Bookie Tips: The pros and cons of letting your bettors bet on horse racing.
Being a bookie for horse racing is different from being an NFL sports bookie. With any sport other than horse racing, you make your money from the juice. If your book is well-balanced, you make your profit by getting a cut of the wager. This is your fee for offering the bookie service.
How the Horse Track Makes Its Money
At the racetrack, all the money wagered (or their official betting sites) goes into one big pool. From that pool, all the winners are paid out. The money left over is divided between the track and the horse owners who finished in the money (first place gets 60%, second place gets 20%, third place gets 12%, fourth place gets 6%, and fifth place gets 2%).
How Bookies Make Their Money on Horse Racing
Unlike sports bets, bookies don’t get any juice from horse racing wagers. Similar to racetracks, bookies pool all the bets together and pay off the winners from there. Whatever money left over is there’s. The good news is that they don’t even have to share any of their money with the winning horse owners.
The problem is that their wagering pool of money is much smaller than the track’s pool. They can easily lose money if they don’t have enough of a balance of bets amongst the different horses racing. For example, if 90% of the bettors wager on the favorite, a bookie won’t have enough money to pay them off if that horse wins.
There is also the possibility of a professional horse racing bettor taking advantage of you as a bookie. Professional horseplayers make a lot of money and often “scoop” pools from bookies. They do this by placing large bets at the last second for thousands of dollars. If the horse wins, the professional horseplayer “scoops” all the money in the pool.
Risks of Running a Racebook
In summary, here are some of the negatives of opening your racebook to your players:
- Don’t make any juice – bookies don’t take part in racetrack pools
- The risks can be high – The payout on a $100 bet on a 10-to-1 shot would be $1,100.
- Pro horseplayers “scoop” pools – They place thousands of dollars at the last second on a horse in an attempt to win all the money in a pool.
- Sports bettors don’t always bet on horses – Some bookies may only see action from a pro horseplayer, which increases their risk even more.
But there are ways of mitigating those risks. You can still make money with your racebook while keeping your book safe.
- Only open your book for the bigger races like Triple Crown events, Breeder’s Cup, or Travers Stakes. In this way, you have a better chance of creating a large pool spread out amongst several horses in each race. Your risks get minimized, and your potential for profits goes up.
- Add limits to the races. Depending on how well you know your bettors, you can have different limits for each one. Those that are professional horse bettors can have stricter limits. Or you can leave the limits reasonably high but then lower them as the race gets close, so you don’t run the risk of a professional attempting to “scoop” the pool.
- Use your layoff account if too many of the bets are on one horse. If you feel that your book is at risk if a particular horse wins, use your layoff account to get rid of that concern.
Take the Risk Out of Your Sportsbook
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