If you are looking into career options, then you might have seen the option to be a bookmaker, and this might be an attractive option to you, but first you must know the definition and duties of the job.
A lot of people have interests which align with bookmaking, so this could make it something which appeals to you quite naturally.
If you want to know what the exact definition of a bookmaker is, and what this career entails then you are in the right place.
You might hear people refer to bookmakers as ‘bookies’, but do not be confused as this is just slang for the same word.
Being a bookmaker means that you are responsible for betting on different events, but most commonly sporting events. You will be setting the odds as well as placing and accepting bets.
You will also be paying out winning on behalf of other people as well. Furthermore, you are essentially the middle man when it comes to betting on events which have betting as a commonplace practice.
The goal of a bookmaker is to maintain the balance in the books and doing this by adjusting odds as much as you can to ensure that an even amount of people are betting on either a win or a loss.
One thing which is important to understand is that a bookie will not usually make money by placing the bets themselves.
Instead, they will make money by charging a transaction fee for the bets which they make for their customers, this is known as the vigorish, or the vig.
You will also find that bookies will sometimes lend money to other bettors as well. If you are a bookie this could be an individual activity, or it could be something you do as part of a wider organization.
One thing to understand and a stigma to overcome is that in some communities the term bookie will have some illegal connotations.
However, since betting on sporting events has become a legit practice, the occupation is known legal and legit as well.
In spite of this, in certain circumstances bookmaking, and placing bets with a bookmaker could be illegal, but this is circumstantial. This will depend on the state government and the laws around this practice.
Because of this, if you are interested in becoming a bookie, or interested in working with a bookie, then you want to make sure you have a full understanding of the laws in your local area.
For example, in 2018 it was passed by the Supreme Court that states had permission to legalize betting on sports and this meant that bookies were able to work a lot more freely without having to worry about the more specific laws.
History Of Bookies And Betting
It is worth noting that throughout most of the 21st and the 20th, it was only completely legal to bet on sporting events in Nevada, and it was not fully legal anywhere else in the US.
However, it is worth noting that there were certain forms of bookmaking which were legal in Montana, Oregon, and Delaware as well.
Because of this, in this time period for the rest of the country bookmaking was done outside of the law, and betting was done this way. Because of this, bookmaking was not always a legal activity.
But as we mentioned at the end of the previous segment, there was a 2018 law passed by the Supreme Court called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which was a federal law that made it so states are able to control whether sports betting was allowed or not.
Since this was passed many more states were able to legalize sports betting and this has led to betting revenues breaking records throughout the country.
Setting The Odds As A Bookmaker
As we mentioned in the introduction, one of the most important pieces of work a bookie will do is setting the odds.
This is how booties are able to ensure their winnings by calculating the odds of winning an event.
Because of this, they will need to use the skills of statisticians and use complex models. You will hear the terms lines which are short for money lines and spreads which are short for point spreads, and these are some of the most commonly used terms for bookies.
You will find that a lot of the calculations that are used by bookies are actually developed by using casino actuaries who are used to dealing with risk calculations.
You will find that bookies tend to underscore the sports teams which they think will win their match or game.
Then the lines and the spread will then be adjusted in time to lead up to the game happening, and the bets that are made in their books will fluctuate with the Vegas casino bets.
Then there might be other events which are more unexpected which could impact odds as well, this could include injuries of the players, bad weather, or even something like a doping scandal.
The goal of the bookie is to ensure that they are maintaining balance in their books and doing this by adjusting the odds so that there will be an equal amount of people who are betting on either a win or a loss.
If your book is in balance, then the bookie will earn the vig, however, if the bet is more one-sided, then there is a higher chance that the bookie will end up losing money.
Laws Surrounding Being A Bookie
It is worth keeping in mind that it is no longer illegal to be a bookie in the US and that the 2018 ruling by the Supreme Court meant that the states had control over whether betting on sports would be legal or not in their territory.
This has led to more than 30 states making moves to legalize sports betting and this has led to bookies being able to operate legally in these states.
However, there is still a portion of states where bookmaking is illegal, so before committing to this career, ensure that there are no local laws which could impede this.
Summary – Bookmaker Defintion
As we mentioned earlier, bookies will usually earn their money by using the vig system where they will use a booking charge on top of the bets, and this is where they will make most of their money.
This vig will usually be about 10% however, if the bookie is working on a higher profile bet, then this fee could get even higher.
For example, you will usually find a much higher vig for something like the Super Bowl. Understanding these systems is integral to becoming a bookie, and you will need to have a strong understanding of the field you plan to go into.
The best thing you can do if you are planning to go to work as a bookmaker is to communicate with people who are already involved in the career and ask more specific questions.
It can be an intimidating industry to get into, however, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Because of this, we recommend that you research which aspect and which sport of bookmaking you plan to get into, and then to look into the next steps into becoming a bookmaker!
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