Chapter 4 – Bookmakers

Betting or gambling has existed long before the first bookmaker opened its doors. Back then people would simply agree on the terms of the bets between themselves and the loser would pay the winner after the bet has settled. Millions of bets are still settled in this manner all over the world every day. You may have contributed to that statistics by arguing that you can eat faster, run faster etc. than your brother, sister, daughter, son, father, mother, wife or husband and wagered that the loser should buy the winner an ice-cream. 

The process is the same between a punter and a bookmaker. However, instead on being paid in ice-cream (which is rather impractical), winning bets will be paid in cash at a price (odds) agreed when you entered into the bet.

Part 1 – What is a bookmaker?

In short, a bookmaker or bookie is a person or organisation that accepts bets on a particular outcome of an event. An event can be a football match. The bookmaker will then pay out money to the punters if their prediction turns out to be true. The amount of money that is paid to the customer is determined by odds.

Back in the day the bookmakers where located were the action was, meaning you had bookmakers at e.g. racecourses and football stadiums. Although, these still exists, the majority of betting happens online. Also, most smaller land based bookmakers have been bought by larger corporations. The same is the case for the betting shops you see scattered around the city. You will recognise most of the names as the largest online bookmakers.  

How does bookmakers make money?

A bookmaker makes money when you lose a bet. Well, that is the easy answer at least but it is not the full story.

However, a better answer is that bookmakers make money from their margins. By adjusting the prices or odds the bookmakers can ensure that they always are in profit. The best way to explain bookmaker margins is with an example.

Imagine a coin toss. There are two outcomes, heads and tails, both with a 50% chance of winning. All things being equal the odds of heads should be 2,00 and the odds for tails 2,00. This way if you placed two bet, lost one bet and won one bet you would not have own anything but also not have lost anything.

Start money: €10

1st bet won: €10 x 2,00 = €20

2nd bet lost: €10 x 2,00 = -€10 (as bet lost)

 Money after two bets: €20 – €10 = €10

In the above example the bookmaker would not make any money.

The formula for calculating bookmaker margins is 1/odds*100 + 1/odds *100. In this example case the calculation would be 1 / 2,00 *100 + 1 / 2,00 *100. So, we have 50 + 50 = 100, which means there is no margin.

Let’s then say that the bookmaker changed the odds of tails from 2,00 to 1,90. The calculation will then be 1 / 1,90 *100 + 1 / 2,00 *100. So, we have 52,63 + 50 = 102,63, which means that the bookmaker margins is 2,63%. So as you can see, the bookmakers make money from adjusting the true odds to be in their favour.

Part 2 – The best bookmakers (incl. 8 must have bookies)

There are hundreds of online bookmakers, who all would be more than happy to take your bet. Which one should you choose?

Which bookmaker is the best?

The difference between the top bookmakers is very small. They seem very similar in many ways, with synchronised odds, same available products and bonuses. It is impossible to say that one bookmaker is “the best”

If there is no best bookmaker, how do I then choose where to place my bet?

There is no best overall bookmaker but it is possible to find the best bookmaker for each specific bet you want to place.

And luckily you only need to consider 2 factors and both are easy to find out. 

The only 2 factors to consider are:

  • Is the market available with a bookmaker?
  • Does this bookmaker offer the best odds?

If your answer is yes 2 both then you have found the best bookmaker for the bet you look to place.

This doesn’t mean that the bookmaker will also be the best for your next bet.

Things to look for when choosing a bookmaker

The very first thing to keep in mind is to take some time off to do some research. Just Google whatever bookmaker you are thinking signing up to. There are many websites and blogs who write online sportsbooks reviews, including here on Wettenbonusse.

If you notice complaints about certain bookmakers being unable to pay in time or just communicate with customers, beware. If you notice sportsbook to be blacklisted, forget that bookmaker – better safe than sorry. Even if they have a great sign up offer.

Okay, you’ve finally found a bookmaker and made your first small deposit.

Now you have to test the customer service. Write them an e-mail and wait for an answer or test their live chat. If they’ve promised to be available 247 but reality is different, forget about them.

This is maybe the most important point. Make sure you understand their terms and conditions. Promotions are great but you play by their rules. Not all bookmakers have the same set of rules. So never assume that you know them before you have read them. Read them like you’re about to take an exam. Especially look out for the fine prints. 

Trust is also very important aspect in this business. Even if everything seems to be ok, what does your gut say to you?

8 must have bookmaker accounts

I would consider the below a list must have bookmakers to have if you are serious about sports betting.

First of all, they are big bookmakers so you minimise the risk of them going out of business.

Also, they regularly have various promotions like free bets, odds boosts etc.

  • Bet365
  • 10Bet
  • William Hill
  • Tipico
  • Betway
  • Wetten.com
  • Betfair
  • Skybet

Misunderstood loyalty

All too often I see punters only using one bookmaker.

The reason is often comfort as they know the site and the brand. However, this is misunderstood loyalty.

The bookmaker is a business and to strive they must make a profit. If they thought you would not be profitable for them, they would restrict or close your account in a second. There is no loyalty from the bookmaker’s side.

All you achieve by staying loyal to only one bookmaker is that you will not always get the best odds and thereby minimise your profit.

Chapter 5