BetOnline Poker Review

  • Top-3 US poker site.
  • Fast cashouts.
  • Improved a lot lately.
  • Poker, sportsbook and casino.
  • 6.0% card deposit fee.
  • Software could be better.
7.75 Overall Rating

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First Impression

You have to sign-up at www.betonline.ag website - if you download their poker client first and expect to be able to sign-up through it, you'll just get taken back to the website.

After signing-up, you get to the BetOnline Poker lobby, which looks better than what I expected based on their website. I like the colours (red and white) and the functionality. Whereas many poker sites have a pop-up filter for the lobby, BetOnline Poker simply has buttons in convenient places to filter the games. A huge room like PokerStars requires a more detailed filter function - that's understandable - but BetOnline.ag does it the right way for a smaller online poker room. So far so good.

Software Graphics

As someone who likes to see companies pay attention to detail, I was disappointed after seeing BetOnline's table graphics. How can a site where people play for real money look like what you seen in the screenshots on top of this page? Can you see how the chips stack on top of the cards on the board? And how the bet almost overlaps the size of the pot? And how asymmetric everything looks?

You might not see it from the screenshots, but the chips are blurry as well.

So it was time to join a game. Turns out, there's a lot to improve in the animations and I disliked the sounds as well. Judging by the looks and sounds, it may be hard to see how BetOnline can be one of the most popular US poker sites, but they're definitely top-3 material.

I liked that they have buttons for 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full pot bets in addition to a slider.

Deposits

You have to give them credit for having the most deposit options and some of the fastest withdrawal options among US sites. During these times, finding a US-eligible gambling site that excels at money transactions is harder than it may sound.

US visitors have three ways to deposit money to BetOnline:

  1. Credit, debit and gift cards.
    The card deposit fee at BetOnline Poker is higher than at any other US poker site - a hefty 6% - which is unfortunate considering card deposits are the easiest and fastest deposit methods for US poker players. In fact, the only other US poker room to charge anything at all for a credit card deposit is Bovada (4.9%).
  2. Moneygram.
    BetOnline Poker covers all Moneygram deposit fees for deposits of $300 or more; otherwise there's a fee depending on the amount you deposit. Deposit limit is $300-$9,000 and it usually takes max. 60 minutes for a deposit to go through after you've sent BetOnline the control number.
  3. Western Union.
    BetOnline Poker covers all Western Union fees for deposits of $300 or more; otherwise there's a fee depending on the amount you deposit. Deposit limit is $50-$2,500 and it usually takes max. 60 minutes for a deposit to go through after you've sent BetOnline the control number.

According to their cashier page, BetOnline has "one of the largest selections of deposit and payout options in the industry" (but only the ones mentioned above are available for US customers). They also boast that all of these methods are safe and trustworthy. Customers who need help making a deposit can always contact the site's help desk or talk with a representative via live chat.

Here's a list of the deposit options available:

  • Visa via Person to Person
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Person to Person
  • Money Orders
  • Skrill
  • Neteller
  • Book to Book
  • Bank Wire Transfer
  • Cheque
  • Diners Club
  • Discover
  • JCB
  • Visa Person to Person

Visa via Person to Person

Visa added person to person payments as one of their services in 2011. The service is similar to PayPal; it allows Visa card holders to forward payments to other card holders. This option is not available to Mastercard holders, and it's limited to sending funds from a Visa account to another Visa account. You couldn't send funds to someone's bank account via this service.

If you've used PayPal or any other online wallet, you'll already be familiar with how to use this service. You do a transfer using their Visa card number instead of their PayPal address. If they've linked their email or phone number to their account for this purpose you can use that information instead.

For gamblers in the US, this makes it easier to fund their accounts. While most gambling sites accept payments via credit card, most credit card companies decline any transaction that's coded for that use. A person to person transfer doesn't require the same kind of authorization, which makes your chances of getting your transfer through almost foolproof. At BetOnline, your minimum deposit using this method is $50, and your maximum deposit is $1000.

Visa

BetOnline also accepts deposit using Visa as a regular credit card. The minimum deposit is $50 using this method, and the maximum deposit is $1000. This includes the use of prepaid Visa gift cards. Acceptance rates vary, depending on what country you're playing from. If you have trouble with your card declining, try using the Visa person to person option.

MasterCard

MasterCard works just like Visa; it's just another credit card payment option. The same $50 minimum and $1000 maximum apply. According to at least one site, MasterCard has a lower acceptance rate at online gambling sites than Visa. I've seen another source that says MasterCard has an acceptance rate of 70% as compared to 25% with Visa.

Person to Person

Person to Person transfers enable individuals to transfer cash internationally. Multiple suppliers for this service exist, and you can choose from a list in the cashier section of the site. BetOnline covers any applicable fees when you make a deposit of $300+. Like the other deposit options already mentioned, a $50 minimum and a $1000 maximum apply.

Money Orders

Lots of places sell money orders, including major retailers like Walmart. Other places selling money orders include gas stations and check cashing businesses. To deposit via money order, you first have to buy the money order, then you mail it to the casino, preferably via FedEx or UPS. BetOnline credits your account as soon as they receive the money order.

They only make this option available to players from the United States, and you have to contact the site prior to making your deposit using this method. The minimum deposit using a money order is $300, and the maximum is $9000.

Skrill

Skrill is a UK company that used to be known as Moneybookers. Their business model focuses on enabling customers to make affordable cash transfers internationally. If you deposit by sending money via your Skrill account, you get credit immediately. This option is not available to Canadian residents. The minimum deposit using Skrill is $10, but there is no maximum. This makes Skrill the deposit method of choice for both low-rollers and high-rollers.

Neteller

Neteller is a similar service to Skrill. Using Neteller to fund your account requires the input of your Account ID, Secure ID, and the amount you want to transfer. Like Skrill, the minimum deposit is $10, and there is no maximum deposit amount.

Book to Book

If you have an account at an online sportsbook, you might be able to transfer funds from there to BetOnline. In fact, if you do so, BetOnline will cover the withdrawal fees. Not all sportsbooks participate in this program, though, so contact support to find out which ones participate in this program. Also, you cannot receive a deposit bonus on any funds transferred in this manner. There is a minimum of $500 and no maximum when using this deposit method.

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Cashouts

The following cashouts methods are US-eligible:

  1. Checks.
    Check withdrawals take anywhere from 7-30 days depending on how much you're willing to pay; for a 7-day delivery, the fee is $50, and for a 30-day delivery, the fee is $25.
  2. Moneygram.
    BetOnline Poker's Moneygram withdrawal fees are 10%-26%, it takes 36-48 hours to process the withdrawal and you can withdraw $100-$800 at a time.
  3. Western Union.
    Cashout fees depend on the amount of money in question. You can withdraw $100-$950 at a time and make on withdrawal every seven days. Cashouts are usually processed within 36 hours.

Compared to the number of deposit options available, BetOnline has relatively few withdrawal methods, but that's typical of most operators in the industry. Receiving a credit to your Visa or MasterCard isn't that attractive an option anyway; most players would prefer to get their hands on actual cash as soon as possible. The following withdrawal methods are available:

  • Person to Person
  • Bank Wire Transfer
  • Cheque
  • Skrill
  • Neteller
  • Book to Book
  • Person to Person

Just as you can transfer cash from an individual to another in order to fund an online betting account, you can receive your winnings via Person to Person transfers, too. These usually take between 12 and 36 hours to process, and players are limited to making two transactions per week via this method. The fee for a withdrawal of this type varies from $26 to $101. The minimum withdrawal using this method is $50 and the maximum is $790. The fees for this type of withdrawal make this an unwieldy solution at best, since you're looking at a minimum of at least 10% of your winnings being lost to fees.

Bank Wire Transfer

Bank wire transfers are available as a withdrawal method if you're withdrawing at least $500. There is a maximum of $15,000 per transaction. The fee for a bank wire transfer ranges from $45 to $75. When dealing with larger amounts of money, this is a modest enough transaction fee. But these take a week to ten days to process, so this option isn't as fast as the Person to Person transfer.

Cheque

You can receive a check for your withdrawal via any of the following methods:

  • Mail
  • Courier
  • Express

Regardless of the method, the minimum withdrawal amount is $500, and the maximum is $2500. The fee for receiving a check via normal mail is $25, and it takes up to 30 days to receive your funds. A check via courier is faster (15 days) but costs $35. The express option ensures that you'll receive your payment in 7 days, but this option entails a $50 processing fee. No matter which option you choose, BetOnline requires that you deposit your check into a bank account.

Skrill and Neteller

Withdrawals via Skrill or Neteller are handled in the same manner. They take 36 hours to process, and you can make a maximum of three withdrawals per week. You must always wait at least a day between withdrawals, tooe.g.., if you withdraw $500 on Monday, you cannot make another withdrawal until Wednesday. The minimum withdrawal amount is $25, and the maximum amount is $8000. They charge a $20 fee for a withdrawal via this method, making this the most affordable withdrawal option. Skrill is not available as an option for Canadians.

Book to Book

This is the fastest withdrawal method available. Book to Book withdrawals take a maximum of 24 hours to process, but their cashier pages states that they "strive to complete the transfer within just a few hours". They do charge fees for this service, but they don't outline those fees on their cashier page. Instead, they ask customers to contact their live help representatives. This might be because fees vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, and not all sportsbooks participate in the program. The maximum withdrawal via this method is $15,000 per week. The minimum is $500.

Deposit Bonus

BetOnline.ag offers a 200% deposit bonus up to $2,500 ($1,250 is therefore the maximum that applies to the bonus). BetOnline releases the deposit bonus in five stages; the state you're in depends on how many points you've earned. You earn points based on how much rake and tournament fees you play. One dollar in rake or fees equals ten points, and you need 250 points to release ten dollars in bonus money.

Opponents

BetOnline Poker has a little over 300 real-money players simultaneously online on average. It belongs to the top-5 of US online poker rooms but is more than 2,000 players less than at Bovada Poker, over a 100 players less than at True Poker and tens of players less than at Carbon Poker.

Since BetOnline owns a sportsbook and a casino in addition to their poker room (in fact, they're well-known for their sportsbook) which I assume brings gamblers - the best kind of players to play against - to the poker room.

However, Bovada and Carbon both have casinos and sportsbooks as well so that on its own isn't a good enough reason to choose BetOnline.

Customer Support

Since BetOnline's poker software is not high-quality, I expected them to shine at customer service. How else could you explain the popularity of their poker room?

Turns out I was wrong, big-time. In fact, through their live chat support (and I just have to mention it in this BetOnline review), I had the worst customer service experience in my life so far.

After the live chat session started, I had to wait a few minutes until the customer service person bothered to reply, not just completely ignoring my question but asking for my username and password as well. Would you feel comfortable entering your username and password into some live chat box? I sure didn't.

I explained that I don't want to enter that information into a chat room and, more importantly, the question requires no such information since it was about BetOnline.ag in general. I had to wait ten more minutes for "assistance" (I use that word loosely here), while receiving "Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment... " every now and then.

So after waiting ten minutes, the customer service person insists that I must provide my username and password to get any help. But I hadn't signed-up yet so I didn't have those. And again, the question had nothing to do with my personal details and everything to do with BetOnline.ag Poker in general.

Now here's the best part: while I'm writing a reply - and I started writing right after I received the message which I waited for about 10 minutes - I get thrown out of the chat room, along with an automatic message:

"The customer service representative hasn't received a reply from you for a while."

Yes, maybe because it took you all that time to reply to my message. That was the worst chat support session ever.

This Bet Online Poker review had a negative ending but the truth is that US players should consider sites like Bovada.lv and Carbonpoker.ag before going with BetOnline; although making predictions is impossible, those sites seem safer options and have more player traffic.

Is BetOnline Legal?

The legality of BetOnline's business is more complicated than that of other sites like Carbon Poker. That's because they offer more than one product, and the laws for those services vary. For example, in the United States, offering sportsbook services is illegal under the Wire Act. On the other hand, casino games and poker games aren't covered by that law, but other state laws might apply.

BetOnline operates under a license from Panama City, Panama. In terms of the laws of that nation, their entire operation is completely legal. The Internet creates some confusion about WHERE a bet takes place. The theory of a sportsbook like BetOnline is that the bet takes places in Panama City, where it's legal, but opponents claim that it isn't as cut and dried as that.

The rest of this section looks at the legality of BetOnline's business by activity.

The Legality of Sports Betting at BetOnline.ag

In the United States, the laws regarding sports betting are clear-cut. The Wire Act forbids the transmission of information related to sports bets over the telephone. For purposes of the law, the Internet is just another means of transmitting information over the phone. According to the FBI, it's illegal for BetOnline.ag to take sports bets from United States players.

That being said, a bettor has a minimal amount of legal risk by placing such a wager. Laws like the Federal Wire Act are aimed at the companies taking the bets, not the individuals placing the wagers. Enforcement activity is also almost exclusively focused on the business operation on the other end of the transaction.

My advice is simple. Contact a lawyer if you need legal advice. Don't rely on the advice on this page or any other Internet page to make a legal decision, and obey the laws in your jurisdiction.

That being said, your likelihood of being arrested or prosecuted for placing a bet on a football game at BetOnline.ag are minimal, especially if you're betting low or medium high stakes. The more money you put on the line, the higher your risk.

What about Casino Games or Poker?

The Department of Justice has stated that the Wire Act doesn't apply to casino games or poker. But various state laws do apply. For example, in the state of Washington, it's a felony to play poker on the Internet. I searched the BetOnline.ag site for information about not accepting players from specific states and found nothing. My educated guess is that they accept players from anywhere in the United States.

That doesn't mean it's legal. The owners of the company may have decided that the risk-reward ratio was right, and they're going to accept players from the United States until they get caught. That doesn't mean it's illegal for you to play there. It doesn't mean it's legal, either. It just means that it depends on where you live. BetOnline.ag leaves it up to the player to decide whether or not it's legal for them to play there.

What about Games of Skill?

Some games of skill, like fantasy sports, are specifically exempt from some legislation about online gambling (like UIGEA, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act). Others, like dominoes, Yahtzee, or spades aren't clearly defined. I have no reason to think that playing dominoes for money at BetOnline.ag is going to get you in trouble with the FBI, but that doesn't make it legal.

Conclusion Regarding the Legality of BetOnline.ag

For United States players, the legality of the operation at BetOnline.ag is murky and gray at best. Offering sports betting to U.S. based players is a pretty clear violation of the Federal Wire Act. That being said, what you're probably actually wondering is how likely is it that you face a legal risk.

The truth is that law enforcement rarely targets the customers of illegal businesses. That's why prostitutes are arrested far more often than their customers. Your legal risks are minimal, but you do face other risks related to the legality of BetOnline.ag. If they were shut down by the United States government, like Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars were in 2011, you might wind up with some money that you can't access as legally as you would like to.

I'll repeat my earlier advice. Obey the laws where you live. If you decide to do otherwise, limit your risk by only gambling amounts that you won't miss.

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Is BetOnline Safe?

Note: I've included BetOnline in my list of top poker sites for US players because they've improved tremendously since the events described below. They now process withdrawals the second fastest out of all US poker sites and haven't had complaints in a few years.

Weird Ratings

Most online poker information websites give www.betonline.ag high ratings (something to the effect of 5/5 or 10/10). You should question whether to trust these information websites. It's reasonable to assume that they care more about advertisement income than their reader's safety. If you give BetOnline Poker five starts out of five, what would you give a website like PokerStars? By definition, you couldn't give them more stars so those ratings would imply that Bet Online is on PokerStars' level.

What Network Are You On?

When www.betonline.ag Poker first came out in May, 2011, they lied about the network they were on. (Most online poker rooms are on networks, which means their player pools are shared with other online poker rooms on the same network.) Their sportsbook has been in business for a long time but that's when they launched the poker room.

They openly claimed to have their "own" network while in reality they were on Action Poker network which had a bad reputation.

Why is this is a big deal?

What a weird way to start doing business! Lie to your customers who are supposed to deposit their hard-earned real money to your website. And they lied about something quite trivial (if they lie about less important stuff, what about more important stuff?) that's also easy for players to find out.

Why Do You Confiscate Our Money?

I've seen an abnormal amount of complaints by players who've had a lot of money confiscated by BetOnline Poker. While some people cheat at online poker - and a portion of the people who lost their money might have done so - the worst part has been that BetOnline hasn't proved the wrongdoing.

Numerous cases have popped up at online gambling forums. In some of them, the money has been returned to players (usually after months of fighting) and in some cases they've kept the money.

The best thing the players who've been falsely accused of cheating did was to write about the issue at popular online forums. In fact, a well-known sports betting forum called SBR helped a player who had had $65,000 confiscated to deal with BetOnline. BetOnline eventually returned the money to the player since they had no proof of cheating.

Here are some other complaints about them:

I doubt anyone thinks that Bet Online is safe after reading those complaints and there's obviously a good reason for that opinion. BetOnline is far from a site I would recommend to a friend.

Cheating Is Too Easy

Bet Online Poker allowed players to multi-account using the same internet connection or different accounts on different rooms on the same network.

That's right - one player could have numerous accounts in the same table which is unheard of at the biggest online poker rooms in the world.

So is www.betonline.ag rigged? I doubt it, but at the same time, it's has been too easy to cheat at BetOnline (no idea if this issue has been fixed yet).

I Prefer to Keep Passwords to Myself

One of the craziest chat conversations that I've read about: BetOnline Poker's customer service representatives know everyone's passwords. This happened in July 2012, so not that long ago. Who knows if they still do?

Would you sign-up at a website that stores passwords in text, visible to people within the company? Just how much do you trust the people on their customer service? And if you happen to have the same password to your e-mail and/or other online accounts, would you feel comfortable knowing that they could first of all clean out your poker account and then log-in to your other online accounts whenever they feel like doing so?

Do You Need to Know More?

If you want more information to determine if BetOnline Poker is safe, feel free to use Google - you'll find loads of stories similar to "BetOnline Poker Scam," "Is BetOnline Poker Safe?" and "BetOnline Poker Rigged."