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Can Anyone Become A Bookmaker?

Have you ever wanted to be a bookie or bookmaker, but you do not know if you are the right type of person for the job? 

There are plenty of giants out in the betting world, however, all of these brands started small and had to begin somewhere.

There are some skills which you will need to become a bookmaker, and some people are better at these skills than others.

It is also worth considering that bookmaking is a career you will struggle in if you do not have genuine interest in the industry. 

Becoming a bookmaker also has more strict requirements based on where you live. It is simply illegal to be a bookmaker in some places but completely legal in others.

Before you do any further research into becoming a bookmaker, we recommend researching the laws in your area, and if it is illegal, consider your level of interest in the industry and if it is worth relocating for. 

However, if you are able to become successful with bookmaking it can be incredibly rewarding and profitable.

With bookmaking, it can be hard to get a start, because of this we have put some simple steps together to get you started with bookmaking if this is the career you are interested in.

Steps To Becoming A Bookmaker

These steps might vary depending on location, and bookmaking has different rules depending on where you are based.

For example, bookmaking has different laws depending on if you are based in the US or the UK, and even in the US, the laws can vary massively between states with it being illegal in some and legal in others. 

So, the first proper step which we mentioned in the introduction is checking laws and requirements in your location, but once you have done this, these steps are what we recommend doing next!

Choose Your Direction

So, if you have chosen that you want to be a bookmaker, one of the first steps you are going to make is assessing the available avenues and working out what type of bookmaker you are wanting to be. 

You could be an online bookmaker, or you could do the opposite and be an on-course bookmaker.

For something a little more ambitious you could even open a betting shop, or if you have a more specific vision, it could end up being a combination of these different approaches. 

You are probably aware of how popular online betting is, but the marketplace for this is incredibly saturated, so you will need a unique approach to stand out.

If you like being where the action is then being on course is important, but you will need to take into account the extra costs as well as the slightly higher risk with time as well. 

Of course, opening a betting shop is a lot more high maintenance, especially if you are dealing with staff, but this can also lead to much higher returns as well.

Set Up Style

Once you know what type of bookmaker you want to be, you then want to move on to considering how you want to set up your bookmaking business. 

There are a lot of small-time bookmaking family businesses, but you also have the option of partnering with an existing firm or company as well.

If you want to stay independent you will have a bit higher risk, but you will also make a lot more if you are successful. 

The opposite is also true when it comes to bigger companies, you will have a lot less risk, but you will then also make less profits since you will be giving away a larger cut. 


This is related to our point about how important it is to check the laws in your area since this will greatly impact the efficacy of your bookmaking. 

We do not recommend skimping when it comes to licenses since these are what ensure that you are working legally and have made all the necessary steps to ensure that you are doing things the right way.

Different areas have different rules as we have established, but you also need to take into account which licenses you will need, and how much these will cost. 

You will have different licenses depending on where you are and what type of bookmaking you are doing, for example, on course independent vs betting shop franchise will have different requirements.

Make sure you research which of these you need and if you can afford them.


Can Anyone Become A Bookmaker

There is actually a pretty high start up cost for becoming a bookmaker, and getting the budget to do this can be challenging.

There are plenty of costs you will need to take into account no matter what type of bookmaking you are going for. 

For example, there are the aforementioned licenses which every bookmaker will need, and if you are on course you will need to pay to be there, if you are online you will need the correct hardware, software and servers, and the costs for a betting shop are even more extreme, especially when you consider staff.

Because of this you need to ensure that you have the money to become a bookmaker before committing to the career.

Skills Needed To Become A Bookmaker

Different types of bookies will need different skills, in spite of this, there are some general skills which as a bookie, you should be well versed in. 

There are some specific types of bookies which will need specific skills, but aside from this these are the general skills which each bookie should possess. 

One of the most important skills a bookie should have is a good grasp of numbers. This might seem obvious but a lot of people who want to get into being a bookie forget how important this is.

You will need at least an above-average understanding of odds and finances, and if you struggle with this, then you might want to look for an alternative career choice. 

You will also need to have good skills when it comes to negotiation.

This could be negotiating with betting partners, might be negotiating with staff or local authorities, whatever type of negotiation, it is a skill set which a bookie will need to rely on quite often. 

Depending on what type of bookie you are, you might need some great leadership skills, but almost every bookie will also need good management skills as well.

You will also need good flexibility, especially when it comes to your decision-making. This is especially important if you are an on-course bookie. 

You will also need good customer service skills as well, these are not something most people are born with, but they will develop over time, and having good customer service skills means that you will be able to generate a lot more loyal business over time!


Hopefully, this guide has given you the information you need to understand what it takes to become a bookmaker.

We are not trying to discourage people from this career, but instead, inform people what you need before you start trying.

Make sure you have properly assessed each of the points and skills listed before deciding if you want to be a bookmaker!

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