Sports Betting Q&A
Frequently asked questions about sports betting
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What is a bookie in sports betting?

A bookie is someone who facilitates gambling by setting odds, accepting and placing bets, and then paying out the winnings. It's short for the term bookmaker.

A bookie was a slang term more often used when online sports betting wasn't readily available. Bookies were more popular prior to the internet explosion because they could take bets in person or over the phone, often illegally. Nowadays, a bookmaker is usually part of a sportsbook or casino. 

Bookmakers don't bet themselves, as they make money from charging a vigorish, or a transaction fee. The biggest role for bookmakers is to set the odds, often using calculations from a variety of sources, in order to receive equal money on both sides of a bet. 

For example, if the bookie opens a spread at Patriots -10 against the Jets and 80% of the money is going to the Patriots, the bookie will likely push the number higher until there is closer to an equal amount of bets on both sides. 

While that may never be possible, it's best for the bookie to get equal money on each side because that leads to a higher probability of them winning money. If the money is balanced and there is 50% of bets on each side, the bookie earns the transaction fees and comes out positive. If the spread moved up to -14 in the above situation and 70% of people were still betting the Patriots and they won by 20 points, the bookie would lose money.

Bookmakers can work on their own, but they are often part of a casino. In places like Las Vegas where there are numerous sportsbooks in a small vicinity, bookmakers will often get odds from the same source or base their odds off another location. Now that betting is legal across the country following the repeal of PASPA in 2018, the difference in odds and lines will only grow across states.

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More Questions To Read
Can you bet on sports with Venmo?
No, not legally. Most legal sportsbooks around the country won't allow you to make bets with Venmo.
Which states in US have legal sports betting?
As of 2020, there are 21 states (and Washington D.C.) that have legalized sports betting.
Can you bet on sports online?
Yes. But while betting on sports is legal in almost half the states in the country, not all of them allow online wagering.
When was sports betting legalized?
Sports betting was allowed to be legalized at a state level in 2018 after PASPA was struck down.
When will sports betting be legal in Indiana?
Sports betting in Indiana was legalized September 2019 and online gambling launched a few months later.
Is sports betting legal in Indiana?
Yes. Indiana passed a bill to allow sports betting in 2019 and wagering started in October with online betting opening a couple months later.
When will sports betting be legal in Michigan?
Michigan passed legislation to allow sports betting in December 2019 and the first physical sportsbooks opened March 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Michigan?
Yes. Michigan passed legislation to allow sports betting in December 2019 and the first physical sportsbooks opened in March 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes. Sports betting is legal in Virginia and residents began betting via FanDuel in January 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in Virginia?
Sports betting is legal in Virginia and residents began betting via FanDuel in January 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in South Dakota?
Sports betting is not legal in South Dakota, but residents passed a ballot initiative in the November 2020 election, which means it's on its way.
Is sports betting legal in South Dakota?
No. Sports betting is not legal in South Dakota, but residents passed a bill initiative in the 2020 election.
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Yes. Sports betting is legal in North Carolina, but it's only available at two casinos, which weren't open as of early 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in North Carolina?
Sports betting is legal in North Carolina, but it's only available at two casinos, which weren't open as of early 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee sports betting was legalized in 2019 and launched in 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee sports betting was legalized in 2019 and launched in 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Maryland?
No. Sports betting is not legal in Maryland, but residents voted Yes to legalize sports gambling in the November 2020 election.
When will sports betting be legal in Maryland?
No. Sports betting is not legal in Maryland, but residents voted Yes to legalize sports gambling in the November 2020 election.
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
No. Sports betting is illegal in Louisiana despite numerous attempts throughout the last couple years.
When will sports betting be legal in Louisiana?
Sports betting is illegal in Louisiana despite numerous attempts to legalize it the last couple years.
When will sports betting be legal in Iowa?
Iowa legalized sports betting in May 2019, becoming the 11th state to do so.
Is sports betting legal in Iowa?
Yes. Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019, becoming the 11th state to pass a bill.
When will sports betting be legal in Illinois?
Illinois passed sports betting legislature June 2019 and launched at physical sportsbooks March 2020, becoming the 15th state to offer wagering.
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois passed sports betting legislature in 2019 and launched at physical sportsbooks in March 2020.
When will sports betting be legal in Colorado?
Colorado legalized in-person and mobile sports betting November 2019 after a bill was signed by the governor and then approved by voters.