Costa Rica…seems to be a country where North American facing online sportsbooks like to base their operations. With online gambling being illegal in the US, setting up shop in any of the 50 states isn’t possible and therefore firms get a legislative and financial break when taking their business to Central America. ABC Islands are no different and have been in operation since 1994. The company is located in Plaza Mayór in the Municipality of Pavas, San José and are considered an established firm. In addition to focusing on US sports, ABC Islands also cover many international events. They pride themselves on having high staking limits and accepting professionals and recreational players to the site. Are these claims true? How does ABC Islands stack up against its rivals also located in Costa Rica? In this article we examine all aspects of the sportsbook service.
What do bettors look for in an online sportsbook? Several things. Firstly they want a site that is easy to navigate around, has clear links and a user-friendly interface. Professionally designed sites with modern graphics, and technology typically foster confidence from clients that the service is safe, secure and legitimate. ABC Islands website most certainly compares favourably to a number of the sportsbooks located out in Costa Rica. The landing page adopts a fairly European look, with large sliding graphics across the centre of the page, large graphics revealing the bonuses and benefits of owning an ABC Islands account. The link to the sportsbook, casino and racebook is located on a horizontal menu bar towards the top of the page and clients are able to join the site or login through the form in the upper right corner. ABC Islands have made their sportsbook available in both English and Spanish in order to satisfy their clients from all across the Americas.
Customers are unable to view the sportsbook lines without having registered for an account. Once an account has been created and the client is logged in, they can see a list of the different sports in the centre of the page.
Underneath the sports, are the different leagues and events available. The default setting is ‘straight wager’ which is just a standard bet – customers can flick between the different types of bets across the horizontal bar above the list of sports. The available markets will change depending on which bet type is chosen – there are only a limited number of events for some of the more exotic bets.
A user’s account balance, risk and pending bets can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. ABC Islands also provide a statistics and a score section to keep bettors informed.
New users are offered a plethora of different options when it comes to a sign-up bonus. The amount that is credited to a bettor when opening an account depends on their tolerance to risk and how they feel about rollover requirements. The lower the bonus, the lower the rollover requirement:
10% cash bonus – 4x rollover requirement
15% cash bonus – 5x rollover requirement
20% cash bonus – 8 x rollover requirement
30% free play bonus – 5x rollover requirement
50% free play bonus – 8x rollover requirement
100% free play bonus – 12x rollover requirement
All concessions are subject to a minimum deposit of $100 and a maximum of $500. The difference between a cash bonus and free play bonus is that the cash bonus requires the rollover to be calculated just by the deposit + bonus amount, whereas the free play bonus has a rollover requirement based on the deposit + amount won on the bonus. ABC Islands also provide other concessions such as cash back at the end of the month, referral fees etc.
Sports & Markets
At the time of review, ABC Islands offered 11 different sports/events for their customers to choose from; baseball, American football, basketball, golf, tennis, soccer, motor racing, boxing, politics, MMA and rugby. The US facing bookmakers tend to concentrate on the main sports and don’t bother pricing up disciplines that are on the periphery of the sports bettors’ consciousness.
Baseball is one of the major betting sports in the summer months. The main three bet types for the baseball matches are the Moneyline, Total Runs and the Spread. The Moneyline odds work out to 102.3%, Total Runs 104.3% and the Spread works out to 102.4%. In addition to the American action, bettors can also strike wagers on Japanese and Mexican baseball.
The American football season is currently on a break. There are games for both the NFL and College football games, with all over the spread lines set to a default of -110 for each outcome (10/11 in English money or 1.91 in decimal terms). This produces a total book percentage of 104.8% which is okay but is likely to contract closer to game time when the final rosters are known etc. ABC Islands do a solid job of keeping bettors interested by providing a number of prop bets. Customers can strike wagers on winners of conferences, most passing yards, most receiving yard, Heisman trophy winner etc.
All of the major boxing and UFC contests are priced up and the odds on offer are competitive when compared with other firms in the industry. Most bouts compile somewhere in the region of 104-105%, which is below the standard 107-108% offered by most firms.
In addition to the regular sportsbook, ABC Islands also have all of the US horse racing action. They also have live betting so customers can place wagers throughout the duration of events.
ABC Islands provide comprehensive customer service to their clients. Bettors have several ways to get in touch with the team:
There is also live help available through a live chat function that can be accessed. When agents are not currently available, customers are redirected back to the initial page where they can leave a message. At the bottom of the page, players can look at the house rules, sports rules and live wager rules. These sections provide comprehensive information that can answer most non-bet specific questions.
Good news for bettors – ABC Islands don’t restrict customers from any countries.
Although ABC Islands do not have the huge range of deposit options available with European sportsbooks, they do have the major ones most commonly used:
Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard etc.) – Minimum deposit $100
Bitcoin – Min $20/Max $1000
Ria Moneytransfer – Min $100 (can be done online or in a 7-Eleven)
Skrill – Min $50/Max $3000
Bank wire – takes 5-10 days to receive funds
Person 2 Person
Money In Minutes – This is a unique option where customers with a balance of $10 or more in their account can request a debit card. The card takes 7-10 days to get to the customer and is loaded up with the funds from the betting account. This card can be used anywhere worldwide.
Payouts must be requested on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between the hours of 8am and 11am (EST).
When the ABC Islands is visited from a mobile device, an optimised site automatically loads. The login forms are located at the top of the page. There are a variety of links down the page and customers can access the sportsbook, live betting, online casino and racebook through the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen. The functionality on the mobile app is great – clients can do everything they can on the main website, from placing bets to chatting live to customer service representatives.
ABC Islands have a lot of similarities to the other North American facing bookmakers located in Costa Rica, but their service seems a little more polished and professional. They are most certainly recommended.