A sportsbook is a place where punters can bet on various sporting events. These sites are often regulated by state laws and offer a form of protection to people who make bets. When choosing a sportsbook, look for one with a valid license. This will protect you from illegal operations and ensure that the odds you’re getting are fair. Also, check whether the site offers different betting markets, including alternative win totals.

A good online sportsbook will feature a number of different ways to limit a player’s account, including deposit limits and session time limits. Additionally, they’ll plaster their platform with responsible gambling resources and links to hotlines that players can call. In addition, most sportsbooks will have a self-exclusion list that can be used to permanently ban a user from their website.

Offshore sportsbooks take advantage of lax laws in Antigua, Costa Rica, Latvia, and Panama to prey on unsuspecting Americans. They often charge a commission on losing bets, known as vig or juice, and don’t pay winning bettors when they should. These sportsbooks also avoid paying state and local taxes and may have poor customer service, so it’s important to choose a reputable, legal bookie.