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How Does a Bookie Make Money

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Jul/28/2021

Because gamblers do lose over time, bookmakers ultimately end up winning.  The key in making money as a bookie, one must reduce overhead and other costs to ensure a comfortable profit.  This is where the Pay Per Head comes in.  A PPH charges a modest weekly fee per customer.  In the case of PricePerPlayer, that number can be as low as $3 per head (per customer).

The Bookie Basics

  • Bookies make money on the vig, a built-in commission that is short for the word "vigorish" and is sometimes referred to as "juice".
  • On average, bookies keep 10% of the amount wagered.
  • Often times a line is represented as -110, meaning that, if you want to win $100, you'd have to bet $110.
  • Should the bet lose, that $10 goes straight to the sportsbook.
  • This formula guarantees, theoretically, that you will make money regardless of the outcome.

Making More Money as a Bookie

Utilzing a Pay Per Head service affords you the opportunity to have all costly overhead shifted via outsourcing.  These are still YOUR players.  You have complete control over them.  But the Pay Per Head service does all the work at several times less than what a typical customer would cost otherwise.   This includes everything from customer service to lines management to offering live in-play wagering.  They also provide useful reports that analyze a particular customer's play.

  • Set up a killer website that is customized for your players.
  • Offer a wide range of sports, props and futures whenever possible.
  • Set up payment methods that include credit card, eWallet and even cryptocurrencies for anonimity.
  • Regularly communicate with your clients to ensure they are completely satisfied.
  • Be mindful that your players will have winning streaks so be prepared for this situation by making sure there is enough money in reserves.
  • Limit players when necessary and especially the first few months of starting your bookie business.
  • Spend your time marketing as well as encouraging word of mouth in order to build your customer base.
  • Keep your books balanced and manage lines accordingly.

The Add Ons

  • It's no secret to those who have been in the online gambling sector for some time that the online casino is typically the cash cow.
  • Top Pay Per Head services offer online casinos, including live dealer casinos.
  • Race books offer another excellent opportunity to make money outside of traditional sports betting options.
  • Some PPH services even offer an online poker room skin that is pooled among other sportsbook operators and the online poker host site.

Successful bookies will make $5000-$10,000 in a single week, sometimes more.

Amount of Money Needed to Get Started

Here is a good illustration to consider, courtesy of our friends at PricePerPlayer.

    If first 6 months of operations are bad, you will need at least $70,125 to stay in operation*
    If first 5 months of operations are bad, you will need at least $58,437 to stay in operation*
    If first 4 months of operations are bad, you will need at least $46,750 to stay in operation*
    If first 3 months of operations are bad, you will need at least $35,062 to stay in operation*
    If first 2 months of operations are bad, you will need at least $17,937 to stay in operation*
    If first month of operation is bad, you will need at least $11,687 to stay in operation*

You should plan on having anywhere from $46,750 to $70,125 in the bank before starting your sportsbook.  The good news is, a Pay Per Head is NOT a bank requiring a down payment.  This is your money and, in a perfect world, you should be able to build on these amounts over time. 

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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