Sportsbetting (also known as bookmaking) is a gambling practice of determining odds, receiving and paying off bets on the outcome of sports events/ At the beginning bookmaking included particularly horse racing and political contests. Then other interesting competitions were included in bookmaking activities.
Some Commonwealth countries among which are Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, and Belgium allow the operation of bookmaking organizations.
The United States territory counts probably several hundred thousand bookmakers. Only a few thousand of them operate legally. They are placed in New York, Nevada, and New Jersey.
A big number of casinos in the United States operate as bookmakers as well. They accept bets on primarily sporting events. This section of the casinos is called the Sportsbook.
Horse racing and track odds form a basis for bookmakers’ odds. In the same way, legal bookmaking concentrates on professional sports. This includes but is not limited to: baseball, basketball, American football, and boxing. Morning-line odds, determined by legal bookmakers, were printed in the sports sections of newspapers throughout the entire territory of the United States.
Until 1950, the bookmakers that were operating established a national organization of expert observers who used to transmit their odds through a network of so-called clearinghouses to each individual bookmaker.
Bookmakers always seek to achieve a balanced book. A book in which bettors are competing against one another in such a way that the bookmaker profits whatever the outcome of the event.
If one bettor bets 6 to 5 on A while another bettor places bets 6 to 5 on B in the circumstances where only one can win, the bookmaker will gather 12 units and pay from them only 11 units regardless of which bettor wins.
Truly balanced books become impossible sometimes because of the vagaries of individual bettors and the special information acquired by some large bettors. Under such circumstances, the smaller bookmaker had two options. The first one is to limit the total amount bet on a favor. And the second is to “lay off” or “re-bet” with a larger bookmaker the bets he is not prepared to pay if he loses. The Laying off act resulted in the creation of several heavily capitalized bookmaking organizations that would have accepted only bets laid off by other bookmakers. This way, before the 1940s, the casual bettor was insured against losses, while local bookmakers, who were ruined by the victory of the heavily played horse or team, vanished or defaulted.
Bookmaking, betting and sports betting is a profession known from the time of ancient Rome. During that time betting on the outcome of gladiatorial competitions or chariot races was widespread. In England, bookmaking appeared in the late 18th century. In many countries, the only legal form of bookmaking on sports is done exclusively via state-owned or state-supervised organizations.