I was a bit apprehensive when I read that most US sports betting lines originate from this place. That was until I dug up this site's history. Now I'm inclined to agree, even though with hunches of may-be-it-is-all-a-made-up story.
The official website address, by the way is: BookMaker.eu - (remember the EU domain extension bit in the end)
BookMaker opened its doors to the public in the year 2000, as an offshore sports bookmaking front of the legendary ex-convict bookie Ron Sacco, also called Ron "Cigar" Sacco, for his love of the cubans. His history goes back to the 1980s, that also encompasses a stint in the US jail, for illegal bookmaking. Either way, this man can be viewed as the father of modern online betting sites, you see nowadays frockling about.
No one can come up with the exact numbers. This information is not freely available. But back in the day, let's put the year as 2004, BetCris (site setup for sharpies) and BookMaker (for square or retail American bettors) was raking billions of dollars in bets. Them and their friendly competitors, BetOnline and Bovada, were all swimming in dollars. How much of that glory still exists to this day, is anyone's guess.
Costa Rica, and in some cases Panama, has always been the global hub of offshore betting sites. Much to the chagrin of the US government, these go-to places have had a big impact on at least two generations of American gamblers. The case is the same with European countries too, where mice-like betting limits forces, sharp syndicates to shake hands with old-but-gold, honesty-first, offshore bookies.
How much of an impact is BookMaker making on 20-somethings is arguable. For gamblers over 40, places like these still buck up the same feelings as their first kiss. I wouldn't bet a penny on whether Gen X or Z and upcoming alphabets, even care about these ancient gods of sporting lines. The younger ones are into Fanduel and the likes.
I still lack the crucial understanding as to why many sites like BookMaker don't go legal in the mainland. How hard can it be? Pay the fine, and then apply for a local license in each State, where betting is legal, by signing a plea deal with the prosecutors. Surely, most States would forgo past transgressions in favor of the newly-minted tax dollars, which can be in billions. May be it's the accumulated criminal records of the owners of offshore books, over all these years, that's the problem. But, seriously, it's just "SPORTS BETTING" not drug dealing.
May be I'm trying to put my hands in the kind of mud, I don't possibly know how to wash off. But, as a nobody outsider, it would make more sense to welcome BookMaker into the legal fold, than to keep them lurking on remote sandy beaches of South America.
BookMaker.eu is illegal in the US, but I'm sure given the slightest of chance, for a fresh start, its shareholders would be more than willing to dump it all, and move back home. I mean, how much money do you actually need. It's a known fact, that the people behind such books are mostly Americans, who love the bookmaking business, but rather quit their homeland, than to give up the chance to earn millions.
This old but reliable rock-solid book is known for its lines. Rumor has it, that, it's the first book to open up lines to all American sports - days before the game even begins, and the odds are then copied by other companies in the business. Even large legal sportsbooks in the business, trust them to supply profitable lines. That's the word on the street. I don't know or claim to know the whole truth.
The trust factor of BookMaker is staggeringly high on places like Reddit. And we all know that Redditors don't lie. Most claim that this place has amazingly fast customer support, others loved its loyalty program called BetPoints Rewards that has multiple levels. They've never ever denied rightful winnings, no matter how big or small. And that whenever the inevitable screw-ups do happen, their staff fixes the stumbling blocks with the speed of the The Flash. After flushing through the fluff, and vacuous comments on there; came to the conclusion that this place has got some serious backers. I got a feeling that BookMaker wants to remain a straight bookie in the eyes of the regular bettors, as evident on forums and all. May be, this is the prime reason, of their survival all these years.
Funny that they changed their tagline from "Where the Line Originates" to "Old School Meets New School." Perhaps they're aware of the fact that they're no longer the mighty kingmakers of the sports betting world, and that the younger ones, for good or bad reasons, have plenty of legal choices now.
Their site is not bad to look at. I like the blackish color scheme, meshed with a bit of off-whitedness, and the use of the default font. They wanting their site to look decent, and not a blonde bimbo, is something many professional gamblers would appreciate.
Coming to live action, well you're in for a ride. Every game, every ball, every hit, of every American and non-American sports can be bet upon, all live, using the phone or through their betting platform. They got lines for everything: NFL, NCAAF, NBA, NCAAB basketball, NHL, MLB, UFC fights, and your winnings are credited near-instant, once they're graded, as they say.
I'd allot the same qualitative assessment to their Live Casino and Racing options. If you're into beautiful Costa Rican chica dealers for blackjack, roulette etc., hit 'em up. With lines going straight to all the world's known racetracks, of course, you can bet big or small, on horses, greyhounds, NASCAR, whatever your fancy.
The responsive tables listing the odds are perfectly structured for stress-free viewing of the lines, parlays etc., on all types of smartphones. The lack of an app doesn't matter here. Frankly, I could do with less apps on my phone. You could too. Using apps is so Windows XP.
They are proud of their props, half-time lines, quarter-lines. They also keep insisting that Las Vegas' sports betting infrastructure, depends on their data. Literally. I don't know, they could be exaggerating, or it could well be the truth. There's no real way to find out, who's running the mouth here.
They might be old-school, but not villagers, when it comes to an abundant use of payment processing technology. Deposits can be made using cards, person-to-person, wires and Bitcoin. Crypto has an upper limit of $50k per transaction, with a max credit card payment limit set at $8k per month. Bank wires have no upper limits, and this is why a lot of big-name gamblers and sharp betting pools tend to open accounts there. Minimum deposit is only $100, but needs crypto, otherwise go for other methods. No processing charges, which I believe makes BookMaker even better, compared to Bovada and BetOnline.
Fast withdrawals are where they've built their reputation. Minimums are $50 for Bitcoin, $100 for P2P, $100 for Bank Draft, $750 for Check, $10k for bank wire. Maximum withdrawal per transaction is $50k for Bitcoin. If you win $200k, expect to be paid in 4 blockchain transactions.
Old-school whales, who don't know what Bitcoin is, really need to learn the basics, or else things can and do get delayed and messy. They can't legally deal with the US banking institutions. All money has to be fronted through third-party companies. And it ain't easy, or cheesy.
Welcome offer promotions for new accounts can go as high as $600, with reload bonuses hitting $2500. Visit their site for accurate details. Also, it's free money, therefore comes with its own quirks. The rules mainly revolve around rollover requirements ranging from 5X to 30X the deposit amount.
In the end, it's sort of tragic that BookMaker, one of the pioneers of internet wagering, has to go through this homelessness, away from its home, the United States, for decades on end. But things don't remain stagnant forever. I would expect the regulatory environment in the US, changing enough in the coming years, that at least provides a window of opportunity for offshore sites like the BookMaker, be able to, once again, breathe fresh air, back in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Official website address: www.bookmaker.eu
Niels H. Schlesier
I run the operations for a Casino in Cambodia, but also write articles about the gaming industry in my spare time.
Affiliate Disclosure: BestSites.Bet is compensated, as an affiliate company, for sending new clients to BookMaker.eu.
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Page Last Updated: 14th February 2024.
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