There has never been a better time to get into the world of sports betting than right now, and with a few easy steps, you can carve out your share of the action as a bookie.
With legalization growing across the United States and throughout the world, many people are seeing new streams of revenue from running their own sportsbooks. Whether they are taking bets from friends or going bigger, bookmaking is a fun and profitable business.
Here we are going to give you the actionable steps you can take today to become a bookie in 2023. Follow these and you will get yourself started, start making real money and have a lot of fun in the process.
What is a bookie?
To learn how to be a bookie, you first need to know what a bookie is. It is likely you are somewhat familiar with the term, but what exactly does the role entail?
Popular media has attached negative connotations to the term “bookie” but being a legitimate bookmaker is as honest a job as any other.
A bookie or bookmaker is a person who facilitates or hosts a sportsbook. They make everything work from start to finish. It starts with setting the lines, then accepting bets and ultimately paying out winners.
The term “bookmaker” is traditionally accurate as there is a certain level of bookkeeping involved. In the past, you had to be strong with numbers to ensure you keep an accurate and fair book, and that is still true to some degree.
Fortunately, the modern bookie is not reliant solely on themselves and a paper book to keep the business running smoothly. The days of keeping exhaustive hard copies are over. There are services that lighten the load, so to speak, and make sure you can focus on your business as a whole. More on that later.
Step 1: Establish your goals
Before you start setting your sportsbook up, you need to decide the scope of your goals.
Many people, in fact, most bettors, get into sports betting simply by wagering with people they know. About 15 percent of U.S. adults bet on sports with friends and family each year, according to Pew Research. That is nearly double the rate of people that are betting on a physical sportsbook or online. It may not sound like a lot, but it still accounts for about 31 million people in the United States alone.
You may start taking bets from just a few close contacts without any thoughts of growing beyond that. It is good to be modest in the beginning anyway. Just be aware that once you get a taste of what it takes to be a bookie, your aspirations may grow.
As you are choosing the service that is going to support your sportsbook, you need to consider scalability and costs. This will save you from needing to make big changes if you do decide to expand. It is much better to have the room to grow should you choose, rather than being boxed in by a restrictive host.
When you have the framework for what you are trying to accomplish as a bookie, including your hopes in the long term, you are ready to take the next step.
Step 2: Establish your budget
How you accomplish this step varies based on what your initial goals are. If you plan to have just two or three customers in the beginning, you may be able to get off the ground for as little as $30 per week just to keep users active.
Then you have to consider whether you are going to have minimum and maximum bets, and what those limits are. If you are allowing bettors to wager in excess of $500 for example, you need to have the capital to pay out their winnings.
Depending on the type of service you use, your budget will adjust according to the size of your sportsbook.
In the beginning, managing your budget may seem intimidating. What if one of your first users starts off on an incredible hot streak? As long as you start this venture correctly, you will be able to weather any storms of good fortune for your bettors. A profitable bettor needs to win at least 53 percent of their bets, and that is if they are being calculated about the odds they are taking. Anything less and the bookie is making a profit off of them. Sports betting is not easy, or else everybody would be doing it for a living. In the long run, you will find yourself in the black as long as you stay competitive with your lines without giving points away and ensure your budget can support your user base.
Step 3: Finding your bookie software
Now that you have an idea of what your player base looks like and where you want it to be in the future, you can start researching player management systems.
A player management system is the bookie software that does a lot of the hands-on work that used to be done with those piles of notes and tightly-packed Rolodexes. This software hosts all of your players and their pertinent information tracks their wins and losses and makes taking bets and paying out wins seamless. At least if you have chosen the right one that is.
When you are looking for the right bookie software, you want one that is intuitive, reliable, has the features you desire, and is proven to work. Get to know the company behind the software. How long have they been in business? What do other clients say about them? Are they in the news, and if so, is it good or bad? There have been many online businesses dealing in commerce that have been in hot water so you need to ask even the most basic questions.
Next, you want to think about the user experience of your bettors. The best bookie software is endlessly and easily customizable.
If you want your book to be appetizing to bettors, you want to give them the features that matter to them. Most sports bettors choose to bet with their sportsbooks because of the ease of withdrawing and managing their bankroll. If you take anything away from selecting your software it is this. Accessing their bankroll and helpful customer service is the top priority. And you need the best customer service as well, to ensure that your book stays active and works seamlessly at all times.
When you have your bookie software lined up you will find that the most intimidating part of becoming a bookie was not so scary after all. The bookkeeping portion of being a bookie will be a breeze thanks to the software. And if you were worried you would have to be a software engineer or savvy coder, you can lay those worries to rest too.
If you are going to pick the right bookie software, you would be best served to choose the right TYPE of service. If you are here you already know that a Pay Per Head service is the most bookie-friendly option there is.
With the Pay Per Head model, you are in control and you can rest assured that you and your bettors are taken care of. At Power Pay Per Head we have a diverse menu of options for bookies of all sizes and experience levels to match their individual needs. We have world-class customer service available 24/7 to ensure that you and your users are always in the game.
You can get started with options beginning at just $10 per active bettor. Because Pay Per Head services charge you only for your active bettors, your business is infinitely scalable no matter how big your goals are. And bookies who are just dipping their toes in the water can do so confidently with little overhead.
Step 4: Finding your bettors
As we mentioned above, most people start betting with their friends and family. Why not take those bets with you to your new sportsbook?
In time, that close circle of bettors will find that using your sportsbook is far easier than gathering together, exchanging cash on hand, and manually keeping track of who bet what, and where.
Every business starts small and while your first customers are likely to be people you know, you still want to provide them with the best service possible. Remember, while you are having fun, you are also running a business. Keep them happy and they will be more than just friends doing you a favor out of courtesy. If they are truly enjoying their experience they will play more and likely spread the word about your book.
This is where your sportsbook begins to take off. Word of mouth. If you have 10 close contacts betting with you and they are having a great time, they are more likely to spread the good word to their friends, family, and co-workers. About one in five people wagered on sports in the last year. If one in five of the people your friends told about your sportsbook decide they want to give it a try, your business will grow exponentially.
Step 5: Do your homework
You will not be a successful bookie if you are not on top of the sports you are taking bets on. You have skin in the game just like your bettors do. If you are going to come out on top, you want to know more than they do. No, you do not need to revolutionize the world of bookmaking. But you should invest in yourself by finding resources that can give you insight, and investing time in following the action.
Keep track of trends, such as a team’s record against the spread in certain situations. Monitor the injury report and the weather when applicable. Just as importantly, monitor the lines at the big league sportsbooks. If your lines are significantly out of tune with theirs, it could suggest you are missing something and exposing yourself to losses.
You would not be interested in sports betting if you did not know much about sports. But nobody knows everything about every sport. Be honest with yourself about what you know a lot about and what you do not.
You do not have to take bets on Australian horse racing if you do not know anything about Australian horse racing. There is nothing wrong with only taking bets on NFL or MLB games if those are your strengths.
Step 6: Set your lines
This is where a little bit of math comes in. Luckily, your bookie software will help guide you through this process.
The goal of line setting is enticing bettors to wager while protecting your opportunity to make a profit. This is where your vig or juice comes into play. You want to set the juice on a line so that you are paid just for taking the bet, helping to cover the expense of running the book and keeping users active. You do not want to go overboard though, or your users will bet somewhere else. There is a fine line between protecting yourself from high risks and price gouging your users.
Again, this is where doing your homework really pays off. You have undoubtedly learned about line movement. Oddsmakers will adjust lines based on a number of factors, including the number of bets and action on either side of the contest, as well as event-specific factors like the latest injury news. By moving the line to attract more bets to the other side, a sportsbook is protecting itself from coming up with a net loss should the contest go in an unexpected direction. After all, we love sports because anything can happen, right? Bookies make their money by not losing. With smart line movement, you will set yourself up for big profits almost every time.
Step 7: Growing and Marketing
Now that you have established a user base, it is time to grow your business. There are several tools you will want to use to do this.
For a startup, you will of course want to keep utilizing that good word of mouth, keeping your users happy and excited about what you are doing. The great thing about marketing today is there are many avenues to spread the word about your sportsbook at little cost, other than time and effort.
Take to social media to build some awareness. Instagram is a surprisingly popular platform for the sports betting industry. Sportsbooks will showcase their odds and provide tidbits about upcoming contests in an attempt to whet a bettor’s appetite. Maybe you are offering a juicier line than where they are betting.
Speaking of social media, you should be engaged with the biggest sporting events in real-time on social media sites. Like anything else, it takes practice to truly master your voice and find what engages your audience best. Not every post is going to be a winner, but you can keep an eye on your engagements to find your strengths and what catches the most positive attention.
If you were on social media during the 2022 World Cup, you know the conversation was lively for weeks. Did you know an estimated $160 billion was wagered on World Cup action worldwide? That monumental figure indicates that a lot of people were paying close attention. That red-hot tweet of yours could have gotten in front of hundreds, even thousands of people, making them aware of you and your sportsbook. Getting your name in front of as many eyes as possible is the biggest challenge for any new business.
A tool that all the biggest names in the game use are promotions or special offers. If your goal is growth, this should start with a referral program. These incentivize bettors to recruit more bettors by giving them credit to play with your sportsbook. Using your users as a marketing and advertising department for your sportsbook is a win-win for both sides.
Why you should become a bookie in 2023
Sports betting is growing dramatically every year as legalization broadens and more people have access to wagering.
In 2021, the sports betting industry drew about $194 billion in action, up from about $173 million the year before. By June 2022, U.S. sports betting revenue nearly matched the revenue brought in throughout 2021. About $57 billion was wagered in the United States alone.
Sports betting is now legal and lives in 32 states and many countries throughout the world. There are still some big markets out there that have not yet become legal, such as California and Texas. That is significant because if and when they become legal, residents will be hungry for a place to play.
There are more than 25,000 sports betting businesses worldwide and the number is growing all the time. The longer you wait to get into the game, the harder it becomes to compete. You want to get your name out there now so that a year from now you are not trying to shove your way past even more competitors. You have all the tools you need right here. By following these simple, actionable steps, you will be up and running with a successful book in no time.
— Power Pay Per Head (@powerpph) January 9, 2023