What Are Bookies? A Complete Guide

Sports betting is far from the taboo topic that it used to be. You’ve no doubt noticed this if you happen to live in one of the states that has legalized betting on sports over the last few years. Online sportsbooks have started to spend over $150 million per year running advertising campaigns to appeal to new customers.

But there is obviously nothing new about sports betting. People have been betting on sports through their bookies for years now, even when it wasn’t legalized in most parts of the country.

So, what are bookies? What is it that bookies do? And why are bookies important to the sports betting industry?

These are just a few of the questions that we’re going to set out to answer in this bookie guide. We’ll also provide you with some bookie tips just in case you yourself are interested in potentially launching a career as a bookie.

Continue reading to find out the definitive answer to the question, “What is a bookie?”, once and for all.

What Are Bookies?

Before we get too deep into explaining what bookies do on a daily basis, it’s important for us to kick things off by answering the simple question, “What are bookies?”

The word “bookie” is actually short for bookmaker. A bookmaker is someone who is responsible for taking bets from other people—mostly on sporting events, though some bookies do also take bets on other types of events.

For a long time, bookies were the only people who could provide others with an opportunity to place sports wagers, albeit illegally. Many of them operated out of backrooms to avoid the legal ramifications that could come along with running sports betting operations.

Today, some bookies continue to operate in this same way. But some others have stepped out into the light and started to run legit sports betting operations or, at the very least, they have started to work for others who run them.

It’s crazy to see just how far the sports betting industry has come within a matter of about a decade or so.

What Exactly Do Bookies Do?

Now that you have a much better idea as to what bookies are, let’s get into talking a little bit more about what it is that bookies do. Their jobs aren’t quite as clear-cut as they might seem on the surface.

Bookies are, first and foremost, responsible for accepting bets from people who want to wager on sporting events. But they also have to do a bunch of other things in order to run successful operations.

For example, bookies are often in charge of either coming up with betting lines themselves or working in tandem with oddsmakers to get their hands on the betting lines that they’ll need to offer to their clients. They’re also in charge of collecting money from those who place losing wagers through them as well as giving money to those who place winning wagers.

And in addition to doing these things, today’s bookies have to maintain their own online sportsbook options in many cases to entice their clients to keep on placing bets through them. They’ll use things like this bookie software to their advantage.

What Skills Does It Take to Be a Bookie?

Not everyone is cut out to be a bookie. There are lots of different skills that a person will need to have to be a successful bookie over the long run.

Here are several skills that you’ll need to have to make it as a bookie:

  • You’ll need to be someone who stays on top of what’s going on in the sports world
  • You’ll need to be very organized and meticulous when it comes to keeping records
  • You’ll need to have access to more than enough funding to pay out winning wagers
  • You’ll need to be available to take calls and emails from your clients at all hours of the day
  • You’ll need to know how to market your bookmaking operation to new clients

At first glance, working as a bookie might feel like it would be a breeze. How difficult could it be to sit and collect money from sports bettors?

But bookies actually have pretty intense jobs. They’re almost always on the clock and can’t afford to let their guards down for even a second, especially now that the sports betting industry is more competitive than ever before.

What Do Bookies Need to Operate?

Back in the day, all that bookies really needed to operate was a working telephone, a newspaper with the latest sports betting lines in it, and a small collection of clients. They could easily get by and make a decent living as long as they had these things available to them.

But nowadays, it’s not enough to simply have these things. Bookies need to have bookie software as we mentioned earlier so that they can offer digital betting options to their clients. They also need to have subscriptions to bookie newsletters and websites so that they can stay on top of the latest sports betting trends.

And above all else, they need to have money—lots and lots of money—to bankroll a bookie business. All of the best bookie advice isn’t going to help you become a better bookie if you’re short on cash. You’ll be bleeding clients in no time if they discover that you can’t pay out the money that they win from you.

Have Online Sportsbooks Made Bookies Irrelevant?

There are some people who would argue that the rise of online sportsbooks has made bookies irrelevant. And to some degree, these people are right.

There are a lot of people who have dumped their local bookies in favor of legit online sportsbook operations. They like the idea of using these online sportsbooks as opposed to trusting some guy who works in a backroom somewhere.

But there are also still quite a few people who would prefer to continue to patronize their local bookies. They like the personal attention that they receive from these bookies. They also like the fact that they get paid fast in cash in most cases when they win versus having to wait for at least a few days to get paid electronically through online sportsbooks.

This suggests that local bookies might not ever go away completely. There will always be at least a little bit of a market for them among sports bettors.

How Can You Become a Bookie?

Do you have a real interest in starting up a bookmaking operation? If you do, the first thing you’ll want to do is Google “bookies near me.” It’ll shed some light on how much competition exists in your area.

As long as the local market isn’t too flooded, you can then proceed to put together the financing you’ll need to make it as a bookie. You’re going to need to have the necessary funding on hand from the start to pay out those who place winning bets through you.

You’re also going to have to invest in the right bookie software to set your bookie business up for success. This software should be affordable, and it should provide you with the digital betting options that you’ll need to attract clients to your business.

And last but definitely not least, you’re going to have to market your bookmaking services to the masses in your community. You should be able to use social media and other digital means to drum up plenty of interest in the business that you’re starting.

Is Working as a Bookie a Lucrative Career?

When you’re first getting a bookie business off the ground, you might not make a ton of money overnight. You’re still going to be learning the ropes of bookmaking, so breaking even is probably going to be an ideal situation for you.

But as your bookie business begins to grow, you should start to see some steady profits. You should also see more and more people coming to you for your bookmaking services. It’ll show you that you’re taking the right steps to building your business.

Over time, you should see that working as a bookmaker can be a lucrative career. You’ll just need to be patient and allow for everything to come together as you make strides towards running a successful bookmaking business.

Stop Asking Yourself, “What Are Bookies?”, and Set Out to Become One

At this point, you now know the answer to the question, “What are bookies?” You also know what bookies do, what people need to become bookies, and almost everything else that you could possibly want to know about bookies.

You should ask yourself if you’re ready to become a bookie. If you think you are, you should begin working towards securing the bookie software that you’ll need to set yourself up for long-term success in the sports betting industry.

Get more invaluable bookie tips by browsing through the other sports gambling articles found on our blog.