Bodog has an interesting history. The company was founded as
a software design firm in 1994 by Canadian entrepreneur Calvin
Ayre. Ayre is said to have idolized Richard Branson and his
Virgin brand, so it’s no surprise that he worked hard to build
the Bodog brand. After opening as an online sportsbook and
betting site in the year 2000, Bodog.com soon became one of the
biggest names in the industry. By 2005, Bodog was reporting
revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Then the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006
forced Bodog out of the US market. A few years later, Ayres was
revealed to be in a bit of trouble with the US government. The
charges against him included “illegal gambling and money
laundering” crimes, all related to things that happened before
the UIGEA was passed. Bodog lost a good chunk of its revenue, no
longer able to work with American customers, and sold its
American holdings to the Morris Mohawk group under the name
These days, Bodog offers a number of gambling options “under
one roof” – sports betting, live betting, race betting, casino
games, and head to head and casino-style poker. American
customers are allowed to sign up for poker accounts – an odd
wrinkle in the rules at Bodog, considering US players aren’t
allowed to play in any other category.
Bodog is an experienced operator, with well over a decade in
a tough industry that’s seen its fair share of controversy. I
love how Bodog altered the standard RTG template for their
casino games, tossing in a few quality Betsoft titles and
creating proprietary titles not found anywhere else. While I’m
not convinced that the promotions program is worth much of your
time, unless you’re a sportsbook customer only, it’s nice that
the site offers such a wide variety of bonuses to all their
various types of customer.
Kudos to Bodog for having a well-designed Bonuses page. All
the information you need is collected in one list, with terms
and conditions for each bonus in a convenient “Learn More” link
directly underneath the description. Having to dig around
multiple locations on a site for all the different bonus offers
is a drag.
Here’s a brief description of every bonus currently listed on
the site’s promotions page at the time of this review. Check the
page to see what offers are available at the time you’re reading
this, since it looks like their promotions are updated
$200 Sports Sign Up Bonus
bettors making their first deposit can earn a 100% deposit
match bonus worth up to $200. The rollover requirement is 5x
the deposit-plus-bonus. All wagers, odds, and markets are
eligible for clearing this bonus.
$600 Casino Match Bonus
fans can earn up to $600 at a match rate of 100%. The
advertised amount is kind of a misnomer, as the $600
actually comes from two bonuses – a $200 offer for slot play
and a $400 offer for casino games. The rollover requirement
for both is 40x deposit-plus-bonus, which is on the high
side compared to other online casino bonuses. Unlike the
site’s sports betting bonus, bets on certain casino games
are not eligible for bonus-clearing.
$1,000 Poker Sign Up Bonus
poker playing depositors can earn up to $1,000 at a match
rate of 100%. It’s a more complicated system than either of
the other two bonuses I described above. The amount a player
can earn is based on earning what the site calls
Poker Bad Beat Bonus
Bodog offers a
rebate to poker players who experience one of a specific set
of bad beats. The rebate is worth 100x the big blind or a
maximum of $1,000.
Royal Flush Bonus
If you hold a Royal
Flush, the site will pay you an instant bonus of 50x the big
blind, maxed out at $200.
who refer a friend are eligible to earn a bonus worth 200%
of their first deposit of $20 or more, maxed out at $100.
The rollover for this bonus depends on the game you play –
sportsbook and poker customers have a 3x rollover, while
casino customers have a 20x rollover.
can earn a 5% rebate on eligible race wagers on Tuesday
afternoons. The actual amount of the rebate depends on the
type of wager bettors place.
Before I describe the four banking options available at
Bodog, I want to point out that the variety of methods is
painfully small, and that at the time of my visit, part of their
site was either down or just overlooked. I was trying to find
out details on fees and other requirements for the various
banking methods, but the page it took me to was completely blank. I understand, accidents happen, but this seems like
pretty crucial information for potential customers, so it’s a
shame it wasn’t available.
Credit Card – VISA/MasterCard only. May
require 7 business days.
Direct Bank Transfer – Fees and other details not
E-transfer – Fees and other details not available.
Check by Courier – Maximum withdrawal size is $3,000. May
require 10 business days.
Bodog’s sportsbook was not just one of the first
international online sportsbook services – it was a pioneer in
deposits and withdrawals. One of the first instant payment
methods, eCheck, premiered on the old Bodog.com domain.
What did Bodog’s sportsbook service do that made it such a
success? Some reviewers attribute the site’s explosive growth
and global branding to good marketing. Of course, signing up all
the customers in the world won’t help if those customers aren’t
spending (and losing) money. In the early days of the sportsbook
industry, other books were charging fees for payouts and “nickel
and diming” customers in other ways. Bodog offered bonuses in
plain English and a wide range of free (and fast) payout
Times have changed – so has Bodog’s URL. But bodog.eu is
still a respected name in sports betting. The site has
maintained some of its initial sleek simplicity over the past
couple of decades. I found the user interface pretty intuitive,
and I got used to navigating the markets and wagers without a
I just checked the available betting markets, and here’s what
I found – Bodog has two lists of markets for sports bettors. One
is a standard list of betting lines available all the time, the
other is a special list of “Featured Betting Lines.”
Here is the List of Standard Betting Lines at Bodog:
Featured Betting Lines are lines available on special
contests taking place on or near the day you visit. In the
months leading up to the Super Bowl, you’ll find props and lines
for the NFL’s big game. Currently, in the middle of the US
Women’s World Cup, you can find a number of wagers on that
Here’s the List of Featured Betting Lines at the Time of This
Live In-Play MLB Baseball
The Greenbrier Classic
Odds to Win the Tournament
Live In-Play ATP/WTA Tennis
Women’s World Cup
Customer service is often easy to reach and they speak
clearly, in perfect English, and are knowledgeable about the
sports betting industry.
You can reach the banking department between the hours of 9AM
and 5PM, though bets-by-phone and online are available around
the clock. To contact the sportsbook directly, call +
Bodog’s blend of software platforms is a nice feature. The
site uses BetSoft, Realtime Gaming, and proprietary games to
make up its casino library. The benefit of a blended platform is
increased variety. No matter how good a casino designer’s suite
of titles is, players are going to get bored of the same style
of games over and over. That’s why I’m always excited to read
that a site is using a blended platform.
One of the ways Bodog’s software is unique is that many of
the casino games were built on the skeleton of RTG’s popular
casino game library. Bodog pulled this off by literally buying
the source code for RTG’s games and having their designers
customize and improve on them. The result is a rarity in the
online casino business – the possibility of a unique lineup of
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Most of the site’s
casino titles end up looking and behaving an awful lot like RTG
titles, down to the names and selection of game variants.
I cover the Site’s Casino Library in More Detail Below:
This is where Bodog has collected its ten versions of the casino classic blackjack. Having
reviewed a number of RTG-powered sites over the years I’m
confident in saying that this list of games is similar enough to
the standard RTG package to be almost comical.
The standard casino card game, available in multiple deck
Blackjack – A two-deck game that follows standard rules.
Blackjack – A six-deck game in which the dealer makes decisions
Face Up 21 – An eight-deck game in which the dealer’s cards are dealt
21 – An eight-deck game, Match Play 21 is Bodog’s version of
Pairs – A standard blackjack game with additional bonus payouts
for certain hands.
Pontoon – A
two-deck game with rules based on a classic British blackjack
Blackjack – A single-deck version of Bodog’s standard blackjack
Super 21 –
Another blackjack variant with bonus payouts for different hand
Blackjack – A blackjack variant that allows players to exchange
cards of a certain value.
This is home to all of Bodog’s slot games that weren’t produced by Betsoft or aren’t proprietary 3D slots.
That’s a bit confusing, but basically if you’re looking for
Realtime Gaming titles, you should look in the Slots category.
Here’s a partial list of popular RTG and proprietary slot games
hosted at Bodog at the time of my last visit:
Bank On It
It’s Good to Be Bad
Zombies vs. Cheerleaders
This is where Bodog hosts their higher-quality games, the vast majority of them produced by
industry giant Betsoft. “3D Slots” is kind of a misnomer – it’s
a vague category of slot titles that the industry uses to
differentiate between games with high-quality “3D” effects, and
it’s useful as an identifier for slot fans interested in a
certain type of game.
Here’s a partial list of some of the most popular Betsoft 3D
slots hosted at Bodog at the time of my review:
2 Million BC
At the Movies
Good Girl Bad Girl
This is where Bodog collects titles that don’t really belong anywhere else. At the time of my
review, the three games hosted here were Sic Bo, Keno, and Bonus
Bingo. All three of these games remind me of RTG’s versions,
which weren’t anything special to begin with.
If you’re not familiar with Bonus Bingo, Bodog describes it
as bingo that’s been “… designed to include a little more
pizzazz and a whole lot more features.” That’s a really vague
description; as far as I can tell, Bonus Bingo is multi-card
bingo with a bonus round and a multiplier prize.
This is the section of Bodog’s library dedicated to table games that aren’t blackjack. If the
following list of titles is familiar, it’s because you can find
almost the same games at any RTG casino:
Roulette – The classic game played on a wheel with two green
A traditional game of baccarat with an average-looking display.
Draw – A five-card draw poker game with a progressive jackpot.
Players may draw up to two new cards after they raise.
Hold’em – A five-card community poker game with a progressive
Caribbean Stud – A five-card stud game with a progressive jackpot. The
dealer shows just one up-card.
Craps – A
traditional game of craps played with European-style rules.
Roulette – The classic game played on a wheel with just one
green “zero space.”
Ride – A popular casino-style community poker game.
Poker – A poker game based on the rules of an ancient Chinese
Red Dog – A
poker-like card game involving antes and card value hierarchy.
Poker – A three-card poker game with a single raise/fold round.
Card Rummy – A player-versus dealer game where the lowest hand
War – The
casino version of the kid’s classic card game.
This is the most plainly-labeled category of Bodog’s casino library. Collected here are seventeen
variations of video poker. Each game is a little different in
terms of its rules, payouts, available bonuses, and design.
Here’s the full list of RTG-style video poker games available at
Bodog at the time of my review:
Aces and Eights
All American Poker
Bonus Deuces Wild
Bonus Poker Deluxe
Double Bonus Poker
Double Double Bonus Poker
Double Double Jackpot Poker
Double Jackpot Poker
Jacks or Better
Mystery Bonus Poker
Bodog Poker is my favorite section of the site because I’m an
American, and most US players can sign up for a Bodog poker
account. The reason this loophole exists is complicated, and has
to do with licensing. The gaming license for Bodog’s proprietary
poker software is Kahnawake, which gladly licenses gaming
operations with US-based customers.
But once upon a time, Bodog was a huge player in the US poker
market. Before the UIGEA forced most of the major poker sites
out of the US entirely, Bodog had a couple of years of booming
growth in its young poker room, which opened for business in
2004. By that time, Bodog was a household name for its
sportsbook and casino properties. By 2006, Bodog boasted a World
Series of Poker champion in Jamie Gold.
Don’t think that Bodog is full of American players – sure,
you’ll see lots of North American-based opponents, but Bodog has
done an excellent job expanding its base in to Europe and Asia.
In my experience, Bodog is still one of the most diverse player
bases in the online world, if only because it includes a few
Bodog hovers between fourth and second place in terms of
The site is by far the busiest online poker room that’s still open to US players.
In a way, Bodog has retained
its household name status in the world of online poker, even
though the US poker market is nothing compared to ten or twelve
years ago. According to PokerScout.com, Bodog has peaked at
around 3,800 cash players in the last seven days, with an
average number of around 1,700.
The line on player quality at Bodog and other sites with
attached sportsbooks is that the competition plays looser than
average because of wandering sportsbook customers with no poker
experience. Even if that’s true, which I don’t think it is, this
type of player can still be dangerous to veterans. They’re
unpredictable, frustrating, and annoying.
In my opinion, the fact that Bodog has the third-most traffic
of any online poker site (as I write this) means that the
quality of players is varied, including a smattering of players
of all skill levels.
Bodog Poker hosts games of Texas hold’em, Omaha, Omaha hi-lo,
seven card stud, and seven card hi-lo, all in both Limit and No
Limit ring games. I’ll admit that I saw only a single high
stakes game going on at my last visit, and it seems like other
reviewers agree – Bodog is not a great spot for high stakes
If you’re into tournaments, though, Bodog would make a nice
Their weekly $100,000 tournament is legendary
site’s own Bodog Poker Open tends to make some noise in the
industry as well. Compared to PokerStars and 888, the tournament
pool are noticeably smaller, in the low hundreds rather than
pushing 1,000. Some players love that, others hate it.
Bodog’s general support line is 1-877-263-6422. The site’s
fax number is +1 866-737-8458.
The site says
that Bodog attempts to answer all emails “… within four hours.”
Live chat is available at this site. It isn’t available 24
hours a day, like at other sites, but I can’t tell you what
hours it is open, as that information isn’t publicly available.
Bodog has changed a lot since it was founded in the mid-90s.
Some of those changes are still occurring – since the 2006
UIGEA, Bodog has struggled to maintain its place as one of the
top names in the industry, especially after getting rid of their
US-facing operations. In the wake of founder Calvin Ayres legal
troubles in the US, it seems unlikely the site will ever retain
its old glory, even if regulations in America loosen over the
next decade, as is expected.
Bodog’s user-interface is good-looking and easy to use. I
can’t say the same about their mobile sites, which seem
ill-suited to display on my iPhone 6+. Though the casino and
poker software is a blend of existing and proprietary games and
designs, it doesn’t seem varied enough to compete with some of
the bigger names in the business.
If you live outside the US and you are primarily interested in betting on sports or playing poker, Bodog is a good option to consider. Outside of those circumstances, I’d suggest a site with a more robust promotions program and a higher-quality casino game library. I’m pretty neutral on Bodog overall.
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