Beginner’s Guide to Opening a Betting Account

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Creating a betting account at an online sportsbook is a breeze.

It’s just like registering on many other online platforms.

First, you'll pop in some standard information about yourself such as name, address, and email. Then, the sportsbook will ask for some more sensitive info like the last four digits of your Social Security number, which it uses to verify your identity and age.

In total, signing up for a sportsbook typically takes just 5 minutes or so.

The good news is that the registration steps are uniform across most betting sites. Nail it once, and doing it again elsewhere is a piece of cake.

On this page

Step1: Choose a Sports Betting Site

Choosing the right sportsbook is a personal decision since every bettor has unique preferences. Yet, no matter your specific tastes, there are fundamental criteria you should always keep in mind.

Here's what you should always think about when choosing a sportsbook:

  • Legitimacy & trustworthiness: Check if the betting site is licensed by your state’s regulatory body. You can use the state-specific sportsbook guides in the menu of our site to see all options available in your state.
  • Promotions: Look at the size of the welcome bonus and see how proactive the sportsbook is in rewarding returning bettors.
  • Competitiveness of odds: Evaluate how your chosen sportsbook's odds stack up against other licensed betting sites in your state. We make it easy with our Sportsbook Odds & Lines Comparison Tool.
  • Market depth: Confirm your sportsbook has the sports you want to bet on and plenty of wagering options for each—including spreads, totals, moneyline bets, alternate lines, and a wide variety of props.
  • Features: Look into whether the platform includes extras like live streaming or same game parlays.
  • Banking: Ensure the sportsbook supports your preferred payment methods. Also, look into how quickly they process withdrawals. Online sportsbooks with the fastest payouts typically handle cashouts within 48 hours.
  • Support: Find out if 24/7 live chat is available and see if phone support is an option, too.

These tips should give you a good starting point for picking a quality sportsbook. I've already screened all U.S. betting sites.

So, if you want to skip straight to the top options, check out my curated list of the best U.S. sportsbooks.

Step 2: Complete the Application Process

Once you've chosen the sportsbook that feels right, follow my links to jump to their site. You'll typically find the registration option in the top right corner of the homepage.

The registration form is standard across US sportsbooks. You'll need to fill in some basic details, including:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Desired login credentials
  • Email
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number
  • Promo code (not everywhere but you can see all sportsbook promo codes here)

Once you’ve entered your information and finalized the registration, the system will automatically check if everything matches up. If there's any discrepancy in your details, you might be asked to provide additional proof of identity.

You may also be asked to verify your identity later when requesting a withdrawal. This happens because sportsbooks have to follow Know Your Customer (KYC) laws.

For these checks, you typically have to provide a government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport) and may need to provide proof of address through a bank statement or a recent utility bill.

After you've sent over these documents, the sportsbook generally reviews them within 48 hours.

It might seem like a lot—asking for your SSN and going through the KYC procedure, but these steps are crucial for sportsbooks.

These procedures are used to prevent underage betting and money laundering, and they keep everyone safe and ensure that all regulations are followed to the T.

Don’t worry, though. All licensed sportsbooks have implemented strict security measures to ensure your personal information is safe.

To give you an idea of what the registration process at online sportsbooks entails, here's a description of the registration form from one of my top-rated betting sites, Bet365, showing the type of information you'll typically need to provide:

It's also useful to know that most US betting brands operate with a single wallet across all their products. This means if you've already signed up for one of the operator's other offerings, you can use the same account for sports betting.

For instance, if you have an account with FanDuel Fantasy, you can seamlessly use it for FanDuel Sportsbook.

Step 3: Check the Sign-Up Bonus & Opt-In (If Required)

Once your account is all set, head directly to the promo section to scope out the welcome bonuses for new customers.

You might find a bet & get deal, second chance bet offer, deposit match bonus, or some other valuable welcome offer waiting for you.

Next up, take a good look at the bonus terms and conditions to figure out how to activate and take advantage of the offer.

This will show you if there's a deadline (like if the sportsbook sets a time limit for claiming the bonus after registering), the deposit needed to trigger the bonus and if you need to opt-in manually to get it started.

Step 4: Make Your First Deposit

Now, there's only one step left before you're ready to bet—funding your account. The cashier is easily accessible from the account menu, and you'll typically see a prominent deposit button in the header area that sportsbooks make sure you can't miss.

The minimum deposit is $10 for most sportsbooks.

Opening the cashier section will reveal a range of payment methods, featuring many of the mainstream banking providers you likely use regularly, including:

  • Debit cards: Among the most widely used options for instant deposits. Just enter your card details (CVV, card number, etc), and you're set. However, some banks may have restrictions on transactions with debit card sportsbooks.
  • Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex): Similar to debit cards in convenience and speed. Keep in mind, though, that some credit card issuers may block transactions to betting platforms. If your payment is rejected at one of my top credit card sportsbooks, consider using another card or an alternative method like PayPal.
  • E-wallets (Skrill, PayPal, Neteller): E-wallets offer a secure and instant way to fund your betting account without sharing bank details directly with the sportsbook. They're especially handy for quick withdrawals too. Check out my list of the best PayPal betting sites for top sportsbooks supporting this popular e-wallet.
  • Play+: A prepaid card option designed specifically for online gambling sites. It's fast for deposits and withdrawals, and you can load it via bank transfer, credit card, or debit card.
  • Bank transfer: Directly move funds from your bank account to your sportsbook account. While secure, it may take longer than other methods, though most are still processed within a few business days.
  • Wire transfer: Ideal for larger transactions. Wire transfers are secure and reliable but can take several days to process.
  • Checks: Typically used for withdrawals rather than deposits. They are reliable but can take longer to clear, usually several days to a week.

Step 5: Claim Your Sign-Up Bonus

With your account now topped up, it's a good idea to revisit the promo section to carefully review the terms and conditions of the welcome bonus. Key details to focus on include:

  • Time limitations: Usually, there's a set deadline for claiming your bonus after you've signed up, plus a defined window for using those bonus funds.
  • Minimum odds: To activate or cash out the bonus, your bets often need to meet specific odds requirements. Most often, they have to be “longer” than a certain number. You can learn more about reading betting odds here but, in short, if the minimum odds are -200, you would have to bet something with odds of -110, +150, +300, etc.
  • Minimum deposit: Claiming the bonus typically requires a minimum deposit, usually around $10. However, this amount can vary, so it's important to verify the exact requirement.
  • Market restrictions: Sometimes, the intro promo specifies that you need to bet on certain sports or types of bets. For example, FanDuel's sign up offer might be something like “bet $5, get $200 if your moneyline bet wins.”
  • Promo code: To claim your bonus at some sportsbooks, you'll need a promo code. This might be requested either when you're signing up or at the time of your first deposit. Don't worry if you don't have one. You can see current promo codes for sportsbooks here. Just copy the code you need and paste it where required.

Step 6: Good Luck & Bet Responsibly!

And there you have it—you're ready to roll. But before you place your first wager, I want to share a few helpful resources. Take a look at my guide to making money on sports betting, and don't miss my tips for successful sports betting. These should get you off to a strong start.

I've also created several tools designed to help you discover value in bets, the cornerstone of profitable sports betting:

  • +EV Bet Finder: This tool is crafted to help you spot mispriced markets that mathematically should result in profit over time if you bet them.
  • Arbitrage Bets Tool: Automatically uncovers existing arbitrage betting opportunities and calculates the best amount to stake on them. If arbitrage betting is new to you, this tool also includes a guide to understanding what it is and how it works.
  • Odds Comparison Tool: Find the best odds and lines for the game you’re interested in.
  • Free Bets Calculator: This tool helps you determine the optimal amount to wager on the opposite side of your bonus bet to maximize guaranteed profit. It also allows you to see your potential profit regardless of the event's outcome or explore how your profit changes if you choose to bet a different amount than recommended.

No matter what you choose to bet on, adhering to responsible gambling practices and fostering healthy betting habits is crucial.

Remember, sports betting should not be viewed as a source of income, and you should never wager money you can't afford to lose.

These are the two foundational principles of responsible betting that I emphasize.

For more insights on staying on the responsible side of betting, take a look at my Responsible Gambling Guide.

FAQs About Creating a Sports Betting Account

How long does it take to sign up for a betting account?
Signing up for a betting account is quick and straightforward, usually taking around 5 minutes or less.

Why do I have to provide my SSN?
Your SSN is required to verify your identity and ensure you meet the legal betting age, helping to maintain a secure and responsible gambling environment.

Why do I have to provide a picture of my driver’s license?
A photo of your driver's license is needed for additional verification of your identity and age, further supporting the site's commitment to responsible gambling.

How long does the account verification process take?
Account verification is typically instant, although it may take longer if additional checks are necessary.

How much should I deposit in my betting account?
It's wise to deposit enough to fully leverage the welcome offer you're interested in, like depositing $1,000 for a “no sweat first bet up to $1,000.” But ultimately, deposit what you're comfortable betting (and potentially losing).

How old do I have to be to sign up for a sports betting account?
The legal age for sports betting varies by state, but it is generally 21. Some only require 18+.

Which states have legal sports betting?
Legal sports betting is constantly expanding across the U.S. For the most current information, refer to my full guide on legal sports betting by state.

Is my personal information safe with betting sites?
Yes, reputable betting sites use advanced security measures like SSL encryption and 2FA to protect your personal and financial information.

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Dave Rathmanner

Dave Rathmanner is the Founder & CEO of Odds Assist. After struggling to find helpful sports betting resources and honest reviews when he first started betting, he decided to create the site he always wished he had. Dave has been betting on sports since NJ legalized it in 2018 and regularly analyzes sportsbooks to find the best options for bettors. Aside from creating new content for OA readers, Dave is also passionate about researching betting markets, creating models, and developing profitable betting strategies.