Let Our Brutally Honest Bovada Review Tell You Exactly Why.
|Software & Games:|
Deposit & Payout Options
Despite being 10x bigger than any competitor in the U.S. market, www.bovada.lv processes payouts faster than others, has the most professional customer service and most valuable promotions in the U.S. market.
Bovada is the Most Popular in the U.S. (by Far)
Only company insiders can give us definite answers and each of the ones we’ve contacted have refused to do that (understandably so). Still, it seems like the company is miles ahead of its US competition.
Bovada gets 3.4 million visitors a month according to Compete and Alexa. That’s 10 times more traffic than its nearest U.S. competition, since BetOnline – the second-busiest site U.S. site – gets 300,000 visitors according to Compete and 400,000 according to Alexa.
We have no access to information regarding the rate of traffic to sign-ups – or any other conversion metrics for that matter – but in all likelihood, Bovada is making its competition look foolish on the popularity scale.
Anyway, here’s the main point: considering all the traffic they get and the customers they (likely) have, you’ll see relatively few Bovada complaints at online forums. That’s quite a feat when you keep two things in mind: again, they deal with a massive amount of customers and people like to complain.
After almost 15 years in the business (having started in 2001), they still deliver check cashouts faster any other US gambling site (in 7-10 days). They likely have significantly more checks to process than their competition – due to 10x higher traffic – which makes this even more impressive.
Great Track Record
Bovada has been in the online gambling industry for 15 years. As mentioned, it’s easily the biggest gambling site in the U.S. market, yet you’ll find few Bovada complaints at online forums. While there are other U.S. gambling sites with impressive track records as well (like 5Dimes.eu and Bookmaker.eu), I consider Bovada.lv to be on top of the mountain reputation-wise.
The speed and consistency of Bovada payouts is amazing when you consider their size relative to the competition. How can a site with 10x the traffic of their closest competition still process check payouts faster than the others? Impressive!
Bovada deserves plenty of praise for the way it services its customers. You can reach them by phone or e-mail, and they usually reply to e-mails within 30 minutes (based on my experience). You’ll get friendly and helpful service, which is often much-needed (and under-appreciated!) within the U.S. market.
Gambling companies outside of the U.S. have the highest quality software, but Bovada does it the best within the U.S. Furthermore, all of their gambling services are available on mobile, so you can play at this site no matter where you are.
Credit Card Deposit Fee
Perhaps the most disappointing detail is their 4.9% fee for credit card deposits. This is unusual in both worldwide and US markets – in fact, BetOnline is the only other well-known US gambling site charging for credit card deposits (6.0%). Since this behaviour is so unlike the rest of the industry, many consider it being greedy.
It is, however, worth noting that their bonuses are better than average in the industry, which theoretically lessens the impact of the deposit fee. (More on Bovada bonus offers lower on this page.)
Furthermore – and rather surprisingly, considering the deposit fee – Bovada has reasonable cashout terms. They allow one free check payout per month.
The second biggest reason for critique is offering dual lines which means different sets of betting lines for different customers. This is why you may often see different betting lines by logging in than what you just saw seconds earlier. The only other US-friendly betting site offering dual lines (that I’m aware of, anyway) is BetUS.
The change in lines happens once Bovada.lv identifies your skill-level. Recreational bettors, for example, often bet on popular games and teams, while educated bettors look for profitable betting opportunities. As you open an account, the popular teams have slightly worse lines than they would if you were tagged as an educated bettor, and their less-popular opposition likely have slightly better lines – these are known as square lines.
Recreational bettors often blindly bet on the popular teams while educated bettors take an advantage of the less-popular team getting better odds. Once educated bettors take an advantage of these opportunities and get identified by Bovada, they get a different set of betting lines (known as sharp lines):
Team A: -7.5
Team B: +7.5
Team A: -7
Team B: +7
Bovada Sportsbook publishes betting lines later than many of their competitors – while most US sportsbooks publish lines a week or so before a game is to be played, Bovada often publishes lines just a couple of days beforehand. While this practice frustrates a certain group of gamblers, it’s likely a conscious decision and further proof of Bovada being a recreational-friendly gambling site.
In the Reddit AMA thread, Pat Morrow, the head NFL oddsmaker at Bovada, answered someone asking about their late lines:
“We get this one a lot and its dictated largely by our player base. Because our players are more of the recreational variety (smaller bets with bets coming closer to game time), we don’t traditionally see a lot of handle, especially in relation to our game day handle when we post early. In terms of raw numbers, ~80% of our wagering for an NFL event comes in about an hour before it kicks off.”
As if I hadn’t mentioned already, Bovada.lv is recreational-friendly. Enforcing betting limits to educated gamblers makes perfect business sense – they don’t cater to that audience, and they likely never will.
If you’re a professional sports bettor looking to make some serious money at Bovada, you’ll likely find better opportunities elsewhere. As soon as Bovada labels you as an educated gambler – which may happen after just one bet – you’re pretty much stripped from any serious money-making opportunities. It’s nothing personal – you’re just not the kind of a person Bovada wants to do business with.
Deposits and Cashouts
Now that we’ve gone through a summary of the main pros and cons, it’s time to look at each part of Bovada’s operations from depositing to cashing-out, and from its sportsbook to its casino.
Making Your First Deposit
Bovada accepts VISA and MasterCard credit and debit cards, VISA gift cards, Bitcoin and Rapid Transfer deposits.
VISA & MasterCard Deposits:
When depositing with a VISA card, you need to make sure the card is eligible for both international and online purchases. Bovada charges a 4.9% deposit fee for card deposits – remember this when making a deposit, since the minimum deposit limit is $20 so you’ll need to deposit at least $20+4.9%.
Additionally, your bank may charge a 3% fee for international purchases made with a debit card (note: doesn’t apply to credit cards).
Rapid Transfer Deposits:
Most of you have never heard of Rapid Transfer but not to worry: it’s the same as Western Union (except for the name). You’ll make the deposit via Western Union, either at a live location or through their online website.
Card deposits for gambling purposes are declined every now and then when trying to deposit to U.S. gambling sites. Even if your credit card deposit is declined, though, Western Union provides a workaround since you can use the card to send money to Bovada through Western Union’s online service (so in a way, you’re still making a card deposit, although this way it’s more expensive).
You can deposit between $100 and $800 and you’ll be charged $12-$20 by Rapid Transfer for the transaction. While card deposits are instantly on your account, Rapid Transfer deposits take up to 15 minutes to arrive.
Initiating a Withdrawal
The only two Bovada payout methods are Check by Courier and Rapid Transfer – however, you’re only allowed to cashout via Rapid Transfer if you made the deposit via Rapid Transfer as well. If you make a card deposit instead, you can only withdraw the money via a check. (I’ve also heard of regular Bovada customers receiving bank transfer cashouts – you can ask about that from their customer service.)
You can request one check cashout per month for free (additional requests within the same month cost $50 per check). Bovada payouts are currently the fastest in the industry (check delivery times are at around seven business days). You can withdraw up to $3000 with a single check (although this can likely be negotiated with their customer service).
Rapid Transfer is a faster but more expensive cashout method relative to card deposits unless you deposit a lot of money (at which point the 4.9% card deposit fee is significant). You can request a payout in the amount of anywhere from $100 to $650 and you’ll have to pay between $20 and $60 as a fee depending on the size of the cashout.
Bovada Casino runs on Realtime Gaming (RTG) and Betsoft software. RTG is the go-to software for US casinos because it’s the best available option. That’s only saying a little, though, since the online casino software in the US is lightyears behind the best non-US software like NetEntertainment and Microgaming.
Still, as you can see from the screenshot above, the graphics look good. The games are user-friendly and, even though there are casinos with much wider selections of games outside of the U.S. market, Bovada has around 100 slot machines games, six variations of blackjack, around 30 variations of video poker and around 40 other casino games. There’s plenty to play at Bovada Casino!
You can choose between two 100% deposit match bonuses depending on whether you like to play slot machines or other types of casino games.
Bonus Code: SLOTS500
By applying the Bovada bonus code SLOTS500, you’ll get a 100% up to $500 deposit match bonus which you can use up to four times.
This bonus / coupon code can be cleared only by playing slot machines. If you decide to apply for this promotion, you’ll have to complete a 25x rollover requirement before being able to withdraw the deposit, bonus money or any winnings. Think carefully before entering the bonus code since you may want to cashout sooner than you’ll be able to complete the rollover requirement. If you’re in it for the long run, however, clearing the bonus is the better option financially.
Bonus Code: GAMES500
For other games, there’s a 100% up to $250 bonus which can also be used up to four times and come with a 40x rollover requirement. This bonus has a higher rollover requirement than the slots bonus because these games have a lower house edge than slot machines in general, so they make it harder to clear this bonus in order to not lose money on the bonus offers.
The following games are restricted from this bonus promotions:
- Single-Deck Blackjack
- Double-Deck Blackjack
- Mini Games in Sportsbook or Racebook
First-time mobile casino customers get an exclusive bonus offer: by playing on Bovada’s mobile casino and wagering $250 or more between Monday and Sunday, you’ll get a free $10 to gamble with. (This can only be used once.)
Bovada Casino has a Benefits Program – the equivalent of what you might find at other sites by the names of ”Points Program,” ”Cashback Program” and ”Player’s Club.” Here’s how the program works (as explained on their website):
Bovada Sportsbook has attractive promotions throughout the betting season, a top-quality mobile betting site which allows you to easily place bets on the fly, and they welcome small bettors (the minimum betting limit is $1).
Bovada is the most popular sports betting brand in the US and offers a great variety of propositions on a wide selection of leagues and games. Since Bovada Sportsbook only accepts U.S. customers, their focus is on U.S. sports (such as baseball, basketball, football, etc.), but you’ll find 23 available betting markets (from the obvious ones to some more unusual ones like e-sports, politics and poker tournaments). As an example, their soccer betting market covers 50+ soccer leagues around the world.
Betting limits are relatively small when compared to sites like Bookmaker.eu. While many bets at Bookmaker are in the tens of thousands of dollars, Bovada’s betting limits barely touch a couple of thousand of dollars (you may be able to increase these limits by contacting their customer support):
As mentioned near the top of this page, there are a few things online bettors dislike about Bovada’s sportsbook. In a nutshell, they will:
- Offer you dual lines, meaning the attractiveness of your betting lines depends on how skilled they consider you, and they try to determine your skill-level as soon as possible.
- Post betting lines later (sometimes much later) than their competitors.
- Enforce betting limits when you start winning money.
You get a 50% up to $250 deposit bonus for when joining Bovada Sportsbook. For example: if you were to deposit $100, you’d get a $50 bonus. You have to wager 5x the deposit plus the bonus amount to withdraw any money you’ve won using the bonus money – this is the best bonus offer in the U.S.
Bovada also excels at customer service and does it better than their competition. They don’t have live chat customer service but they reply to e-mails fast (I usually get an answer in 30 minutes or less) and have phone customer support (their e-mail support has been so good that I haven’t had any need to contact them via phone).