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{company, market, business}
{game, team, player}
{law, state, case}
{rate, high, increase}
{car, race, vehicle}
{system, computer, user}
{build, building, house}
{mi², represent, 1st}
{film, series, show}
{food, make, wine}
{day, year, event}
{work, book, publish}
{government, party, election}

A bookmaker, or bookie, is an organization or a person that takes bets on sporting and other events at agreed upon odds.


Range of events

Most bookmakers in the United States bet merely on college and professional sports, though in the United Kingdom and Ireland they offer a wider range of bets, including each-way betting on golf, football and tennis, and especially horse racing and greyhound racing. They also specialize in novelty events such as betting that there will be a white Christmas, the outcome of political elections and reality television contests.

Operational procedures

By adjusting the odds in his favor or by having a point spread, the bookmaker will aim to guarantee a profit by achieving a 'balanced book', either by getting an equal number of bets for each outcome, or (when he is offering odds) by getting the amounts wagered on each outcome to reflect the odds. When a large bet comes in, a bookmaker can also try to lay off the risk by buying bets from other bookmakers. The bookmaker does not generally attempt to make money from the bets themselves, but rather profiting from the event regardless of the outcome. Their working methods are similar to that of an actuary, who does a similar balancing of financial outcomes of events for the assurance and insurance industries.


Bookmaking may be legal or illegal, and may be regulated; in the United Kingdom it was at times both regulated and illegal, in that licences were required but no debts arising from gambling could be enforced through the courts. Now, since the inception of the National Lottery, not only is it completely legal in the UK, it is a small contributor to the British economy, with a recent explosion of interest with regard to the international gaming sector industry. However, gambling debts still remain unenforceable under English law.[citation needed]

Bookmaking is generally illegal in the United States, with Nevada being a notable exception.[citation needed] In 2009, one of the co-founders of BetOnline was arrested on bookmaking charges.[1]

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