If you’re considering becoming a bookmaker and setting up your own bookie website, you probably have a lot of ideas and questions.
After all, becoming a bookmaker is a career option with a lot of potential when it comes to making money, but it’s also complex from a legal and financial standpoint.
One of your first priorities right now is probably creating your website. While this is definitely an important part of setting up your business as a bookmaker, there are actually quite a few steps you need to complete first.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of starting up your own business as a bookmaker, from foundational research to financial planning. Then, we’ll explain how to create the best possible website and market your services to attract customers.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to create a bookie website that’s successful. Plus, you’ll be in a great position to start making some money as a bookie!
How To Create A Bookie Website
Becoming A Bookmaker
1. Understand What A Bookie Is
Before you can start working out the finer details of becoming a bookmaker, you need to fully understand what a bookie actually is. If you’ve got this far into your research, you’re probably already familiar with the term and what it means, but here’s a summary:
The term ‘bookmaker’ doesn’t actually refer to a singular person for the most part. Usually, a bookmaker is an online business where customers can place bets on sports and receive payouts on those bets.
As the person behind the online business, however, you are essentially the bookmaker, or ‘bookie’.
The role of a bookmaker is to make sure that the odds stay fairly balanced. This usually requires some adjustment on the bookmaker’s part.
The reason balancing and adjustment is necessary is because in order to avoid extra expenses, the number of bets on either side (winning and losing) needs to be more or less the same.
By adjusting the betting odds, bookmakers are able to make a profit or at least keep their business afloat by not having to pay out more than the money they collect from bets.
2. Know The Law
Setting up a bookmaker business is something that should only be done with a thorough understanding of the laws surrounding the gambling industry.
Even though gambling on sporting events is legal throughout much of the US, there are still a lot of rules attached to betting, and your business needs to adhere to these in order to be considered a legal, regulated website.
In some states, setting up a sports betting website in itself is illegal, so you need to be aware of the laws in your state.
Depending on where you live, you should do your own research to determine what’s legal and what isn’t in your area.
If you find yourself feeling confused (some of the legal jargon definitely takes a while to understand) you can always contact an industry professional to walk you through the legal side of things.
Learning about the law surrounding gambling can feel like a drag when you’re itching to start a successful business, but it’s much better to learn about it now rather than get into trouble later on.
3. Calculate Your Investment
Before you even get started with building your business, there’s one important calculation you must do, and that’s working out how much you can afford to invest to start your bookmaker business and website.
If you’re going to be successful as a bookmaker, you must have reliable cash flow.
To start with, you need to have enough to cover your payouts, but you also need to be able to pay for the other expenses that come with setting up this kind of business. There will be utilities, for example.
You’ll also need to purchase software (more on this later) and that can cost more than you might anticipate.
First and foremost, though, you always need to make sure that you have enough money for your payouts.
After all, if you don’t pay your customers when they place winning bets, your business won’t function as a bookmaker and you’ll likely find yourself in legal trouble.
Eventually, the goal is to build up enough profit from losing bets (since you don’t need to pay out on these) to cover your winning bet payouts, but when you first start your business, be prepared to take some money out of your cash reserves to cover the winning bets.
You need to be honest with yourself when you’re doing the math. If you don’t have very much money to invest, your business probably won’t be successful.
You could try taking out a loan to start your business, but in that case, you will need to be sure that you can pay it back, and when it comes to gambling, earnings are difficult to predict.
At this point, you also need to bear in mind that there’s a difference between a bookmaker aimed at professional gamblers and a business oriented toward your casual better.
Casual gamblers will typically place much lower bets, and this means you won’t need to invest as much when starting up the business.
You might be able to get away with investing $5,000 to start with if you’re looking to attract the casual player, whereas a bookmaker for professional gamblers will need an initial investment of at least $10,000.
Building Your Bookie Business
1. Setting The Lines
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with what being a bookmaker entails, what the laws are in your state of residence, and how much you can afford to invest, the first step towards actually setting up your business is setting the lines.
‘Setting the lines’ is a gambling term for creating the odds. That might sound simple enough in theory, but it’s actually a very complicated process based on statistics and experience of both the industry and the particular sport.
For this reason, we recommend copying another bookmaker’s odds when you start out.
The longer you’re in the business, the more adept you will become at setting the lines for yourself, but using other bookmakers’ odds means all you’ll need to do is balance the odds for an equal split of money.
2. Work Out The Vig
The ‘vig’ in sports gambling is an abbreviation for the word ‘vigorish’, which refers to the amount you’ll be charging customers to place bets.
The average vig varies depending on what sport you’re talking about, but on average, a ratio of between 100% and 110% is expected by betters.
There’s a fine line between setting the vig high enough to maximize your profit and setting it too high, putting off customers as a result, so this is a decision that requires careful consideration on your part.
3. To Credit Or Not To Credit?
You have the option of offering credit to your customers when you start up your business, although we typically recommend against it.
While offering credit might attract more customers, it can also result in significant losses for your business, which is the complete opposite of what you’re looking for when drawing more customers in.
Plus, offering credit responsibly involves a lot of work on your part. You’ll need to run background checks and make sure that the person you’re offering credit to will pay you back, for example.
If you’re going to offer credit, you need to have a clear plan of how you’ll do this without incurring losses.
4. Track Your Data
As we mentioned, opening a business as a bookmaker comes with a lot of legal implications. For this reason, it is vital that you keep track of everything from legal data to recent news related to your business.
The best way to keep track of all relevant information reliably is to invest in computer software that takes care of this for you.
Of course, this is another expense for your business, but it’s worth it to make sure you can keep track of your profit (or losses) and have documentation ready to hand over at a moment’s notice.
We recommend using software that doesn’t connect to the internet, if possible. This might sound inconvenient but it’s really the best way to stop cybercriminals from accessing sensitive data related to your business.
5. Get High-Risk Merchant And Layoff Accounts
You will need two different types of accounts when you start operating as a bookmaker. The first is a high-risk merchant account, and the other is a layoff account.
A high-risk merchant account is the best way to ensure financial security for your business. Any bookie business is automatically high-risk, so you’ll need a high-risk merchant account in order to process payments.
Then, you’ll need a layoff account. This is basically an account that you set up to balance your cash flow.
The idea is to keep money in this account so that you can offset any losses that threaten to unbalance or deplete your cash flow. This allows you to continue making a profit without having to take enormous risks with your business.
Bear in mind that your layoff account should exclusively be there to support your business. It’s not an in-house account you can use for individual purposes.
6. Choose Good Sports Betting Software
We’ve mentioned the importance of having software in place to keep track of your data, but you also need to specifically invest a portion of your initial cash reserve into sports betting software.
There’s a lot of choice these days when it comes to sports betting software, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all the software on the market is the best thing for your business.
Your software should, ideally, provide you with access to a wide variety of sporting events and allow customers to place bets through various payment gateways.
It needs to be very secure, of course, and there should be a platform for both customer and business support.
As a bonus, we recommend looking for a sports betting platform that includes risk management and reporting tools as well as software for live betting and bet management.
Starting Up Your Bookie Website
Here are some tips on how to create a bookie website that’s successful.
1. Start With The Basics
Once you have sorted out all of the above, you have the beginnings of a successful business as a bookmaker. Congratulations!
Now it’s time to get started on putting together your website and social media presence, making your dream of becoming a bookmaker a reality.
As with everything, it’s best to start with the basics. Of course, you want your website to be as polished and functional as possible, but you need to lay the foundations and then build your way up.
To start with, make sure your website has all the basic features you’d expect, either from any website you visit or a bookie website.
You’ll want your website to have an easily-accessible login portal which leads into a user-friendly homepage. That homepage should include a menu, and each menu option should link to a user-friendly interface.
Just some of the pages your website needs to include are a calendar of events to bet on, information about relevant players and teams, options for picking a bet, and a clear overview of the different payment options available.
Ideally, all of these pages should be accessible in multiple languages. For events that have already taken place, you should have summaries of the matches.
You must also have an administration menu, which needs to feature a login portal and a user management profile. All the betting information needs to be available through this menu, and a page for research management is essential.
2. Make It User Friendly
We’ve written the words ‘user-friendly’ a few times now, but what does it really mean for a website or web page to be user-friendly?
First of all, it should load quickly. If customers are stuck for several minutes waiting for the betting page to load, they’ll probably click away and place their bets through another company.
All the pages and options on your website should also be easy to mind. That means having a clearly-worded and easy-to-find menu accessible through the home page and every other page on the site.
All text should be in a readable font, and even though users obviously have the option to zoom in on the page, it should be large enough to be read while having the whole page visible.
You should provide more than one payment gateway to reduce the chances of customers being unable to place their bets due to service incompatibility. It’s also important to have customer support on hand to help work through any issues.
3. Get Strategic With Marketing
If you don’t market your bookmaking business and bookie website correctly, all your hard work will go to waste because customers won’t have heard of you.
The first step to marketing your bookie business and website is ensuring that your website and social media platforms come up near the top of search engine results.
To make this happen, you need to employ SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization. If you don’t know how to use keywords and manipulate your online content to perform better on search engines, you can hire an expert in the field to do this for you as long as the budget is there.
Exchange advertisement is an effective marketing method used by a lot of bookmakers. This is a process that involves you promoting someone else’s site in exchange for them promoting yours.
Since there is a mutual benefit here, you won’t need to pay anything, but it’s not very helpful if you don’t have an existing audience.
Therefore, when you’re starting from scratch, we recommend hiring a social media strategist to take care of the marketing side of things for you.
Someone who has trained in social media marketing will know exactly how to reach a larger audience by posting the right content at the right time, so set aside a portion of your budget for professional marketing.
Bookie Website Conclusion
Setting up a bookie website requires dedication and careful financial planning, but if you do it right, you could make a lucrative business from taking bets.
Start by calculating how much money you can invest to start your business and make sure you’re well versed on the legality of operating this kind of business.
Then, once you have your accounts, software, data tracking, and lines set up, you can get started with launching a website.
Make sure that your website is user-friendly and security-protected, and if possible, hire a social media marketing manager to help your business reach more customers.
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