Online gambling started out as a small collection of niche websites attracting hardcore casino and poker enthusiasts, but it took only a couple of years for this small community to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry, which can easily rival the monopoly of land-based casinos right now. However, you have to keep in mind that this industry has always been primarily Windows PC based and even the recent rise of the importance of mobile gambling apps doesn’t seem likely to change this situation in the foreseeable future.
Consequently, consider yourself warned – Mac computers aren’t exactly the best choice when it comes to real money online poker, sports betting or casino games, as your options will be somewhat limited when compared to other platforms. That being said, there are many extremely well-designed gambling sites that support Apple’s system, so if you’re stuck with a Mac there’s absolutely no reason not to give them a try.
Online Is Different – Even on Mac
Whether you’re using a Windows PC or a Mac, real money online gambling is very different from what you’d expect from a brick and mortar gambling establishment. While the minimum size of your bet in most land-based casinos is $1, online casinos and poker rooms won’t have any qualms about accepting wagers in pennies.
In fact, low stakes play tends to generate a significant amount of traffic on most gambling websites, so it should come as no surprise that many of them prefer to focus on catering to recreational players instead of professionals and high-rollers. Furthermore, online games usually move at a significantly faster pace when compared with their live counterparts, which means that you’ll be able to place massive amounts of wagers over short periods of time.
However, playing online requires you to give up on the social aspect of most games, as you won’t have that many chances to interact with the other players. In fact, many gambling sites don’t have any kind of chat functionality. Consequently, even if your game of choice requires you to compete against other gamblers, playing online is a rather solitary experience.
As mentioned above, Apple’s Mac OS X isn’t exactly the best platform for real money gambling. The reasons for this are very simple – most traffic on gambling websites is generated by Windows PC and mobile users, so online casinos and poker rooms don’t have any serious incentives to develop Mac-optimized downloadable clients. As a result, only a few gambling sites offer this kind of software.
Fortunately, Mac users are still able to access all kinds of games via browser-based applications, most of which are powered by Java, Flash or HTML5. Nevertheless, you have to remember that using a downloadable client is almost always a better choice, as no-download software usually comes with limited functionality and tuned-down visuals.
Another downside of using browser-based clients is the fact that the data necessary to run the games isn’t stored on your hard drive and has to be downloaded each time you want to join the action, which means that transitioning between the lobby and the tables simply won’t be all that smooth. Having a stable, fast internet connection can alleviate these problems to some extent, but in the end you won’t be getting the performance of a well-designed downloadable software package.
Sports betting sites are different from online casinos and poker rooms in that most of them are browser-based by default and don’t offer any downloadable software package even for a Windows PC platform. As a result, online sports books are extremely Mac-friendly, as OS X users can use all the features available within a given site, including live in-play betting and streaming sporting events.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean that all sports book have been created equal. Quite the contrary – the sites tend to differ when it comes to maximum bets, particularly within the major leagues like the NFL, NBA or European soccer.
However, please note that the maximum bets for exotic sports will be very low on virtually every sports betting site. Furthermore, most online sports books will lower the limits for professional, price-trading players. The odds are another thing you should keep an eye out for, especially since some sites offer amazing reduced juice offers that really increase your long-term profitability.
Other popular bonuses include free play bonuses or cash back offers, but keep in mind that unlike poker and casino sites, online sports books generally won’t give you anything better than a $500 deposit bonus with a 50% match on your payment.
Best Mac-Friendly Sports Betting Sites
Given the fact that online sports books offer the same functionality to Mac and Windows PC users, you don’t really have to concern yourself with OS X compatibility. This allows you to focus on tracking down the best sites with the sweetest deals for your favorite sports. Some of the most reliable picks include Bovada and 5dimes for United States-based customers, while European bettors should generally stick to Ladbrokes, William Hill, Bet365 and Bodog.
All of the above sites offer similar promotions, great odds and some amazing live in-play betting opportunities. What’s more, they’re exceptionally reliable when it comes to banking, which means that your deposits will be processed instantly, while withdrawal requests won’t take more than 5 or 10 business days, depending on the method you pick. However, please note that Bet365 is currently about the only renowned online sports betting site that allows you to watch live streams of the actual matches via its live betting client, which makes it the premier choice for anyone who wants to focus predominantly on placing in-play wagers.