Today we look at

How do Bookies Make Money?

How do Bookies Make Money?

Today we look at how do bookies make money, and in short the primary way bookies make their money is through a commission. They get a percentage of a winning bet which is called a bookie’s fee, the juice, or the vig. Ideally, that would be the end of it, and this blog would be very short.

But there’s more to it than that. There is a risk involved that makes a bookie’s business a little more complicated. They have to keep their book balanced, meaning they need an equal amount of money on both sides of a bet. 

Here’s a simplified example. If Mr. Green bet $100 on the Cleveland Browns to win against the San Francisco 49ers, the bookie would need Mr. Pink to bet $100 for San Fran to win to keep his book balanced. If Cleveland wins, the bookie gets to keep Mr. Pink’s $100 but has to take $90 of it and give it to Mr. Green for winning his bet. The bookie keeps $10 as his juice. 

In the example above, the bookie’s primary focus is to get as many people betting on the game as possible and keep both sides of the bet as equal as possible. The more bets laid down, the more money you make. The juice can vary, but most bookies charge 10%. 

This is a very simplified example. As you get into more complicated bets, it becomes increasingly challenging to balance your book. But with practice and experience, you can get very good at it.

How do Bookies Make Money?Tools to Reduce Risk

There are tools available that a bookie can use to keep both sides of his bets as equal as possible. 

Bet Limits

A bookie can set limits to the amount of money one of their players can bet. This way, the bookie won’t be hit with a large amount of money on one side of the bet that he has to balance. If he has $1,000 worth of bets for Cleveland and $1,000 for San Fran, and then someone bets $2,000 on San Fran, he’ll be sweating. 

If San Fran wins, the book must pay out $3,000 (minus the juice) using only $1,000 of the losing bets. That’s going to cost him almost $2,000 from his own pocket. If someone places a large bet like that, the bookie might not have enough time to balance his book before the game starts.

Moving the Line

With most bookie software sites, the betting lines are set up for the bookie before each game. In the example above, the line is set before the game. With Cleveland being the favorite, they have to win by at least 6 points for a bettor to win the bet. 

But as the wagers come in, the bookie sees that most of them are going to San Fran. His book is becoming increasingly unbalanced. He can move the line so that Cleveland only needs to win by 3 points for a bettor to win. In this way, he hopes to get more bets for Cleveland, so his book becomes balanced again.


A convenient tool for any bookie is getting notified whenever one of their players makes a bet. This way, they can keep on top of the bets and manage their book more easily.

Bet Deletion

This tool allows a bookie or a player to delete a bet. If a player changes their mind about a bet, they can ask for the bet to be deleted. But more importantly, if a bookie does not want to accept a bet, he can automatically delete it. 

Layoff Account

When you can’t balance your book any other way, you should have the option of laying off bets using a Layoff Account. The account lets you offload part of a bet so you can balance it. 

If we took the example under “Bet Limits” above, we could use the layoff account to offload the $2,000 bet someone made. This way, your book isn’t at risk. You don’t lay off bets all the time because you don’t make any vig or juice off of these wagers. So, you only use it when you have to. 

How do Bookies Make Money?Other Ways to Reduce Risk

Varying risks are associated with the different types of bets that can be made in sports. It’s best to gain an understanding and experience with all kinds. But there are lower-risk places you can make money as a bookie.


If your sportsbook software company offers any casino games, these are pretty close to being risk-free because the Vegas casino edge for each game applies. As a bookie, find ways to entice your players to go to the casino and reap the winnings. 


Most sportsbooks don’t have poker. BossAction provides their bookies with ClubPoker. This type of betting has no risk because a bookie gets the rake, a percentage of each pot. It doesn’t matter who wins. The bookie receives a share of the winnings. And for the entire month of June, Boss Bookies get ClubPoker for free.

Refer a Friend 

BossAction has a referral program that pays their bookies $100 for each new bookie they bring on board. Plus, they pay a percentage of that new bookie’s deposits for a full year. That’s a guaranteed risk-free, ongoing source of money.

If you want the best chance to reduce your risks and make lots of money, become a BossAction bookie. You’ll get a free bookie site consultation and two weeks free when you join.

So, call now at 1-800-339-4108 and become a Bookie Boss (see more about becoming a bookie here).

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