Laying Off Action as a Private Bookie

By Dave Schwab

One of the primary things you need to have as a private bookie is the necessary cash flow and cash reserves to handle to daily, weekly and monthly volatility that a business of this nature has the tendency to generate on a regular basis.

In a perfect world, you would simply layoff equal amounts of action on either side of a bet, while sitting back and collecting the 10 percent commission (or juice) that you normally collect on every losing bet you book. One of the first things you will learn as a private bookie is that there is no such thing as a perfect world.

The betting public, whether they are betting with the big offshore sportsbooks operating online or with you as an independent sports bookmaker running and managing your own sportsbook, will always have the tendency to lean towards the favorites when betting sides and the OVER on the total line. That is just the way it is and sometimes there is very little you can do to avoid this sports betting phenomenon.

You always have the ability to move your own betting lines to try and shift some action one way or the other. You also have the ability to put certain betting limits and credit limits in place to stay out in front of the daily action coming in. Despite all of your efforts, you are bound to find yourself in a position where your bookie business could be heavily leveraged with negative exposure. Unless you have really deep pockets that can sustain a big loss from time to time, you may have to take a more aggressive approach to the situation by laying off the action with a wager of your own.

For example, if the majority of your betting cliental has maxed out their betting limit on Green Bay as a six-point favorite against Minnesota and moving the line all the way to seven points has done little or nothing to change the current exposure, you may have to turn to a bigger betting outlet and match that exposure with a bet on Green Bay as well. If the Packers cover, then you have the necessary funds to cover your losses. If the Vikings end up covering the spread, you still have the 10 percent juice to collect on all of those losing bets.

It is not the recommend that this becomes a daily practice on your end as a private bookie. Laying off action to try and balance the books is a last-resort management tactic when your negative exposure has gone higher than your level of comfort in light of your current cash flow and current financial reserves.

There is no substitute for daily and active management of all the betting action your take in. You should have fast and easy access to real time information that can send out warning signals if your current position on any bet is starting to create some unwanted negative exposure. It is far easier to deal with a situation up front that can sometimes be turned into a profitable opportunity, than to try and address an issue that has suddenly gotten out of hand.

Fortunately given the online nature of the private bookie business, you will always have access to real time business analytics that can keep you completely up to speed with the daily action you are taking in. Laying off action as an independent bookmaker is just one of the important business tools you have at your disposal to successfully run and manage your own sportsbook. You need to develop the bookie skills that allow you use all the tools in the box to build cash flow and year-round profit into your company’s bottom line.