The global sports betting market was $131.1 billion in 2020. By 2028, experts predict revenue of $179.3 billion, equating to 8.83% of gains from 2021.

Its growth is thanks to the increasing legalization of sports betting in many places. Online gambling also makes it easier to place bets on your favorite games.

If you want a slice of that pie, you don’t have to become the next big thing. You can become a bookie instead.

However, establishing a sportsbook business is tedious. Not sure where to start? Keep on reading to learn how to begin your journey. 

Check the Laws in Your State

Before anything else, understand the legalities first. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court terminated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which forbade states other than Nevada to operate sports betting services. 

This decision paved the way for bookmakers to become legal in many places. However, a sportsbook business might still be illegal in some states.

Check with your state and local government first to see if it’s safe to open an online betting business. While other bookies operate illegally, it’s not the best decision. The risks might be higher than the reward.


If it’s legal in your state, you still have to register your business and obtain the necessary licenses. Make sure to budget for these expenses.

Remember that you need a lot of small business funding at the start, as well. How much money do you need?

How many players are you planning to get on board? You don’t need much when you start with a few people with small bets. Around $5,000 can get you started.

What if you want 10 to 20 pro players betting $500 to $1,000 each? Then you have to prepare much more when the majority wins. 

Bookies collect on losing wagers to pay the winners. At the start, however, you shouldn’t rely on these to make payouts on the winning bets. Your bankroll should be outside the cash flow from wagers.

The more money you can put aside for your bankroll, the better you can position yourself. Many bookies use their bank accounts for capital. However, consider getting a line of credit if you need more. 

Your funds also act as a cushion for unforeseen events. When something out of the ordinary happens, a larger bankroll helps you become confident to make payouts.

Do Your Research

When starting as a bookie, you have to establish some rules. You have to set the lines, max betting limits, and wager options. Players depend on these factors to decide whether they want to place their bets with you.

Beginners don’t have to set the lines themselves, though. It’s only a good option if you’re a professional with years of experience.

Compare betting lines from bookie sites or consult a professional instead. Look at the spreads of Vegas casinos, as well.

Decide if You Want to Issue Credits

Bookies can issue credits to their bettors, although it comes with many risks. A line of credit allows players to make bets without depositing money.

If they win, you pay them their winnings. If they lose, they have to pay you. The problems come from collecting the losing wagers.

Players don’t always pay their debts. When they pay you, they might not do it as quickly as you’d prefer.

Still, you can control your risks by assessing each player. Consider the following when deciding:

  • History of debts
  • Financial situation (can they afford their bet?)
  • Other risks, such as a history of fraud

Using these criteria might necessitate that you know the player enough. It’s not a bad thing, though, as you can better protect yourself this way. Finally, consider if the risks are worth the reward of getting or keeping them as one of your customers.

Get the Right Software

You’ll need a lot of help keeping track of everything – the bets, your bankroll, game results, and more. You also have to mind your expenses, such as rent and payroll.

The good news is that you no longer have to use pen and paper. The right software can help you manage bets, collect payments, and regulate the odds all in one place.

Bookies often get Pay Per Head Services. These offer thousands of betting options on various sports. 

The best software allows you to take bets 24/7. Your players can access your sportsbook at any time of the day, even when you’re sleeping. This level of availability is crucial in this highly-competitive environment as your customers can easily take their business elsewhere.

Formulate your business plan before looking for the best Pay Per Head software for you. It should work alongside your processes and goals. 

Find Players

Once you lay the groundwork to become a bookie, it’s time to find people to place bets with you. Your first players are those already in your close circles.

They’re your friends, family, and acquaintances. Approach gamblers and ask if they would rather use your services instead.

Getting these people on board is less tedious. They’ll prefer you over other bookies as long as they’re confident you won’t cheat them.

Offer familiar lines and make sure to make swift payments on winning wagers. Some bookies can be complacent with people they know.

The only way to gain new customers is to build trust. Your first players can recommend you to other bettors. A good track record can speak for itself, which will help you turn even strangers into customers.

Start Your Journey to Become a Bookie

If you want to become a bookie, remember that you’re dealing with money. It’s a tricky and risky business; you’ll encounter all sorts of issues, which is why you must have the correct skill set when entering the industry. 

You can lessen your risks by preparing yourself before opening your sportsbook.

Did you find this guide helpful? To learn more, check out our other posts today.