Becoming a Bookie Where to Start

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

The increase in popularity and decrease in the stigma associated with sports betting have put the industry more into the mainstream. Sports leagues, reversing decades of keeping gambling organizations at arm’s length, have embraced the practice, going as far as establishing formal agreements.  

Following the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that ended Nevada’s virtual monopoly on domestic legal sports betting, more than 20 states have legalized some form of sports gambling. Online, casino based or both have been approved and are operating legally. The list of states with pending legislation is growing every session.

With sports betting on the rise, many people may be wondering how they can take advantage of the industry’s growth. One was is to become a sports betting agent*, usually referred to as a bookie. Despite the growth in state sponsored online sportsbook, there are still 30 states where would be gamblers don’t have access to such a site.  

Independent, local bookies still fulfill a large role in the industry. They provide a means for gamblers to place wagers on games or events, a practice that is now largely accepted as legal. The Supreme Court left it to the states to decide if they wanted to legalize and regulate it, but they basically made the practice acceptable.

One way to get involved is to become a sports betting agent. There are a number of steps involved prior to making that a reality and finding out. The first is to learn about the business, including the terminology associated with it. It’s important to know what’s involved in making money by taking bets on sports.

There are a large number of wagering websites that provide a wealth of information on sports betting. They offer advice from experienced bookies on what it takes to be successful, as well as tips about how to operate a sports betting agent business. It’s even better if the prospective bookie can find another bookie to talk to about the business. 

The next step is to determine if there is a viable customer base to pursue, since there isn’t any way to have a business without customers. There are a number of places to find potential customers, including sports bars, poker games and even golf courses. Finding out what people are looking for in a bookie is as important as courting their business.

Building a relationship in the beginning can pay a lot of dividends in the future. By establishing a core group of clients to which they provide stellar customer service, they can establish a strong foundation for their business.

Once they feel confident that the bookie business is the right one for them, it’s time to evaluate Pay Per Head (PPH) services and decide which is the right one for them. A PPH service is almost essential for a bookie to be able to compete in the sports betting business.

A PPH service is a turnkey system that independent bookmakers can utilize to provide their customers a state of the art online sports wagering experience. It also gives the bookie the necessary tools to manage their clients, monitor and adjust lines as well as track all wagers and financial transactions.

The sportsbook is just like those that are offered by the major casinos and state sponsored websites. Access to the site is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lines and odds for all major sports are on the site, with wagering made possible with just a couple of clicks of a mouse.

Popular wagering types that any client would expect to find on a sportsbook are offered. Futures, spreads, money lines, over/under and parlays are all there for virtually any game or event. For bookies that can handle the risk, live betting, horse racing and casino games can also be included.

The bookie has total control over the settings for each customer. They can limit and expand wagering options. Although opening lines are generally established by the PPH provider, the bookie can change or adjust them at any time. The PPH platform also has a robust reporting component that provides data on all of the wagering activity of the bookie’s customer base.


It is this wealth of information that makes it possible for the bookie to manage their business not by hand written log books or self-developed spreadsheets, but instead by sophisticated data. A bookie can spend their time analyzing and managing their business instead of taking phone calls and responding to texts.

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