Bodog’s roots go back to 1994. They were one of the pioneers of online gambling and have made quite the name for themselves internationally. No stranger to controversy, their founder, Calvin Ayre, has been quite successful but also notorious figure worldwide. Today, Bodog does most of their business in Canadian online betting markets.
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Bodog branded themselves in 2000, several years before the online gambling boom in the United States and across the world took shape. By 2006, Bodog became a market leader in what was now a multi-billion dollar industry. At the time, Bodog was much more than an online gambling site that offered sports betting, poker and casino gambling. Lead by their playboy, billionaire owner, Bodog invested in a mixed martial arts brand, television productions, and even marketed coffee in the Philippines.
Following the passage of the UIGEA in 2006, Calvin Ayre decided to leave the online gambling business (at least publicly) and sold the Bodog.com to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group. Ayre still owned the Bodog Brand but expressed his desire to move away from iGaming altogether. Bodog has long been in the crosshairs of the United States Justice Department. They seized the Bodog.com domain name in 2007 for patent violations. The domain was returned to the sportsbook after they reached a settlement.
In December 2011, the Bodog and Bovada brands separated, likely in large part the ongoing issues with offering online gambling services to U.S. residents. The Morris Mohawk Gaming Group established Bovada to handle U.S clients while Bodog.eu handled the rest of the world. Although the Bodog.com name was no longer active or being used by any of the Bodog Brands or the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, the US Immigrations and Customers Enforcement Agency seized the domain in February 2012 after indicting Bodog.
The move is still a head-scratcher to this day. The government’s crackdown on online gambling operators was well known, but the domain hadn’t been used for quite some time leading up to the seizure. It likely cost American taxpayers millions of tax dollars for this image on Bodog.com.
Calvin Ayre spends his time between Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Quebec, Canada and Antigua, a Caribbean island nation whose economy is tied to online gambling. He can’t set foot in the United States due to a pending indictment for running an illegal gambling business and money laundering.
Ayre was once listed along with drug dealers and human traffickers on ICE’s Top Ten Most Wanted. He’s no longer in the top ten, but the charges still remain. Ayre, along with Bovada, and to a lesser extent, Bodog, still have a target on their back courtesy of the United States Government.
Ayre’s involvement in the day-to-day operations of Bodog and Bovada are still unclear. While from the outside, it appears that Ayre is not running things at either company, but still does have a significant ownership stake. Although, there have been many rumors in recent years that he is the head honcho at both Bodog and Bovada.
Current Bodog’s Operations
Bodog currently operates in many different countries worldwide but does not accept residents from the United Kingdom or the United States. They are plenty active in Asian markets, where they operate under Bodog Asia. Bodog is also extremely popular among Canadian online betting markets.
Bodog is licensed and regulated by the government of Antigua under the Directorate of Offshore Gaming. They have offices there but also have a presence in the Philippines. In addition to sports betting, they have an online poker room and a casino.
A Personal Opinion on Bodog Sportsbook
What We Like About Bodog
The trust factor, despite their infamous reputation with the U.S. government, is still extremely high. Bodog’s offices were raided in November 2013 by the Filipino police (in what seemed like an isolated and one-time incident), and even though their phone support went down for a week or so, payout speeds did not slow down.
Clearly, a company has their offices raided, but has little or no slowdown when it comes to payment processing is an operator that deserves our trust. Bovada’s policies and ruling always seem to favor players. As far as actually caring about customers and their bankrolls, Bodog might be the best gambling site online.
Bodog’s odds are soft, particularly if you’re receiving their square odds, a subject we will touch on later in this review. However, even if you are receiving “sharp” odds, there is still lots of value, especially when it comes to underdogs.
Their support staff is truly one of the best online. They’re available 24/7 hours a day, 365 days a year. Although they do not offer live chat, they do have phone and email support. Customer service and speed is an asset in all mediums.
What We Don’t Like About Bodog
Bodog is firmly in the recreational sportsbook category. Their betting limits are quite small compared to many other international sportsbooks and minuscule compared to the bookmakers that service Irish and UK betting markets. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as we explained above, it does allow for some soft pricing. However, if you’re looking for a bookmaker that allows you to wager five figures on sides and totals – Bodog is not for you.
They also limit sharp players rather quickly. Both Bodog and Bovada, do an excellent job of extracting the maximum from recreational bettors or squares and limit sharp players quickly. This is good business for Bodog, but not ideal for wise guys.
As far as cashier options, they’re pretty limited, but it’s a move that makes sense due to the regions they currently service. Bodog no longer accepts any e-wallets, most likely because Neteller and Skrill both left Canadian online gambling markets.
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Bodog Deposits and Withdrawals Review
Bodog’s cashier doesn’t have a ton of options, but since they mostly cater to Canadians, their options make a bit more sense. Both Skrill and Neteller left the Canadian market, so it wouldn’t make much sense for them to still offer e-wallets.
Bodog takes deposits through Bitcoin, debit and credit card, and e-checks. All methods are free to deposit. Credit or debit cards may charge players a fee for international transactions, but that’s the card company and not a surcharge by Bodog.
Check and Bitcoin Payouts
Currently, their only withdrawal options are Bitcoin and check. Both are free of charge to players. Bitcoin withdrawals are processed in about 48 hours. This is slower than some sites, specifically those that are Bitcoin-only betting sites, but still decent for a site that deals in both fiat-currency and crypto-currency. Bodog is a new adapter as well, so it’s likely their speeds improve with time.
Checks have consistently been processed within two weeks at Bodog. Occasionally, their speeds are under a week and sometimes just a few days. As far as operating in gray markets, Bodog and Bovada have been one of the fastest and most consistent sites for over a decade.
Bodog Sportsbook Bonuses
Bodog’s bonus is one of their best attributes. Freeplay bonuses are getting rarer and rarer these days, particularly ones that above $100. Bodog provides all new players with a 100% first deposit bonus up to $200.
The bonus is only available on your first deposit, no exceptions. The sports bonus can be used in the sportsbook, casino, or racebook. There is a separate bonus for Bodog’s online poker offering. There is no code or special instructions, simply deposit and your bonus will be credited within 30 minutes.
The bonus comes with a 5x rollover, which includes the amount deposited and the freeplay amount. A 5x rollover isn’t ideal but is certainly still competitive with other bonus offers. It helps when the maximum bonus is $200 as well. The offer only slightly differs from Bovada. American will receive a 50% bonus up to $250 and on their first deposit. The rollover is the same.
Bodog Sportsbook Highlights
Bodog’s lines are the same as Bovada’s. There is no difference between the two sites when it comes markets and odds. They utilize the same software, markets, and lines move instantaneously on both sites. Bodog using dual lines isn’t something they exactly advertise, but it an aspect that is known at least somewhat widely across betting forums. They have two line sets, one for squares and one for sharps.
It’s quite simple to tell if you’ve been given the square or sharp lines. The default odds, when not logged in, are the square lines. If your odds are the same once you have logged in, you’re still on the default square lines. If your odds are different, you’re on the sharper line set.
No one is sure how fast players will be moved to the sharp lines, but it seems that it can be rather quickly. Some players have reported being moved over just a few hours. If you’re betting a lot of underdogs and attacking their inefficient markets, it won’t be long until you’re on the sharp lines.
As mentioned above, moving to the sharp lines isn’t a kiss of death. There is still plenty of +EV markets to be had on Bodog’s sharp line set. As far as using two sets of odds from an ethical perspective – we don’t find too much wrong with it. They could be more up front with customers about it, but it’s likely written in the fine print somewhere. Bodog is simply trying to protect their business. There are still plenty of betting opportunities available if your account gets switched over to the “sharp” lines.
New Betting Software
Bodog changed their software in July 2013. It was a drastic change that changed the entire layout of the site. The reviews from players were mixed, at best. Here at SBS, we preferred the older design, but it’s not as if Bodog ruined their sportsbook by upgrading their software.
However, it is a slight downgrade. Loading times seem considerably slower with the new betting software. Overall, it’s just a bit chunkier. There is no issue with errors or anything like that, and there is certainly a lot worse software out there than Bodog’s.
Bodog won’t rival sites like Betway or for American bettors, 5Dimes when it comes to betting markets, but they do have a lot of options for a medium sized recreational sportsbook.
North American markets remain the focus, with much of Bodog’s clients hailing from Canada. All the key sports, football, basketball, baseball and hockey all have a healthy number of markets, including props and live betting options.
Live betting at Bodog is one of their finest areas. Their live betting menu and interface is easily the best part of their upgrade. Their markets have expanded, and go far beyond adjusted sides, totals, and moneylines. Each sport has a large list of player and team props that refresh during stoppages.
Due to customers a new focus on Asian markets, Bodog does offer plenty in that area, including Japanese baseball and soccer and other sports. They also have odds on nearly every soccer when it comes to pre-match and live betting.
Bodog’s recreational focus provides players with excellent prices on underdogs across the board, particularly when it comes to large market sports, such as the NFL. No matter which line set you’re utilizing, there should be plenty of +EV spots available.
Small Betting Limits
Bodog and Bovada share the same betting limits. They are certainly not a sportsbook for the high roller. Their low betting limits will not satisfy those who want to bet several thousand dollars on any major sport, but as we explained above, that doesn’t mean they don’t have value.
In fact, even though their betting limits are some of the lowest online, they are still one of the most attractive shops for beginner to intermediate sports bettors.
As far as sides go, the maximum bet on NFL and NCAA football is capped at $2,000. The NBA comes in second at $1,000. NCAA Basketball has $500 across the board for all markets. Moneyline odds on NHL and MLB are capped at $1,000.
Though Bodog does have lower limits than most on sides and totals, their props across the board have a $500 maximum bet. This is fairly significant, especially considering how soft their prop markets are compared to other sites.
Also, Bodog may allow you to bet more, depending on your status as a player. The limits listed in the image are for internet limits. Bettors may be able to wager more on the phone. As mentioned above, they are one of the quickest to limit players. If you begin to win consistently, they will cut your limits to about $25 per market. It happens frequently, and if you’re a sports bettor with any skill, it’s likely inevitable at Bodog.
Bodog Excellent Support
Their representatives are some of the best online. They answer emails extremely quickly, usually in just a few hours.
Bodog Sportsbook – Elite Recreational Option
We would highly recommend Bodog to Canadians, particularly those who are beginning their sports betting career. They can take them to the cleaners before moving onto tougher bookmakers. The best part, they always pay. They’re a trusted sportsbook with soft odds and reliable payouts. In the end, that’s all we need.