There’s no doubt that the internet has made our lives easier. An infinite amount of news and entertainment is right at our fingertips. We no longer need to go to brick-and-mortar establishments to pay our bills or do our banking. The internet even offers people the flexibility of working from their own homes. Whether you are communicating with friends, checking the lottery results, or even seeking medical advice, more and more people are turning to the internet.
One area that has grown is online gambling. It has never been easier to find a bookmaker and lay a bet than it is today. Horse racing enthusiasts no longer have to go to the track. Bingo players no longer have to sit in a smoky bingo hall and sports gamblers no longer have to go through the hassle of finding a reliable safe betting site. All of these things can now be accomplished while sitting behind a computer monitor. The proliferation of online gambling is a boon to both sports bettors and bookies alike. Let’s take a look at a few of the basics.
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How Bookmakers Work
In a nutshell, bookmakers exist to take your bets. The best bookmakers are able to offer action on virtually anything under the sun. Punters are allowed to bet on anything from a coin toss to the outcome of presidential elections. The best online books are constantly expanding the betting opportunities which they offer. Of course, sports is one of the most popular areas.
So how did they work? On the surface, it is quite simple. A punter opens an account and makes a deposit, small or big into that account through any number of convenient options. After that, it’s like ordering off of a restaurant menu. The bettor simply chooses an event on which to lay a bet. After an outcome is determined, the gambler either collects their winnings or has the losses deducted from their account.
Are Online Bookies Legal?
The legality of bookmaking depends entirely on jurisdiction. Different countries have different rules and regulations that govern gambling. It is up to both bookies and the gamblers to know the rules that govern their specific area. It can get a little confusing. For example, Australia allows residents to gamble and they allow online bookmakers to operate. However, the gambling law based in Australia makes it illegal for them to do business with some Australian residents.
Online gambling has been the source of much debate in the United States. Sports betting sites have been shut down and forced to relocate outside of U.S jurisdiction. At the same time, rules and regulations have been put in place that make it more difficult for United States residents to partake in online gambling. With billions of dollars in tax revenues at stake, many states are taking a serious look at legalizing gambling.
With a quick search of the internet, gamblers and operators can familiarize themselves with the laws that govern their jurisdiction.
How do Bookies Make Money?
Like most businesses, gambling companies are not in it for charity. They need to earn a living too and their services come with a price. They do this by charging “vigorish” or “juice”. Or, in the case of betting exchanges, it’s a commission.
A simple example would be betting on a coin toss through an online bookmaker. Let’s pretend you want to place a $1 bet on heads and your friend wants to place $1 on tails. You both give the bookie your $1 bets. He is now holding $2. Now, this intermediate player needs to take their cut for facilitating this bet. Let’s say their cut is 5%. This means he will take $0.10 out of the $2 which leaves $1.90 to payout to the winner. In this scenario, the bookie had even action and was exposed to no risk. Regardless of the outcome, the book made its margin $0.10 while winning bettor receives $0.90 plus his original $1 stake.
Do Bookmakers Always Make Money?
Like any other business, online bookmakers have their good days and bad days but they will always make money in the long run. Like any well-run business, the top online bookmakers need to minimize their risk. One situation bookies can find themselves in is having too much action on one side. Let’s go back to our coin toss example. Instead of betting on opposite sides, you and your friend both want to bet on heads. Assuming the same rate of juice, you both place your $1 wagers with the bookie. This has now opened up some risk to the bet taker. It’s easy enough for the bookie if the coin toss comes up tails. He keeps both $1 wagers and comes out $2 ahead. But what happens if the outcome is heads? The bookmaker would have to pay you and your friend $1.90 each. That’s a total of $3.80 which leaves the online bookmaker short $1.80. Going a step further let’s say that 10 people bet on heads and nobody bets on tails. If the outcome is heads then the bookie will find himself in a bad spot.
So how can the operator protect themselves from being “sided”? It’s really quite simple. They “lay off” some of the bets.
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