Bovada Review for 2017
Bovada has the best reputation of any online gambling site serving United States players.
Look at the discussions of other casino, poker, or sports betting sites in any active player forum. What's the biggest complaint for most of them? It's hard to withdraw your money.
Players don't complain about getting paid their winnings from Bovada, because they have the best customer service in the industry. For that reason alone, Bovada is worth your consideration.
But that's just one of many reasons to play there. This review looks at the pros and cons of gambling at Bovada.
What Makes Bovada a Great Choice
Most online gambling sites specialize. For example, PokerStars offers poker, almost to the exclusion of all other games. Slotland offers slot machine games and nothing else. Most online casinos only offer casino games. Most sports betting sites tack on poker and/or casino as an afterthought.
Bovada, on the other hand, is a one-stop shop for gamblers, and they don't skimp on one product to the exclusion of others. Not only do they offer a world-class sports betting operation, but they have state-of-the-art casino software and one of the best poker rooms online. They even offer betting on horse racing.
Sports Betting Review
Bovada's sportsbook has a good reputation among players. Do your own forum and message board searches – the biggest complaints you'll read have to do with the posting time for some of their lines. Bovada has an easy to use interface and bet slip, a good set of customer promotions, and (best of all, if you live in North America) makes sports bets available to Americans and Canadians.
Bovada's focus is North American customers, so of course their sports coverage mirrors the interests of Americans and Canadians. You can wager on all of the major American and Canadian pro sports leagues – football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and motor sports. As for bets at the college level, Bovada covers NCAA football and basketball, with some coverage for tournaments in other NCAA sports.
Bovada Sports Betting Lines
Outside of those popular sports, the list of available markets at Bovada includes: soccer, UFC, tennis, golf, boxing, rugby, cricket, darts, snooker, horse racing, and wagers on entertainment events like the Oscars. The variety is good, particularly if you have traditional North American sports tastes. The inclusion of some alternative sports (snooker, anyone?) gives the site some bragging rights in terms of their market coverage.
Bonuses for Sports Bettors
First-time sportsbook depositors can earn a 50% deposit match bonus worth up to $250. This bonus requires a 3x deposit plus bonus rollover.
You can earn 200% of the first deposit of any friend you refer, up to $100 per referral. This bonus also requires a 3x rollover on the amount earned.
The minimum bet amount for all Web-based wagers is $1. The minimum for parlays and teasers is $50. The minimum for Straight and If bets is $100.
The maximum wager amount allowed depends on the game and the type of bet you place. For example, the maximum wager on point spread bets ranges from $500 (on MLB and WNBA wagers) at the low end to $2,000 (on college football and the NFL) on the high end.
Bovada has put together a really handy chart of all their betting limits. To find the maximum wager size for a specific bet, just find it on this chart. You may have to scroll down to find the game you're interested in.
Bovada’s casino is a robust product, with a generous signup bonus, multiple progressive jackpots, instant play games, and a free $10 chip for players trying out the mobile casino for the first time.
Software and Casino Games
Bovada uses Betsoft and Realtime Gaming software to power their games. The table games selection is impressive. All of the standard table games you'd find at any traditional land-based casino are available, including baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette. Newer table games like Caribbean Draw Poker, Caribbean Hold'em Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Let 'em Ride, and Pai Gow Poker are also available.
Both American-style and European-style roulette are available. Multiple blackjack variations are also available, including single deck, double deck, and more exotic variants like Face Up 21 and Super 21. All told, you’ll find over 20 different table games to play.
Bovada Roulette Table
Bovada also offers a wide variety of slot machine games—over 100 of them, in fact. These include traditionally-themed games like Diamond Dozen and Sunken Treasure, but you'll also find unusual games like It's Good to Be Bad and The Big Heist on offer here.
Over 30 of these games are state-of-the-art 3D slot machine games from software provider BetSoft. These games feature new and entertaining animation, sound effects, and storylines. In fact, these storylines are as important to these games as the cutting edge effects. Good Girl, Bad Girl and Greedy Goblins are two of my favorite games.
Their other slot machine games, including their progressive jackpot games, are powered by casino software stalwart Realtime Gaming.
Bonuses and Promotions for Casino Players
Bovada may not have the most impressive welcome bonuses on the Internet, but they do deserve a thumbs-up for posting regular updates to their promotions, and for laying out their rules in a way that's easy to understand.
The following promotions available to casino gamblers:
100% Match Bonus up to $1,000 for Casino (Redeemable 3X)
50% match up to $250 for Sports
150% Match Bonus up to $1,500 (Redeemable 3X) in Casino
50% up to $500 for Sports
On Tuesdays, table game favorites (roulette, blackjack etc.) pay out $10 for every $250 a player wagers on them.
Similar to the table game bonus above, but aimed at slots players. This is a $20 bonus payout available for bettors that drop $500 on a small group of slots that changes on a weekly basis.
Live Dealer Games
The software at Bovada Casino is great. Everything functions as expected, and it's as user-friendly as anyone might hope it would be. But it's still just software.
The one thing missing from their casino product are live dealer casino games. I don't know if they have plans to add this to their offerings, but if they do, then Bovada's casino product will be flawless and complete.
Bovada no longer offers Poker. You can check out poker game options at Ignition Casino.
Other Gambling Options at Bovada
Here are details on the games gathered under the site's "Specialty Games" category.
Bovada customers can place wagers on racing events at 60+ North American tracks, both major and minor courses. You'll find wagers on big-name courses like Aqueduct, Calder Race Course, Turfway Park, and Pocono Downs among dozens of others. Most races are eligible for both futures and exotic props.
Horse race fans who enjoy summer racing can wager on The Pacific Classic and other warm-weather events even when horse racing's season isn't in full swing.
Wagering types allowed include the traditional "Win / Place / Show" wagers as well as Pick Threes, Pick Fours, Daily Doubles, Exactas, Trifectas, and Superfectas on the majority of races covered.
Two Racebook-specific promos deserve mention – race bettors can take advantage of the same bonus offer as sportsbook customers – a 50% deposit match bonus worth up to $250.
A weekly rebate deal is also in place specifically for bettors that wager on horse racing – this rebate can be worth as much as 5% of your weekly losses.
This section is dedicated to a Virtual Racebook and a few other games: Bonus Bingo, Keno, "Scratcherz" (lotto-style scratch card games), and Sic Bo. These are all longshot bets, true "specialty" games in the sense that not many casino gamblers are probably that into playing them.
The Virtual Racebook is exactly what it sounds like - a horse-racing video game that allows real-money wagers. The game is easy enough to play – the odds are available in two formats, and you can even place some of the more complex wagers in the sport. The race itself takes about a minute, and is animated but not particularly well. In "free play" mode, I only had patience for two races. If you like betting on the ponies, you might be into this one. I've bet on live horse racing, and this is really nothing like it.
The eSports betting section of Bovada can be found on the All Sports tab (an additional drop down below the popular sports on the left-hand side of the screen). It's a bit tough initially (as with most sites) to tell how extensive their games offerings are as they only list the current bets available and there is no master list anywhere of what they offer year round.
When we checked the site last, these were the offerings available. As we continue to check the site to update our reviews, we will add any new leagues or bet types that we see in this list.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Dota 2
- League of Legends
- Other E-Sports (This included country versus country battles at the Hearthstone Global Games.)
The main screen showed you the "macro bets" or the big bets on who would win the matches. If you wanted to make more specific bets maybe on winning specific maps or stages of the tournament, you could click a more bets tab under each league, and a new window will come up with the different options. There is also a convenient drop-down menu at the top left of the screen that we initially missed that allows you to show all bets for a specific league. An additional drop-down became available for bets within each league but wasn't necessary at this point as there weren't that many bets. Although, as the sport grows, it's clear that Bovada is prepared to handle the expansion which is a huge plus.
We didn't see any live stream options on Bovada which isn't really a big deal as we've only seen that at a couple sites so far. Overall, the eSports platform on Bovada looks good and definitely looks set up to grow as the sport grows in size.
The trouble that Bovada faces when it comes to financial transactions is that they deal exclusively with people in the United States. That population traditionally struggles with gambling website deposits, thanks to American legislation that restricts how banks handle betting cash. The site has three different methods available to their customers for deposits.
North American citizens can use their Visa cards to deposit money into an account at Bovada. That includes branded debit cards attached to a checking account as well as that company's popular credit cards and some prepaid products as well. If that sounds too easy – there's a slight catch. Depositing using a Visa product requires you pay a fee of 4.9%. It's not so bad when you think about it this way – depositing $100 would cost you just under $5. Still, that's a significant bite out of your bankroll, so you may want to consider one of the other options on this list.
Rapid Transfer (Moneygram)
Rapid Transfer is a payment transfer system run by Moneygram. It's becoming a common deposit method for American customers, and it is available at Bovada. Because it's run by Moneygram, you can make your deposit at any kiosk or shop that handles Moneygram transactions or you can do it online or on the phone. Transaction time is about 24 hours, and you'll pay about $15 for most deposits, though Bovada will refund you the fee if you deposit $300 or more.
You can also withdraw via Rapid Transfer at Bovada Casino. Withdrawals are limited to winnings of between $100 and $2,000, and it's expensive, costing between $40 and $150. The transfers take from a week to ten days to complete, according to the site.
Withdrawing by check is the most-popular way for customers to get money from their Bovada account. Checks are delivered via Fed-Ex from Canada, and the site says they can arrive in as little as three business days, depending on where in the US or Canada you live. You can also take one totally-free check withdrawal each month; otherwise, each check will cost you $50.
Bovada has two options customers can use to contact their support staff – an online contact form and a toll-free phone number. The site promises a response to contact form submissions "within 4 hours," and an email I sent to them got a response inside an hour, so I tend to believe them when they say that. If you prefer to talk to someone, the contact number is available twenty-four hours a day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bovada does not cheat. They don't have to.
In the sportsbook, Bovada makes its money from the vig, which is the commission they charge for each wager. When you have to wager $110 to win $100, it's easy to see how the sportsbook remains profitable.
Besides that, Bovada would have to find a way to affect the outcome of a professional sports game. That's so unlikely that I'm not even going to address it.
In the casino, Bovada offers standard casino games. If you know anything about casino games, you know that the casino has a mathematical advantage because of the rules of each game. Cheating isn't necessary for the casino to make a profit.
In fact, online casinos who cheat with rigged software would make less money, because they'd have fewer players. News travels fast on the Internet, and reputation is more important than anything else in the gambling industry.
In the poker room, Bovada makes its money from the rake, which is a percentage of each pot that goes to the house. No cheating is necessary to make a profit.
When you investigate a crime, you look for things like motive and opportunity. The same can be done when investigating cheating in an online gambling site.
In Bovada's case, where's the motive to cheat?
They have an excellent reputation that they would destroy. All of their betting activities are already profitable. They have no motive.
Compared to most other sites in the industry, payouts at Bovada are very fast. Most players report receiving their checks within 2 to 3 weeks.
Bovada is a seven-day a week, 24 hours a day casino and Live Chat Customer Service is also available to players 24/7.
Bovada does accept players from the United States, depending on the state where the player lives. Bovada does not accept new accounts from players living in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, or Washington.
The Morris Mohawk Gaming Group is a private online gaming company based in Canada. After Bodog left the USA market in 2006, MMGG negotiate a license to use that brand to market their gambling products. In 2011, MMGG decided to transition customers to a new brand, Bovada.
The short answer is that Morris Mohawk Gaming Group is Bovada's parent company.
If a line has a red outline, it means that the maximum for that particular wager has been reduced. They have various reasons for reducing the maximum bet you can make, and they can remove that red outline shortly before the game starts.
The blue line means that these wagers have restricted options. You cannot parlay a point spread with the total from the same event.
Once you've submitted a wager to Bovada, and once they've received it, you cannot cancel or modify that wager. This is a standard policy at sportsbooks, and you can expect this policy to be strictly enforced. If you're not responsible for you wagers, you shouldn't place them.
Be sure to review all of the information you've submitted for a wager before clicking on the "Place Bet" link.
Their site uses SSL encryption in order to protect your information. Older versions of browsers might trigger security alerts. If you receive such a message, check to make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser. Internet Explorer 7 or higher is optimal, although you can also use Opera or Firefox if you have a newer version.
Bovada operates best on computers using Internet Explorer 7 or higher. They recommend using a Pentium class computer with at least 32MB RAM and a high speed (56k+) Internet connection. Users have reported problems using the AOL default browser, so stick with Internet Explorer, even if you're an AOL customer.
Bovada Casino is one of the best-reviewed US-facing gambling sites, offering a wide variety of betting products under one roof to customers that have a difficult time finding safe and legal online wagers.
The site uses a fun blend of software platforms as well as twenty-four hour customer service options to provide a user-friendly experience.
If Bovada would offer live dealer casino games, it would be close to a perfect place for Americans to gamble. As it is, I still say North American customers don't have a better option for sports betting or casino gambling than what's available at Bovada.