A sportsbook is a business that accepts bets on different sporting events. They generally offer a number of options for bettors, including money line bets, spread bets and over/under (total) bets. They also feature various props, or proposition bets, which are wagers on specific event outcomes, such as a player’s total points scored in a game or the team’s win-loss record. In addition to offering lines on major sports, many sportsbooks also have a selection of horse racing and golf betting markets.
Online sportsbooks use a software platform to take the action from their clients. While some have custom designed their own platforms, most pay a software company to run their operations. This allows them to provide a smooth and user-friendly experience. Some sportsbooks offer their own branded app, but most use an industry-leading provider.
Legal online sportsbooks offer a number of advantages for US players, including appealing bonuses and fast payouts. They are regulated by state gambling laws, providing consumer protections and ensuring that all bets are placed with integrity. In addition, these sites are able to offer lower juice lines than traditional physical sportsbooks.
When choosing a sportsbook, make sure it is licensed in your state and offers decent odds for your bets. If you are not happy with your experience, you can always file a complaint with the state gaming commission or the federal Department of Justice. Illegal offshore sportsbooks, on the other hand, do not provide any consumer protection and avoid paying state and local taxes.