Is Being a Bookie as Profitable as it Sounds?
One of the most common questions we’re asked is whether or not being a bookie is profitable.
Of course being a bookie is profitable. Why else would thousands of people operate books, or sportsbooks, if they weren’t making money. In fact, you can get rich from running a successful sportsbook.
How Does a Bookie Make Money?
In an ideal world, bookies will receive even action on every side of a bet. This is known as having a balanced book and will ensure that the bookie generates a profit on the wager.
Here’s an example to help illustrate how an independent bookie makes money:
- Seattle Seahawks -6.5 (-110) vs. Dallas Cowboys +6.5 (-110)
In the point spread bet above, let’s assume the bookie receives 50% action on each team.
Let’s say that there has been 100 bets for $110 on the Seahawks -6.5 (-110) and 100 bets for $110 on the Cowboys +6.5 (-110). In total there would be $11,000 bet on the Seahawks and on the Cowboys to cover.
If the Cowboys cover ATS the bookie would payout the 100 winners $210 each (The wager of $110 is returned and a $100 profit for each winner is paid out). In total the bookie would payout $21,000.
Since the bookie received $22,000 ($11,000 on each team) in bets, the bookie makes $1000 guaranteed on this single game. The more action you bring in, the more money you can make as a bookie.
In reality, bookies aren’t going to get even action on a wager, though.
In order to try and balance the book bookies will move the odds. If they’re getting too much action on the Seahawks -6.5 (-110) they may move the spread up to -7 or change the odds to -115/-120.
If a bookie still has too much exposure on a team they can look to layoff some of the action.
Laying off action simply means betting on the other side of the bet with another bookie. You never want to have too much exposure on a single team, as it could cost you a lot of money if you lose.
As a bookie your job isn’t to gamble, it’s to guarantee a profit by taking the action of others.
Tips for Making Money as a Bookie
- Increase Turnover: The more money you bring in, the more you’ll make as a bookie. If you can build a bookie with 100+ active players, you’re going to make a killing.
- Don’t Take Risks: Try to avoid taking a stand on a game. Some bookies will take a stand on a game they feel confident about, but it’s risky. If you have $10,000 in bets on Seattle, but only $2000 in bets on Dallas you should layoff some of the action to balance your book.
- Keep Players Happy: You need to keep your players happy as a bookie. Your players are your meal ticket and without them you won’t be making any money as a bookie.