Bovada Review for 2018

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Well, isn't this an interesting time in the online gambling industry! With the changes in regulations in the U.S. that will allow for regulated sports betting on a state-by-state level, offshore sites have been scrambling to protect themselves in what will be a far more competitive environment. Even industry leaders like Bovada are feeling the pinch, and this is why I assume we have seen an entire redesign of the website!

The company is clearly preparing for a new sports betting world in the U.S., but what I am wondering is if this is just slapping on a new coat of paint or is there more to all the changes. My review of Bovada will leave no stone unturned - I want to determine if this is still a great betting option for those of you reading.

Ratings Breakdown

Overall

Back when Calvin Ayre left the Bodog brand, and the American portion of the company was sold, it was hard to tell what the future held for the new Bovada brand. Thankfully, the company continues to be a leader in the space, and it shows in this newly redesigned look. I think you will agree with my assessment when you are done reading this full review.

Game Variety

What can I say about the game variety at Bovada? As you will read in the detailed review, Bovada uses the top three casino suppliers open to U.S. operators. Also adding Live Casino and Poker into the mix gives the site a well-rounded offering with a little something for everyone. So, as far as I am concerned, this is about as good as it can get for an American player looking to gamble online.

Banking

American players continue to struggle with payment options, and it is no different at big sites like Bovada. The company relies heavily on Bitcoin, which it has been promoting for a very long time. If you aren't into the cryptocurrency thing, then your options are quite limited for getting money to and from the site.

Bonuses

The good old days of Bodog's promotions department drove players to play very hard to be rewarded like a proper VIP. These days, the offers are solid, but there is nothing that sticks out to me as something that makes me want to play harder at Bovada than any other site.

Customer Service

I haven't read many complaints from players about the Bovada service department, and my experience has always been positive. The only blemish on the scorecard is that I wish the company were more active from a social media perspective, as this is where a lot of easy front-line customer support takes place these days.

User Interface

The site has been overhauled from a design perspective, and I am one of the people who couldn't be happier about it. The site not only looks more modern, but the brightness of it also makes it easier to read all the content. I think the design team at Bovada has done an excellent job in this regard.

Sportsbook

Bovada started as a sportsbook, and it is still the lead product for the company. The betting interface is excellent, and you are going to find all the odds and lines you are looking for at this site. My only complaint is the dual-line service that offers sharp bettors a different line than the general public, Other than that, I love this section of the site.

Mobile Compatibility

I can't give the site any higher score than this because there is no sign of a native app for download in sight. The mobile browser version of all the games is robust though, and players should have no issues whatsoever playing the games on phones or tablets that have a decent internet connection.

The Basics About Bovada

I am going to guess that many of you have heard the name Bovada before, even if you haven't played with this site in the past. For those of you that need a refresher, Bovada was born from the breakup of the Bodog brand, and Bodog was one of the most recognizable online gambling brands in the industry for many years. IN the wake of the UIGEA bill in 2006, the U.S. part of the Bodog business was sold to an independent company, Morris Mohawk Gaming (we aren't really sure how independent they are) and the name was changed to Bovada.

We sure have come a long way from the days of the original founder, Calvin Ayre, finding himself on the cover of Forbes Magazine's Billionaire's issue!

The company has a license from Kahnawake in Montreal where they are hosted and where the company's offices reside, however for all intents and purposes the company is unlicensed. Having said that, Bovada has not had any issues with regards to non-payment or shady behavior, so the lack of proper licensing really has no impact on my overall rating of the site.

One thing that I notice right away when going to the Bovada site was the different look and feel of the pages. Not only are the graphics updated, but the black background that Bodog has been known for has been replaced with a much brighter set of pages. While I am not certain why the company chose to do this, I will say the new design is excellent.

Sportsbook

Bovada was built to be a sportsbook above all else, and this is still the lead product for the company today. IN fact, the Bovada lines are the ones quoted the most by the sports press when discussing sports and gambling. The sportsbook interface is very clean, and it is easy to find the odds that you are looking for. However, one thing to make a note of here is that Bovada has two different sets of lines - one for public gamblers and another for sharp bettors. The company makes their own determinations as to which category you fit into, and then you see the lines that are based on your profile. What I can tell you is this: if you are not winning a ton from the company, then you won't see the sharp lines.

It was very easy for me to find the lines I was looking for when testing the sportsbook functionality, and the betting slip on the right-hand side of the screen is clean and easy-to-read. Within a matter of seconds, I had picked some games and made my bets.

The most common available sports are filtered on the left-hand side of the page so you can find the quickest path to the games you want to bet on. Here is a sampling of all the sports you can choose from at Bovada:

  • Aussie Rules
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Darts
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Horse Racing
  • Motor Sports
  • Politics
  • Rugby League
  • Rugby Union
  • Snooker
  • Soccer
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • UFC / MMA
  • Volleyball
  • Winter Sports
Esports

Bovada has a very robust e-Sports betting offering. This is not really a surprise, as the company has always been at the forefront of betting. Had this been the old Bodog days, there would have no doubt been a league sponsored by the company, and founder Calvin Ayre would have found a way to make himself a character in one of the games.

If you are a fan of eSports competitions and want to give betting on the matches a try, you can choose from all the top games including:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Dota 2
  • League of Legends
  • Starcraft

The Casino

There isn't much new about the casino offering from Bovada, but that is just fine by me. The online casino market in the United States had struggled from a content perspective since 2006 when the majority of the top software providers stopped accepting bets from the region. Three main providers remain - Betsoft, Rival and Real Time Gaming - and Bovada uses all three of these providers for its casino. Bovada actually purchased a copy of the RTG code, so they are no longer paying the company royalties - it is hard to say whether or not they are still getting updates from the company as a result.

I really like parts of every one of these software companies. Rival Gaming has built some amazing slots content with its iSlots games - these are really immersive games that take you along a journey as well as spinning the reels. Betsoft has excellent 3D graphics in their games and Real Time Gaming has been building excellent casino titles for over twenty years now.

Slots

I just summarized the best parts of the slots catalog above, but I have to tell you that having all three of these companies in the lobby gives you a wide range of titles and themes. This is really important, because individually none of these companies would wow you with the volume of titles, but combined they offer you hundreds of slots options, including these titles that I like and want to highlight for you:

  • A Night With Cleo
  • Arabian Tales
  • As the Reels Turn 3: Blinded by Love
  • Astral Luck
  • Aztec's Treasure
  • Baby Boomers: Cash Cruise
  • Best of Luck
  • Bust-A-Vault
  • Caesar's Empire
  • Candy Cottage
  • Cleopatra's Gold
  • Diamond Dazzle
  • Diamond Dozen
  • Diamond Dragon
  • Diamonds Down Under
  • Diggin' Deep
  • Dino Island
  • Dirty Martini
  • DJ Moo Cow
  • Flying Colors
  • Food Fight!
  • Football Frenzy
  • Forbidden Slot
  • For Love and Money
  • Fortune Keepers
  • Fruit Frenzy
  • Hobo's Hoard
  • Hole in Won
  • Loco 7's
  • Lost Secret of Atlantis
  • Major Moolah
  • Megawins
  • One Million Reels BC
  • Opera Night
  • Reel Circus
  • Reel Crime 1: Bank Heist
  • Scary Rich 2
  • Scary Rich 3
  • So 80's
  • Soccer Babes
  • Thunderbird
  • Tiger Treasures
  • Travel Bug
  • Windy Farm
Video Poker

I have to admit I am a bit surprised that the casino doesn't offer the full suite of video poker titles from all three of its suppliers. I suppose there is no need for overkill - many of the titles are the same across the board - but if it were me, I would be adding as much content as possible.

You can still play tons of Video poker machines at Bovada, and chase the Royal Flush in 1, 2, 5, 10 and 52 hand versions of these titles:

  • Bonus Deuces Wild
  • Bonus Poker
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe
  • Deuces Wild
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Jackpot Poker
  • Double Jackpot Poker
  • Jacks Or Better
Table Games

I prefer spending my time in a casino playing table games, so I wanted to spend as much time as possible during this review playing the options at Bovada. I know all three software vendors very well, so what I found wasn't all the surprising. The quality of the games is good, but I have seen better across the online casino world. Having said that, I really just want the games to have nice graphics and play quickly, and that is exactly what I got out of playing at Bovada. The games you will find in the lobby here include:

  • American Roulette
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Caribbean Hold'Em
  • Caribbean Stud Poker
  • Classic Baccarat
  • Classic Craps
  • Classic European Roulette
  • Classic Single Deck Blackjack
  • Craps
  • European Roulette
  • Let 'Em Ride
  • Let 'Em Ride Classic
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Tri Card Poker
  • Vegas Three Card Rummy
  • Zappit Blackjack
Live Dealer Games

Well, here is something new since the last time I played here! Bovada has finally gotten around to launching Live Casino games for its players. I am a big fan of these games (you will know this if you have read any of my reviews before), so I am thrilled to find them available now at this site. There isn't as much of a selection of games as other casinos, but I don't mind at all - the standard games are here. You should definitely give these games a try, especially if you are playing them for the first time. You can find Live Dealers in the following games:

  • Baccarat Super 6
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Baccarat
Specialty Games

Bovada seems to have found a niche with players who enjoy games that are more entertainment-based than gambling. There is a whole section of these games in the casino lobby, and while I didn't play any of them, here is what you will find if this is your type of thing:

  • 30-Ball Bingo
  • 80-Ball Bingo
  • Amazonia Bingo
  • American Bingo
  • Beach Bums
  • Bingo Cataratas
  • Bingo Goal
  • Bingo Ribeirinhos
  • Cast For Cash
  • Cavalier Cash
  • European Bingo
  • Go-Go Bingo
  • Gunslinger's Gold
  • Itchin' 2 Win
  • Keno
  • Penguin Payday
  • Pesca Bingo
  • Pirates Pillage
  • Sudoku Box Game
  • Tiki Treasure
  • Tribo Bingo
Poker

Another piece of good news for those of you who haven't played with Bovada in a while is that the poker client is back! Bovada sold its original poker room to Ignition Poker a few years back (although once again these companies seem very close), but clearly, they are ready to relaunch the game. I am very happy about this because I much prefer sites that have a full suite of games with one central wallet.

The poker arm of Bovada is full of great cash games and a tournament schedule that features over 1.5 million USD in weekly guarantees. This is highlighted by the weekly $100,000 guaranteed event.

Bovada's return to poker includes their own attempt at a Super Series of poker, called the Super Millions Poker Open. This event runs through the summer of 2018 and offers 3.3 million USD in total guarantees. I fully expect this to run again in the fall based on the numbers I have seen in some of the events.

Bovada's poker tables are full of novice players, so if you are someone who feels like you are better than most, then you should be able to take advantage to all the fishy play at the cash game tables!

Banking Options

If you have been following the career of Calvin Ayre, you may know that he has shifted his focus over the last few years away from gambling and casinos and onto cryptocurrency. This largely came from a need to find ways to get Bodog players to make deposits easily, but he is now one of the most well-known experts in the field. Bitcoin Cash is the cryptocurrency that he is heavily promoting these days.

As a result, Bovada has a heavy reliance on Bitcoin for its payments to and from players. There are also a couple of other ways to get money to the site, but considering how aggressive Bovada is being with bonuses for Bitcoin users, it may make sense for you to get a crypto wallet and buy some coin. We have a whole guide to cryptocurrencies which will help you if you need.

Deposit Methods

Visa/Mastercard

Minimum Deposit: $20

Maximum Deposit: $1500

Fee:5.9%

Bitcoin

Minimum Deposit: $10

Maximum Deposit: $5000

Fee: None

American Express

Minimum Deposit: $20

Maximum Deposit: $1500

Fee:9.9%


Withdrawal Options

Bitcoin

Minimum Withdrawal: $100

Fee: None

Turnaround Time:15 Minutes

Check

Minimum Withdrawal: $10

Fee: None

Turnaround Time:10-15 Days


Bonus Promotions

The Bodog brand was built on promoting a certain VIP lifestyle embodied by its founder. Those days are gone though, and the company has built a more traditional set of promotions for players.

Welcome Bonus

Depending on what game you plan on playing, you will find a unique Welcome Bonus for each discipline. We will focus on the casino bonus, as this is a two-pronged bonus. If you are playing at the Casino, you can select one of the following bonuses:

  • 100% Bonus to a max of $3,000 for credit card deposits.
  • 150% Bonus to a maximum of $1,500 (usable 3 times) if you use Bitcoin.

As you can see, the company really wants you to use Bitcoin to make your deposits, offering you a far more lucrative offer that doesn't require a $3,000 one-time deposit.

Leaderboards

This is a feature that I think the company should be highlighting more in its promotional calendar. Every day, several Leaderboards are running in the slots and table games. However, these Leaderboard events can take as little as 10 minutes to complete, which allows someone to play in them without having to play for hours at a time. I love the idea of these small rewards for quick hits of play, and it still gets players to play with urgency to walk away with the prizes.

Mobile Compatibility

Mobile gaming is more popular than ever, and in the United States, more people are accessing sites from their phones each day. Bovada has made their site available to mobile users via the browsers on phones and tablets. The unfortunate part of serving only the US market is that there is no native app support for iOS or Android. This doesn't really impact the play, however, and the games that I tested all seemed to have no lag in them. The sports betting is intuitive in the mobile format, and it allowed me to see live odds and bet on them with ease and efficiency as well.

Customer Service

Bovada wants to take care of their customers and has several ways for you to contact their support agents. The most efficient way, in my opinion, remains the Live Chat functionality, which gives you a chance to chat with someone in real time and have a transcript of the conversation. I would also recommend calling them on the phone if you prefer to speak to someone in real time. There is also email support although it may take longer than you like to get a response.

Summary

Well, I am pleasantly surprised to see that there are more than just cosmetic changes to the Bovada site. Yes, the core of the site has remained the same, but the addition of Live Casino games and the return of Bovada Poker are great things for players to hear. I really like the layout of the new design, and it just feels a lot cleaner and cheery than the old color schemes.

Going back to Bovada to review it in 2018 was a treat, and I think the company is in a good position to try to compete against regulated gambling options as they launch across the U.S.

There is no reason for me not to recommend Bovada to my readers. The company has a great legacy in the space, and with the additional product lines now offers a full suite of games so you can have a one-stop gambling experience. I definitely think you should give Bovada a try

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FAQ

Can I use other cryptocurrencies at Bovada?
Right now, Bitcoin is the only option, although I would guess that it won't be long until they add others. This will be a real test of how close Calvin Ayre is to the business anymore - he despises many of the competing coins, so if they don't adopt Ether and Litecoin, it could be because Ayre has told them not to do so.
Is Bovada a safe place to play?
As far as I am concerned they are. Not having a license doesn't bother me, although I always suggest you only leave an amount of money on any online gambling site that you are comfortable losing if the site shuts down (which I do not think is happening with Bovada).
Why is there no mobile app?
Both Apple and Google do not approve gambling apps in regions where online gambling is illegal. For the time being, we are unlikely to see this position change so Bovada players will be limited to playing from directly in the browser.
What is Zone Poker?
Zone Poker is Bovada's take on Fast-fold poker. All the sites now have some sort of version of this game, which moves you to a new table as soon as you fold so you don't have to wait for the action to end on a table before seeing another hand. It's a pretty frenetic pace, so if you try it, I would suggest doing so for very low stakes until you feel comfortable with the speed.

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