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Do Bookies Always Make Money?

Gambling encompasses many aspects, from casino games and online casinos to bookmakers. Bookmakers, or bookies, are a crucial element in the betting industry. Bookies are individuals or establishments that accept and pay bets from gamblers via brick-and-mortar or online platforms. They are most commonly used for sports betting.

However, betting events could differ depending on the bookie’s country of origin. Not all bookies take all bets, so be sure to check.

In this blog post, we will be discussing how bookmakers make money and whether or not bookies always make money.

How Do Bookies Make Money?

A successful bookie is one that consistently makes profits. Similar to a casino, they need to have an advantage over bettors to make money in the long run. 

Bookmakers can do a number of things, such as adjust the odds. Their goal is to try to maintain the balance of the books by adjusting the odds in an attempt to keep an even number of gamblers betting on a possible win or loss.

There are different types of bookies available. For example;


The growth of spread betting came about with the rise of the internet. Spreads are usually two numbers. The bookie issues a spread while the bettors place wagers on whether the outcome will be higher or lower.

For example, the bookmaker might issue a spread stating that the goals in a football match could be 2.1 - 2.3. A bettor could wager that there will be more than 2.3 goals, so they buy at 2.3. Conversely, another thinks there will be less than 2.1 goals, so they sell at 2.1. The spread bookie can make money from the stake and potential payout difference.

Fixed Odds

Fixed odds bookmakers issue a range of odds, like 3 outcomes of a football match. For example, the options could be a Home Win, a Draw, or an Away Win. Each category has a given profit margin or house edge.


Betting exchange enables peer-to-peer betting. For example, all who want to bet on a given scenario (backers) vs those who don’t want something to happen (layers). Exchange bookies ensure that their bets match at a potentially beneficial price for both. So, they propose a back price and a lay price for both outcomes. They can make money from a commission on possible winning bets.

Do Bookmakers Ever Lose?

Bookies can still lose sometimes. In fact, they can lose thousands of bets every day. However, they implement methods to ensure that they can still try to earn while they lose. Their goal is to try and avoid a zero-sum game by constantly balancing their books. 

Bookies can potentially lose money in the following ways;

Lack of a proper security system

Proper iGaming security is the first step towards fortifying their operations against possible hackers. Every reliable bookmaker needs one since they’re guarding personal information and money. A solid cybersecurity system ensures they don’t lose any money or have information leaks.

Wrong vig pricing

The ‘vig’ is the amount bookies take from every bet placed. They refer to it as their cut. The value changes depending on the bookie. If the bookies incorrectly calculate their vig, they may realise they’re losing money. In addition, if they price it too high, they may realise they are losing bettors to their competitors.   

Failing to update their books properly

Since bookies are collecting hundreds of bets, they need a strategy to help them achieve balanced books. If they fail to do so, they may realise that they’re losing more money than is coming in.

How Often Do Bookmakers Get It Right?

Bookies often get it right because they are experts at calculating the odds. With extensive book records, they can predict scenarios likely to occur. However, bookmakers are bound to make mistakes sometimes. One strategy bookies use when they don’t get it right is adjusting the odds.


Bookies might make money most times, but they’re prone to losing once in a while. However, if they practise the strategies above, they may be able to manage their potential losses.