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How bookies make money

Betting comes with risks since odds are stacked against bookmakers and bettors. Bookies can lose money if they don’t have enough to pay winners, while gamblers risk losing their bets. Therefore, the sites invest in sophisticated tools to help them provide fair odds and make money even in challenging circumstances.

It’s hard to imagine that bookies could be generating any revenue since they stack small odds in their favor. However, many factors affect how much money the sites can make from a given bet. Here are some of the techniques bookmakers use to ensure a profit even when football is off-season.

Balancing the book

The bookmaker’s goal is to make money by balancing the book by manipulating odds and point spreads. They try to put equal amounts of money on both sides of a bet so they can win some and lose some. If they had all their money on one side, then they would be guaranteed to lose everything if that side lost. 

Offering odds helps them minimize their exposure to various betting risks. It is a delicate undertaking since bookies will sometimes accept bets at lower odds and gain less profit. They also lay bets to balance out their betting pool so that if everything is successful at those lower odds, they can still break even or make a profit.

Bookies make money no matter who wins a bet because the odds are not set to be 50/50. The platforms use complex software that gives them a mathematical advantage, which is often referred to as an edge. 

Therefore, the odds you see offered on online sports betting sites are not randomly chosen. Experienced employees carefully calculate them to give the bookie an edge over their customers and ensure that they money no matter the outcome of a match or tournament.

Bookmaker fee

Bookmakers make this happen by applying vigorish, juice, or “vig,” which is essentially a commission charged to everyone who places bets with them. The service fee ensures that they can pay out winners without losing much money. 

However, if they do lose big on one particular outcome, they still have plenty of bets to help balance those losses. Bookie fee varies across different sites since some bookies charge a flat rate while others may use an equation to calculate a percentage of the total stake valid for a deduction.

Bookmaker implied probability

The implied probability that bookmakers assign to a given event represents the chances of a particular event occurring. It’s calculated by multiplying the odds of a specific result by the total number of possible outcomes. In most cases, results with little probability of happening tend to have better odds. 

Therefore, bookmakers count on most punters’ lack of knowledge about different sporting activities to lure them into placing bets with high chances of losing. Many betters, especially die-hard fans of some teams, bet with emotions and fail to use stats while analyzing matches. As a result, they lose their bankroll if their teams lose, allowing bookies to make more profits.

Bookmaker backing and laying

Backing a bet refers to betting that a particular outcome will occur. For example, if you believe that Team A will win a game while playing Team B, you would back the former by placing a wager on them to win. On the other hand, if you think that the latter will win, it would be more profitable for you to lay a bet with them instead.

In essence, bookmaker backing and laying is simply a form of arbitrage. If two teams have equal odds at 2/1 and another pair of teams have similar odds at 3/1, but one team has better strength or quality than the other, then backing one side will generally mean other punters are laying the other side. If some differences exist due to factors like strength or quality, then it provides bookies with an opportunity to create profit through arbitrage.

Promotions and bonuses

Another way sportsbooks generate profit is by offering promos with sneaky terms. For instance, a free bet is a common offer that has been around for years. Some bookmakers will provide you with a match bonus on your first deposit up to some value and free bets, but it comes with comprehensive wagering requirements that most bettors fail to read.

Therefore, for the “free money” to be yours forever, you must bet dozens of times before withdrawing any earnings from your account. Most players who redeem such freebies spend more money meeting the playthrough requirements than their original budget. Such promotions attract more players who create a loyal user base that helps the bookies expand and explore new markets.

The bottom line

There are many ways bookmakers can make money, and all of them involve playing with the minds of bettors. It’s essential to understand what is going on in the industry to be able to make better decisions when wagering or investing in sports.