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Gambling practice of determining odds and receiving and paying off bets on the outcome of sporting events and other competitions.

Horse racing is perhaps most closely associated with bookmaking, but boxing, baseball, football, basketball, and other sports have also long been of interest to bookmakers ("bookies") and gamblers. Morning-line odds, established by legal bookmakers, are printed in the sports sections of newspapers throughout the U.S. Illegal bookmaking operations have often been linked to organized crime. See also handicap.

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      gambling practice of determining odds and receiving and paying off bets on the outcome of sporting events (particularly horse racing), political contests, and other competitions. Some Commonwealth countries (including the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand), Belgium, and Germany permit the open operation of bookmaking organizations.

      In the United States there are probably several hundred thousand bookmakers, only a few thousand of whom (in Nevada, New York, and New Jersey) operate legally. A number of casinos (casino) in the United States operate as bookmakers in accepting bets on primarily sporting events; this section of the casinos is usually called the sports book. In addition to horse racing, in which the track odds form a basis for bookmakers' odds, legal bookmaking concentrates on professional sports such as baseball, American football (football, gridiron), basketball, and boxing. Morning-line odds, established by legal bookmakers, are printed in the sports sections of newspapers throughout the United States. Before 1950, illegally operating bookmakers established a national organization of expert observers who transmit their odds through a network of clearinghouses to individual bookmakers.

      The bookmaker seeks in every case to achieve a balanced book—one in which bettors are competing against one another—so that he will profit whatever the outcome of the event. For example, if one bettor bets 6 to 5 on A and another bets 6 to 5 on B in a situation where only one can win, the bookmaker will collect 12 units and pay only 11 units no matter which bettor wins. The vagaries of individual bettors and special information acquired by certain large bettors often make a truly balanced book impossible. To protect himself, therefore, the smaller bookmaker will either limit the total amount bet on a favourite or will “lay off” (re-bet) with a larger bookmaker such bets as he is not prepared conveniently to pay if he loses. Laying off has led to the creation of several large and heavily capitalized bookmaking organizations that accept only bets laid off by other bookmakers. The casual bettor is thereby insured against such losses as often occurred before the 1940s, when local bookmakers, ruined by the victory of some heavily played horse or team, defaulted and vanished.

      Bookmaking as a profession is known from the time of ancient Rome, when betting on the outcome of gladiatorial matches or chariot races was widespread. In the modern sense of the word, however, bookmaking did not appear until the late 18th century in England. In many countries the only legal form of bookmaking, chiefly on sporting events, is done via state-owned or state-supervised organizations.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • bookmaking — book·mak·ing / ˌmā kiŋ/ n: the practices of a bookmaker Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • bookmaking — [[t]b ʊkmeɪkɪŋ[/t]] N UNCOUNT: oft N n Bookmaking is the activity of taking people s money when they bet and paying them money if they win. ...William Hill, a bookmaking firm …   English dictionary

  • Bookmaking — Book|ma|king [...meikiŋ] das; s, s <aus engl. bookmaking, eigtl. »Buchmacherei«> (veraltet) gewerbsmäßige Veranstaltung von Rennwetten …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • bookmaking — The receiving from several persons of wagers on the same sporting event, more often than not a horse race, the odds having been calculated beforehand by the bookmaker, and the total sum received by way of the wagers to be given to the winner,… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • bookmaking — noun see bookmaker …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Bookmaking — Bookmaker Un bookmaker ou bookmakeur[1] est une personne morale ou physique permettant de parier de l argent sur des évènements, le plus souvent sportifs. Sommaire 1 Sur Internet 1.1 Les différentes sociétés proposant des paris sportifs …   Wikipédia en Français

  • bookmaking — noun The art or profession of determining odds and receiving and paying off bets, especially bets on the outcome of sporting events. See Also: bookie, bookmaker …   Wiktionary

  • Bookmaking — Изготовление книг; книжное производство …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • Bookmaking — Privat totalisatorvirksomhed …   Danske encyklopædi

  • bookmaking — n. act of receiving and paying off bets; process of making books …   English contemporary dictionary

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