Online vs Brick and Mortar Sportsbooks

For generations, sports betting was done only via brick-and-mortar locations.
However, with the advent of the internet and mobile platforms, sports betting
exploded online, and the industry has seen a boom like never before. In fact,
from 2009 to 2016, online gambling grew from a
reported 20
billion dollars
to more than 40 billion annually. It’s believed that this number
will grow to nearly 60 billion dollars in the next few years.

With that said, do you know the differences between these two sports betting
options? More importantly, do you know which option is best for you?

A Quick Definition for Each Option

Online sports betting refers to the act of placing wagers via websites and
mobile apps. It’s an incredibly popular option that provides bettors with a wide
range of benefits, which we’ll examine below.

Brick and mortar, also known as offline, is where bettors go to physical locations in order to place their
wagers. For example, this would include going to a bookie, sportsbook, horse
track, or casino.

Online vs Offline Pros and Cons

When comparing the two, there are many factors that one can choose from.
We’ve taken a look at the most popular attributes of both options and compared
the pros and cons for each.

Betting Options

Just about any avid sports bettor loves to have a wide range of betting
options, which includes a variety of sports to bet on and different wager types.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case when going the offline route. Most
brick-and-mortar establishments limit the number of sports that they take wagers
on. Additionally, they don’t offer as many types of wagers for each sport.

Available Sports

For most casinos, sportsbooks, and
bookies, they only cover the major professional and collegiate sports. A good
amount of them will also cover some major international leagues.

Online sports betting offers just about every sport possible. For example,
you can bet on cricket, badminton, and pro wrestling. Just imagine going down to
the local bookie and asking if he will take a bet on Brock Lesnar beating Roman
Reigns at WrestleMania. In all likelihood, you would be laughed out of the

Sports betting sites also offer wagering options for entertainment and
politics. So, bettors can venture out into other betting markets that they may
also passionately or obsessively follow.

Types of Wagers

Typically, offline sports betting sites
only take straight bets like spreads, moneylines, and totals. A handful of them
could possibly take parlays and teasers. You might even be able to find one or
two that will accept a futures or prop bet. However, that’s about it. For a
variety of wager types, you will need to go online.

Online sports betting sites offer just about every type of wager you can
imagine. From multiple team teasers and parlays to in-depth futures and props,
online sports betting has the clear advantage in this area as well. Perhaps
there is no better example of this advantage than live betting.

Live betting allows bettors to place wagers on games that have already
started. For example, with football

live betting
, bettors can place wagers on each play or any other straight
bet for the game. Offline establishments are not capable of this type of sports


Online sports betting has a huge advantage over
offline sports betting when it comes to the volume of sports and types of wagers

Line Shopping

Line shopping
is crucial to the success of any sports bettor. It helps
bettors find the best odds in order to maximize winnings and to improve their
chances of winning. For example, Source A offers the Eagles moneyline at +180,
and Source B offers it at +200. Any smart bettor would go with Source B because
you can win more money just by risking the same amount.

Unfortunately, offline locations do not have the capability of line shopping.
Additionally, why would they offer bettors the lines of their competitors? It
would cost them money if bettors could see the odds of other casinos listed next
to their own odds, especially if the competition’s odds were more favorable.
These brick-and-mortar companies want you to bet with them and to only use their

Online sports betting is the way to go when it comes to line shopping.
Bettors have access to dozens of sportsbooks, which allows them to find the best
odds available. Without going into all of the advantages and the strategies
behind line shopping, a mere half point or full point could make the difference
between a winning and losing bet. Almost nobody ever goes into a store and
purchases the first TV they see. Instead, they compare prices from several
stores in order to find the best deal. That’s the same concept behind line
shopping. Find the best line and put yourself in a more optimal position of


Online sports betting is the best option for
line shopping.

Sports Betting Environment

When it comes to the environment, atmosphere, and overall vibe, nothing beats
the feel of a brick and mortar. Offline locations are well known for their
overall atmosphere. What’s more exciting: sitting in front of a computer placing
a wager on a horse, or being live at a horse track? Hands down, it’s live at a
horse track.

Let’s also point out how extravagant some of these casinos are, where their
sportsbook is like a giant sports bar. Bettors can go into these sportsbooks,
sit in a comfortable chair, watch numerous games and events, eat food, order
drinks, chat with others, and soak up the vibe. It becomes more than just
placing a wager; it becomes an experience.

Betting online from home can allow you to create your own personal
environment, but it doesn’t compare to the excitement of being with others.
Additionally, most of us don’t have enough TVs to watch more than a few games at
a time. Plus, if we want food, we will most likely have to go cook it ourselves.


Offline sites are far more exciting than betting


The flip side of being at an exciting sportsbook or horse track is that there
are more distractions. At home, you have an isolated and quiet environment if
you choose. Worst-case scenario, you have a few kids that you have to send to
their room when you want to focus on betting. At casinos and horse tracks, you
can have thousands of people all around you. It’s harder to focus on making your
picks when there are people screaming over different games and races, waitresses
asking if you want a drink, other sports bettors sitting nearby trying to talk
to you, people blowing smoke in your face, and so-called betting experts wanting
to brag about past successful wagers. Oh, and if they’re serving free drinks,
then watch out, because before you know it, you will be betting on the Cleveland
Browns to win the Super Bowl.


Online betting is the better environment for focusing on picks.

Additional Expenses

This might come as a surprise to some of you, but it actually costs more to
bet at brick-and-mortar places than it does online. For starters, think about
how you are getting to these casinos or horse tracks. If you are visiting Las
Vegas, then you have to factor in the costs of your trip. If you live in Vegas,
then the costs would be more relevant to your mode of transportation, whether
it’s taking an Uber, a cab, a bus, or putting gas in your own car.

When you are actually at the offline location, you’re going to spend money on
food and drinks, especially if you are planning to watch multiple games or
events at the sportsbook. Many bettors could also be tempted to gamble at the
tables or slot machines if they’re visiting a casino to place their bets. Before
you know it, a $100 wager on the Jaguars to cover a 3-point spread against the
Colts turns into a $300 wager once you factor in the travel expenses, food and
beverages, and the slots or card tables.

AAt home, the expenses are just one’s normal everyday costs like electricity
and whatever food was bought that week from the grocery store.


Betting online doesn’t cost you anything extra.


Convenience is king when it comes to betting online. Not only can you place
wagers from your PC, but you can also bet directly from your laptop, smartphone,
and tablet. Whether you are at home or on the go, you can place a bet whenever
you want.

Wake up in the middle of the night convinced that the Bengals will win by
more than 7 over the Browns? Place your bet. Christmas morning and you want to
get a wager in on the NBA games before heading over to the family’s house for
the holiday? Place your bet. No matter the circumstance, online betting allows
you to place a bet at any moment of the day, just as long as the lines are

This is not the case when it comes to offline sports betting.

Horse tracks, sportsbooks, and even bookies have hours of operation. 99.9% of
these places close down at some point. You can’t place a wager if nobody is
there to take it. Additionally, most of the United States doesn’t allow sports
betting. So, there aren’t many options for physically going somewhere to place a


Online betting is far more convenient than offline.

The Lowest Vig

The “vig,” also known as juice,
is the commission that sportsbooks charge for
the odds. For example, the Falcons are getting 2 points against the Saints with
the odds at -110. So, if you want to bet on the Falcons to win, then you have to
risk $110 to win $100. The extra $10 is the commission that sportsbooks charge.
The goal of each sportsbook is to get an even amount of wagers on each bet. So,
they would be hoping that someone else would take the Saints -2 at -110 odds.
Now, they get a commission on both bets and make money no matter what.

At offline sportsbooks, casinos, and bookies, it’s pretty common to see the
vig range from 10% to 20%. That’s -110 to -120. Online sites will most likely
have the vig anywhere from 5% to 10%, which is -105 to -110. Because you have so
many sports betting websites to choose from, you can easily search for the one
that has the lowest juice on the game you’re looking to bet on. That’s why it’s
important to shop for lines. However, you must be cautious with some of these
low-juice websites, as they may not be reputable. We advise all sports bettors
to only use the top sports
betting sites

TThe reason why offline sites charge more commission is because they have a
higher overhead than online sites. Typically, they have an office, staff, and
other related expenses that many sports betting sites don’t have.


Online sites have lower juice, which translates
into having to risk less money with your bets.

Withdrawals and Deposits

With offline sites, most people don’t think about the benefits of having a
variety of deposit options. But with online sites, deposit options are one of
the first things you look for. Brick-and-mortar establishments typically only
allow cash and major credit cards as forms of payment. Online sites allow credit
cards, checks, PayPal, Bitcoin, and wire transfers, just to name a few. Having
more options is just another form of convenience that the online sports betting
community has over the offline community.

Despite the limited number of deposit options, offline establishments have a
major advantage over online sites when it comes to making withdrawals. At
sportsbooks and casinos, you can turn in a winning ticket and get paid cash on
the spot. With sports betting sites, you must go through a withdrawal process
that can take few days to approve. Additionally, these websites have fewer
options for withdrawals than they do for deposits.


Although brick-and-mortar sites have fewer
deposit options than online sites, collecting your winnings right away is far
greater than what any sports betting site offers.

Higher Payouts

As mentioned above, offline sites have more expenses in general than online
sites. Because of this, sports betting websites can offer higher payouts on
various types of wagers. For example, they can offer higher payouts on prop
bets, parlays, and teasers, just to name a few, where brick-and-mortar sites
don’t have the overhead flexibility to offer higher payouts. No matter what
level of experience you are at with betting on sports or whether or not you are
just betting for fun, a higher payout is always going to be more attractive than
a lower payout.


Online sports betting sites offer higher
payouts, which means more money when you win.

Bonuses and Rewards

Because the competition is so fierce online, sports betting sites offer a
variety of bonuses and rewards to attract bettors. These bonuses can range from
matching your first deposit to referral or reload bonuses. Additionally, many
sports betting sites offer free plays, which allows bettors to place a bet for
free. I have yet to see an offline sportsbook offer anything in the ballpark of
what’s offered by sports betting websites. In fact, most brick-and-mortar
sportsbooks don’t offer any bonus or rewards program.


Online websites offer some really fantastic
bonuses and rewards. Unfortunately, most brick-and-mortar sportsbooks don’t even
offer bonuses or rewards.

Sports Betting Resources

This one isn’t even a close contest. When was the last time you went to a
bookie or a casino and had access to a library of sports data, trends, and news?
That answer would be never! With online betting, you have access to a seemingly
endless amount of resources and information. Additionally, it’s been
mentioned many times on that all serious sports bettors
should create their own library of resources in order to improve their betting
system. Unfortunately, if you have already created a library, most offline
sportsbooks aren’t going to let you set up multiple laptops in order to access
your various resources.


Online sports betting makes it easier to create
and use your library of sports betting resources.

Customer Support

Another factor that weighs in favor of brick-and-mortar sites is customer
support. When dealing with online sportsbooks, if you have a question or
problem, then you will most likely have to read a lengthy FAQ or submit a help
ticket. If you’re lucky enough to be using a website with a chat feature,
sometimes it’s just a chatbot. There isn’t always real person-to-person contact
when trying to deal with online customer support. And on the occasions that you
do speak directly with someone, they don’t always speak your language.

Brick-and-mortar sports betting sites have real-life human-to-human contact.
In fact, as long as you don’t abuse this privilege, many sportsbooks allow
bettors to ask questions if they don’t understand something. Additionally, even
if you don’t get the answer you want, it’s still more fulfilling when dealing
with real people rather than chatbots and FAQs.


Brick-and-mortar sites have real people to help
with customer support, whereas online sites sometimes put you through a dozen
hoops before ever speaking with someone.

Which One Is for You?

Although we have our preference, nobody can make this decision for you. But
we can help you narrow it down further.

If you like to socialize with others, feel the energy of a room, get out of
the house, get paid right away when you win, and enjoy doing other things in
addition to sports betting, then going to brick-and-mortar places is the option
for you.

If you like higher payouts, lower commissions, getting bonuses and rewards,
being able to line shop and compare odds, enjoy the comfort of your own home,
and place wagers whenever you want, then online sports betting is the option for

Here’s one suggestion that could help alleviate any potential conundrums over
which one to choose – try both of them. What do you have to lose by creating an
online sports betting account and visiting offline sports betting locations?
Just make sure to prepare ahead of time before going out to a sportsbook to
place a bet. Also, make sure you only join the most reputable sports betting
sites if you’re only accustomed to brick-and-mortar betting.