Online bookies: how do they make money?


Online bookies are commercial enterprises that accept bids on a plethora of future sporting events at agreed odds. The number of betting events vary according to the bookmaker’s country of operations. The odds are set to ensure profitability for the betting operator. The core objective of online bookies is to develop a various bets that are at different odds, which in turn will ensure their profits are gained irrespective of the sporting event’s outcome. For more information about online bookies, you can visit Betrally’s website (

How They Make Money

Online bookies make money in the following ways:

  • The vig
  • Risk mitigation by book balancing.
  • Backing and laying.
  • Coming up with the right betting odds.
  • Depending on the bettor’s ignorance and emotions.

Backing And Laying

The betting process involves users backing and laying directly against other users, which puts the bookmaker in the middleman position. Since the industry is determined by supply and demand, it results in better odds. Consequently, bookies charge you an exchange commission or premium charges for any winnings. The commission charges vary from 3% to upwards of 10%.

Vigorish Charging (The Vig)

Vigorish charging is the major technique that bookmakers use to ensure they make money on each sporting event. It is a commission charged to a bettor when they lay bets. Take an instance of the common 11 to 10 odds, represented by a betting line of $110. When a user lays a bet to win $100, it means he is jeopardizing a total of $110. Therefore, if he wins the bet, he will receive $210, but he will lose all his stake when his team loses.

Let’s say 50 punters bet on a football match. 25 of them bet on the home team, and the other half bets on the away team. If the average bet for each half is $110, the bookie will receive $5500 (50 x $110). If the away team wins the bet, they will receive their initial stake, and will receive an extra $100 each, equalling a total of $5250. The amount received by the bookmaker was $5500 but paid out $5250. This means that the bookie makes a $250 profit for just one event regardless of who won or lost.

Book balancing

The term ‘bookmaking‘ refers to recording bets in a ledger and analysing possible outcomes of an event in a manner that guarantees the bookmaker’s profitability. Bookmakers set the right odds for each possible result while making a significant profit margin from each result. This is also done by considering market fluctuations.

Presenting odds that are very different to other operators creates an uneven market. Savvy bettors can take advantage of the odds difference to gain a mathematical edge over the bookie. Online bookmakers make money by setting odds that do not represent the real likelihood of the event’s outcome. That margin gives them an edge over bettors. Additionally, bookmakers balance their books by adjusting their odds based on how customers bet on a particular market. For instance, many people betting on one market would result in the odds going down.


The basic principle of online bookmaking is to ensure that they make more money than they pay out. They cannot control the sporting event’s outcome, but they can control how they stand to lose win in each result.