You’ve no doubt heard the term in countless movies. But what is a bookie exactly? And how does a bookmaker make a living taking bets on sports events?
According to Forbes, legalized sports gambling has only increased in popularity in recent years. It’s at the point now where over $10 billion dollars are being exchanged each year.
Not just that, but the number of online sports betting platforms is growing at a substantial rate. You see Fantasy Sports and the like every Sunday when you watch football, but plenty of boutique gambling options are out there now, too.
Bookmakers are largely responsible for this growth, and if you’re considering becoming your boss, this is one way you can make a living.
In this article, we’ll look at a day in the life of a bookie.
What Is A Bookmaker?
A bookie is a slang term for ‘bookmaker‘, or someone that collects bets on sports or other events. Bookmakers, either on their own or as part of an organization, set the odds on events before a bet is agreed upon.
For example, if the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks were playing, and the Knicks were heavy favorites, the bookmaker might set the odds at +8.0. This means potential bettors will predict whether the Knicks win by 8 points or more.
If the Knicks win by 10 points, the bookmaker then pays out the predetermined odds on the event. For example, the winner might receive $1.50 for every $1.00 they bet. A $100 bet would net those who predicted correctly a payout of $150, which comes out of the bookmaker’s pocket.
Technology And Betting
The various formats for betting available online now make a bookie’s job more diverse than ever. It used to be that you had to call in to place a bet, usually at a large-scale operation with thousands of bets being placed on each event.
Now, it’s different. Payments, for example, are more diverse than ever. You can still bet with money online, but you can also use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, too. The obvious difference is that cryptocurrency’s prices fluctuate by the hour, so you are also wagering on the stability of prices when you use this to bet.
Technology also makes it more convenient than ever for bettors to put money down on events. Instead of making phone calls, most price-per-head sportsbook services now offer great technology tools, like easy-to-use online interfaces. Bookmakers nowadays don’t need a ton of facetime with their customers to take on bets.
Balancing The Book
The first lesson on bookie gambling is learning how to balance a book or protect yourself from losing substantial amounts of money in one single event. Good bookmakers set the odds in a way that ensures they’ll make approximately the same amount of money regardless of who wins or loses a game.
While this can limit how much a bookie makes at one time, it also protects him. Depending on your budget as a bookie, having to pay out tens of thousands of dollars on one upset might destroy your business.
To put it simply, balancing the books is about giving fair odds to both options. If one team is a heavy favorite, for example, the payout on a large bet won’t be big. You can entice people to gamble on the underdog by setting favorable payouts. The more balanced number of bets placed (and the overall cash amount) acts as an insurance policy.
An example of a balanced bet is last year’s Super Bowl, where the New England Patriots were perceived as 2-point favorites over the Los Angeles Rams. The two teams were very close, so setting close odds helps protect bookmakers from losing substantial amounts of money. Neither team winning would’ve been considered an “upset“.
Is Being A Bookie Safe?
Bookmakers are given a bad wrap in Hollywood, often portrayed as slimeballs or untrustworthy fellows looking to make a quick buck. But as you saw by the sheer number of people engaging in online gambling, this simply isn’t true.
Today, being a bookie is not only possible but profitable for anyone willing to take the time to grow a client base. The key to growing a successful venture is to start in a niche, perhaps just one sport that you’re familiar with.
(Actually, in terms of your day-to-day life as a bookie, prepare to watch a lot of sports games. It’s best to pick the one you enjoy.)
Since there are tons of options online for gambling, you must build your reputation as being trustworthy, easy to place bets with, and above all, quick on your payouts.
Your most loyal customers likely bet regularly, and your competition will steal them if you aren’t on top of people’s money. Gambling is a lucrative business, but since a lot of money is being exchanged, it can be intense.
That isn’t to say it’s not safe if you take the necessary precautions and treat it like a business.
Being A Bookmaker: Wrap-Up
Besides your newly adopted bookie slang, being a bookmaker is an option in today’s internet-driven world. The key to longevity in sports betting is to protect yourself by balancing bets and leveraging technology so that the user experience is seamless for your clients. It’s a competitive industry with lots of money being tossed around, so people will find someone else to work with if you aren’t on top of your game.
6 Steps for Taking Bets as a Sports Bookie
What do you know about how to become a bookie? Here are a few essential tips for getting started with taking bets as a sports bookie.
Would you like to build wealth? Are you a fan of sports? If so, then you should learn how to become a bookie.
Sports betting is currently bigger than it’s ever been, which means now is a great time to get involved as a bookie. Unfortunately, many beginners are unaware of the steps required for taking bets, which prevents them from making money.
Ace Per Head will help you circumvent this by providing all the info you need in this guide. Soon, you can start a sportsbook and earn up to $5 million per year with our pay-per-head services.
Here are the 6 steps for taking bets.
1. Save Money
The first step to becoming a bookie involves saving money, which is something that many people overlook.
Before you can start taking bets, you must have enough money to put together a platform. This will require spending money on various things, such as a web developer, sportsbook provider, and more.
When you start a sportsbook, you’ll also need enough to compensate winners. Because of this, you should avoid hosting large bets on your platform until you grow.
Here at Ace Per Head, we recommend you save between $10,000 and $15,000. This will help you cover most expenses and pay winners, but only if you start with a smaller player base.
2. Research Sports
After saving money, the next thing to do is research sports. No matter which types of sports you enjoy, being a successful bookie will require you to offer betting services for various sports.
In the beginning, you can get away with focusing on football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. However, adding sports like cricket, horse racing, rugby, and others that are popular outside of the US will help you earn more money.
When researching any sport, you should learn about the biggest names. For example, some of the biggest names at the moment are Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, Von Miller, and Nick Chubb. The hottest team, which Josh Allen happens to be the QB of, is the Buffalo Bills, though this can change as the season progresses.
Learning about top football players will make setting betting odds much easier because you’ll immediately know who the favorite is in a matchup. For example, if you see the Bills facing the Panthers, you’ll know there’s a good chance the Bills win thanks to Josh Allen’s skill.
3. Set Rates
A big challenge you’ll face when you become a sports bookie is setting the right rates for players to gamble. If you work with a pay-per-head sportsbook provider, all you must do is charge players the same amount you pay for the service.
Pay-per-head sportsbook providers often charge between $10 and $15 weekly for each player that places bets. In this case, you can charge players the same amount to offset the costs.
You can also take a different approach and charge players small fees for every bet they place. Doing this can help you earn more money if you have players that bet often.
Consider experimenting with different models to find something that works. Keep in mind that you may not earn massive profits when you start, so you may need to dip into your savings occasionally.
4. Find a Sportsbook Provider
We’ve mentioned sportsbook providers several times now, but what exactly are they?
Sportsbook providers can help a bookie start taking bets by providing them with various tools and services. Some of the main services include web design and customer support, though they can vary depending on the provider.
Since you’re reading this, you may know that Ace Per Head is a leading sportsbook provider. If you check out our beginner’s guide for bookies, you’ll get a better idea of how Ace Per Head can help you.
5. Attract Players
Attracting players to your platform may be the hardest part of becoming a bookie. Most bookies don’t rely on the likes of advertising to grow their player bases, so you’ll need to network with others.
If you have a few friends that enjoy sports betting, invite them to bet on your platform. Through word-of-mouth, you can slowly grow your platform without spending money.
6. Keep Records
The last thing to do is set up a recordkeeping system to monitor transactions, spending, and anything else on your platform.
When you become a sports bookie, you’re starting a business. If you don’t have proper records of everything, you’ll have a hard time managing money and assisting players.
A simple way to record transactions is to use the likes of spreadsheet software. Ace Per Head’s bookmaker software also has a few features you can use to record things.
Like any business, calculate both incoming and outgoing transactions each month to make accounting simpler. Your sportsbook should also attach ID numbers to each transaction to avoid confusion when assisting players. Keep another file with all of these numbers.
Now You Know How to Become a Bookie
Starting a sportsbook can be lucrative, but only if follow these steps. Now that you know how to become a bookie, we at Ace Per Head want to offer you a 6-week promo on our pay-per-head services.
Ace Per Head can help you with custom websites, outsourced customer support, and management of transactions. We also charge a flat rate of $10 per player, which is much more affordable than other sportsbook providers.
Create your package as soon as possible to start reaping the benefits of sports betting. You can also contact us at (800) 909-5193 to get more info about the promo.
Top 3 Myths About Bookies, Hollywood’s Misconceptions
Hollywood’s portrayal of gambling is wrong for so many reasons. We’ve gathered our favorite myths about gambling and bookies here.
While the gambling world has long been full of colorful characters, Hollywood’s portrayal of gambling and bookies never covers the spread. There is a huge gulf between what modern-day bookies are and how they’re characterized in film.
The same goes for gamblers, too. What you see in a major motion picture is often a shortcut characterization or a cliche. Every day gamblers and bookies are far different than you may think.
Here are some of the biggest myths about gambling that need busted.
1. All Bookies are Gangsters
While gambling has always been part of the underworld economy, not all bookies were or are tied to organized crime.
Yes, the history of gambling in America is full of mafia influence. When there was no legal gambling outside of Las Vegas, the mafia ran gambling rings all over the country to supply the demand for gaming.
Stories of mobsters in Las Vegas, Arnold Rothstein, the 1919 World Series Black Sox scandal, and the more recent NBA point-shaving scandal have all found their way into beloved films and literature like Casino, Goodfellas, and The Great Gatsby.
Why? Because organized crime fascinates Americans, scandals make for captivating stories. One of Hollywood’s faults is the constant focus on the dark side of gambling culture.
The truth is, most bookies these days are everyday people you know. The guy who runs your office fantasy football league is a bookie. So is the person who organizes your office block pool, or your Kentucky Derby day bets.
With the proliferation of legalized sports gambling, handicappers now exist in the light rather than in the dark margins of illegal activity. There is software available for anyone with enough skill to organize and run their legal sportsbook.
2. All Gamblers are Degenerates and Risk Takers
This is one of the most harmful Hollywood misconceptions. If you’ve seen The Hustler and The Color of Money, you may think of all gamblers as Fast Eddie Felson. Loose cannons who take massive risks and pay a dreadful price.
This isn’t true. Problem gamblers exist. Some gamblers find themselves in serious trouble. However, gambling is too popular for every gambler to be one of these characters.
Your average gambler is a person who enjoys gambling as a diversion and a way to make a quick buck. Have you ever seen a charter bus pull into a casino? You know that Fast Eddie Felson and people like him are the exceptions and not the rule.
3. Sports Gamblers are All Down on Their Luck Chumps
One of the major tenets of a plot is rising action. This rising action comes from a character’s desire for something. That desire drives the character through the plot, increasing action as the story moves forward.
What does a sports gambler always need in a film? Money. They made a bad bet, they owe money, and now have to go to great lengths to find it or win it back.
The truth is, big-time sports gamblers are some of the smartest, most money-savvy people around. To learn the ins and outs of sports gambling is similar to learning the rules of Wall Street.
Gambling Isn’t Hollywood
People enjoy gambling in such high numbers. Not all gamblers are who Hollywood portrays them to be. Most gamblers are boring!
The same is true for bookies. Most bookies and gamblers are ordinary people. These people enjoy gambling as a fun way to blow a few hours or make easy money.
Do you think you have what it takes to start your sportsbook? Check our Bookie Demo.
Other than that, though, the life of a bookmaker is pretty great. We highly recommend it, and AcePerHead.com offers the best sports betting software to bookmaker agents.
Hopefully, this answers the question, “what is a bookie?“