Now that online casino sports betting is legal in almost half of American states, millions of new bettors giving the casino sign up bonus sportsbooks a try. Some of these people are novices at sports wagering while others have bet in the past – either on a trip to Vegas, where sports betting was never illegal – or through some type of illegal bookie.
The sportsbooks, both retail and online, are welcoming the new bettors with special deals, broadcasts with betting information and other helpful material. But sometimes these experts skip over the basics that you need to get started. If you feel ready to dive into the world of sports betting, be prepared. Some of the rules for sports betting are general rules that apply across the board while others are applicable to a specific sportsbook.
Read on to find out how to place a bet that counts. When does your bet become official? What are the procedural policies of sportsbooks? What types of standard terms and conditions can you expect?
Check out our list of rules that apply to all retail and online sportsbooks.
Changes in Lines and Odds
You need to be aware that the odds on your choice can change even though the bookmaker cannot change your odds. The changes may be the result of any number of factors including new information, weather, injury news, etc. The more information that is available, the more liquid the market becomes and the direction that the money goes determines the way that the odds move.
That means that the lines can change quite a bit between the time that they are initially set and the time that the sporting event starts. Sportsbooks try to keep the betting action as even as possible on both sides of a wager. What’s important to remember is that betting odds change constantly based on the action that the sportsbook is seeing. That means that the sportsbook will adjust the line up or down, based on the side that is taking in more money, in order to keep the sides as even as possible.
The full-game odds close once the game starts and they won’t change (but you can’t bet on them any more either).
In order for a bet to remain valid, the sporting event must be played on the day that it was originally scheduled. This is because sportsbook base the odds that they give on specific factors. In the even that a game is postponed or rescheduled, the sportsbook will recalculate the odds since the postponement/rescheduling might affect the outcome of the game.
You must place your wager and have it accepted before the game starts.
You can bet either on the moneyline or on the point spread but not on both.
Betting the moneyline involves simply betting on which player or team will win. If you bet on the winning team/player, you win your bet. A moneyline bet on the underdog is a bet on the team that you expect to lose.
A point spread bet is a bet on your prediction of the number of points that will separate the winning side from the losing side.
Sportsbooks don’t want to accept “correlated plays” in which the outcome of one portion of the bet contributes to the outcome of the other. So what should you do? You have to choose – moneyline bets generally give you the chance to win more than you bet but many people like the excitement of spread betting.
Similarly, you are not allowed to bet on the total and the point spread of the same event. Sportsbooks don’t allow you to wager on correlated events.
If you submit your bet and there’s a significant lag before the bet is confirmed, and if, during that time, the odds change significantly, you will likely need to reconfirm the wager against the updated odds. This rule pertains to live betting and evolved from sportsbooks’ goal of creating equal opportunities for all bettors.
Third Party Deposits
Sportsbooks prohibit third-party deposits in order to protect themselves from possible legal action from the third party and/or from fraud. Prepare to be asked to verify your identity before collecting your winnings.
If you win money on a sports bet, it is considered taxable income by the IRS and you are obligated to declare it and pay tax on it. The sportsbook will send the both you and the IRS a tax form if you win $600 or more. If you win more than $5000 on a bet the sportsbook will withhold 24% of your winnings.
If you win any prizes (i.e. vehicles, vacations, other goods) the IRS also counts them as income and assesses them at their “fair market value.” Depending on the laws of the state in which you live, you may also be required to pay state income tax on your wins.
You might also be able to deduct sports betting losses under specific conditions, including the condition that your losses that you claim can’t exceed your gains. For instance, if you lost $4000 on sports bets last year but won $6000, you can deduct all of your losses but you’d still be paying taxes on that $7000 in wins.
Sportsbooks reserve the right to:
- Restrict the maximum wager before agreeing to accept a bet
- Accept, refuse or limit any wager
- Refuse a bet that involves more than what you have in your account
- Refuse to cancel a wager once it has been confirmed
- Set a maximum amount available to win on specific bets
- Require you to report your wins to the IRS
- Refuse to accept responsibility for anyone who discloses their account number and password to other parties
- Void any accounts over one-per-customer