How We Rate Sportsbooks: Our Methodology

Choosing the best sportsbook at which to place your bets can be a lottery. Betting companies spend big bucks to convince would-be customers that they should be your top choice. They won’t tell you what it’s really like to use their product though, that’s why we do.

What lies behind the hype and beneath the hood is important when selecting a betting app. At NYSafeBets we’re committed to providing you with honest, factual and detailed assessments of each sportsbook. Our reviews are based on our panel of experts actually playing at the sportsbooks and considering what’s important to our audience.

All our information is player-centered (because we’re players ourselves) and completely transparent. That’s why we’ve produced this guide to how our methodology for rating sportsbooks works so that you can trust in our verdicts.

How We Rate Sportsbooks (What the Numbers Mean)

Think of our sportsbook rankings as being like the NFL Football Power Index (FPI) or any of the other rating scales used in the top US sports. We rate sportsbooks on an overall scale of 1 to 5. Each score is made up of an assessment of secondary factors that contribute to the total result.

The scores you see for a sportsbook are intended to be an aggregate measure of its strength based on several weighted criteria. Just like the FPI, our ratings are designed to be the best predictor of a sportsbook’s performance for you the customer. By applying the same methodology to each sportsbook, our ratings are also directly comparable.

That’s not just from the get-go when you first sign up but also as your journey with a sportsbook progresses. That will include welcome promos and bonuses and initial user experience such as ease of locating markets and placing bets. Then we move onwards through available bet types (including more complex varieties) and markets, the speed of accessing winnings, withdrawal times and opportunities for longer-term profitability.

Also, remember that sportsbooks change. They’re always introducing new features, upgrading their platforms, redesigning aspects and developing fresh markets. For that reason, our ratings are regularly updated. We periodically dive deep into sportsbooks to deliver comprehensive reviews but also keep them refreshed based on the latest developments.

Here’s an explanation of our scoring system and what the rating out of 5 means. 



What Does It Mean?




The sportsbook has significant issues.



Below Average

The sportsbook requires improvement.

Approach with caution



The sportsbook is adequate without standout features or notable flaws.

May appeal to some



The sportsbook has numerous appealing features but doesn’t quite rival the best.

A great choice



The sportsbook is a market leader delivering a fantastic experience.

A must

Our Rating Methodology

You don’t need to major in math to understand our rating methodology. What follows is a description of each main criterion and an overview of the subcriteria contributing to them.

We also weight each criterion to demonstrate their importance to the overall betting experience of a sportsbook. Ratings are scored by our experts from a variety of fields. This includes those with industry expertise and experienced bettors but also the ‘regular Joe’ player who loves sports and tends to wager for fun.

Also, our ratings include a take on the number of players a sportsbook has. It doesn’t always follow that the betting app with the highest number of customers is the ‘best’. It can be an indication though, both of its appeal to new customers and loyalty of its existing ones.

We factor this in for good reason. As an example from elsewhere, if you saw that a service on TrustPilot scored an average of 5.0 from 5 reviews and compared it with a similar one that achieved 4.8 from 500 reviews, you’d be more inclined to consider the latter right? The same applies to evaluating the best NY sportsbooks.

Bonuses & Promotions - 30% Overall

Bonuses and promotions are the fuel that drives sports betting and according to most surveys are the biggest reason that customers choose a sportsbook and are the second biggest reason that they stay with it (behind user experience).

Every single sportsbook has its own distinct approach and strategy for the offers it runs. That makes it difficult to compare like with like. For that reason, we assess the overall ‘value’ that a sportsbook promo will deliver you. We consider the tangible benefits for straight cash deals like bonus bets and matched deposits alongside potential profit increases available from boosts. We also take into account other gains that can be made from long-running deals and loyalty programs.

Welcome Offer - 25%

The number one consideration for most when opting to sign up to a sportsbook, welcome offers are as varied as the sports on which they can be used. For most welcome offers, we can apply a simple multiplier. For example, deposit $100 and receive $100 in bonuses and the factor is 1. If it’s a wager $50 and get $250 in bonus bets, then the factor is 5. We also consider how appealing sportsbook promos are to the majority of bettors, give greater significance to offers for the most popular sports, and appraise how simple they are to claim and apply.

Terms & Conditions - 15%

Terms and conditions are important when it comes to sportsbook bonuses and promotions. They’re also a regular source of irritation to bettors, especially newcomers to sports betting. Fundamentally, if you don’t adhere to the terms and conditions that apply to a promo, you don’t get it - so it’s crucial to understand them.

That said, like much we see in the ‘small print’ of other things, the Ts and Cs at some betting sites can also be complex, onerous and cumbersome. Others are more straightforward altogether though. We rate sportsbook bonus terms and conditions on ‘fairness’, that is how transparent they are and whether they are overly troublesome in how they’re applied or if there are barriers to claiming them. Our assessments also include rollover requirements, how long you have to use a bonus and the breadth of markets on which they can be used.

Refer-a-Friend Scheme - 15%

Typically an underused source of bonuses, refer-a-friend schemes can be a simple way to top up your available funds. Almost all of the top sportsbooks operate a referral program. Some are better than others and some are simpler to get than at other places. Some refer-a-friend schemes can deliver repeated rewards while others give a one-time hit. An overall assessment is made by us as to how generous refer-a-friend schemes are at each sportsbook and how easy they are to maximize.

Loyalty / Rewards Schemes - 15%

Loyalty and rewards schemes add extra worth to your overall betting experience. Most sportsbook schemes of this nature are tiered and the more you wager, the more rewards, bonuses and perks you receive. Our rating includes a consideration of how straightforward it is to qualify for loyalty bonuses, move up the tiers and how valuable each milestone reached is. Our loyalty and reward program assessment will give greater consideration to bonuses like bonus bets as these appeal highly to most bettors, but also an evaluation of the value of perks like accommodation and travel discounts.

Odds Boosts / Parlay Offers / Profit Boosts - 15%

The top sportsbooks will repeatedly and consistently offer odds and profit boosts. They’re another feature that some bettors, particularly those new to sports wagers, can miss. That’s why we’ll appraise the value of odds and profits boosts in a clear manner. We’ll consider the percentage worth of boosts and the bet types they can be used on. Odds and profit boosts offerings should also be clearly advertised and straightforward to apply.

The popularity of parlay betting, particularly the recent proliferation of same-game parlays, is also a key metric by which sportsbooks are assessed. Despite this, parlay promos are still not as common as some other betting offers. That’s why we consider them to be important to spot when a sportsbook is running one. We also assess the rules applied to parlay promos as their validity can be confusing in terms of the markets they can be applied to plus the number of legs that need to be included and minimum odds.

Sports Event Promotions - 15%

The best sportsbooks go all in with their promos for the biggest sporting highlights in the calendar. At some betting sites though, the top tournaments barely register. We’ve noted those sportsbooks most likely to run promos through events like March Madness, the NBA Finals, the Kentucky Derby and of course the Super Bowl. Some sportsbooks are also much better at making a big deal of bonuses for the likes of the US Open tennis and The Masters so the approach of each betting site to offer deals for such events is also factored in.

Mobile App & Website - 30% Overall

The user experience of sportsbook mobile apps and websites simply makes or breaks the deal for customers. Ease of use is a much-touted criterion for judging a betting platform but it really does matter. If an app or mobile/desktop site proves to be frustrating and difficult to navigate, most users will move on and never return.

Most sportsbooks offer apps for both iOS and Android and have mobile websites and desktop versions. Others choose to concentrate solely on their apps. Which type of platform you prefer comes down to personal preference and the way you interact with a betting operator. We assess the overall ease of use and available features by the following criteria.

iOS Mobile App - 15%

iOS and Android both offer advantages and disadvantages when it comes to running betting apps. That said, for most sportsbooks, their two main app offerings are very similar in design, layout and menu options. We judge iOS betting apps against certain criteria which should always be positive when using them on Apple devices. That includes the standardization notable on iOS apps and their visual appeal plus smooth loading and scrolling.

Android Mobile App - 15%

Android betting apps are typically available to a broader range of customer types owing to the different manufacturers and price points of the devices on which they run. We assess Android sportsbook apps against factors such as their ability to run effectively on all cell phones and tablet specs. We also take into account the ability of betting apps to cater to the broad base of Android users and to make the most of the operating system’s responsiveness, personalization and adaptability.

On Desktop - 10%

Most US betting customers now use an app to place their bets with many having more than one on their mobile devices. However, some still prefer to use a desktop platform for wagering. Desktop layouts do offer advantages over apps too. A well-optimized website is accessible from any device with a browser. We assess sportsbook desktop sites as to their use of space on the bigger display area of such a platform. It’s not really good enough to just run the site as a larger version of the app. We also note the ability of sportsbook websites to perform well on all of the main web browsers and how they integrate for users who vary their platforms to place bets on both desktop and mobile apps.

User Experience - 30%

We all know what a good sportsbook user experience looks and feels like, but quantifying just what contributes to it can be more difficult to define. We take a wide view to assess the user experience of engaging with sportsbooks to deliver an authoritative verdict. This includes an assessment of the sportsbook’s main or home page, ease of navigation from it to find just what you want, smooth scrolling and quick loading. We also take a view of a sportsbook’s bet slip design and how intuitive it is to get a wager on and then track it.

Customer Service & Support - 15%

Let’s be honest, many betting customers would consider their experience of customer service and support to be somewhat mixed. If a sportsbook has a well-stocked and easy-to-use help section that’s great but when it doesn’t hand you the answer(s) you want, it will be all the more frustrating if there are obstacles to accessing a live customer support team. 

We consider whether a sportsbook has a wide enough array of contact options to suit the needs of most. Our reviews and ratings assess all of these factors and include an element of testing to assess wait times, the ability of agents to resolve issues and answer queries, and the actual end delivery of results.

Responsible Betting Measures - 15%

Responsible betting is important, which is why we weight it as importantly as the other factors in this section. Across all sportsbook features, an assessment is made of the betting operator’s approach to promoting responsible betting behaviors and the accessibility of information they provide to help those who might be concerned about their gambling. We also carefully consider the range of tools that sportsbooks have available to help customers stay in control of their betting. Of note too, is how easy a betting site makes access to such responsible betting options and how straightforward they are to put in place and review as your circumstances change.

Registering & Cashiering - 15% Overall 

While betting can be enjoyable and enhance the sports viewing and fandom experience, it effectively comes down to money whichever way you look at it. As important, is the ease with which sportsbooks enable you to register for a new account and manage it once you’re in there. 

We take an approach to analyze a sportsbook’s ‘frictionless’ betting experience in this regard. Minimizing friction means simplifying the user journey and removing unnecessary steps from the whole registration and account management process.

Sign Up Process - 20%

A sportsbook should have a quick and straightforward procedure for new customer sign-ups. Excessive registration forms ought to be avoided and only capture information that is absolutely necessary. A potential friction point also comes with a sportsbook’s policy on verifying accounts. All betting companies are required to check some id documents but how and when they do this varies by operator. 

Ultimately, we assess whether the verification process meets regulatory requirements but also the stage at which sportsbooks run their checks so that they don’t impede other aspects such as the ability to make wagers and withdraw funds in a timely manner.

Banking & Payment Options - 20%

The number of banking and cashiering options offered at sportsbooks can be rather variable. The best betting sites make the main US banking options easily available. We consider whether, as a minimum, sportsbooks enable payments and withdrawals by card methods, internet banking and e-wallet options such as PayPal and Skrill. 

While recognising that not all betting operators have a physical presence in New York to enable cash handling, we will also consider that such an option is another positive to the deposit options offered by certain sportsbooks.

Depositing Process - 20%

Making deposits to a sportsbook account should always be instantaneous. Frustrations easily arise if a customer spots a bet they want to make quickly but is then thwarted in doing so by a delay in the deposit process. We test deposit times to make sure funds are available straight away. It really is that simple and we’ll largely judge a sportsbook on a pass/fail basis for this measure.

Withdraw Process - 20%

Withdrawal times are slowly improving at the biggest sportsbooks in New York but they remain variable and some sites are still lagging behind in enabling you to take out winnings quickly. We assess withdrawal times against defined criteria - a matter of hours, same day, within 1 or 2 business days, 3-5 business days, and longer. The withdrawal process must also be frictionless and not require other information that could have been captured at another stage in the customer’s steps through using a sportsbook.

Security - 20%

Absolutely everyone who has a bank account and payment cards is concerned about security. That means many customers can have worries about the security of their banking and other personal information. Of course, we will expect that all sportsbooks we feature in reviews are correctly licensed by the state authorities. Moreover, we’ll assess that customer’s money is kept safe and compare processes with best practices not only from the betting industry itself but wider than this too.

Betting Options - 25% Overall

We take it as a given that the top-rated sportsbooks in our reviews will provide a wide range of markets. The same is true of the most popular bet types - the moneyline, points spread and totals. For that reason, we assess how well each betting site handles those staples but also evaluate the ‘extras’ they have. This includes innovative wager varieties and alternative lines along with more niche sports, plus sports and event-specific betting opportunities.

Range of Bet Types - 30%

We don’t just want our chosen sportsbook(s) to excel in the to-win markets, spreads and over/unders, we want them to give us sufficient reason to choose them over their rivals. We don’t want to be overwhelmed by the multitude of betting options available but we do like to see sportsbooks who enable customers to easily place their favored wager type. We also assess what other markets are on display at a sportsbook that offer opportunities to squeeze a little more value out of our dollars staked.

For example, we might consider that the moneyline isn’t worth betting when there are heavy favorites so the option to assess a variety of handicap options ups the interest in betting on a game. Likewise, our research might indicate that the spread a bookmaker has set just doesn’t reflect our view of how an event will play out so we take the view that alternatives should be easy to spot and assess.

A great assortment of prop betting options is also a must. In our assessment, we will evaluate whether a sportsbook has such markets available that reflect key game and player metrics. If we can take into account a statistic when weighing up potential outcomes, we would like to be able to place a bet on it.

Range of Sports - 30%

Every New York betting site offers the biggest sports in the US. Aside from this though, the best sportsbooks have betting markets for many other sports. This isn’t consistent across the board though and some of the lesser sportsbooks have limited options for fans of other sporting genres.

We also don’t want to wait an age for markets for sports outside of the big leagues to become available. If we’re eagerly awaiting an upcoming NASCA race, we don’t appreciate having to wait until the Friday before to get our bet on for example. It must be said, similar principles apply to the most popular sports. Some sportsbooks are early to market with their NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL lines while others wait to follow. A higher rating is given to those pace setters to reflect that we can begin shopping the lines in a timely manner.

How competitive the odds are - 40%

Mentioning line shopping there, we recognise that not all sports betting customers perform much in the way of odds comparisons. However, many do and seasoned bettors know all too well the value of comparing odds. If you’ve never considered line shopping, you might be regularly surprised at the difference in odds on offer at different sportsbooks. We give an overall appraisal to make this easier for you.

As well as outright pricing competitiveness, we also take into account the vigorish or juice applied by sportsbooks to their markets. Vigorish is the percentage of a market that a bookmaker retains and is similar to the house edge in casino games. We monitor vig rates and take an overall view to rate whether a sportsbook is keenly competitive on them or frequently sets the juice at a level above its competitors.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our methodology ensures that our sportsbook reviews are thorough, accurate, and player-focused. By rigorously evaluating each sportsbook based on welcome promos, user experience, bet types, and more, we provide comprehensive, unbiased assessments. Our expert team not only upholds high journalistic standards, accuracy, and relevance in all our content, but they also keep it meticulously up-to-date. This dedication to quality and transparency makes NYSafeBets a trusted source when deciding which sportsbook is right for you. 

Learn more about our editorial guidelines.

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