What is a bookie in gambling, and how do I become one? Get those answers plus, learn tips and more about the history of the profession.

What Is a Bookie in Gambling? 5 Things to Know

With a market reaching into the billion-dollar range, getting into sports gambling is quite a tempting and lucrative opportunity. That said, gambling doesn’t offer you a lot in the way of a somewhat steady career from the gambler side of things…but bookies are another story altogether.

But now you’re stuck with a new question. What is a bookie in gambling?

Well, we’re glad you asked! This guide will give you the top 5 things you need to know about becoming a bookie, whether that’s the historical origins of the profession or netting the job for yourself!

So lower your visor and start calculating your odds because we’re jumping right into things!

1. What Is a Bookie in Gambling?

In gambling, a bookie (short for bookmaker) is the person who creates the odds on a bet beforehand. After that, they collect wagers from their customers based on a specific game outcome (i.e., the Eagles will beat the Steelers by 7 points).

They are also responsible for paying out winnings after the sports event concludes.

2. The History of Bookies

The business of bookmaking started with a British man named Harry Ogden in the late 1700s. This occurred when he got the idea to start charting odds alongside gambling bets at a racing track for horses (rather than previous forms of gambling, which only operated on a win/lose mentality). 

While the Gambling Act of 1845 put a temporary kibosh on the profession, news of the idea spread across the world. It wasn’t long until the Gambling Act relented somewhat, and formal bookie operations covering every sport from football to rugby had popped up.

3. How Do Bookies Make a Profit?

So if all bookies do is set odds and handle bets, how do they make a profit? Well, the secret lies in how bookies present these odds in their favor.

You see, gambling with odds requires more specific conditions to be met than a simple win/loss. The team that is the favorite to win has to score X points higher than the other team for the bet to payout (known as a point spread).

A good bookie analyzes team performance and stats regarding the best bet of the day to create odds and take bets across both sides of the board to ensure a net profit.

Bookies also attach a bonus cost to their bets. For example, if you bet $200 on the Steelers to win by 7 points, you would have to pay $215 to the bookie to cover the fees of the bookie organizing everything. 

4. The Legality of Becoming a Bookie

If you plan to work as a bookie in the U.S, you should check the gambling laws in your area. Different states have different regulations, and while they’ve loosened in recent years, you still want to make sure you’re not running an illegal operation. 

Other countries (like the U.K) have fewer restrictions, making the bookie business a more feasible option. 

5. Tips for Getting Started

When you start as a bookie, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have a substantial stock of money (or capital) ready to go. This helps cover early mistakes and ensure you don’t take bets you can’t pay out winnings for. 

You’ll also want to get some form of data organization software to keep track of relevant statistics and the different bets you’re holding. Getting disorganized means, you can’t always remember who bet on what, putting you in a bad position.

Raking In the Big Bucks

And there you have it! Now that you know the answer to questions like “What is a bookie in gambling?” you’re ready to kickstart your premiere in the world of sports gambling. And if you’re looking for more ways to score extra cash or tricks for navigating the world of sports gambling, check out the other articles on our blog today!

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