8 min read

Why Should You Choose Legal Bookmakers

Imagine a situation. You managed to make several successful bets, and now you want to withdraw your winnings from the account, but the bookmaker does not give you money. There is always such a possibility if you choose illegal operators.

At Responsible Gambling, we strive to convey to users the idea that gambling can and should be safe. Read this article to discover the difference between legal and illegal betting operators, and why you should stick with the lawful ones.

The Illegal Market

Unlicenced bookmakers often offer their customers incentives, but it is a lot safer to gamble with legitimate operators where possible. The main difference between legal sportsbooks and their offshore contenders is regulation. Since the offshore operators are not regulated, it is risky to keep money with them.

There is always the possibility that the state will initiate proceedings against such an operator, which may well put customers' money at risk.

The Challenge Of Getting Licensed

To obtain a license in most locations there are many requirements. For example, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), one of the world’s largest regulators, demands bookmakers provide their customers with responsible gambling tools in order to obtain a licence.

In the United States, there are several licences that a betting operator must obtain before launching, which includes an operating license, a personal functional license, a personal management license, and a premises license. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as those bookmakers aiming to provide remote gambling online or any other facility and plan to promote themselves in other countries will need to obtain permission from their specific Gambling Commission.

Taxes And Guarantees

Another aspect that distinguishes legal bookmakers from their illegal counterparts is that licensed operators are obliged to pay taxes to the state.

Choosing to use illegal bookmakers may put you at risk of tax evasion proceedings.

Another difference is that the legal bookmakers guarantee their clients payouts. Illegal operators also provide guarantees, but it will be impossible to hold them accountable should they not follow through on these.

Betting Options

This feature enables illegal sportsbooks to attract lots of gamblers. The thing is that licensed operators must have their markets approved by regulators, whereas their offshore competitors can avoid such regulations. As an example: many illegal bookmakers frequently offer their customers exotic betting markets for events such as presidential elections or The Eurovision Song Contest.

The On-Boarding

Another feature that gives illegal bookmakers some advantage is that it is much easier for potential bettors to start playing on their platform. While legal bookies oblige their newcomers to pass an identification and verification procedure, their offshore opposition don’t.

If your operator doesn't demand you go through identity verification, then you’re probably dealing with an illegal sportsbook.


Another possible indicator of an illegal betting platform is its marketing. For example, it is strictly forbidden for licensed sportsbooks in Ontario to mention their bonuses and welcome offers in advertising. Such actions may result in a fine and revocation of the license.

If you see an advertisement for a bookmaker that focuses on welcome bonuses, then most likely it is an illegal bookmaker. That might be another tool for distinguishing legal and illegal sportsbooks. However, check your local laws, as this kind of advertising may be legit in certain locations.

Illegal Gambling Events

There are some types of gambling events that are illegal and may lead to the arrest of anyone involved. The most common are events such as illegal animal fights, illegal casinos and illegal poker rooms and some illegal operators let their customers place bets on them. Checking your bookmaker’s available market would be an easy way to find out about its legal status.

Financial Security

Regulated sportsbooks are safe and your money is secure. But if you step into unregulated territory, you may well find limited payment options as well as fees for depositing and withdrawing, for example when withdrawing you may be limited to checks, bank wires or cryptocurrencies.

Not surprising: It’s easy to make no-fees-charged deposits but not so easy to withdraw funds, given that almost all offshore sportsbooks add withdrawal fees and have minimum withdrawals if you are withdrawing your money via a non-cryptocurrency method. It’s not uncommon to see a $50 fee for withdrawing winnings.


Legal bookmakers are one of the main drivers in the development of world sports. Many of them sign sponsorship agreements with different sports clubs, federations and even athletes. Choosing a bookie which has these kinds of agreements might be a nice way to avoid running into illegal operators.


It is up to you to decide whether you want to gamble with legal or illegal operators. Illegal sportsbooks provide tons of opportunities. However, choosing them as your main betting platform could be dangerous. They can’t guarantee the security of your funds, and they also won’t provide you with responsible gambling tools, which is essential to make your gambling experience 100 per cent fun and safe.

Anton Spesivtsev
Anton Spesivtsev
1 December 2022 15:49