While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, not all opinions are created equal. For example, if someone were to tell you that sports betting was a waste of time, it would be best to take them off-line (i.e., remove them from your social media network).
However, if someone were to tell you that sports betting was a wonderful invention that they use regularly, you might want to hear what they had to say. After all, everyone has an opinion on sports betting, and yours might not be as good as theirs. In this article, we will explore the various fees that you may encounter when betting on sports.
Most traditional sportsbooks will charge you an in-game fee, also known as a “vig” or “juice” fee, for placing bets during the course of the game. In most cases, this fee will be displayed in the form of a percentage, with some sportsbooks also displaying it in the form of dollars. For example, a $10 bet on the Super Bowl might cost you $6.67 in online sports betting, plus a $3.33 “juice” fee. Your total investment, then, would be $10.00 ($6.67 + $3.33 = $10.00).
This in-game fee varies from book to book, but it is almost always present in some form. It can even be included as part of the bet if you are placing a wager on multiple games in a row (i.e., a parlay). Keep in mind that this in-game fee is separate from the flat fee that you will pay to place the bet, which we discuss next.
In addition to the in-game fee, some bookmakers will also charge you a flat fee, or a “spread” as it is often called in the industry, to place bets. For example, a $10 lay bet (i.e., put) on the New England Patriots against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl might cost you $10.00, regardless of the outcome of the game (assuming your casino is licensed and regulated by the regulatory bodies that oversee wagering in America).
This is a significant difference from the in-game fee, which varies by book, and can even vary by game, depending on how the bookmaker pools their bets. If you are unfamiliar, a “spread” is when you are placing a wager and both teams have an equal chance of winning. So, for example, if the Patriots and 49ers both have a 50% shot of winning the game, your $10 bet will result in a $5 win for you and a $5 win for the bookmaker. Your total win, then, will be $10 ($5 + $5 = $10) – minus the $10 flat fee that you paid to open the account at the casino.
In the example above, if the Patriots win the game and you didn’t have to pay anything for the bet, your total win, including the in-game fee, would be $13.33 ($10 + $3.33 = $13.33). If the 49ers win the game and you didn’t have to pay for the bet, your total win would be $7.50 ($5 + $2.50 = $7.50).
The advantage of placing a bet with a bookmaker who offers a spread is that, in most cases, you will not have to pay the in-game fee to place a bet. This is significant because having to pay an in-game fee frequently is something of a hassle, especially if the game is delayed or starts late because of weather, time constraints, or another unforeseen circumstance. When this happens, you will have to contact the sportsbook customer service team to ask for an extension or waiver on the in-game fee, or you will have to watch the game, even though it isn’t within your budget to do so. So, by avoiding this altogether, you cut out the stress and save money in the process.
Many offshore sportsbooks and gambling sites will charge you a weekly “dauber” fee, or a per-week maintenance fee, to keep your account active. The amount of the dauber will depend on how long you’ve been a member of the site, how big of a deposit you made when you opened the account (i.e., an opening deposit), and whether or not you are a daily or a weekly depositing customer. The dauber is usually applied to all your accounts at once, and it is typically charged to your credit card on a weekly basis. It is not uncommon for weekly dauber fees to be around $20.00, with some sites charging as much as $50.00 per week!
As you may imagine, having to pay a weekly fee to keep your account open and active is far more convenient for the bookmaker than having to assess an in-game fee every time you place a bet, since the latter must be done manually by the customer service representative. Moreover, since you opened the account with a minimum initial deposit, any winnings from subsequent bets will be placed using credit cards, automatically charging you the weekly dauber fee. In most cases, credit card deposits will not be considered “on-line gambling”, meaning that you won’t have to pay the 7% tax that you would if you deposited the money in-person at a brick-and-mortar casino. However, keep in mind that this will require you to link your credit card to your online account, which some people may not want to do for privacy reasons.
Certainty, as they say, is paramount in any industry. This is especially true in the world of sports gambling, where most bookmakers will share their profit with the athlete (or team) whose name is on the betting slip. Most books will distribute the profit from a single bet either proportionally or in some other manner. For example, if you wager $100 on the New York Yankees and they win, the bookmaker will keep $100 and give you $100. If they lose, you will lose your $100. This may seem like a rather simplistic explanation, but it is rather common for people to be unfamiliar with how bookmakers operate and why they do what they do.
As a result, some bookmakers will start to see customers as more of a challenge than a source of profit, due to the frequency with which they need to give back (i.e., rebate) money to winning customers. This is one of the primary reasons that many books have a minimum gamble or equity requirement before a customer can withdraw funds. This way, the bookmaker can be sure that they will be paid for betting on the games. It also helps ensure that the bookmaker is not taking advantage of their customers by giving them good odds on a sure thing (i.e., betting against the spread) or letting them play with no limits since they are always sure to win (i.e., betting on an undercard game).
To be clear, having a healthy rivalry with other bookmakers is a good thing, especially when it comes to ensuring that all books live up to a certain level of quality and fairness. In most cases, offshore gambling sites will list all the books that they work with, along with some basic information about each book, including the odds that they are offering at the time. By choosing a bookmaker with which you have a history, you can be confident that you are placing your wagers in the right place, since they have already screened and approved your account.
To help you avoid scams and become more confident in making informed decisions about where to place your wagers, we recommend that you learn more about bookmakers and their policies before you make a deposit. Moreover, since online gambling is a fairly new concept, it is entirely possible, although rather unlikely, that some books will adopt a more traditional approach and assess an in-game fee at some point in the future. While this may be inconvenient for some customers who are used to placing wagers without charge, it is still very much a part of the bookmaker world.