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Bookmaker – Bookie
The general role of the bookmaker – bookie is to function as a market maker for sports wagers, most of which have a binary outcome: a team either wins or loses. The bookmaker – bookie accepts both wagers, and maintains a spread (the vigorish) which will ensure a profit regardless of the outcome of the wager. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 was an attempt by the US government to prevent illegal bookmaking. However, this Act does not apply to other types of online gambling. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the meaning of the Federal Wire Act as it pertains to online gambling.
Bookmakers usually hold a 11-10 advantage over their customers—for small wagers it is closer to a 6-5 advantage—so the bookmaker will most likely survive over the long term. Successful bookmakers must be able to withstand a large short term loss. (Boyd, 1981)
Many of the leading gambling bookmakers from the 1930s to the 1960s got their start during the prohibition era of the 1920s. They were often descendants of the influx of immigrants coming into the USA at this time. Although the common stereotype is that these bookies were of Italian descent, it has been proven that many of the leading bookies were of eastern European Jewish ancestry. (Davies, 2001)
Odds for different outcomes in single bet are presented either in European format (decimal odds), UK format (fractional odds), or American format (moneyline odds). European format (decimal odds) are favored in continental Europe, Canada, and Australia. They are the ratio of the full payout to the stake, in a decimal format. Decimal odds of 2.00 are an even bet. UK format (fractional odds) are favored by British bookmakers. They are the ratio of the amount won to the stake. Fractional odds of 1/1 are an even bet. US format odds are favored in the United States. They are the amount won on a 100 stake when positive and the stake needed to win 100 when negative. US odds of 100 are an even bet.