How Do Bookies Make Money

According to the world gambling statistics, about 26% of the population gambles. That’s around 1.6 billion people globally. Another interesting fact is that a lot of players frequently make bank from gambling. So if they are winning, who is losing? The bookies? Think again!

Whether punters make or lose money, bookmakers have devised a way to always profit from every bet. How do they do it? Stick around to find out.

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What is a Bookmaker?

Also known as a sportsbook or bookie, a bookmaker is an individual or a business entity that takes bets on a wide range of sporting events, including football betting, basketball, horse racing, as well as non-sporting events.

Their basic purpose is to offer betting options with preset odds and payout the respective winnings for successful bets. Bookies make a living by introducing a margin to every bet, which can be likened to a transaction fee for bets. In this way, the bookie ensures its profitability regardless of the outcome of the bet.

The Business Model Of Bookies

Bookies cannot influence the outcome of a sporting event. However, the one thing they have control over, to a large extent, is the amount of money they can make or are willing to lose on any game result.

Their strategy is simple, take in more money and payout less. To actualize this, they pre-set odds and also include a margin on each of them to garner profits, no matter how little, from every bet they offer to the general public.

Setting the Odds

An odds compiler, who is an employee of a bookmaker tasked with the setting of odds for sporting events like tennis, cricket or football betting, also ensures that every odd is rolled out with a built-in profit margin for the benefit of the bookmaker.
Here’s an example for easy understanding; a coin flip with a $100 payout would be 50/50, let’s say 2 odds, for either of the coin sides (heads or tails). In this type of arrangement, the bookie will make no profit regardless of the way the coin falls.

However, if a margin was introduced and instead of the previous 2 odds, players are made to bet on 1.9 odds, the bookie will payout $90 and make $10 no matter the outcome of the bet.

Balancing the Book

Every bookmaker strives for a balanced book because this is what keeps them in business. This is why they work hard to create a balance between stakes and payouts, and ultimately, the result must be in their favour. A general equation that explains this is margin x turnover = profit.

In the sportsbook business, a balanced book is one where the bookie makes a profit, not minding the result of a football match or any other sporting event.

How to place a good Bet

Bookies are designed to have the advantage at the end of the day. They employ the use of margins to ensure their profit, whether the players win or lose their bets.

But with this business model in place, is it still possible to beat the bookie? The honest answer remains the popular saying, “the house always wins.” Nevertheless, you’re not completely helpless, and here’s why.

By doing more research on your chosen sporting event to know it inside out, you will increase your chances of landing more successful bets than losses. You can also bet more strategically by going for games that are played over a period of time, rather than one time events. This method provides more entertainment, as well as a series of wins. Also, you can cash out at any time.


Bookmakers make money by charging a commission on each bet you place. They also make money by managing the odds of the outcome of sporting events, as well as by winning over players who bet emotionally, which usually results in the player getting their bet wrong. They also offer promotions that grab the attention of less experienced players who play without knowledge or strategy and lose their money. So you should always bet with the help of tools such as statistics and other information to increase your chances of winning.

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