Offshore Model Remains Ahead of U.S.-Based Sportsbooks
In-depth article from ESPN discussing how the offshore sportsbook scene will look moving forward now that legalized sports betting is spreading in the United States. It’s an interesting dilemma for the average recreational bettor that maybe has a few hundred bucks in a BetOnline account. That bettor has or soon will have access to not only a stateside brick-and-mortar sportsbooks but online apps as well; all without the much publicized “gray area” of an offshore account or bookie. And to a certain degree that’s an attractive option. Getting paid out the day of a wager for some is a perk. As it not having to deal with the hassle and worry of sending funds outside of the United States — not to mention receiving money should the bettor win. And playing through a local bookie isn’t always an enjoyable experience either with the potential for payout issues or the stress of owing an amount you can’t effort due to the commonly used “credit shop” system. But for some, the positives of offshore/offscreen market far outweigh the negatives. For one, the product is still superior. Stack up a sportsbook like FanDuel or DraftKings up against CRIS or Pinnacle and even the most inexperienced of bettors can see the sizeable gap. Legalized sports betting is the U.S. is in its infant stages. The potential to offer a product similar to that of what we see offshore is there. The question is, will we ever get to that point? In theory, the market will decide. In order for U.S. based sportsbooks to earn the profits they project, things like offering bad lines, high juice, and a limited betting menu need to be remedied. I don’t think they need to copy the full-on offshore model, but based on what we’ve seen thus far, they are making it really easy for bettors to just stick to what they’ve been doing; betting offshore or offscreen with a local bookie.
“I think it’s going to take time,” Roberts explained. “Once you legalize sports betting, it’s not like everyone’s going to shut down their accounts in the offshore market and suddenly start betting in a legal sportsbook, especially if there’s not the same level of access or the 10 cent lines.
“What offshore books don’t allow is what happens with a patron dispute process,” Roberts continued. “If you have a dispute over whether you should be paid, or whether you made a bet and there’s an error with the ticket. There’s a process [in Nevada] through regulation that oversees that. How do you do that in an offshore book located in Costa Rica? You don’t know if your offshore book is going to be shut down by some government tomorrow. You never know, there’s never that guarantee, though many have been operating for years, but that’s a risk you take with your money.”