The goal of all bookmakers is to make a profit. Contrary to popular belief, the income of such a company depends not only on the number of won and lost bets but also on the correctly arranged odds, margin, and additional functions. To understand how bookmakers work, you should familiarise yourself with the basic principles of gambling.
What bookmakers are?
A bookmaker is a gambling institution whose function is to accept bets. The bookmaker estimates the probability of the outcome, calculates and sets odds. The punter bets a predetermined stake. If the bet is a winning one, the bookmaker pays the punter the bet amount multiplied by the odds.
Before you start to work with specific sports, it is worth familiarising yourself with what bookmakers are.
All the bookies can be divided into two groups each with pros and cons :
- working in online
- offline modes
Online bookmakers work in a global network
The main advantage of such offices is the economy of time and convenience. To make a bet, just call up the site from any available gadget or computer and place a bet in a few clicks. The odds in online offices are often higher than in “booths.” This is facilitated by high competition: a punter can have accounts with several bookmaking companies.
Some advantages of offline bookmakers
So, in the office, the punter always deals with a living person. In case of dishonest play, incorrect charging of odds or other problems, you can always sue. An online bookmaker can block a player’s account or cut a maximum payout only because of too high winnings. To place an online bet, you do not even need to leave the table: just a few mouse clicks.
Before a visit to the bookmaker’s office, the punter has time to think and, possibly, change the decision. Regardless of whether the player prefers to bet online or off-line, he always plays against the bookmaker and knows in advance how much he can win from each bet. Some punters prefer betting exchanges. The main difference between bookmakers and stock exchanges is that their organiser does not act as a participant in the transaction, but only provides a platform. At the exchange, punters play against each other whereas at bookmakers the winnings depend on the total number of placed bets and the predicted outcomes.
How does the bookmakers work?
The principle of the bookmaker’s office is based on a mathematical model that allows calculating the odds of different outcomes so that the bookmaker has a great chance of making a profit. Ideally – that the bookmaker would make a profit regardless of the outcome.
The principle of bookmakers: what to look for ?
First of all, the bookmaker makes a line of events on which players can bet. Depending on the size of the office, the line can include from several dozens to several thousand events. Here it is necessary to take into account one more nuance: no bookmaker office can keep in the staff an individual specialist in each of the actual sports.
Each event has several possible outcomes. The exact number of outcomes depends on the sport, the status of the match, etc. There are basic outcomes and related bets you can place in any bookmaker office. For example, in football, you can bet on one of two teams to win, a draw, a victory with a handicap, a total score or halftime score. Additional odds include bets on statistics, on the author of the goal, on the event that will or will not happen in the selected period of time.The punters’ profit depends on the odds. Some bookmakers work with odds, calculate the probability of occurrence of an event, make a forecast and derive the odds. In other offices, there is no own staff of analysts. Their betting offer is based on the forecasts of the largest international bookmakers, who set their odds ahead of other companies.
The principle of forming the odds can be analysed in the classical example with a coin. Each coin has two sides – an obverse and a reverse. Chances that one of the sides will fall out is 50X50. In theory, with equal odds the coefficient should be equal to 2.0: if you win, the stake amount is doubled, if you lose, it goes to the bookmaker’s pocket. In practice, every bookmaker, when calculating the odds, takes into account the margin and slightly understates the odds. Taking into account the margin, the odds in the example with the coin would be 1.88-1.93. Accordingly, for a bet of 100 euros a player would receive a win of 90 euros, and a bookmaker – a profit of 10 euros.
How do bookmakers make money?
The main source of earnings of a bookmaker office is the margin. To “complete” the odds, which are calculated by the statistical probability of a particular result, a bookmaker commission or margin is added. As a result, markets are created so that they exceed 100%.
Example of calculating the bookmaker’s margin :
- Let’s say we have two punters, who bet 100 euros for equal odds 1.96.
- Bookmaker’s margin, in this case, is 2 %.
- The odds of 1.96 correspond to 51% of the probability.
- Both events total 51% + 51% = 102%.
- Excess of the market at a rate of 2% is the bookmaker’s commission.
- In fact, this means that if one punter wins and the other loses, then the bookmaker takes the money of the losing punter and hands it over to the winner, minus a commission of 4 euros.
- As a result, the winning punter receives a return rate of + 96 euros in profit, the loser remains with nothing, the bookmaker receives four euros as a commission.
- Most bookmakers work with a margin of 8-10 percent. And many professional punters make up to a thousand bets per period. This increases the profit of the bookmaker.
There are also certain risks. At any time, an outsider can beat a clear favourite, and the bookmaker will have to pay winnings based on two-digit odds. However, few beat the outsiders, and they rarely win.
The bookmaker makes a profit from express bets
Among beginners and experienced bettors, there were always a lot of fans of express bets, placing bets on 5-7-10 matches at the same time. In theory, if at least one such bet wins, it can compensate for several losers. In practice, if at least one of the outcomes included in the express slip is incorrectly specified, the entire amount of the bet goes to the bookmaker’s pocket.
Why bookmakers give bonuses
To attract customers, most bookmakers offer bonuses. Some are limited to the standard welcome bonus: when you first refill your account, you will receive a certain amount that can be used for sports betting. Other bookmakers develop loyalty programs, conducting promotions.
How bookmakers work: giving and wagering a bonus
Each punter decides for himself whether to use a bonus or not. The fact is that every bonus requires mandatory work. Typically, the amount must be wagered several times within the specified parameters for a certain period of time. For example, a bookmaker can provide a welcome bonus of $ 500 – which must be wagered three times on single bets at odds of at least 1.5, and this must be done within a week.
Do not count on the fact that the bookmaker wants to go broke, and gives out golden mountains to all newcomers. If the bookie promises fabulous bonuses without any requirements, this is an extra reason to get acquainted with the conditions and reviews of the players.
Choosing a Bookmaker
The principle of working with the bookmaker is one: they have offers for all those wishing to place a bet on the sporting outcome. Many professional punters register with several bookmakers, compare the conditions and odds for a certain outcome and place bets following the best offers.
To choose the best bookmaker, you need to compare several indicators.
- availability of a license
- the size of odds and margins
- convenient ways of depositing and withdrawing money
You can read all the details, nuances and pitfalls in the article about choosing a bookmaker on this page !