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Is Being a Bookie Illegal? It Depends

Being a bookie has always been a touchy subject because of how they have been portrayed in movies. They are usually seen as seedy characters who have enforcers to get their money if you don’t pay up. That’s a largely untrue stereotype – at least these days. Most bookies simply provide a service to those wishing to place bets on their favorite sporting events, so is being a bookie illegal or not?

Is It Illegal To Be A Bookie? Here’s A Little History Lesson

Be that as it may, we want to discuss whether being a bookie is legal. Let’s start at the beginning. From 1992 to 2018, only the state of Nevada was allowed to have gambling. This was due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. States couldn’t legalize single-game betting on professional and college sports. 

But a Supreme Court ruling overturned the Act in 2018, giving that power back to the states. Since then, more than half of the US has legalized sports betting. And more states are expected to follow suit. They see how sports betting is big business. 

According to the American Gaming Association, Americans wagered almost $57 billion in 2021, so it makes sense that many states want to get a piece of that action. 

Is Being a Bookie Illegal? A Map of Legalized StatesWhere Online Bookies are Allowed

Sportsbooks can be divided into two main groups. 

  1. Retail sportsbooks carry out their business in brick-and-mortar outlets like casinos.
  2. The other sportsbook type is done online with computers or cell phones. 

This is important to note because some states will only allow one kind of sportsbook. 

The following are states that currently allow online sportsbooks:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Washington, DC
  • West Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

Congratulations, you can legally be an online bookie if you are lucky enough to be in one of those states. 

If you aren’t from one of those states, there’s still hope, as these are the states that are pending approval to allow sports betting:

Kansas, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Ohio.

The remaining states only allow retail gambling or haven’t gotten around to allowing sports betting at all. And a few states will probably never allow sports betting as they still don’t allow lotteries.

BossAction BookieStarting Your Online Sportsbook

As you probably already know, starting an online sportsbook from scratch can be pretty expensive. You need to develop the website and the software to run your sportsbook. Then you need people to run it. That requires deep pockets. If your state requires licensing fees, you’ll also have to pay that. 

The other method available is using a pay per head service. You effectively rent the sportsbook software from the supplier so that you don’t have to create your own software or make one big lump sum payment. Many bookies have gone this route because it’s much more convenient for their players to make all their bets online. And it saves a lot of time for the sports bookmaker. 

But is it legal? It’s getting there. For those states that have legalized online betting, bookies should check to see if they need to acquire a license and see how expensive that is. If it’s anything like the taxi service, the licensing can get quite expensive, and only a limited number is available. No wonder Uber is so popular. They took out the government middleman. 

Maybe that will eventually make it to the sports betting industry as well. But you could think of pay per head sportsbooks as the Uber drivers of the software betting industry. 

BossAction Pay Per Head Sportsbook Software

But back to the legality of it all. To answer the question is being a bookie illegal, it all depends on your state’s laws. If you are in a legalized sports betting state, check the law for that state and see what you need to provide your services legally. Each state is different, so see what yours requires to run your sportsbook legally.

If all goes well, sign up with a top pay per head sportsbook software provider so you can run your business successfully and profitably. BossAction provides you with top-of-the-line software to run your legal sportsbook. We have over 80 sports leagues for your players to bet on and their choice of casinos and live dealers. 

Bookies that transfer over to BossAction see an increase of cash of 23% on average. Our software has the features that help you run your sportsbook better and give your players more opportunities to place bets. 

Be a Boss Agent. Join now and get up to 3 months of 100% cash back, depending on the size of your book. Call 1-800-339-4108 to see how many months you qualify for. 

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