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Bookmaker Review

Bookmaker is a brand with a history, a history of launches, re-launches, acquisitions, and mergers.

The current Bookmaker.eu that initially started as bookmaker.com did not actually make an appearance until 2007, although its roots date back to 1996 with Global Sports Connection and two Ohioans named Scott Barrett and Mike Hale.

Barrett and Hale moved to Costa Rica to set up Global Sports Connection and a brand called Betmaker that initially started out as a phone bookmaking service during its first year. The following year betmaker.com joined the group of pioneering operators launching various online betting services.

Global Sports Connection catered to US players and assumed that all was legal and well since they were operating remotely from Costa Rica. However, the US government started to get involved in these new online gambling businesses even issuing a prison sentence to the co-founder of WSEX.com, Jay Cohen, so Global Sports Connection decided to sell their venture, at least for the time being.

At the start of the millennium, SportingBet PLC acquired the betmaker package that also included betzone.com, bookmaker.com, 7palms.com, and goldmedalsports.com. All in all, the deal yielded them over 30,000 customers and a reported £100 million in annual turnover.

The next year, Betmaker players moved to the new sportingbetusa.com where things stayed intact for three years.

From 2004 to 2006, things get a bit hazy, but the gist of it is that Global Sports Connection (Barrett and Hale) resurface and have their hands back in the gaming industry with offices in the BetCRIS building.

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BetCRIS or CRIS.com is short for Costa Rica International Sports and is the brainchild of renown bookmaker Ron Sacco, who in 1970 took over the largest bookmaking business in the US. Sacco moved his business to the Dominican Republic in the mid-80s and then to Costa Rica in the early 2000s.

So, we’ve got Global Sports Connection in-house at CRIS headquarters and in 2006, CRIS acquires Betmaker and all of its sister sites from Sportingbet.

Enter the year 2007 and the official birth of what is now known as Bookmaker.eu as CRIS launches Bookmaker.com for US players. CRIS did a bit of moving players here and there to end up with the following services:

BetCRIS – for non-US players
Bookmaker – only US players
BetMaker – both US and non-US players
BetDSI – a new brand that CRIS is said to have some initial involvement in, but the details are unclear. We’ll get back to BetDSI in just a minute, though.

When CRIS reorganized its sportsbooks according to the above formula, it moved any US players from BetCRIS.com to the new Bookmaker platform, resulting in the largest US-serving football betting site in sheer volume. It was a substantial player in a lucrative market.

We started off by saying that there were many launches, acquisitions, and mergers and in 2008, there’s another new merger. This time, Betmaker and Bookmaker merge and operate under the Bookmaker designation but typical day to day operations get shaken up again by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement who, in 2011, seized the Bookmaker.com domain as part of a federal grand jury investigation into illegal gambling operations.

Bookmaker was not the only one affected, Betmaker.com, Doylesroom.com, Goldenarchcasino.com, Truepoker.com, and a handful of other domains are also seized at the time.

You may think that it would severely and negatively affect the service but, within a few hours, bookmaker.com was quickly converted over to bookmaker.eu where it remains today. Other operators followed suit in moving from the .com to the .eu addresses as a direct result of the US investigation.

It’s a twisting and turning account leading up to the bookmaker.eu sportsbook of today which is still one of the premiere US-serving sportsbooks. It still operates out of and is licensed and regulated in Costa Rica, but is now run by BMX Entertainment one of its holdings along with BetDSI. BetDSI is now a sister service of Bookmaker.eu. See, we told you we’d return to BetDSI, eventually.

Bookmaker, along with Pinnacle, is the place where all lines start. Other books hold off until Bookmaker oddsmakers have established their numbers. It’s also a service for both recreational and professional punters and is known for not limiting or restricting anyone as well as for providing high betting thresholds.

So How’s the Overall Experience?

While we wouldn’t describe Bookmaker.eu as graphically appealing, it’s not dated either. Bookmaker could best be explained as a traditional book for bettors who study the lines. Everything is concise and to the point.

Visually, you’re looking at a primarily black and white site. Graphic artists would be appalled, but hardcore punters appreciate the lack of distractions and easy to review odds.

Another thing that new users may notice straightaway is the publicized media coverage that Bookmaker has received. Bookmaker posts logos from the news organizations that have mentioned and covered the Bookmaker name and service and it’s an extensive list that includes The New York Times, CBS Sports, Forbes, NBC Sports, USA Today, ESPN, and SI.com.

Getting back to the actual service, though. There is a single menu at the top and then the standard left-side sports menu. You won’t see ads on the side or long lists that need a lot of review. Everything is straightforward and to the point.

The top menu:

There isn’t a dedicated top menu link for In Play, but Bookmaker does offer live betting, and it can be accessed from the upper part of the left side menu in “Today’s Live Betting.”

Not only is the homepage content whittled down as much as possible, but all of the information throughout the website is as well. Pulling up Terms and Conditions in a sportsbook typically opens up a book that would take an attorney to decipher, but Bookmaker’s terms are short and sweet. Everything on the site gets right to the point. There’s no flowery introduction or long, detailed explanations that accompany everything. Bookmaker assumes that its players are well-verse in sports betting and puts forth service that accommodates them.

What We Like About This Site

We led off by saying that Bookmaker is one of the few sportsbooks that others look to for odds making. Bookmaker’s oddsmakers open up lines putting this sportsbook in the position of being a leader in the industry, known for some of the sharpest odds around on US sports.

As a sportsbook that focuses on the United States, its sports reflect that and Bookmaker does a great job of providing early lines and a huge menu of NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL games including live betting opportunities. Bettors looking for a big US-sports menu will also be pleased with the product. Its focus is on American games, especially football, above all else. That’s not to say there aren’t global markets, but the biggest opportunities will be in American football, basketball, and hockey with baseball also large in number but not quite as good in value.

If you ask its experienced bettors what their favorite thing about this sportsbook is, they will probably say one of two things. Number one, this site offers some of the highest betting limits around and, number two, it doesn’t restrict winners or professionals. It caters to both recreational and veteran players.

This is also a great go-to for futures. It offers comprehensive futures betting on all of the sports that are in demand.

We also want to tip the hat to this site for its flexibility. We said that it didn’t have long lists of rules and regulations, but it also will work with players on a one by one basis raising betting limits and even working with US banks or coming up with alternatives to help their customers get their accounts funded.

If you’re a down and dirty, hardcore bettor that’s solely interested in reviewing the lines and staking that bet, you are in luck. It is the meat and potatoes of sports betting and doesn’t mess around with a bunch of explanatory information. Players who aren’t comfortable with using online services will also enjoy the product as the uncomplicated set-up of the website makes its use as simple as it can get.

Bookmaker is one of the best books for high limit punters with some of the highest betting ceilings around and a “winners welcome” policy that puts them in a great light with players who have experienced being restricted or banned by other bookies. Bookmaker is used to catering to a higher wagering customer base. It’s as common for it to receive a $5,000 stake as it is for some rivals to accept $100.

Could They Do Something Better?

Let’s start this section off by saying that Bookmaker is an all around good sportsbook. It caters to its American clients with the sports they’re looking for and provides Bitcoin as an easy funding method for them. It’s a leader in odds making and is well respected in the betting community.

It is very US-centric, though. For a sportsbook that takes bets from a global customer base, it could offer more markets and slightly better odds on soccer and other European-favored sports. It does have a good number of matches and tournaments, but markets are more plentiful through competitors.

Also, the live betting is an excellent service to Bookmaker’s players, but it’s a basic in-play area and could be enhanced with a live streaming service like many of the UK bookmakers provide to their customers.

Parlays and teasers are just average and don’t stand out, and this sportsbook is also known for offering 20 cent baseball lines. If parlay, teaser, and baseball bettors are going to other books to place those bets, it would behoove Bookmaker to boost those odds for its loyal players. However, to the site’s point, it does such a great volume of business that it probably will not be the overall winner for every type of betting.

Regarding the money end of things, it’s a bit frustrating that sportsbooks that cater to US bettors tack on fees for financial transactions. We applaud Bookmaker for providing the fee-free Bitcoin option that allows gives players the advantage of easy approvals. And, it also offers deposits that are primarily void of fees, but cash outs are a different story.

We’ve looked at so many UK, European, and Asian bookmakers that provide 100% fee-free transactions for their customers, but the books who are accepting US bets charge for their payouts. If you look at their Bank Draft method, which basically is sending a check in the mail, there’s a $50 charge attached to that service as well as a minimum $100 withdrawal amount. That’s pretty substantial.

All of the payout methods require a $100 minimum to cash out except for Bitcoin which is still listed at $50, relatively high for a quick and easy fee-free service. Some books offer as low as $10 to cash out via Bitcoin.

Lastly, rollover equals red flag in our book and, we give Bookmaker credit for offering a variety of bonus programs including multiple welcome bonus options, but take some of that credit away when it comes to the stipulations attached to those awards. The Bitcoin bonus that provides a 50% welcome cash bonus of up to $1,000 sounds great until you see that it has a 15-time rollover mandate before anything can be cashed out.

What to Bet on at This Site?

When we look at global sportsbooks and the best sports to bet, it’s usually football both regarding the quantity of the events and markets as well as the value. On Bookmaker, it’s also football, but American Football.

One thing players need to remember is that this site sets the standard for odds and they’re sharp odds, so value overall is not going to rest with one particular sport. Bookmaker is known for 20 cent baseball lines whereas dime and even five cent lines can be found elsewhere.

The sportsbook offers daily Parlay and Teaser Cards on NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and NCAA games with higher relative payouts. Playing these cards provide bettors with odds that are locked in, so savvy players will find better point spreads through these opportunities.

The sports menu on is US sports driven and includes the standards, but doesn’t go above and beyond when compared to some other books. You’re not going to find virtual sports or financials or even standard entertainment and politics betting. You are going to be offered huge numbers of American games and a decent overall soccer menu.

Bonus Offers

Bookmaker offers more than one welcome bonus, and it provides reload bonuses based upon a player’s BetPoints reward status. We’ll explain…

To start out, there are a few different welcome bonuses; three sportsbook offers to be precise.

The Bitcoin Welcome Bonus
The Bitcoin welcome bonus offer is specified as a cash bonus and not a “free bet” offer. As the name implies, this promotion is for new players who use Bitcoin to fund their player account. There’s a minimum deposit requirement of $100 and 15 times rollover mandate, but the bonus can be as high as $1,000.

50% Welcome Bonus up to $300
This bonus is good for any first deposit amount using any method except Neteller. The sportsbook-specific bonus has a ten-time rollover, but it’s on the deposit amount only and not the deposit and bonus amount combined. The bonus is issued in the form of free play.

Sportsbook Welcome Bonus – 15% up to $2,500
This bonus has a smaller rollover, but there still is one that applies. Players can use any deposit method except Neteller to be eligible for this award. A minimum deposit of $100 is required, and the maximum bonus of $2,500 is awarded in free sports play.

Then, there are reload bonuses and, as we mentioned, they match up to the BetPoints reward status of the player. We’ll get into BetPoints in just a bit, but players are awarded BetPoints and move up in status from Gold to Platinum to Diamond based on their level of betting or game play.

Gold and Platinum BetPoint Status Members:
Receive a 10% free play deposit match every time funds are re-loaded into the betting account
The maximum amount is $2,500, and the free play requires a three-times rollover to be eligible for cash out

Diamond BetPoint Status Members:
Receive a 15% free play deposit match every time funds are re-loaded into the betting account
The maximum amount is $2,500, and the free play requires a three-times rollover to be eligible for cash out

The Refer a Friend program could also provide current bettors with up to $500 for every referral they make and the site has put together a comprehensive program and referral links that can also be shared on social media.

The player making the referral receives 10% of their friend’s initial deposit up to a $500 cap. The premise of the program is to encourage players to make referrals to as many people as possible. Social media links will track usage just like an affiliate program so players with a lot of connections can end up making some good money by spreading the word.

Bookmaker also has a Loyalty program, that we’ve made mention of a few times already, called BetPoints. Brand new players are already opted into the initial Gold status and the greater the betting activity, the more points that are earned. Casino and poker play also applies to point accumulation.

Once as few as 500 BetPoints have been compiled, they can be turned in for cash back or gift cards, airline miles, and even that coveted sports betting merchandise.

What About Their Deposit Options?

Bookmaker does dedicate different methods of deposit and withdrawal to the individual currencies that it accepts, and there are five choices:

We’ll look at the choices for US Dollars as Americans have the toughest time funding any gambling account. E-wallets are not as plentiful in the US and banks are not apt to approve transactions that are designated for gambling purposes.

The deposit system includes the following:

American Express
Minimum Deposit – $25
Maximum Deposit – $499
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – within a few minutes
Notes – can be taken online or over the phone; maximum combined daily deposits – $2,000

Minimum Deposit – $50
Maximum Deposit – $2,500
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – within a few minutes
Notes – can be taken online or over the phone; maximum combined daily deposits – $2,500

Minimum Deposit – $50
Maximum Deposit – $999
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – within a few minutes
Notes – can be taken online or over the phone; maximum combined monthly deposits can range from $4,000 to $20,000 depending upon the account holder

Verified by Visa
Minimum Deposit – none noted
Maximum Deposit – $2,000
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – within a few minutes
Notes – can be taken online or over the phone

Minimum Deposit – $10
Maximum Deposit – $50,000
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – typically within 20 minutes
Notes – Bitcoin transaction allows for more bonus options and loyalty program upgrades

Minimum Deposit – $100
Maximum Deposit – $10,000
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – within a few minutes
Notes – Neteller works as a middleman for Visa, Mastercard, and EFT transfers

Minimum Deposit – $100
Maximum Deposit – $1,000
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – within a few minutes
Notes – available in US Dollars but only for non-US players

Person to Person Transaction
Minimum Deposit – $100
Maximum Deposit – $2,000
Deposit Fee – transactions less than $300 have a $7.00 fee for online transactions and $14.00 for call center transactions
Turnaround Time – within a few minutes
Notes – international money transfers from any location worldwide

Minimum Deposit – $2,500
Maximum Deposit – no maximum
Deposit Fee – $0
Turnaround Time – depends on the bank
Notes – available in USD, EUR, GBP or CAD

Cashing Your Money Out

Withdrawals are always much more fun to request than deposits but usually come with fewer options from which to select. Bitcoin transactions for Americans are the easiest, fastest, and most affordable.

Person to Person Transaction
Minimum Withdrawal – $100
Maximum Withdrawal – $300
Cash out Fee – $25 for amounts between $100 and $299
Turnaround Time – 2-3 business days for processing
Notes – one payout request allowed every seven days

Bank Draft – Regular Mail (aka Checks)
Minimum Withdrawal – $100
Maximum Withdrawal – $3,000
Cash out Fee – $50
Turnaround Time – up to seven business days
Notes – one payout request allowed every seven days; this method provides a check that is issued via regular mail

Minimum Withdrawal – $100
Maximum Withdrawal – $1,000
Cash out Fee – no fee
Turnaround Time – 2-3 business days for processing
Notes – this is available in US dollars, but only for non-US players

Minimum Withdrawal – $50
Maximum Withdrawal – $25,000
Cash out Fee – no fee
Turnaround Time – depends on processing; should be same day processing during weekdays
Notes – players can request up to five bitcoin payouts per week for a combined total of $100,000

As you now see, options for American players are extremely limited and, as we said before, Bitcoin is a better bet for fee-free transactions in both directions as well as higher payouts.

If a player makes a withdrawal request via phone or live chat, they will be assessed an additional $10 fee, so it’s best to go directly to the cashier area and do everything online.

The Level of Customer Service

Customer service is readily available on the website. There’s a phone number provided for US and Canadian bettors as well as email address, an email form and the live chat option that allows for round the clock service.

The agents are recognized the most for their ability to help customers with financial transactions. We did mention that this bookie goes above and beyond for its clients to help them get their accounts funded and their service representatives are superior in the level of financial assistance they are known to provide.

They also provide a VIP level of service for its Diamond level BetPoints members.

Customer Service Department:

What Else Do They Offer?

Whereas we praise Bookmaker for being a great, top of the line sportsbook with extensive coverage, the casino area is subpar when compared to many of Bookmaker’s rivals. It’s a very limited area. In fact, it’s so small that we’re tempted to list every game hosted at their casino.

The gambling site also provides a dedicated poker room but, unlike sports bettors visiting the casino, it requires a separate registration to play in this area.

The poker room offers 7 Card Stud, Hold ‘em, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo at various table limits with a 5% rake up to a $3.00 maximum per round. There are free tables available as well for anyone who opts to play without staking real money bets.

The promotions and tournaments are regularly updated, and there’s an easy to locate menu right in the poker room lobbyö.

The racebook promotes that it offers all major US tracks and racing from a total of 100 tracks are provided annually.

Should I Choose Some Other Site Instead?

Despite Bookmaker being a global sportsbook that accepts players from a huge number of areas, we’re going to focus on the comparison of Bookmaker with some other US betting service providers, and we’re going to look at the following to make an accurate assessment:

Let’s start with the biggest hurdle for American bettors, and that is the deposit procedure. Regulations being as strict as they are in the US, preclude players from being offered an extensive menu of funding choices and the ones that they do have are not guaranteed. Banks are hesitant to approve transactions for gambling, so it’s all on a case by case basis.

Bookmaker wisely offers Bitcoin that is practically the only near-guaranteed way for Americans to deposit and withdrawal from betting sites easily and quickly, plus Bitcoin usually provides fee-free transactions for players as well. Bovada, BetOnline, and 5 Dimes also offer Bitcoin to their players.

Bovada provides one free withdrawal monthly and Intertops, for the most part, offers transactions without any additional fees. Bookmaker, 5Dimes, and BetOnline all tack on some hefty withdrawal fees.

Bookmaker.eu and all of its direct competitors offer bonus programs but most come with the four-letter word, “rollover,” that detracts from the overall value. We give the bonus category to 5Dimes for its reduced juice option that provides ongoing savings rather than one quick hit.

The service is one of the best for the US sports that it offers but pales in market comparison to a site like 5Dimes that is more globally focused and provides a massive list of markets for all of its games and tournaments. When it comes down to betting limits, though, thsi bookie is one of the best. It has high limits and doesn’t restrict its winning players.

We also have to give this the nod for its early lines. It’s an industry leader along with Pinnacle, but BetOnline comes in close. Bovada is one of the last to post their odds.

When you look at in-play opportunities provided by this bookie and its rival books, it’s all pretty much neck in neck. Everyone offers the service, and no one provides the video streaming. In this category, we need to go across the pond to UK books like bet365 and William Hill both of which offer tremendous live betting action and a jam-packed schedule of video streaming events.

Overall, Bookmaker is one of the top sportsbooks for US players. It has a lot of value and is just a good, easy to use, basic website that provides superior service by its oddsmakers. It covers the bases with bonuses, a casino, a racebook, and a poker room and is one of the best services for big money punters.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a registered player is a unique proposition as it is the largest betting exchange on the internet but also gives customers the option of the traditional sportsbook.

Even though it’s a relatively new bookmaker, it has taken a lot of the best features of its competitors and combined them into an all-around good service with low margins and high odds that appeal to even the most professional punters around.

Its payout limits are substantial, and many of its players have also reaped the benefits of the price rush promotion that may increase their bottom line at any time.

We think the website is comprehensive and is designed well. It gives an impression of a busy bookmaker that takes a lot of action and has a lot of offer its clients.

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