Bookmakers are people or organizations which take bets on competitions and sporting events on pre-agreed (preset) odds. These are the main agents through which the business (whether legitimate or illegitimate) of sports handicapping happens. Many bookmakers in US offer bets just on professional and college sports like baseball, basketball or football. But in UK and even Ireland, the bookmakers offer a large range of bets which include tennis, football, golf and greyhound/horse races. Sports handicapping sometimes also include events like happening of white Christmas, outcomes of elections and even reality TV programs and contests.
The bookmakers work by having point spreads or adjusting odds in their favour and aim at guaranteeing profits by maintaining ‘balanced’ books. This is done either by getting the money bet on the outcomes to reflect odds or by getting equal bets for every outcome. The difference is that in the first case, he/she is offering odds to other bettors. In sports handicapping, Bookmakers also buy bets from other makers to lay off the risks of large bets. They do not try to make profits from bets themselves, but try to achieve profits from the sport regardless of its outcome. These methods of working are quite similar to that of actuaries who do similar financial outcome balancing for insurance and assurance industry events.
Bookmaking and sports handicapping could be regulated, illegal or legal. Earlier, it was illegal and regulated in UK. But with National Lottery’s inception, it has not only been made legal, it also contributes to the British economy due to gradual rise of interest in international gaming industry. It is illegal in US with the exception of Nevada. Few countries like Hong Kong, Canada, Sweden and Singapore operate state owned bookmakers who provide sports handicapping services legally. IBAS in UK involves all the legal bookmakers (whether person or company). The arrival of internet in this industry has led to formation of online brands of many bookmakers. Although, many bookmakers still maintain a live operational center.
The websites accept wagers from people over legal age and in countries where internet betting isn’t regulated or prohibited. Many websites are linked with online m8bet mobile. There are many controversies to them too as rise in internet betting has led to increase in the gambling or betting addiction. These facts are provided by several studies done by country’s help organizations made for addicts. The online betters are gradually turning to betting exchanges which effectively reduce the conventional profit margin of the bookmaker. These exchange markets on the web operate price index of close to 100% competitiveness as the exchanges also take some percentage of the winnings. Many sports which are televised in Europe and UK are now sponsored partially or wholly by high street and Internet Bookmakers. Several bookmakers are also displayed on stadium signs and player’s kits and also on advertisement hoardings.