The question of how profitable are sportsbooks is probably one of the most commonly asked by those who are considering the possibility of becoming a bookie and also by bettors who are interested in knowing how much money a sportsbook can make from their action, however, there is no simple answer to this question, a lot of things come into play, just as they do in any other business or industry, but perhaps the sportsbooks have a more complex scenario, you have to understand how they manage risk, how they handle profit margins and none of this can be done in a short article.
So, we will stay on the surface, touching on the basics and trying to give you a big picture of how a sportsbook makes money and how profitable it can really be. This will help you if you are considering becoming a bookie and it will also help you if you want to become a more effective bettor.
Sports Betting Profit Margin
A sportsbook makes money through what is known as the juice or vig which is basically the “commission” that the company makes from taking the wagers, the main idea behind the juice is for a sportsbook to profit regardless of the outcome of a game, so they will always try to keep the bets on an event fairly even and in that way they can profit no matter what the outcome of the game is. The juice is the difference between what a bettor risks and what that wager pays back, this depends on the type of bet and line, but in the most common form of bet for every $1.10 wagered the bettor can win $1. The juice is adjusted depending on the probability of an outcome or how much money is being wagered on aside, this is also true for line moves if a lot of money is being wagered on one side the experienced line mover will adjust the line to encourage people to get on the other side, but they can also simply adjust the juice when the amount wagered does not justify a line move. Experienced bettors know that if a juice is high it’s a sign to avoid a bet.
Sportsbooks play with numbers and volume, they need to balance risk, the “line” whether it is a point spread or a Moneyline are designed precisely to help a sportsbook balance their risk. The job of the line mover is precisely to make sure to balance things out in order to collect the big with no risk, this being said, it is easier said than done.
Set your Betting Business
Sportsbooks definitely have different ways to balance things on their favor and make it a profitable business; however, the betting part is not everything there is to it, consider the expenses this business runs and how important it is to understand everything that is needed to set up and run a sportsbook.
Setting up a sportsbook is no piece of cake, it does require a high investment, not only do you need to have the monetary back up to respond to client wins but also the business relays heavily on technology, a good software is the first step, there are plenty of options in the market but just a few that really compile all the necessary features to guarantee a good experience for clients; hardware is also important, information needs to be protected, the systems need to have the capacity to respond to heavy traffic, and there must always be backups in place.
The maintenance of the website requires qualified personnel, and sportsbooks also need to have sharp line movers, experienced customer service representatives, personnel with the necessary knowledge to get processing options lined up for clients, among many other human resources needs to acquire and maintain players. Add to this the necessary office space, internet connection, services, marketing, etc. Running a sportsbook business can get very expensive.
Another aspect to consider is that even though statistically more players will lose than win, players can go on winning streaks, a sportsbook can get hit by sharp players, sometimes things simply don’t play out as they are expected to, some seasons will favor the book and some seasons will favor the players, so sportsbooks take as much risk as players, yet, handled properly it can be a very profitable business.
Best Option for Bookies or Agents
One of the options that has become very popular in the past few years are Pay Per Head sportsbook services, this is an alternative for bookies or agents that are looking to start or grow their business and perhaps do not have the means yet to set up all the necessary infrastructure, or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of it all.
Companies offering PPH services basically provide a customized solution, everything from a personalized website, betting software, the entire platform if needed, and they make money by charging a weekly fixed rate per active player.
PPH is very convenient and can be very profitable for the bookie as well as for the service provider. Bookies can focus on growing their business and keeping their clients happy and don’t have to worry about the day to day of keeping things up and running, this headache is “outsourced” to someone else with the necessary experience. Another advantage is that they can have give their customers access to other services such as virtual and live casino, poker, live lines, etc. Another source of income.
It is important that bookies take their time to choose the right pay-per-head, since there are different levels of service, and as we mentioned above, great service and sharp betting lines are needed for a sportsbook to be profitable, companies such as AcePerHead.com have been in the sportsbook and PPH business for years and have the experience necessary to offer their clients a complete platform with high-quality services. If the customers are happy, the agent is happy, and the service provider is happy, and these all lead to the business making a good profit.
So, How Profitable is a Sportsbook? This will depend on how well it is managed, it has the potential of making a lot of profit if handled properly.