Online bookmakers explained

Skill Level: Beginner

Here we have online bookmakers explained. Bookmakers take money on a number of different outcomes in an event, be these a sports event like Horse Racing, Football or Cricket or even political events and reality TV. People will pay a bookmaker and give them their predictions of a certain event happening and in return if the punter predicts the event correctly the bookmaker will pay the punter. The aim of bookmakers is to balance their books with multiple punters to ensure whatever happens that they make a profit. They do this by having what they call a margin, this means they will offer slightly less odds on an event than the likelihood of it happening. You can check out our enhanced odds betting offers here.

Check out some of our betting tips on our Bet of the day page, Football betting tips page or Horse racing tips page.

How bookmakers compile there odds

Bookmakers work very hard at getting their odds right. They spend a lot of time and money compiling the odds to ensure they get it right. A major bookmaker will employ a team of odds compilers (often referred to as traders) who will then set their odds. They will gather as much information as possible and then make a decision on the odds and set them, nowadays this isn’t all done by a human, there are computers which will bring all the information together and make a prediction on the outcome.

When the traders set their odds they will ensure they build in a house edge or margin; they will make sure the odds all add up to more than 100% to ensure they then make money on that event.

Bookmakers will also take into account money that is placed on a market, if there is a lot of money going on a certain market, they will then shorten the odds of that event to ensure they keep their margin in place. Often bookmakers are accused of being too aggressive with this; it makes it difficult for the punter.


What happens when I place my bet

Whenever you place a bet with a bookmaker you enter into a contract with them; most bookmakers will not allow you to place a bet without first seeing the money. When you place a bet, the stake you enter is deducted from your account and this money is locked into a bet in a legally binding contract. As with all legally binding contracts, it is very hard to get out of this, if you decide you no longer like the bet or wish to cancel it the bookmaker can just refuse. Some bookmakers though if you ask them nicely they may cancel your bet, but I wouldn't make a habit of it as they do not have to do this.


Is it secure

Whenever you place a bet the money you use has to go into a trust account, this is a legal requirement that all bookmakers have to enter into. The law says they have to hold a trust fund in a separate account which holds the total of all deposits and bets. This means that bookmakers are all secure and your money is as safe as it is in the bank.

As can be expected bookmakers also have very strict rules around protecting your personal details. There is strict legislation meaning that bookmakers are not allowed to share your personal details.


How is the gambling industry monitored

The gambling industry is based all around the world with many companies being based offshore in tax havens. This, however, does not mean you are unprotected, most countries have a gambling commission which will give licences to trusted companies, these licences allow them to operate within that country. As well as that the industry has its complaints company which is IBAS; this group is set up to deal with disputes between punters and bookmakers. Both these bodies make sure that the gambling industry sticks to all the rules.


How can I contact a bookmaker

All bookmakers are available to contact across multiple platforms. All bookmakers have emails which you can contact, as well as phone line services. Some bookmakers also have a live chat channel which people can log onto and speak to a live representative. As well as all these most bookmakers are socially active, and they have Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as many others, and they can sometimes be contacted through these.


Betstars by pokerstars bet £5 get £20