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Bookmakers/ Bookies – What are Bookmakers?


A collection of definitions and explanations of “bookmakers” and “bookies” as found in dictionaries, encyclopedias and web sites.

Dictionary definitions of bookmakers

ldoceonline.com (Longman): book‧mak‧er also bookie (informal)
Someone whose job is to collect money that people want to risk on the result of a race, competition etc, and who pays them if they guess correctly.

collinsdictionary.com (Collins): A bookmaker is a person whose job is to take your money when you bet and to pay you money if you win.

merriam-webster.com: A person who determines odds and receives and pays off bets

Encyclopedia definitions of bookmakers

en.wikipedia.org (Wikipedia): A bookmaker, bookie or Turf Accountant is an organization or a person that takes bets on sporting and other events at agreed upon odds. Bookmakers in the United Kingdom focus betting on professional sports, especially horse racing and association football; however, a wider range of bets, including on political elections, awards ceremonies such as The Oscars and novelty bets can also be placed.

investopedia.com: Someone who facilitates gambling, commonly on sporting events, by setting odds, accepting and placing bets, and paying out winnings on behalf of other people. “Bookie” is a slang term for “bookmaker.” Bookies do not usually make their money by placing bets themselves, but by charging a transaction fee on their customers’ bets known as a “vigorish,” or “the vig” (= overround). Bookies may also lend money to bettors.

definitions.uslegal.com: Bookmaking is the practice of laying bets on various possible outcomes of a single event. It is a practice of betting by determining odds, and receiving and paying off bets on sports competitions such as horse racing and the like. The term originates from the practice of recording such wagers in a ledger or a ‘book’ and gives the term bookmaking for the practice of making the book.

Educational gambling web sites explanations of bookmakers

gamblingbox.org: Bookmakers combine a comprehensive knowledge of statistics, a deep understanding of sporting events and other types of events where there is a winner and a loser and the ability to pull in a profit, no matter how an event turns out.

A bookmaker is generally a very accomplished expert in setting odds. Using their own knowledge and the resources they have available, bookmakers will give odds on a given team winning or losing in a sporting event or, in some cases, will give odds on other events, as well. For instance, a bookmaker could theoretically give odds on the outcome of an election and allow people to place bets on that election, if they wanted to.

The way bookmakers do business ensures that they always do come out on top. This doesn’t mean that you can’t win a bet with them, of course, but they are absolute masters at making certain that their own businesses remain profitable while still providing an opportunity for people to wager on sporting events and other events.

sportsbettingis.com: A bookmaker is a company mainly engaged in giving the possibility to make money bets on outcomes of sports events, participation in these bets and paying out of winnings in case outcomes are not in bookmaker’s favor. Events that bets are made on can be not only sports ones but also political, cultural, etc.

The bookmakers always use the mathematics in their operation, especially its following sections: combinatorial analysis, probability theory and statistics. The main task of the bookmakers is to correctly build betting odds.

“To correctly build betting odds” means to correctly evaluate the chances of each outcome and offer the odds bringing profits to the bookmaker. It is not easy to ensure such a balance. It’s a difficult task with hundreds of specialists working with it. Smaller bookmakers look at odds of larger competitors and only introduce small changes.


learn to think like a bookmaker!
deciphering bookmaker mathematics

Last Update: 20 March 2013

Categories:Betting Terminology Bookmakers



3 Responses to “Bookmakers/ Bookies – What are Bookmakers?”

  1. Marcella
    23 May 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Excellent web site you have got here. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  2. Flavio
    29 August 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Hy i think is excellent this site…but i was founding a list of betting exchange bookmakers but now i cant find it…you can help me?

    • Soccerwidow
      29 August 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      HI Flavio, I don’t exactly understand what you mean but you may be looking for following list: Online Bookmakers: Free Bets & Bonuses. However, please note that we haven’t updated it for a long time so we cannot guarantee that the information provided is correct and that all links work.

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