How to Take Bets as a Bookie

In October 2021, a gambling record was reached when US citizens bet $3 billion on sports in a single month. The industry has been growing at over 50 percent year after year. So how do you manage to turn this lucrative opportunity into profit for yourself?

One way is to become a bookie, but taking a bet is not as simple as people may think. Read on as we give our guide on how to take bets as a bookie. 

How To Take Bets As A Bookie

The basic principle of bookmaking is simple. Money comes in when a customer places a bet. It goes out when their bet comes in and they win. 

When more money is coming in than going, the bookmaker makes a profit and this is what a successful bookmaker is always aiming for. There are four main ways they do this to earn profits. 

  • Setting the right bet prices
  • Setting and changing betting lines
  • Eliminating risk and balancing the book
  • Using customer emotions to their advantage

It is impossible for a bookmaker to control the outcome of events. However, they can control how much they stand to win or lose from them. 

Being A Bookie

The job of the bookmaker is to take bets from the individual client. In some instances, they will also provide physical locations for gambling activities or online services. Though being a bookmaker requires no formal qualifications, there are a number of essential skills you should have or work upon before taking bets as a bookie. 

  • Proficient in numeracy
  • Good organization skills
  • An affinity for sport or one particular area of it
  • Some start-up capital put away

On top of this, there are a number of personality traits that will help you. One of these is to be able to take risks, particularly financial ones. Keeping up with the latest news and sports action is also desirable.

Setting The Right Prices

Setting your price should include what many call the vigorish. This is a commission on making the bet that helps you turn a profit.

Imagine you are takings bets that have 50/50 odds. If someone places a bet with $10, they lose it if it does not come in and take $20 if they win, with the initial stake back. This is not good for a bookmaker who is looking to make a profit.

When the vigorish is added, odds calculate at different percentages. For example, a bet of $10 on 50/50 odds adjusts so that the stake returns around $9. In this way, bookies always manage to set odds to their advantage.

The complexity of this increases as different sports and types of bets get taken into account. A vigorish can move up or down, though you always need to have the amount balanced so your odds are still competitive. It is not solely responsible for making money and needs to be used in conjunction with other tactics. 

Betting Lines

Another way to make a profit is through betting lines. This is a numerical line that shows who is the favorite and who is the underdog in a game, along with the distance between them in terms of how likely the win or loss is to be. 

The bookmaker will decide what the difference is between them. This gives the person betting the option to either back the favorites to win by the difference set or for the underdogs to get within the differential margin. 

By altering betting lines, bookmakers can make a profit. In the modern age of technology, this can even be done while the game is in play. 

Balancing The Book

When taking bets on an event, there are two possible books the bookmaker can have. These are balanced and imbalanced books. It is always preferable to have a balanced book. 

Put simply, a balanced book is when the bookmaker stands to make a profit whatever the outcome of a game or event. When you have an imbalanced book, you will only make a profit if a certain outcome occurs and lose money in the event of an adverse result. 

This is one reason sports odds fluctuate, as people move them to make sure the book balances. Bookmakers may increase the odds on a team to encourage more betting for them or reduce the odds on one team to put people off betting. 

As a bookie, the more bets you have coming in, the more chance you have to adjust odds and balance the books. You should also understand that it is not always possible to get a balanced book, but you should aim to get as close as possible. 

Using Customer Emotions

This sounds somewhat cruel but you will soon find out that when taking bets as a bookie, even the most methodical of gamblers cave into emotion. It may be that their favorite team is playing, or a friend’s son is getting their first outing in college football. As a bookmaker, it is up to you to capitalize. 

While you can’t predict everything, you do know the local teams people will be betting for. You can use this to your advantage, weighing the odds in your favor. 

Finding Customers

Unless you have a huge amount of capital to put into a marketing plan, then your customer base will start out pretty small. People either become a bookie to direct friends and family through their own sportsbooks, or they already bet with a different bookie and just want to make extra cash. 

In either situation, starting with friends and family is the best way to go. Let people who bet in your immediate circle know you have opened a business. All you have to do is follow and match the lines that major gambling platforms are following and they are more likely to put on the bet with you than the other company. 

Make sure you pay out immediately and go above and beyond in terms of customer service. Eventually, this will turn into referrals. Soon you will begin to get other customers coming to use your service.

Business for Bookies

Bookie Bankroll

When you start out, it is imperative that you have a bookie bankroll. This is money that exists outside of your cash flow for paying out on bets. How big this bankroll needs to depend on how aggressive you want to start out when taking bets, as its main purpose is to help you fund a payout. 

For example, imagine you are starting out by taking bets from friends and family. They won’t bet as much and probably won’t bet in high amounts. You need less in the bankroll to payout should you have a bad day. 

When you are aiming at high betting, pro players, then you need to have a lot more in your bankroll. The higher the value of bets you can take, also means you have a chance for increased profits. 

Should You Issue Credit?

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to issuing credit. On one hand, it is likely to bring you more customers who will be interested in repeat business. On the other, it can get out of hand and there is always the risk that people may not pay. 

If you do offer credit, you need to have strict rules. You can’t get away with not having clients pay and you can’t issue IOU. When you don’t think you have the assertiveness to chase up unpaid credit, then don’t give it out. 

Should you decide to do so, make sure you lay down ground rules and keep track of customer habits. Make sure you set a date as a payday, so they know when and where you will be collecting from them. Check they are not gambling too much or too frequently. 

Enlist Pay Per Head Services

Being a bookie becomes a lot easier when you have the help of a pay-per-head sportsbook. This is an offshore online sportsbook and bookmaking software, provided to a private bookmaker for use. Acting anonymously, lets the bookmaker compete with much bigger betting platforms. 

Pay-per-head sites will charge a weekly fee, regardless of the betting volume or weekly wins and losses. For this, bookmakers will get an online platform that looks and functions like a gambling website. Their own private customers can then log on and make bets or use it to check accounts. 

One of the other main advantages is that 24-hour service is provided to private clients. You probably don’t want to be taking bets at three in the morning, but with a pay-per-head service, you can. Your players will simply access the call center and speak to one of the staff.

Getting Started

Now you know how to take bets as a bookie, and set aside a bankroll to start your business. Think about who you can target as an early customer, then begin small. Consider a pay per head bookie service to help you scale up quickly. 

Ace Per Head is one of the top-rated pay-per-head services. From as little as $10 per head, you can access our wide range of bookie services and software. Start now and let us help build your online business with our customizable packages.