The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who asked me how to find a bookie near me. Here’s how that discussion came about:
We were talking about a college football game, and my friend asked me which team the sportsbooks favored in the game. He knows that I bet on games, and he wanted to know which team the sportsbooks predicted to win. We talked about the line, and he decided that he wanted to make a bet. That’s when he asked me about local bookies.
I’ve been placing bets for so long I forgot that some people might not know how to find a bookie. So I decided to write a post about it for everyone else in this situation.
What’s the Difference Between a Bookie and a Sportsbook?
The first thing you need to understand is the difference between a bookie and a sportsbook. Of course, they both do the same thing for bettors, but the difference is important.
Both bookies and sportsbooks take bets from gamblers. They both offer betting lines and charge a fee on bets. The fee is called vig, which is a term you need to understand. You’re going to learn about vig in this post as you’re learning how to find a bookie.
The first difference between a bookie and a sportsbook is that a bookie works as an individual locally. A sportsbook is a business located locally or online.
The second difference is that a sportsbook is usually a legal business where it’s based. On the other hand, a bookie generally operates in either a gray area of the law or operates illegally.
In most parts of the world, including the United States, you don’t need to worry about getting arrested for placing a bet with a bookie, but you can get arrested if you act as a bookie and get caught in most places.
For most of the history of betting on sports in the United States, if you wanted to place a bet in a sportsbook, you had to go to Las Vegas and walk into a business that was licensed to take bets. However, sportsbooks are now legal in more states, so you don’t have to travel as far.
When you find a local bookie, you don’t have to leave town to bet on a sporting event.
How a Local Bookie Operates
A local bookie operates just like a sportsbook. Here are the main things that a local bookie does:
- Offers betting lines for sporting events.
- Accepts wagers on the betting lines.
- Charges vig on every bet.
- Collects money when gamblers make a bet.
- Pays out money on winning bets.
Local bookies usually take bets in person or over the phone, but this can vary from bookie to bookie. For example, some bookies let gamblers place money on deposit to make bets with, so you don’t have to meet the bookie every time you want to make a bet.
Local bookies can set the lines anywhere they like, but most bookies get their lines from one of the big sportsbooks in Las Vegas or online.
Some bookies adjust the betting lines on certain games so they can make more money.
I live in Ohio, and most sports fans here are fans of the Ohio State football team. So, therefore, the bookies in my area know that most people bet on Ohio State. So the bookies adjust the line on Ohio State football games because most bettors are still going to bet on the Buckeyes, even if the line is different than in an offshore sportsbook.
For example, if Ohio State is playing Purdue and the line in Las Vegas has Ohio State favored by 13, the local bookie might move the line to Ohio State favored by 15. By adjusting the line, the bookie wins all the bets on Ohio State if Ohio State wins by 14 instead of losing them.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Local Bookie
Like most things in life, you need to consider the pros and cons when you learn how to find a bookie. Here are the factors you need to look at when you use a local bookie.
Pros of Using a Local Bookie
The best thing about using a local bookie is that you don’t have to travel far to place bets. If you already have money with the bookie, you can usually make a call to place a bet.
Another benefit of placing bets with a local bookie is you don’t have to move money electronically. You can use cash when you make bets with a local bookie. While you can use cash when you place bets with a land-based sportsbook, you have to move money around electronically if you bet with an online or offshore sportsbook.
Because bookies can adjust lines, sometimes you can find lines with your local bookie better than the lines you can get in an offshore sportsbook. So in the example in the previous section, if you wanted to bet on Purdue instead of Ohio State, the line you’re getting at the local bookie is better than you can get anywhere else.
Finding a local bookie is easy. You can ask people at the local bar or bars or in one of the local poker games who you can place a bet with. You can also ask other people you know who bet on sports where they place their wagers.
Cons of Using a Local Bookie
The main con of using a local bookie is you have no legal recourse if they cheat you. If a bookie decides to cheat you, law enforcement isn’t going to help you get your money back. However, if you bet with a legal sportsbook, some laws protect you.
But most local bookies do run an honest business; they don’t have to cheat to make a profit.
You also might run into an issue with betting limits using a local bookie. Most local bookies have lower betting limits than sportsbooks. So, for example, if you want to make a bet of $2,000, you can find many sportsbooks that will accept the wager. But many local bookies aren’t willing to take a bet this big.
The Pros and Cons of Using an Offshore Sportsbook
Sports gamblers located in most areas have to choose between learning how to find a bookie and placing bets with an offshore sportsbook. Unfortunately, these are the only two options for most gamblers because the closest land-based sportsbook is too far away.
But just like betting with a local bookie, there are pros and cons of betting with an offshore sportsbook.
Pros of Using an Offshore Sportsbook
The biggest pro of using an offshore sportsbook is placing a bet using your computer or phone, and it only takes a few seconds. You can quickly look up the lines and place a bet with a click.
Another pro is the ability to look for different lines. For example, you can open accounts at several offshore sportsbooks and make a bet at the book that has the best line for the game you want to bet.
Many offshore sportsbooks also offer bonuses when you make a deposit. A bonus can help offset some of the cost of paying vig.
Cons of Using an Offshore Sportsbook
The main con of using an offshore sportsbook is that you have to use electronic banking of some sort to make deposits and get your money back when you win. Unfortunately, electronic banking can also leave a trail that authorites can follow if you happen to get into trouble.
Most offshore sportsbooks have high betting limits, which is a pro. But they also quickly identify profitable sports gamblers and limit the size of bets these gamblers can place. It doesn’t seem fair, but these sportsbooks are happy to take big bets from losing gamblers, but they don’t want to take big bets from gamblers who win consistently.
Bookies, Online Sportsbooks, and the Law
When you learn how to find a bookie, you need to think about the legal aspect of betting on sports. The legal issues with sports betting start with sportsbooks and bookies being businesses that are designed to make a profit.
The way bookies and sportsbooks make a profit is with vig. The best way to understand vig is to use an example.
You want to bet on the game I used in the example earlier and decide to bet on Purdue with your bookie and get 15 points. You want to win $200, so you have to bet $220. The bet is good if you win because you get back your $220 and win an extra $200. But when you lose, you lose $220.
The difference of $20 between what you risk and what you win is the vig. When the sportsbook or bookie has the same amount of bets on each side of a game, the bookie or sportsbook makes a profit no matter which team wins.
The profit is where the legal aspect of betting with bookies and sportsbooks. The truth is that most bookies never get arrested, even though what they’re doing is illegal. But if a bookie starts taking bets online without setting up their sportsbook in a legal area, the authorities are more likely to try to arrest them.
Local law enforcement usually has more important things to do than look for local bookies. But when you place a bet online, it involves the federal government, and they have more resources to fight illegal gambling.
In some areas, you can legally place sports bets in online sportsbooks. IN other areas, offshore sportsbooks take bets, but they’re breaking the law. As the person placing the bets, you’re probably safe. The reason why you’re probably safe is that the federal government has never gone after anyone placing bets. They only tend to go after the people accepting the bets.
The Financial Aspects of Betting with a Bookie
When you bet with an offshore sportsbook or an online sportsbook, you deposit money into an account. Then, when you make a bet, the sportsbook takes the amount of the wager from the account, and when you win a bet, the money is put back in your account.
You can put money in your account and take money out of your account. Your account is like a bank account, but the sportsbook, not a bank, controls it.
When you make a bet with a bookie, you usually take cash to the bookie and make a bet. When you win, you go back to the bookie and get cash. Some local bookies also run accounts, which are much like the accounts offshore sportsbooks use.
The local bookie takes your money, and you have a positive balance. For example, you might give the bookie $1,000, and when you place a bet, the bookie deducts it from your account or balance. When you win a bet, the bookie adds the balance to your account.
You still have to go to the bookie to add money or take cash out of your balance.
The problem with using an offshore or online sportsbook is moving your money electronically. The issues with betting with a bookie are you have to use cash and have direct contact with the bookie.
You have to decide which method of betting and moving money is best for you and your situation. I do both, and you can choose to try both methods out to see which one you prefer.
If you prefer sticking with cash, you either have to use a local bookie or find a land-based sportsbook. On the other hand, you can use offshore and online sportsbooks if you’re comfortable with electronic banking methods.
Becoming a Bookie
Now you know how bookies make a profit. A bookie with the proper financial backing that runs his business the right way always makes money in the long run. I wouldn’t be surprised if you started thinking about becoming a bookie.
I can’t tell you what to do, but I want to make sure that you consider everything you need to consider if you start a bookie business.
The best thing about being a bookie is that you can make money doing it. It’s not physically difficult, and most of your work is simply keeping track of bets.
But there are quite a few things that aren’t good that you must consider. First, operating as a bookie is illegal in most places. Even though most bookies never get arrested, the fact is that you can be. The possibility of being arrested is a risk that you need to be willing to take.
Because you’re doing something illegal, what are you going to do if you get robbed? Law enforcement isn’t going to help you, and thieves know that bookies have cash. Can you protect your money from thieves? Do you even want to put yourself in this situation?
You also have to make sure that you have enough money to pay losing bets. If you take enough bets with good lines, you’re going to make money in the long run. But you’re not going to win every week.
All you need to do to start working as a bookie is some money, access to betting lines, and get the word out that you’re taking bets. It’s easy to get started, but you have to weigh the pros and cons before you decide to start a bookie business.
Conclusion – How to Find a Bookie
Now you know how to find a bookie and how to find a bookie near me. I place bets with bookies and with offshore sportsbooks, and I’ve never had any issues doing either. As long as you find a local bookie that you can trust, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use their services.
Even if you use a local bookie, it’s not a bad idea to have an account with an offshore sportsbook too. Then, when you can make sports bets at two or more different places, you can look for the best line.