The term bookmaker is one of the oldest elements of this market, since without a bookmaker, bettors would have nowhere to place their bets. A bookmaker, or betting agent, is a person or company responsible for offering odds, accepting bets and guaranteeing payouts on races, sports and other special events.
If, for example, you wish to place a bet on a horse race or a football match in the Championship, you need the services of a bookmaker to accept your guess. Many bookmakers also accept bets on non-sporting events, from politics to reality shows and even the Oscar awards. Some sites have even offered other sports to bettors during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Bookmakers, on the other hand, operate in physical bookmakers, either on sporting events or even online.
A common misconception that many people have is that the act of betting becomes a ‘war’ against the bookmaker
While it is correct to say that if a punter wins, it is the bookmaker who pays out the winnings, the source of that money is actually another customer who placed the opposite bet – and lost.
The bookmaker’s role, then, is to create a balanced market that is attractive to both sides, so that the bets are split equally in correlation to their odds among the possible outcomes. The bookmaker also includes his own margin, which is basically his profit, regardless of the outcome of an event.
Most websites and bookmakers are reputable, but there are also dishonest ‘companies’ that seek out vulnerable punters to try and take advantage. Here’s what you should look for when researching before betting anywhere:
Make sure that the company you are betting with has a valid license to operate in the industry.
A great bookmaker will have a plethora of markets for their punters to choose from. It is preferable that the bookmaker offers a choice of markets in play and before the event.
In football, for example, it is ideal for the operator to have options such as betting on the scorer of the first goal in a match, total goals and correctly scored goals.
One of the most important things to consider is the customer support network available. Bookmakers that offer diverse contact modalities such as live chat, email and phone, for example, are generally more reliable and provide better customer service to users. Any bookmaker worth signing up to always puts their customers first.
The most reputable bookmakers offer betting apps for customers to take advantage of, and if that’s not the case, they should at least offer a decent mobile site. This makes all markets accessible and convenient for punters on the go.
Betting apps allow you to bet from anywhere, anytime. This is useful if you want to bet on events outside your time zone, like horse racing in Europe or American football in the US, for example.