Offline vs Online Betting: Which is Better and Why
The ultimate online vs offline betting showdown. We’ve made a detailed comparison between the two types of betting, considering all relevant criteria.
Ah, the eternal question: “Online vs offline betting: which is better?”
First, let’s describe the two types of betting:
- offline betting is the traditional way of placing bets in the betting shop.
- online betting is done remotely, via the internet, using a computer, tablet or phone.
There’s no right or wrong answer to that question.
It's all subjective.
The answer depends on your preferences.
We believe the best thing to do is to experience both, and then decide which option is best for you. So, we’ve listed the pros and cons of offline and online betting to help you do that.
But before we move on, I think it would be useful for you to understand how the UK Gambling Tax System works: UK gambling winnings are entirely tax-free, for both online and offline betting. It has been like this since 2001 when the old 9% tax was abolished so that you can enjoy your winnings in full.
Quickly navigate to your desired topic:
- Offline Betting Benefits
- Offline Betting Drawbacks
- Advantages of Betting Online
- Cons of Online Betting
Offline Betting Benefits
Several articles highlight the many advantages of online betting, but many forget that brick and mortar sportsbooks are still very popular, even if online gambling seems to be thriving nowadays.
Let’s not forget that everybody gambles for a different reason.
In light of this argument, let’s examine the main advantages of traditional betting:
- Social experience – Some punters feel invigorated by the chit-chat and the energetic atmosphere found in some betting shops. You can meet new people, watch games on TV and chat. Furthermore, several punters feel that the excitement of winning is stronger while following matches in a brick and mortar sportsbook.
- Fast payout – You can collect your winnings a few minutes after the matches have ended, given that you can make it to the shop within store hours (commonly 8 AM to 10 PM).
- Safety – An offline bookmaker will hardly ever refuse to payout. Although rare, getting scammed by a traditional bookie happens less frequently compared to the unlicensed online gambling realm. Plus, you don’t have to share any personal information when you are placing your bets offline.
- Human customer service – There's always a person you can talk to when you have a question or a problem. Even if you don't always get the answer you want immediately, you're still better off dealing with a real person rather than a bot.
- Multiples bonus – Most offline sportsbooks enable you to boost the odds on your acca bets. The bonus gets bigger according to the number of selections you have on your bet slip. Most offline bettors commonly place accumulator bets, even if pro punters only place single bets to take full advantage of the odds on offer.
Offline Betting Drawbacks
Without ignoring the great service with a smile and the energetic atmosphere, we have to avow that offline betting does have some disadvantages:
- Inability to bet – You might be unable to get to the bookies in time to place the bet, or you simply might be outside store hours. Sometimes, even if you do get there in time, you can still lose the chance to bet due to the cue at the counter. Many other reasons can potentially stop you from wagering at brick and mortar sportsbooks, but what we've pointed out should be enough for you to get the idea.
- Extra expenses – The majority of sports bettors spend more than they realise when they go out to place a bet. You have to factor in things like the travel costs, beverages and maybe even food when going to the horse tracks or the bookies to correctly assess the costs. Moreover, lots of punters are tempted to gamble on fruit machines when visiting traditional betting shops. Also, if you make the trip more than once a day, the expenses go up.
- Live betting is slow – Every live betting fan knows how important a few seconds can be. Live betting in betting shops is delayed, due to cues, and the betting offer is limited. Additionally, most punters enjoy betting live while watching games in pubs; not to mention that alcohol consumption is forbidden in sportsbook premises.
- Not in a position to cash out quickly – Some bookies occasionally accept cash-outs on some betting slips, but having to go to the bookies, wait in line for other punters who want to place wagers (they have priority according to bookies T&Cs), see whether your bet qualifies and accepting the offer makes the whole experience unpractical. Certain bookies allow their customers to cash-in online, but not all bets qualify, and in today's fast-paced sports realm, we know that every second counts.
- Inferior payouts – Even if offline bookies can have decent lines, you are always going to be limited to a few agencies when it comes to picking the one that pays the most for your predictions. Plus, some of the sportsbooks that are known for offering high payouts simply do not operate offline.
- Incorrect wagers – Agents can make mistakes. Imagine thinking that you've won the bet, and then realising that you haven't because the operator misheard or you mistyped a horse’s name. Although there have been stories like this with happy endings, most of the times, mistakes won’t result in a pleasant outcome.
Next, we’re going to list the online betting pros and cons.
Advantages of Betting Online
Even though online betting is over 20 years old, the exponential increase in the use of mobile phones and tablets in the past decade was pivotal for the growth of the online gambling industry.
Despite outrunning offline betting in regards to the sports betting environment, regulated online bookmakers provide bettors with a wide range of benefits, which we’ll explore below.
- No travel hassle – It doesn't matter where you live or where you are because you just need internet and a smart device to place your bets online. No time is wasted.
- No schedule – Online bookies enable you to bet 24/7. You can wake up in the middle of the night and place a few wagers if you want to. There’s always something live to bet on. Also, you can bet on virtual sports or play slots, if you feel like it.
- Total privacy – You can wager while being in your own private surroundings, without worrying about being spotted. Online betting is precisely what you need when you don't feel like socialising. But leaving secrecy aside, there are no distractions either while betting online, so you can better focus on the match analysis process. Also, some online sites allow you to deposit using Bitcoin, making it easy for you to conceal gambling on your bank statement.
- Wide selection of betting markets – Punters that wager via the internet have a greater variety of choices. There can be more than 250 betting markets on a single sporting event. Furthermore, you can requests odds for custom bets via Twitter.
- Wealth of promotions – Most bookies offer a free bet or a bonus on your first deposit. This is an excellent way to boost your bankroll. But that's not all. There are many other types of offers such as reload bonuses, enhanced odds, multiples bonuses, money-back schemes, acca insurance, mobile betting bonuses, amongst others.
- Excellent odds – Odds are generally higher with the top UK betting sites. But having access to tens of bookmakers is undoubtedly the main asset of betting online. Let’s not forget about the possibility to back and lay odds on betting exchanges.
- Live betting & live streaming – Not only you can wager on thousands of sporting events every week, having several betting options, including rapid markets, but you can also watch many fixtures and competitions from all over the world. It is even possible to wager live from the stands while following your local team in action. In similar fashion, casino aficionados can play live dealer casino games.
- Cash-out – If you realise that things aren’t going your way, you can close the bet to minimise loses. From another point of view, if your bets are winning and you want to end the risk, you can instantly secure a part of the potential profit. Also, cash-out can be used as a way to get a partial refund when you place an incorrect wager; you should be able to get back around 95% of your stake, given that the odds haven't changed since you've placed the original bet.
- Winnings are paid out instantly – You don’t have to waste any time between sports bets. Some bookies will even settle bets before the matches have ended, given that the wagers are 100% won, such as ‘Over 2.5 Goals’, ‘Both Teams to Score’ etc. Otherwise, once the match has ended, you’ll have the winnings available in a matter of minutes.
- Applying various betting strategies – Most betting systems only work online. For instance, imagine playing Easy Money or Next Goal Interval offline. It just won’t work. Luckily, online sportsbooks enable you to apply all the betting strategies you’ll find on forums and in books.
- It’s easy, safe and secure – Modern sports betting sites and apps developed by the UK licensed bookies are intuitive and beginner-friendly. You can wager online even without sharing debit card information, as you can top-up your betting account using cash in betting shops, Paysafecard vouchers or e-Wallets, such as PayPal or Skrill. Besides, you don’t have to worry about carrying a lot of cash, especially if you are a high roller.
- Problem gambling help – Although access to betting is incomparably faster online, there are a few protective measures in place: you can set daily, weekly and monthly limits for your deposits and you can request to be self-excluded (reach out to GamStop). Apart from that, the UK Gambling Commission has banned credit card usage at online gambling platforms, making it harder for anyone to start collecting debts. In contrast, some high-street casinos still offer some credit facilities.
Cons of Online Betting
The service provided by online sportsbook may seem fantastic in the eyes of most punters, but it would still be wrong to completely overlook its downsides:
Potential account problems – Online sportsbooks have to limit or close accounts to protect their business from match-fixing, arbitrage betting, gambling laws and bonus abuse, among other things. However, the rise of online gambling has made it impossible for them to investigate the millions of people who gamble online. Although rare, their alerts can sometimes be triggered by a blameless customer. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent your betting account being limited or closed.
Less social interaction – Some punters enjoy going to the horse tracks and love having thousands of people around them, sharing the emotion. Others fall for the social setting that can be found in betting shops. Even though you have live streaming for horse and greyhound racing, live roulette and blackjack, and several live sporting events you can watch and bet on, the online betting realm won’t be able to recreate the local bookies experience.
Lots of temptations – Live betting, tournaments, challenges, bonuses, mobile betting, slot games, poker freerolls, prop bets etc. These enticements can have a powerful impact on punters, particularly for beginners, who are more prone to let themselves carried away. Also, some punters noted that online betting credits aren’t always perceived as being real money. Thus, it can be more likely for some people to and spend more time and money than they’ve initially planned.
Betting scams – There are probably thousands of hustler on the internet claiming they have inside info on fixed-matches. More so, using public internet can lead to becoming a victim of phishing. Plus, there is a chance that you’ll stumble upon unreliable offshore bookmakers on the internet. Everything should be alright as long as you stick to legitimate online gambling sites, but unfortunately, not everyone does.
Slower withdrawal process – Online bookmakers can send your winnings through various payment methods, and in some instances, a withdrawal process that can take a few days to approve. This can be unpleasant for those who are used to get real-time payments. But there are ways you can speed up withdrawals. One way would be to use a Skrill prepaid debit card that will enable you to withdraw from any cash machine once the bookie has processed the payment, as e-Wallet transactions are processed instantly.
Unexpected issues – If your computer stops working, you can use your phone, if your internet is dead, you can quickly go to the nearest free Wi-Fi. Still, if the betting site you are registered with has unplanned maintenance, you'll have to go to a betting agency to place your bets. Unfortunately, in such situations, you won't be able to cash out your bets. Land-based bookmakers in Britain can also be affected by internet and electricity problems. Thus, you have to be aware of things like these, especially if you're using some kind of progressive live betting system. That's why it's always better to register with multiple online bookies.
Online betting versus offline betting?
Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
We hope that our betting guide has helped you realise which one is best for you.
Although we understand that people over a certain age aren’t so familiar with technology, we feel that both forms of betting are worth checking out.