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One of the few online casinos that accept US players, SportsBetting.ag has been around since 2003 and provide a platform for casino games, poker, bingo as well as sports betting.
Unfortunately their reputation is somewhat sketchy as they are a sister site to BetOnline, an online casino that has been reported numerous times to have cheated players.
While BetOnline have certainly tried to clean up their act, their most recent suspicious activity occurred not long ago in February 2017 where a viral video showed a live dealer "second dealing". The formal response from BetOnline can be found here which I will leave up to you to read and come to your own conclusion.
Now is it fair to judge SportsBetting.ag from this recent incident? We haven't heard any negative feedback from players so far but the above issues are certainly something to be mindful of if you choose to play at SportsBetting.ag
Nonetheless, I sent in our resident blackjack expert Meistro to play the tables and detail his experience.
I first started playing on Sports Betting four or five months ago. I deposited through Bitcoin to play poker as they have some lively pot limit omaha games, and one of the things that really impressed me about this site was that when I made my first withdrawal they didn't even ask for ID, they just paid me out in Bitcoin. Unlike credit card transactions, Bitcoin purchases are nonreversible, so there is really no reason for an online casino to make you verify your identity if you are only purchasing with Bitcoin. Later on, when I did use a virtual credit card to make a deposit, they did ask me to supply my ID as well as proof of my ownership of the card, in that case, a screenshot, but the process did not take very long and I was rapidly approved to cash out. At this casino, I played just poker (mostly cash games and also satellites into their big 50k and 100k guarantee tournaments) and live dealer blackjack. Overall I am up a little over five hundred in the six months that I have been playing there.
There are a few live dealer tables at SportsBetting.ag but the early payout game is the fastest. There are only three spots and everyone can bet on them. This format leads to significantly more rounds per hour and unlike the other tables allows you to play multiple hands at the same time. While the house edge is slightly higher in this game because of the lack of surrender the significant increase in hands played per hour makes up for the increased initial disadvantage. You will have the opportunity to place four or five times as many wagers in a given time period on the early payout tables because not only can you play three hands instead of just one but you also get more rounds per hour because there are only three spots being played instead of five or six.
Unlike most online blackjack games which are dealt with eight decks, SportsBetting.ag uses a six-deck shoe. Unfortunately, like most online blackjack games they cut it in half. They also explicitly prohibit card counting and claim they will confiscate any winnings if they find out you are counting. Whether they make good on this promise or if this statement is simply a scarecrow to chase away sharp action is unclear.
According to the casino, the house edge on the early payout blackjack is 0.5%. For a H17, no surrender, six-deck game, even with the most liberal rules (DAS, DA2 and resplit allowed) the house edge should be .615% according to the blackjackinfo.com basic strategy engine. Most likely the house edge on the early payout game is at least 0.6% and it could easily be higher. The house edge on their regular blackjack tables is 0.58% given these rules : 6 deck, H17, DAS, DA2, no resplits, LS, peek.
All in all the games are reasonable enough for an online live dealer game and being able to play a six-deck shoe (or at least the first three decks of it) is a nice perk. The games definitely seemed to be fair. One big advantage to online play, aside from the fact that you can hit up a game from your living room, is that you can back count shamelessly. SportsBetting.ag does time you out if you observe for too long without placing a wager, but you can simply immediately reopen the table and resume your count without being unduly disadvantaged.
Of course, I did have to try out the games for myself. I waited until the running count was at +11 with one deck dealt for a true count of plus two and then threw down with three five-dollar table minimum wagers. Sadly, I lost all of them, and on the next round I lost two bets and pushed one. That was a quick twenty-five bucks! I dropped down to 2 hands because I had only brought fifty dollars with me from the poker room to the casino. You have to manually transfer money around between the poker room, sport, book and casino for some reason. On the next hand, I got blackjack and an eight and a two for a total of ten. One cool thing about this site is that whereas most places if you do nothing your action counts as a stay, here if you do nothing then it auto-plays your hand according to basic strategy. As my preferred decision coincided with the basic strategy play in every hand I simply let the machine play for me. Unfortunately while I did make 20 on my double down, so did the house and we pushed. I ended up losing seventeen dollars and fifteen cents, a total of three and a half bets, and called it a day.
In conclusion, the SportsBetting.ag game is par for the course as far as online live dealer games are concerned. Six decks and late surrender are a plus, as well as the game speed of the early payout game, but their avowed policy of confiscating the funds of card counters is a pretty big red flag so you should probably avoid playing there for any serious money.
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