Freelancing Guide to Becoming a Bookie: What is an Agent?
A Bookie, bookmaker or agent is the one that actually runs a sports betting operation based on agreed upon odds. His mission is to provide a wagering service for players from his community and also for those whom are not interested in playing with online post-up sportsbooks.
How A Bookie Run His Business
In the past, a bookmaking agent was forced to take bets manually, which meant to receive calls from bettors and write their wagering action on paper as a form of verification and also to keep a general record. This was indeed a slow process and sometimes a messy one.
Nowadays, most freelancing agents work with Pay per Head Solutions, which is a service that is provided to bookmakers by a third-party company who counts with its own call center and internet betting websites.
Working with a PPH shop means that a Bookie doesn’t have to take wagers himself as the third-party company does this data processing work for him. This leaves the agent with 3 other main functions:
- To do collections for players who losses bets.
- To pay winning bettors.
- To promote his business in order to get new clients.
When a player makes a bet, there are two possible outcomes: winning or losing the wager. When the latter is true, it means that the bettor has to pay the Bookie for the lost bet.
If you decide to become a freelancing Bookie, with time you will find out that there are players that will contact you to pay their outstanding debts while in other cases you will be the one that will need to locate bettors to collect your earnings.
Working with a Price per Head Service is great because they offer you a Bookie Software which keeps a record (amongst many other great features) of the wagers made by your players either through the PPH shop’s call center or over the internet.
This is certainly quite advantageous because it means that you, as a Bookie, don’t need to have a manual record of how much players owes you and vice versa.
If you want to keep a positive reputation as a freelancing Bookie, it is in your best interested to always pay winning players on time.
The least that you want is to get your named stained because you didn’t paid someone that won a wager. This can seriously damage your business due to bad word of mouth.
It is important that you know how much money you can pay bettors in the worst of circumstances. This means that you need to have the necessary cash for worst-case scenarios like in the case of most of your players winning their bets on a given week.
Although this is not very likely, if you have enough money to pay everybody, you will be running your sports betting business in a more comfortable way, which will give you peace of mind.
Before you even decide to start a freelancing Bookie business, you need to count with some cash.
If your budget is small, then try to work with players that are not big rollers. This is because players that don’t play big usually don’t win big, and this allows you to grow your business slowly but steadily.
On the other hand, if you have some good cash to start with, then you can do business with big-time bettors because you’ll have the money to pay them in case they win.
The good side is that big players will help you to grow your operation in an accelerated way since they will leave you some big profits when they lose bets.
Getting the Cash that you Need
If you’re ready to become a freelancing Bookie but you are not too sure about where your initial investment is going to come from, there are different ways to get the cash that you need.
If your savings account is liquid, then that is the best source to get the funds, but if that is not an option, you can also consider others such as acquiring personal debt or asking for the cash to family members or even friends (whom may or may not become your partners).
For more information, read our article titled Price per Head Bookie: Funding your Sports Betting Operation.
In order to start a career as a Bookie, you need to be knowledgeable on two main things:
Sports Betting Lines: These are the ones players use to place their bets. If you decide to work with a Price per Head shop, then you won’t have to move wagering lines yourself as a professional lines manager will do it for you, but using the Bookie Software that they provide, you still have the option of moving a line at will for all of your players or just for a few of them.
For more information on Lines, we recommend you to read our first article of the series titled Freelancing Guide to Becoming a Bookie: Sports Betting Explained.
Sports: Either working by yourself or with a Price per Head Services company, you always have the option of choosing your own betting lines.
In other words, you have the last word when it comes to what you allow your players to bet on, and some good knowledge on sports can come quite handy when it comes to selecting betting options.
For example, let’s say that there is an NFL game that will be played during the weekend with a clear favorite and a team that is usually classified as an underdog.
There is, however, something different about this match: the quarterback for the best team will not play due to injury, which gives the dog team a slight edge. So, for betting purposes, this time the underdog has better chances of coming up with the victory.
If someone doesn’t follow sports regularly, chances are that such a person might place a bet on the favorite team because he is not aware of what happened to the quarterback, and it is likely that he will lose that wager, which means more profits for the freelancing Bookie.
That is just a situation that demonstrates why knowing all about the top leagues, including the current status of every single relevant player is crucial for agents.
Indeed, the more you know about sports, the better you will do as a Bookie.
Operating your Business
Once you’ve learned the essentials about running a Bookie operation and have established a budget, then you can start getting your first clients.
You can start locally and then you can move on to the internet in order to expand your horizons beyond your community.
When you establish yourself as a Bookie, your first set of clients is probably going to come from your circle of friends, family or acquaintances.
Once you have proven to those close to you that you are trustful and know what you’re doing, then it is likely that they will spread the word around the people they know and so more customers are going to become part of your bookmaking portfolio thanks to some positive word of mouth.
You can read our article on Keeping it Local for more information on how to deal with players from your community in the best possible way.
If you want your current players to attract more clients to your business, you can offer them some sort of incentive. For example, you can let them have some free wagers or better lines than the rest of your clientele.
Alternatively, you can also offer players physical things that they are fond, such as a subscription to a magazine like ESPN or even a nice box of Cuban cigars!
It is up to you to decide what type of incentives are attractive to your customers, so do some brainstorming and put into action the best ideas that comes to your mind.
Taking your Bookie business online means that you will be getting clients from all corners of the country (or the world), and that means that you can go from running a small, conservative operation to managing a large wagering business in no time.
When it comes to starting an online Bookie operation, you need to be careful about who you take betting action from because there is a chance that some people might not pay you in case they lose, especially because they don’t know you in person and won’t mind to leave you for another agent while having an outstanding debt with you.
For this reason it is advisable that you ask new online players for a cash advance as a sign of good faith.
Once it has been established that you are dealing with trustful bettors, then you can decide if you want to either continue to ask for advances or allow such players to pay you after the outcome of a given bet.
What is Needed for an Internet Operation
Going online means that you need a fully functional betting site where your players can login and place their bets.
Alternatively, they can also place their wagers over the phone, but since they are not locals, such calls can be expensive and that can lead some players to draw away from your betting operation, so it is also necessary that you count with a toll free number, which allows bettors to call-in for their wagering action without paying a cent.
To build a website that includes wagering lines and to count with an office with clerks to take bets over the phone can indeed be quite expensive, but you can avoid that sort of inconvenient overhead costs by working with a Price per Head company, which will provide you with everything that you need for a weekly, small fee per player.
Marketing your Online Business
Apart from a website where bettors can place their wagers and access to a call center, you also need to promote your internet wagering operation, otherwise your time and efforts will be worthless.
For this purpose, you need a blog or a larger website (that also includes a web log) where you can post information about your Bookie services that will serve to attract prospective customers.
You can actually run this website by yourself, or if you are not too fond of the idea of handling the day-to-day operations related to an online site, then you can opt for paying someone to do this work for you.
If you decide that you do want to run your own site, then you need to come up with fresh content on a regular basis (preferably daily) and you also need to have a social media presence.
Another article on this series coming soon!