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How to Take Bets as a Bookie

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Taking Bets as a Bookie is Not What it Seems

Are you planning to start a sportsbook and take bets as a bookie? You don’t know how to go about it, but this article will put you well on your way? The first step is to create a budget covering license fees, software and hardware costs, rent, staff wages, and a cash reserve.

Apply for a license from a relevant gambling authority in your target area. The following are four tips to take wagers properly as a bookie.

1. Set a Bookmaker Margin

Many people consider bookies as high-risk takers who offer odds that reflect their favorite sides. This is partially true, as some bookie operators don’t watch major sports. Although a bookie might appear to support a specific team, it cannot influence the outcome of any game.

Generally, bookies create odds for a certain sporting event while trying to lure bettors to wager on both teams to balance their liability. Your bookie’s margin will come in handy when your liability is equal in any outcome.

The margin will earn you a profit once you balance the liability on both sides. It is the percentage of stake you accept from bettors that you need to balance your liability. Generally, it is difficult to perfectly balance your liability, especially if your business provides hundreds of gambling markets daily.

2. Understand Fair Betting Markets

Even money events are a perfect example of markets that lack a bookmaker margin. In such a scenario, it is deemed that you believe each betting market in a particular game will receive equal action from bettors hence having a 50-50 probability.

For instance, if you toss a coin, there is a 50 percent likelihood that either heads or tails will be on top. So, the odds will be 2.00 if you provide a fair gambling market that lacks a bookmaker’s margin.

Professional pundits refer to it as “fair odds” or a “100 percent market.” It will provide players full value on their return.

Even so, you will want a share of the action as you are in business. Hence, you can provide bettors odds ranging from 1.85 to 1.99 to take out your percentage.

In the above example, if you offer 2.00 odds for a coin toss and bettors place one thousand bets with a $1 stake, they might not lose money. They might lose half of their bets and win the other half. But, if you offer 1.90 odds for the toss, punters who stake $1 per bet and win will receive $0.90 and incur a $0.10 loss on average, which you will claim.

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3. Create Gambling Market Margins

Neither you nor the bettor will get an advantage in a 100 percent market. Instead, the player will benefit if the market is below 100 percent, as the odds will have greater value on all outcomes.

The market will favor you if it is over 100 percent as its value is below the full value. Some experienced bettors determine the implied probability by converting decimal odds to the percentage various probabilities represent.

4. Balance the Book

It is prudent to balance the book to avoid depleting your cash reserve. You can do this by creating odds that are less than a sporting event’s actual probability of happening. This will earn you a profit provided an equal number of bettors wagered on either side.

No one can give 100 percent assurance that a match will have a particular result. Even so, you can control the amount of money bettors stake using a built-in overround and the odds. Starting and running a bookmaker requires customer relations, financial, data analysis, and good record-keeping skills. You might attract a few bettors in the first few weeks.

Offer them a memorable gambling experience, and they will refer your business to their loved ones. Also, make timely payouts to gain players’ trust.


Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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