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Becoming A Bookie: How Much Does It Cost To Start A Sportsbook?

The sportsbook industry is a lucrative business and it’s estimated to grow even larger in the forthcoming years. If you have a knowledge of sports and you’re good with figures, you might be wondering if starting a sportsbook is a good business choice, but what is the cost?

The general cost for starting a sportsbook vary from bookie to bookie. There are limited initial purchases required. Apart from software and licenses, there’s little else that’s considered essential. And then there’s the bankroll — this is where costs really start to fluctuate.

There’s no set price for starting a sportsbook business. If you’re careful with your limits, it is possible to keep costs low. Read on to discover how much you might need to start a sportsbook and ways to keep the cost down.


Before you can start your sportsbook business, you need to ensure any licenses required are in order. The exact amount you pay for a license will depend on the kind of business you’re starting and where you’re located. It’s difficult to estimate this cost, as it varies from place to place.

However, it’s an expense you can’t avoid, so you need to budget for it. The slight savings you might make by not paying for a license will cost you a lot more in the long run.

Overall, any licenses should only be a small part of your overall expenses. This might be a one-time cost or an annual expense — and it’s one you can’t avoid.


Good sportsbook software is essential for a successful bookies business. There are plenty of different services out there, so take a look around to see what’s available. The two primary options are subscription services and pay-per-head.

For subscription sportsbook software, you’ll pay a set amount every month to receive a set service. One advantage of a subscription service is that you can plan for your outgoings. You’ll know exactly what you’ll be charged every single month, regardless of how the business is performing.

During busy periods, a subscription service can offer you savings. Even when a large number of players are placing multiple bets, you’ll be paying a set price. However, during quiet periods, you might find you’re spending more on software than you’re bringing in.

The other option is pay-per-head (PPH) software. PPH software allows you to pay per active player. During busy periods, you might end up paying slightly more than a subscription service. However, during the quieter periods, you can avoid overpaying for software that isn’t being used.

Another advantage to a PPH service is that it’s scalable. You can invest in a quality service without paying for players you don’t yet have. As your sportsbook grows, your PPH will expand with it.

Sportsbook software can cost anywhere from $10 to tens of thousands of dollars. While we don’t recommend overextending yourself before you’ve started, it’s worth paying for a quality service. 

Website Registration

Becoming A Bookie: How Much Does It Cost To Start A Sportsbook?

You might not plan on using a website for your sportsbook business, but it does give players an easy way to access your service. If you do plan on creating a website, you’ll need to invest in a professional build. Pay to register a domain name, invest in security measures, and ensure a quality finish.

It’s worth paying more to get a service you’re proud of. Otherwise, players can be turned away from a sportsbook website that doesn’t look trustworthy.

Accountancy Software

It isn’t necessary to invest in accountancy software when you’re starting a sportsbook business. However, if you’re new to the industry, you might want to consider how you plan on keeping track of your finances.

This doesn’t need to be a huge investment, but if you’re worried about tracking your finances, it might be worth the money.


The money you need to start a sportsbook will primarily go toward your bankroll. This is the money you have on hand so you can pay players when they win. If you don’t have enough money to cover the costs, you can’t pay your players, and your business won’t get off the ground.

But how much money do you need for the bankroll? You should aim to have on hand the amount of money you expect to take in a week. If you expect to take $10,000 in a single week, you need to have a $10,000 bankroll.

This should allow you to pay out any wins on time, so you can carry on taking bets. However, you don’t need a large bankroll to get started as a bookie (but it does help). If you only have a minimal bankroll, you can successfully build a sportsbook business. You just need to be careful with your limits.

Limits are how much you allow players to bet. If you have a small bankroll, you need to set tight limits. Otherwise, it will take just a few wins for you to run out of cash. It’s better to build your sportsbook to suit your bankroll, instead of trying to change your bankroll to suit your ideal white label sportsbook.

Slowly increase the limits as you build your bankroll and add more players to the service. When deciding how large your bankroll is, and what your limit should be, imagine what would happen if all your players started with a winning streak. How long would you be able to support the business?

Some PPH software allows the bookie to set a maximum payout. This is a useful, if unpopular, feature for beginners with a small bankroll. It ensures the players can’t win more than you can pay. The bankroll makes it impossible to estimate just how much you need to start a sportsbook service.

Some people can start successful bookies businesses with a very small bankroll but smart limits and maximums. But, as a general rule, the bigger your bankroll, the better.

Marketing Budget

Finally, how do you plan on attracting players to your sportsbook? Without active players, it doesn’t matter how large your bankroll is or the quality of your PPH software, your business won’t be able to succeed. For a sportsbook, often the best form of marketing is word-of-mouth.

Establishing a good reputation with trusted players can draw more people to your service. The big advantage of this is that it doesn’t have to come at a price. However, word-of-mouth marketing can only take you so far.

If you want the business to keep growing, you’ll need to spend money on marketing. If you only have a small player base to start, marketing needs to be an early concern. Once you have your sportsbook software and service set up, you can begin to find your audiences. 

Sportsbook Cost Conclusion

You can successfully start a bookie business with a limited budget. You need to have enough money to cover your licenses and your software expenses. Then, with smart limits and careful maximum payouts, you can establish yourself with only a minimal bankroll.

However, for security in your new business, a bigger bankroll is typically better. This will allow you to take more bets, which means you can turn a quicker profit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Sportsbook?

To start a successful sportsbook, you need enough money to buy licenses, invest in software, and pay your players if they win. A big budget isn’t necessary, but it does help you establish a bankroll that allows you to take bigger bets.