Football Bookies are Everywhere but Some Fare Better Depending on the State

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Football Bookies are Everywhere but Some Fare Better Depending on the State

Bookmaking is the 2nd oldest profession after prostitution.  Combine bookmaking and Football , it's like the secret sauce.

Corner bookies will run lucrative businesses no matter their location though some fare much better than others thanks to regional sports team loyalists.  As an example, college towns with top 10 football or basketball teams will tend to attract a much larger sports fan base, a good percentage of whom will be interested in placing wagers.  

There is an argument to be had as to which regions of North America feature the strongest fan bases.

Most lists will include a good chunk of Alabama and that state’s steadfast support of both the Crimson Tide and Auburn, the state of Nebraska and their backing of the Cornhuskers College Football team and Green Bay is always a safe bet.  In fact, one might go on a limb to say that anyone who is not a Packers fan would be best to get out of town, at least come NFL season.  Oklahoma and a number of regions throughout Texas and Florida also feature strong College Football diehards. 

In addition to Green Bay, the NFL’s top 10 fan bases can be found in Philadelphia (the Eagles), Kansas City (the Chiefs), Oakland (the Raiders), Cleveland (the Browns), Pittsburgh (the Steelers), Denver (the Broncos), Buffalo (the Bills), Chicago (the Bears) and Dallas (the Cowboys).  The entire Northern New Jersey and New York City area benefit from a strong fan base in support of both local NFL teams (the Jets and Giants).

In recent years, thanks to a Super Bowl championship and regular Playoffs appearances by the Saints, New Orleans and its surrounding region are certainly ripe with sports bettors.

Seattle winning the 2014 Super Bowl has helped generate newfound interest in the Seahawks though bettors in this state should be wary that online gambling is strictly prohibited and considered a Class C felony.  Washington is the only state to make placing a bet online a Class C felony. 

In an ironic twist, this has only helped to facilitate local bookmaking, many of which utilize offshore price per head businesses.

And since we are on the topic of state laws, it should be noted that some states are more lax than others when it comes to enforcing and actively prosecuting individuals who dabble in bookmaking. 

All but one jurisdiction considers the placing of a wager a misdemeanor.  That’s the District of Columbia, which classifies the act as a felony.  Washington State is more explicit in making bets placed over the Internet a Class C felony, although we should point out that most local bookies now offer customized websites via third party per head companies to their customers.

Booking bets can be classified as a felony with varying degrees of punishment in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

Enforcement of this activity varies from state to state, not to mention city to city.  In recent years, high profile cases of sports betting busts have not only been recorded in New York City but upstate as well (within the Rochester area).

- Don Shapiro,

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