While internet sportsbooks lack face-to-face transactions, they can handle more customers than land based sportsbooks and operate more cost effectively. They pass lower costs on to customers in the form of reduced vigorish (cheaper prices) or bonus incentives. They can also offer similar products, such as casino games, bingo, and poker to their existing clients.
While Internet sportsbooks take bets online, normally they are licensed in some jurisdiction. Taxation and regulation vary greatly by country.
Internet sportsbooks range from fraudulent operations with no intention of paying their customers to multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies. Internet sportsbooks range in focus, as some primarily cater to American sports, while others focus on European soccer. Some sportsbooks handle large wagers while others have low wagering limits. Some offer many exotic proposition wagers, where others have limited choices. Payment methods are not universally accepted at all sportsbooks.
Costa Rica is home to a large number of offshore sportsbooks, as it caters to many of the needs of the industry with an open regulatory environment and a large, capable workforce. A number of sportsbooks are also located in Jamaica, Gibraltar, Antigua, Curaçao, Australia, and many other countries around the world.
The United States Justice Department claims that wagering at offshore sportsbooks is a violation of the 1961 Federal Wire Act. Jeffrey Trauman of Harwood, North Dakota, was the first player ever to be prosecuted for online sports betting in the United States. The former car salesman, who quit his job to become a professional gambler, was cited under a North Dakota state law.