for baseball, basketball, football, and hockey is $1000 or $2000 at an online sportsbook.
Again, this appeases the average better who just wants to place small bets on a game that they later watch with friends. But these limits aren't going to satisfy serious bettors who want to put down thousands of dollars on a game.
If you want to place big bets, then you need to visit large land based sportsbooks. Some brick and mortar venues allow you to wager six or seven figures on a particular contest.
Let's look at some examples using the Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor match from August 2017:
These are extreme examples from one of the biggest sporting events in history. But this goes to show that land based sportsbooks are far more generous with regard to taking larger bets.
That said, you'll definitely want to head to brick and mortar establishments when placing huge Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or World Cup bets.
Land based sportsbooks don't offer the greatest convenience because you actually have to travel to them to place wagers. But once you arrive, you'll find that the process of placing bets is really easy.
Here are the simple steps for making wagers at brick and mortar sportsbooks:
Let's contrast this to the steps that you must take to place wagers at online sportsbooks:
Keep in mind that creating an account is a onetime thing at an internet sportsbook. And you won't have to deposit frequently as long as you're not making big bets and/or losing a lot.
Nevertheless, online betting requires more hassles in the beginning than brick and mortar sportsbooks. This is especially the case when it comes to banking.
But many deposit and cash out methods are only available to certain countries regions. This limits the number of banking options that you can use at internet sportsbooks (i.e. most Americans can't use PayPal & Neteller).
Withdrawing is even more of a hassle because there are wait times and ID requirements. Regarding the latter, you often have to send scanned copies of your driver's license and a utility bill in order to confirm your identity.
Wait times vary based on the banking option you're using to cash out. You may wait two weeks or more to receive a check, and 5 to 7 days before a eWallet withdrawal is accepted.
In contrast, land based sportsbooks don't put wait times on your cashouts or make you create an account to start placing bets.
Online and land based sportsbooks both have strong suits based on their differences.
Brick and mortar sportsbooks are perfect for those who want more of an experience than just sitting on the couch with a couple friends. You can enjoy watching games on multiple TVs, comfortable lounge furniture, and cocktails after placing your bet(s).
Another thing that brick and mortar venues are great for is making higher bets. This is especially important if you spot a really favorable line and want to lay down lots of money.
Internet sportsbooks are nice for finding and comparing the best lines. You can literally find the top prices for a certain match within minutes.
This is crucial when you're trying to gain as much value as possible from wagers and build your bankroll.
Another great thing about betting online is that you can find a larger variety of sports. Internet sportsbooks cater to a global audience, which makes it important to offer plenty of different sports.
Keep the differences between land based and online sportsbooks in mind when deciding what's most important to you. This will help you get the exact experience that you want and take advantage of the aspects that you find the most valuable.