BetRivers

9.6

Internet users interested in online sportsbook betting are almost certain to run across an online bookmaker called Bet Rivers.

The name is a connection to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where two major rivers, the Allegheny and the Monongahela, meet to form the Ohio River. The area where the actual confluences of the rivers meet is often referred to as Three Rivers. The Pittsburgh Pirates of MLB and the Steelers of the NFL once played in a park named Three Rivers Stadium. The park was blown up in 2001 because Three Rivers had opened in 1970 and was no longer considered adequate.

What started out as a casino named the Rivers Casino, which is still in operation, morphed into an online betting operator when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law prohibiting online sports betting in 2018.

Summary 

This review will focus on the sportsbook aspect of the corporation.

We hope to supply some information of value to anyone who wants objective information about BetRivers and where it fits in the big picture of an exploding U.S. online betting industry.

Over more than 10 years of examining online bookmakers in other regions of the world where governments were quicker to determine that it was better to tax and regulate than it was to chase black market betting, we have reviewed dozens of online bookmakers. Some of those bookies have been reviewed multiple times because the online bookie of 2000 is nothing like the online bookie of 2022. The industry has changed at about the same rate as the underlying technology of the internet and smart phones on which it relies.

When we examine an online sportsbook, we use nine criteria that have proven to be important to online bettors. While these nine criteria are not all that could be listed, they are the ones that users have cited repeatedly to us.

The order in which we present these criteria is not necessarily reflect our opinion of which criterion is paramount and which are secondary, but those criteria are:

    • Price – Does BetRivers offer competitive odds?

    • Promotions – Does Bet Rivers offer enough useful, creative promotions to maintain customer engagement?

    • Markets – How does BetRivers stack up with the competition in terms of additional betting markets within any given sport?

    • Live Streaming – How do BetRivers live, in-play betting offerings compare?

    • Website Function – Is the BetRivers website stable and is it easy to navigate for online bettors of all experience levels?

    • Mobile App Function – How user friendly are the BetRivers mobile apps when compared to other online sportsbooks?

    • Bet Types – Does BetRivers support all the popular and more exotic types of bets?

    • Banking – How convenient is it to make deposits or withdrawals from a BetRivers wagering account?

    • Customer Service – How easy or difficult is it to contact Bet Rivers if the need arises?

History of BetRivers

The Rivers Casino opened in 2009 along the banks of the Ohio River, close to Heinz Field and PNC Park, where the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates now have separate stadiums, unlike in the days of Three Rivers Stadium, when the same field was used for two professional franchises.

The path to casino gambling in Pennsylvania was paved by the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act.

There have been many winding paths taken since then, as is often the case when politics, power and money are intermixed, but the history of BetRivers begins for us in mid-December of 2018, when BetRivers sportsbook went live for a two-day test period. Full-on sports betting commenced on December 15.

Online sports betting had to wait until June 25, 2019. That is when the BetRivers brand came into existence.

BetRivers Pros

    • Telephone support! 24/7/365 chat and email

    • Same-game parlays

    • Broad selection of sports including some not offered by other online bookies

    • Low play-through requirement for bonus free bets

    • Stylish website and mobile apps

BetRivers Cons

    • Fewer options for collecting winnings

    • Distracting scrolling slideshow

    • Payouts can be a little slow

BetRivers Odds

Everyone likes to get the best price for any expenditure and online bettors are no exception.

It can sometimes be an elusive task to compare online sportsbooks’ prices, though, as prices change frequently as bets come in and information that could affect an outcome becomes known.

The best time to compare sportsbook odds is as close as possible to the start of the event.

For this comparison between BetRivers and two other online sportsbooks, we picked an NFL Thursday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals, a game in which we would otherwise have zero interest.

BetRivers, about seven hours before the kickoff, was quoting a spread of 2.5 points, with the Cardinals favored. A $1 bet on the Saints to win would pay $1.93 and a $1 bet on the Cardinals to win by three points or more would pay $1.89.

The second bookie we checked had the same spread. The $1 bet on the Saints would pay $2 and the bet on the Cardinals to win and cover would pay $1.87.

The third bookie also had the identical spread. The $1 bet on the Saints would pay $1.91 and the bet on the Cardinals to win and cover was offering the same $1.91.

From best to worst in this instance, the best return was $2 and the worst was $1.87.

BetRivers was somewhere in the middle.

Of course, those differences of pennies based on a $1 bet are magnified as the bet size increases, but this example demonstrates that picking an online sportsbook by price alone can be shortchanging the person or persons doing the picking unless price is combined with other criteria to develop a larger picture.

We could do the same exercise with the money line and the total, the two other popular NFL bets, but the outcome would be identical – the variances would be slight and hardly worth losing any sleep over.

Where some extra value might be unearthed is in the prop markets, such as the player props, but at the end of the bet, if your prop is not filled, you lose your stake whether you had a chance to win $10 or $15 with a different sportsbook.

The conclusion here is that BetRivers has competitive odds and that bettors who want to shop sportsbooks should do so as part of the entertainment value of betting online and given the low cost of entry with online sportsbooks, there is no compelling argument against having multiple sportsbook accounts.

BetRivers Promotions

BetRivers has many promotions and those promotions serve to keep things interesting.

The key consideration here is that BetRivers bonus bets must be played through just one time. We will say that again – BetRivers bonus bets must be played through just one time in order for the bettor to be able to withdraw bonus winnings as actual cash.

We have seen other bookies specifying a 25-times play through.

This automatically pushes BetRivers to the head of the class in the category of promotions.

The BetRivers welcome bonus at the time this review is being prepared is called “2nd Chance Bet” and the deal is that if the first bet of a new client loses, BetRivers will receive a free bet equal to the original stake, up to a maximum of $500.

The other feature about this promotion worth noting is that players have 14 days to use the free bet, whereas some bookies’ free bets expire in as little as three days, with seven days being typical.

We counted 19 legitimate promotions on the BetRivers promotions page, covering such things as rewards programs, referrals, daily odds boosts and sports league season-long contests.

While we ourselves are not big promo bettors, we know that many people place a high value on them and BetRivers has some of the better offerings we have seen.

BetRivers Markets

This is another area where BetRivers shines.

For the TNF game we used for our odds comparison, BetRivers had 311 sub markets or prop bets. The other bookies we used had 149 and the third 171.

Clear edge to BetRivers and something that will be welcomed with open odds by parlay bettors or those looking for something they consider more interesting than spread, money line and total bets.

We would go a step further and mention that in all our years of looking at online sportsbooks, this is the first instance we have ever seen of a sportsbook offering more than 300 markets for one game.

BetRivers Live Streaming

On the afternoon we prepared this review, BetRivers did not have any live streaming markets. This was not completely unexpected, given the time of day, but one of our comparative bookies had seven live streams and the third bookie we checked had 10.

There is some cause for concern here, as live streaming is important to players who participate in live betting, especially for those sports that would never otherwise offer video. We should point out that regardless of which online sportsbook is considered, a distinction must be made between live streaming and live video. Many live events with various online sportsbooks are not video; they are continuously updated graphic representations of a court, field or other type of sports venue that update with every shot, play, pitch or out, etcetera.

Knowing the competitive nature on the online sportsbook industry, we would be hesitant to dock BetRivers based on this one exposure.

BetRivers Website Function

For as long as we have been doing this, it would be natural to think that we have seen every possible wrinkle of online sportsbooks websites.

BetRivers threw us a little curve with their top banner, which had only the BetRivers logo and a link to their sportsbook. It took us a couple of minutes to discover that it was necessary to click the sportsbook link in order to get inside and see prices.

Once we had made that discovery, we observed that the BetRivers desktop website used the three-column layout we have used for years.

The left column is for all the sports offered and it leads off with a search box for those who want to go straight to a sport, game, team, or something similar.

The next panel vertically was labelled “Most Popular” and included such options as Streaming Live, House Specials, NFL, MLB Postseason, NLCS, ALCS, NBA, NCAA and so on.

The left column concludes with an alphabetical listing of the sports BetRivers supports. They have some sports we have not seen on other sportsbooks websites, including Jai Alai and Floorball. BetRivers offers live streams of Jai Alai that we intend to watch at the proper time. For those that are unfamiliar with Floorball, it is basically street hockey played in regular shoes and no cars driving down the street to interrupt the game.

The middle column, which takes up about two thirds of the screen, shows all the prices, with icons arranged across the top that supply quick access to other sports.

BetRivers middle column also shows, in your time zone, the time a game will start, stats, tips and information for new bettors found under an icon that features a lower case “i” in a circle.

The right column is for the bet slip and while BetRivers’ bet slip is serviceable, it left something to be desired.

Clicking on a price brings up the bet slip, but this one is tiny and begins at the bottom right of the page. If another wager is added, the bet slip enlarges toward the top of the page.

We would prefer a top-down expansion of the bet slip, along with some pre-set wager amounts.

Other than the top banner that fooled us briefly and the just-average bet slip, the BetRivers desktop website is quite intuitive and effective.

The color scheme is muted tones on gray, white and blue for the most part. Most text is crisp black or dark blue.

This is one nice website for betting, but we do wish they would dispose of the scrolling slideshow across the top of the page, as we are easily enough distracted without trying to ignore the scroll.

Our conclusion is the BetRivers desktop website is one most bettors will appreciate once a little familiarity is gained.

BetRivers Mobile App Function

We first visited the BetRivers mobile version. It mimics the desktop version nicely, something that makes all online sportsbook functions readily accessible. The primary difference is that the smaller screen size makes it necessary for the bet slip to be on the bottom, rather than the right side of the screen. The pages on the mobile version would not rotate from portrait to landscape for us.

Other functions located at the top of the desktop version shift to the bottom on the mobile website.

We had to leave the mobile site to go to the Apple Store to get the iOS app.

There were separate apps for each state in which BetRivers is legal.

It was easy to download and install the BetRivers iOS app. It was also one of the faster download/installs we have seen.

Like the mobile version, the iOS version closely mimics the desktop version, with the necessary modifications for the smaller screen size.

The iOS version, like the mobile desktop version, will not rotate from portrait to landscape, but this seems to be common practice in the U.S. online sportsbook industry.

It took us only moments to gain an adequate level of comfort using the app on an iPhone.

There is one thing we found quite perplexing and it applies both to the app and the desktop versions.

We know that BetRivers offers options to display odds in American, decimal and fractional formats, but we could not find this setting no matter how hard we tried. We contacted BetRivers via chat and once we got past the Bot, we chatted with a representative who insisted that the decimal odds we were seeing were American odds.

The BetRivers mobile offerings are more than adequate, but there is room for improvement. One major upgrade in our view would be to get rid of the distracting scrolling slideshow. We have encountered many bookies that had a similar feature, but once inside the website and inside the betting pages, the slideshow goes away.

Our conclusion is that most users will not be affected by the minor faults we ourselves found annoying, but our conclusion is that the next update of the app will hopefully offer improvements.

BetRivers Bet Types

We have seldom seen as many bet types as we found on BetRivers for the NFL game at which we were looking earlier.

It is logical to ask if anyone actually needs over 300 bet types for one NFL game, but for anyone who does need that many, they are there for the taking. When we first logged in, there were 341 additional bets, but a couple hours later, the number had dropped to 308, but that is still almost double what other bookies were offering.

Players who enjoy the high-paying-but-low-probability parlay bets can get very creative in devising three, four, five or more leg parlays. Single bet bettors might find some entertaining bets that make an otherwise unappealing game interesting.

BetRivers has a lot of Futures bets, more than some we have seen and many times, a Teaser bet can be found in the bet slip to temp with a hefty payout.

Our conclusion is that until we find a bookie with more bet types than BetRivers, we are declaring them the champion for this criterion.

BetRivers Banking

We have often seen online sportsbook reviews that lament that BetRivers does not have as many funding options as do some of the other online sportsbooks.

To us, this is simply nonsense.

BetRivers offers enough options that if you cannot fund with one of them, you simply aren’t trying.

They have something called VIP Preferred ACH that not only functions as a deposit, but also as a withdrawal method. Members link a bank account by supplying an account and routing number, along with some identity verification information.

Some customers might be wary of this method, which is understandable, but BetRivers has encryption that is every bit as effective as your bank’s encryption.

We ourselves would probably not use VIP Preferred ACH, because we prefer one of the other methods, which is PayPal.

We have our PayPal account linked to a checking account, as there is never any necessity of remembering when a credit card has expired and needs to be updated. Security experts, however, those who see bogeymen behind every online transaction, recommend linking PayPal to a credit card, for the anti-fraud protections most credit card issuers provide.

While PayPal is our preference, BetRivers offers a pre-paid card called the BetRivers Play+ Card.

Obtaining this card does not impact a credit score. Many online sportsbooks have a similar card and we feel that these cards are probably one of the top ways to fund and withdraw from a wagering account. It is also one of the faster methods.

The other methods available from BetRivers are cash, credit and debit cards and PayNearMe, a system that accepts cash at participating retailers, including 7-11.

It is important for potential online sportsbook clients to be aware that while BetRivers does not have any fees associated with depositing and withdrawing, some credit card issuers will treat a funding transaction as a cash advance, which often comes along with a $30 or higher fee. Those who want to use a credit card should contact the card issuer to determine how deposits to an online sportsbook are viewed by the issuer.

Withdrawals have fewer options, but the ways to get money out are with the BetRivers Play+ Card, online banking, VIP Preferred ACH and PayPal.

Customer Service

We are happy to see that Bet Rivers offers telephone customer service in addition to chat and email.

We tested the chat feature by asking how to switch odds formats between American, decimal and fractional. We had to navigate around a chat bot for a few seconds before we were able to get a representative. That representative was courteous and professional, but he seemed a bit untrained, first telling us it was not possible to change odds formats. We pressed him a bit more, but it was obvious that we had gotten beyond his training/experience level, which is why we are so thrilled to see that BetRivers has telephone support.

Some of the difficulty we experienced can be attributed to the challenges of text messaging when the topic gets a bit complicated and might require a back-and-forth exchange that only a conversation can offer.

A positive we can supply is that chat support with BetRivers is now 24/7/365, whereas at one time it was limited to certain hours.

You can also use various social media platforms.

We ourselves view Facebook as a place where people post pictures of their food and are mean to other people, but others have pointed out positive aspects of social media. It’s just not for us.

BetRivers does have one of the better help sections that go into detail around many of the questions someone might have. All the various topics and sub-topics can be accessed by clicking or tapping on the Help Center icon at the very top of the BetRivers webpages.

Conclusion 

We personally found a couple elements for which we do not care for with BetRivers. The annoying slideshow and the difficulty finding how to change odds format were our main complaints.

Still, we came away from our visits to BetRivers thinking that this is a good bookie for bettors who want to add to a collection of online sportsbooks, or simply want a one-stop solution to all betting needs.

One of the top features of BetRivers is the vast number of markets they offer beyond spread, money line and total. Their odds are competitive and they offer some sports that will be found nowhere else.

Their website and apps offer all the features we have come to expect from the better online sportsbooks and a little look at the BetRivers history indicates that they have made strides since they launched, which is the best indicator that they will evolve and improve over time.

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hellafast

Betting Expert / Contributor Since 2016

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by BetZillion