Online vs. Brick-&-Mortar

Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Fact checked by:
Paruyr Shahbazyan
Last Updated: Apr 16, 2024, 9:13 PM

The Shift Online

Sports betting has transformed into a technology-driven industry with millions of people betting across online platforms and traditional brick-and-mortar betting operators. This guide offers a neutral comparison between these two forms of sports betting, examining their characteristics, advantages, and challenges.

Online sports betting has become popular for its convenience and accessibility, providing a wide range of options and features like live betting. In contrast, brick-and-mortar betting retains its appeal through the social experience and the unique atmosphere of physical locations. The evolution from physical shops to digital platforms reflects significant changes in how bettors engage with sports betting.

Advantages of Online and Mobile Sports Betting

Online and mobile sports betting have transformed the gambling landscape, offering several advantages over traditional brick-and-mortar betting. 

Here are some key benefits:

  1. Convenience and Accessibility
    1. Online Platforms: Bet from any location with an internet connection.
    2. Mobile Apps: Place bets on the go using smartphones or tablets.
  2. Wide Range of Betting Options
    1. Access to a vast array of sports and events, from mainstream sports like football and basketball to niche sports like darts and esports.
    2. A variety of bet types, including live betting, accumulators, and prop bets.
  3. Competitive Odds and Betting Markets
    1. Online and mobile platforms often offer more competitive odds compared to traditional bookmakers.
    2. Access to global betting markets, providing more opportunities and options.
  4. Promotions and Bonuses
    1. Online sportsbooks frequently offer welcome bonuses, free bets, and loyalty programs, providing additional value to bettors.
  5. Live Betting and Streaming
    1. The ability to place bets during live events, with odds that update in real-time.
    2. Many platforms offer live streaming of sports events, enhancing the betting experience.
  6. User Experience and Technology
    1. Intuitive interfaces with easy navigation and bet tracking.
    2. Advanced security measures for safe and secure transactions.
  7. Information and Resources
    1. Online and mobile platforms often provide valuable resources such as betting tips, statistics, and news, aiding informed betting decisions.
  8. Responsible Gambling Tools
    1. Features like deposit limits, time outs, and self-exclusion help promote responsible betting behavior.

The integration of mobile technology has been particularly impactful, making sports betting more accessible and convenient than ever. Bettors can now engage with their favorite sports and place bets with just a few taps, whether at home, work, or even at live events. 

This level of accessibility, coupled with the range of features and options available online, makes online and mobile sports betting a preferred choice for many.

Pros & Cons of Online and Mobile Betting


  • Bet from anywhere, anytime. Easy access via apps/websites.
  • Wide variety of sports and betting types.
  • Advanced features like live betting and streaming.
  • Access to a variety of bonuses, promotions, and rewards.
  • Secure online transactions; digital record of bets.
  • Digital payouts directly to account, often convenient.


  • Potential for addiction due to 24/7 accessibility.
  • Overwhelming choice for new bettors.
  • Reliance on internet connectivity and technology.
  • Wagering requirements.
  • Risk of scams, need for careful platform selection.
  • May encounter delays or withdrawal limits.
  • Compliance varies by region, affecting availability.

What is Brick-and-Mortar Sports Betting?

Brick-and-mortar sports betting refers to the traditional form of betting that takes place in physical locations such as casinos, dedicated betting shops, and racetracks. These establishments offer a tangible betting experience, where bettors physically visit the location to place their wagers on various sports events. 

Here are some key aspects of brick-and-mortar sports betting:

  • 1. Physical Presence and Atmosphere
    1. Requires bettors to be physically present at the betting location.
    2. Offers a unique atmosphere, often characterized by the communal excitement of watching live events with other bettors.
  • 2. Range of Betting Options
    1. Although more limited than online platforms, these venues still provide a variety of betting options on popular sports.
    2. Some establishments may offer electronic betting terminals for a broader range of options.
  • 3. Social Interaction
    1. Provides opportunities for socializing and interacting with other bettors and staff, enhancing the overall betting experience.
  • 4. Live Event Viewing
    1. Many brick-and-mortar betting locations feature screens showing live sports events, creating an immersive experience.
  • 5. Immediate Payouts
    1. Winnings can often be collected on the spot, providing instant gratification for successful bets.
  • 6. Regulatory Compliance and Security
    1. Physical betting locations are subject to strict regulatory compliance, ensuring a fair and secure betting environment.
  • 7. Limited Accessibility
    1. Accessibility is limited by the location's operating hours and the need for physical travel to the venue.
  • 8. Experience and Tradition
    1. Offers a traditional betting experience that many bettors appreciate, especially those who prefer a more hands-on approach.

While brick-and-mortar sports betting may not offer the same level of convenience and variety as online and mobile platforms, it provides a unique and immersive experience. The social aspect, combined with the excitement of live event viewing and the tradition of in-person betting, continues to attract a dedicated following. 

This form of betting appeals particularly to those who value the experience of visiting a betting venue and the camaraderie that comes with it.

Challenges of Online and Brick-and-Mortar Betting

Both online/mobile and brick-and-mortar sports betting have their unique challenges and limitations, which can affect bettors' experiences. Understanding these can help bettors make more informed choices about their preferred betting method.

AspectOnline/Mobile Betting ChallengesBrick-and-Mortar Betting Challenges
Security ConcernsRisk of data breaches, fraudulent sites.Physical security of premises and patrons.
Regulatory IssuesVarying laws across regions, legal complexities.Compliance with local gambling regulations.
Technical ProblemsDependency on internet connectivity, server issues.Maintenance of physical infrastructure and machines.
Risk of AddictionGreater due to ease of access and constant availability.Presence of a physical betting environment.
Delayed PayoutsWithdrawals subject to processing times.Immediate payouts, but physical travel required.
Lack of Personal InteractionAbsence of social aspects of betting.Social environment, face-to-face interactions.
AccessibilityHighly accessible from any location.Limited by physical location and operating hours.
Betting OptionsWide range of sports and bets available.More limited sports and betting types.
OvercrowdingNot applicable.Potential issue during major sports events.
Competitive OddsOften more favorable due to lower overhead.Less favorable odds due to higher overhead costs.
PrivacyOffers privacy in betting activities.Betting in a public space, less privacy.


Pros and Cons of Brick-and-Mortar Betting


  • Physical presence offers a traditional betting experience.
  • Limited but curated selection of betting options.
  • Simplicity and reliability of in-person transactions.
  • Socially engaging, communal atmosphere.
  • Occasional promotions, loyalty rewards.
  • Physical security; trust in tangible transactions.
  • Instant payouts on winning bets.
  • Strict adherence to local gambling laws and regulations.


  • Limited by location and operating hours.
  • Fewer sports and types of bets available.
  • Lack of high-tech betting features.
  • Can be crowded, especially during major events.
  • Less frequent promotions compared to online.
  • Risk of theft or loss in a physical setting.
  • Need to visit the location for payouts.

Final Thoughts

From our comparison between online/mobile and brick-and-mortar sports betting, it’s evident that each platform offers unique experiences catering to different preferences and needs. Online and mobile betting stand out for their unparalleled convenience, diverse betting options, and technological advancements. They provide a flexible and accessible approach to sports betting, enhanced by features like live streaming and in-play betting. However, they also pose challenges such as security concerns and a higher risk of addiction.

On the other hand, brick-and-mortar betting establishments offer a tangible and socially engaging experience. They foster a sense of community and excitement, particularly during live sports events. While they may not match the convenience and variety of online platforms, they provide a sense of security and immediacy in transactions, along with the traditional charm of physical betting.

As the sports betting landscape continues to evolve, both online/mobile and brick-and-mortar platforms have their roles to play. The choice between them depends on individual preferences, with factors like convenience, social interaction, betting preferences, and technological comfort playing significant roles. Bettors may even find value in a hybrid approach, utilizing both platforms based on their specific needs and circumstances.

Ultimately, the future of sports betting is likely to see further innovations and developments in both domains, enhancing the overall experience and catering to an even broader audience. As the industry grows, responsible gambling practices and regulatory compliance will remain paramount, ensuring a safe and fair environment for all participants.

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Meet Our Authors

Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen

Sol's interest in sports was sparked at a young age, inspired by athletes such as Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. This early fascination evolved into a deep-seated passion, guiding him toward a career in sports journalism in 2007. Over the years, Sol has contributed numerous articles and reviews to various online platforms, sharing his knowledge and perspectives.

Central to Sol's approach is his dedication to honesty, especially regarding sports betting platforms. He believes in providing bettors with straightforward and detailed reviews, distinguishing his work by avoiding the often overly positive spin on bonus offers and promotions. His commitment to truthfulness has made his reviews a reliable source for those seeking authentic advice and information, thereby earning him a reputation for integrity among his readers.

“In the world of sports betting, truth is more valuable than any bonus offer.”

Content Manager, OnlineCasinoReports2012-2021
Sports Journalist, Dottraffic2009-2011
Content Writer, HouseTech2007-2009
Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG


Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.


Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike Rosenberg
Mike Rosenberg
Content Writer

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.