There is more to sports betting than a love of sports and slamming money down on a table, or the digital equivalent. Betting online can be a minefield for beginners, especially sports betting, regardless of how well you know the sport itself. Here is a beginner’s guide to online sports betting, a list of tips you need to follow, and the reasons why you should follow them.

Only Go with Legitimate Sites

Only bet with licensed bookmakers based in the UK. This ensures that you’re only going with fair sites that comply with the law. Verify that they’re legitimate by checking their license number instead of relying on logos on a website that may have been stolen from somewhere else. If in doubt, don’t sign up with them because you cannot afford to have your bank account drained by scammers.

Set a Budget

The first thing you want to do is set a budget. If you’re betting on sports, set a budget based on what you can afford to lose before you start betting. This helps you avoid getting carried away when you’re chasing losses. It can also be a protective measure if you start falling prey to addiction, because you stop playing when you hit your limit instead of losing the rent money.

This is a good time to think about your risk tolerances and when you’ll cash out your bets. Compare the risks and opportunities that enhanced lines and linked offers bring, but include these in your budget and turn them down if you don’t have the money.

Consider working with sports betting sites that let you download your history so you can see how much you’re really winning and losing. A major point in a site’s favour is the ability to set a weekly or monthly deposit that you cannot exceed.

As a rule of thumb, you should never spend more than 10% of what you have on any given bet. But if you’re in doubt, take any amount that you thought was reasonable for your betting budget and cut that in half. This will ensure that you aren’t playing with “scared money” and that you’ll still be well in the black in case something happens.

Do Your Research Before Using a Site

Before you sign up for a sports betting website, do your research. Which sites have the best overall value? Who has the types of odds you want? Who lets you bet on the sports you enjoy? Sites like allow you to bet on a wide variety of sports while others only let you bet on the top attractions. Only being able to bet on a small selection of games can have a direct effect on your winnings since minor events often have great odds.

When you narrow down the possibilities to a short list, read the terms and conditions of the site. Learn about options like signup bonuses before you register; you might get free bets or incentives. These could help you test how the site runs and you can see if you like their options. Understand the rules on withdrawing your winnings, including bonuses and initial deposits. Know the limits on what they’ll accept for a bet and restrictions on stakes.

Check payment options as well. Most sites allow you to fund an account with a debit card or credit card. Some allow you to fund the account with cryptocurrency, online wallet or cheques. If you have a preferred online wallet, verify that the site allows you to use it instead of assuming it would be accepted.

When Betting on Sports, Stay Focused on Sports

There are sports betting websites that try to keep you on the site by encouraging you to visit their games and their casino section. Unless you’re used to casino gaming, we suggest you stick with sports betting first if that’s your forte. If you like the general ambience of the site and have enough money to spare, you can always check out the casino section, but don’t rush it if that’s not what you were there for in the first place.

Don’t Impair Your Judgement

Don’t drink alcohol while you’re betting. Drinking alcohol impairs your thinking and could lead to bad decisions. Don’t stay up really late betting either, because sleep deprivation muddles the mind just as badly. If you’re betting on an event, step away from the computer or put the phone away so you can focus on the event. Don’t get caught up in the game and start making more bets while you’re distracted by the game. And be careful not to go on tilt and try to regain the money you’ve lost by taking riskier bets. That could lead to a vicious cycle you might not be able to get out of.

Be Careful When You Sign-Up

When you sign up, you’ll need to enter your name, email address and personal address. Select a secure username and password. Select a payment method that you’re comfortable with. Note that you can only use a payment method in your name, either individually or jointly. Furthermore, your payment card will need to have the same address as the one you use when registering.

You may be asked for various forms of identification to verify your age and residential status. Have copies of that on hand before you start signing up, but be wary of a site asking for something other than a scanned copy of your passport or other standard ID.

You may also be asked for additional documents to prevent fraud when you reach a withdrawal threshold or make a particularly large deposit, for instance. Know what is needed before you sign up so that you have it on hand, since betting sites may refuse to pay out if your account is not properly verified.

Sports betting can be a great way to add to the excitement of the game. However, that is contingent on avoiding making rookie mistakes in sports betting.