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13. Are there any advantages to betting by phone over online, or vice versa?

Phone betting offers more flexibility, obviously, in that you can bet anytime and from almost anywhere via your cell phone or any phone. The other main advantage to phone sports betting is larger limits at most outs, which can be important to large bettors or scalpers/middlers. A more subtle advantage is getting to know your book's people. Phone bettors tend to talk to the "man," or book manager, more and have a more personal relationship with the out and the clerks and personnel running it. This can come in handy if a discrepancy arises.

Among the many disadvantages to phone betting are that you can be overheard by your wife or in-laws or, God forbid, your boss, which isn't often a good thing considering the stigma still associated with betting.

It also tends to take much longer to wager, for rundowns, readbacks, PIN confirmation, and balance checks. Along with getting put on hold and transferred, the most frustrating part of phone wagering for me has always been the thick island accents and the lack of communication skills of many of the clerks offshore. I very rarely phone in bets anymore, and that is part of the reason. Having to repeat myself 5 times, or ask them to repeat themselves, gets old.

While many outs record bets, for both parties' safety, there is still more room for discrepancies when voices are involved rather than numbers typed in and confirmed on a screen.

And not all books record bets done by phone betting, at least not reliably. I got screwed by a repeated bad read back and no tape once.

Phone wagering has been nothing but trouble for me.

I prefer to betting online. It is much, much faster. Some phone shops limit their hours and send clerks home after the last game goes off, whereas almost all outs allow 24 hours a day of internet gambling, and leave lines up overnight for that purpose. Your sports gambling history is easier to capture and save. It is mostly "point and click" and you're done. Parlay and teaser bettors also don't have to have a clerk read out all those teams--just click down or across the page.

Line shopping is also dramatically easier online, as you can simultaneously have multiple lines displayed at once, or use the various line services like Don Best and Tip-Ex.

Deposits and withdrawals are easier and faster online, particularly using e-commerce methods like Securebuxx, Neteller and Paypal. Sites like Major Wager and many other handi-capable (or is that handicapping-enabling) sites are very valuable handicapping tools nowadays.

One of my favorite advantages of internet sports betting, is that some outs give online brttors perks that phone bettors don't get, elike reduced juice. The reduced cost of online sports gambling, compared to phones, for the book allows them more leeway as it saves them overhead money. Thus they can allow low stakes bets, some as low as $1 or 25 cents, and give specials on odds and juice to pass along the savings, so to speak.

One major disadvantage to web gambling is the need to be at a computer, and connected to the internet via some ISP, to make a wager. This disadvantage may become less of an issue as handheld and portable devices become more widespread and usable. Another disadvantage of web gambling, is being more susceptible to outages. Sites are hit by viruses, bandwidth problems, Internet problems, etc. more often than phone lines are, in general.

Excellent points, Buckeye, and thus, I have only a few to add.

Phone betting can be a hassle due to busy lines minutes before a game. Nothing is more frustrating than calling Ecuador to get down on a 49ers-Packers game and have the connection go dead or be busy, until a clerk, whose previous job was milking cows, answers, and says in some dialect that remotely resembles English, "You want to bet on American football?"

The only books I would consider calling instead of sport betting online would be Australian and English-based books that employ very courteous English-speaking clerks who are on the ball.

I also, out of necessity, am stuck phoning in bets if a book has downloadable wagering software that I can't access when I'm on a computer that has a firewall set up. In those instances, when I have had to place phone wagers, it is a tiring process.

The key is to be as friendly and courteous as possible so that you will be treated the same. The clerks who work most of the phone banks are tired, underpaid and couldn't care less about you or whether the 49ers cover, so think about that the next time they mispronounce Grambling when you need to get down on that key Division II match-up.

The Philosopher:
I wanted to make several points about the pros and cons of phone versus online sports betting, but it looks like all or most of them have already been covered, and covered clearly and succinctly enough that I don't feel a need to reiterate or summarize them.

So I'll just mention one other point instead. For beginners, I would think one point of consideration would be which method is more intimidating to someone who doesn't fully know what he or she is doing yet.

On that score, I actually think phone wagering is more intimidating. If you're betting online, you can take your time, and learn at your own pace. You can make the same dumb mistake five times, and you don't have to feel self-conscious, because nobody except you will ever even know it. If you lose your place looking at your notes about what you intend to bet, you can pause a few seconds to find what you're looking for and to make sure you don't make a mistake, and meanwhile you don't have a person on the other end of the line trying to rush you so he can do his job and process as many calls as quickly as possible. There's zero pressure.

On the other hand, at times it's nice to be able to talk to a human being when you're confused about something. The problem is, there's a pretty good chance you won't be pleased with what happens when, as a newcomer, you seek help for your wagering questions via the phone. Granted, a decent amount of the time, you'll get a friendly, helpful person who'll walk you through the wagering process and answer all your questions, but at least as often, you'll get either A) a minimally trained local who can barely speak English and either knows even less about these matters than you do or can't communicate the answers to you if he does know, or B) a gruff American who knows all this stuff like the back of his hand and has zero patience for any idiot who isn't similarly knowledgeable.

Now, it's different if you have a more generalized computer-phobia. Many older people especially have no interest at all in learning to do something online if there's any other possible way they can do it. If you're like that, then internet gambling would be even more intimidating than wagering by phone.

I greatly prefer internet online gambling rather than phone, so I rarely place phone wagers. The few times I have placed phone wagers, I have had mixed experiences. At some places the clerks had a very poor knowledge of the different teams in the various sports, making the calls last much longer than I thought they should have, while in others the clerks were at least friendly and competent, but still I thought things could have been less time-consuming.

For a long time I had an off-track betting telephone wagering account for the ponies. These were strictly U.S. operations, with U.S. clerks for whom English was a first language. Yet except for the language issue, I still had to deal with all the problems outlined above--busy signals, communications problems, clerks' attitudes, and so on. Clearly the problems transcend geography.

The few bets I have phoned in to offshore books have not been overly negative experiences, but have not convinced me that phone wagering is superior to internet sports betting. Suffice it to say that, even with the problems with Internet traffic, software and the like, I prefer Internet wagering.

The Philosopher:
I won't say I disagree with anything that's been said here, but I think the general picture being painted concerning phone wagering is a little too negative. If you are a newcomer to offshore gambling who would prefer to bet by phone rather than online, don't be scared off by what we have said. I prefer mostly betting online , but I have had to wager by phone with quite a few sportsbooks in the last year in the course of researching the sportsbook reviews that I write. And the majority of the time, the wagering clerk has been polite, friendly, fairly efficient, and has spoken reasonably understandable English.

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