Sean Skinner grew up in Leicester, where his father had a toy shop. He offered Des Barnes a job after Des was sacked by Alex Christie when they were both having an affair with Tanya Pooley. Sean soon decided to open a betting shop in Rosamund Street. After Liz McDonald came to work at the bookies, Sean made a play for her - but she rejected him. However, she later resigned from the job when. Most bookies are just like CC companies nowadays.willing to negotiate the debt, and work out plans if need be, and much like the CC companies, they just want to make sure you are not going to. Most customers think that the bookie is making tons of money (and they are right, actually), so “my not paying this little $1,200 I owe is no big deal.” While $1,200, for example, should never make a noticeable difference in your cash flow, it is kind like littering. When you start taking bets as a professional bookie, you’ll quickly see how fast you can make money on the action that you take every week. If you’re running a standard operation, you’ll end up getting between 5% and 10% of the actual amount of the bets that you’re taking. This is known as the Vig (or Vigorish).
Choose Your Customers Wisely
Most of what is contained on this page deals with common sense. At the top of the list is what type of customers you take on. As with any business, the point is making a profit. You can have written a net $100,00 worth of winners in a particular week, but the only figure that really matters is how much of that you then collect.
While there is no way to guarantee that you will collect in full from a customer, there are some very basic things to consider when accepting new customers.
Obviously, ability to pay is a prime concern
Simple things like where he works, what type of car he drives, or the way he dresses can give indications about what type of scratch this man should have when you are due to collect.
If the guys says he can meet you to settle up anytime before midnight because that’s when his shift starts at Shell, keep a close eye on his figure. If he gets more than a few hundred dollars down, you are getting to a situation where he may owe you a couple weeks’ salary. Customers who earn a small income and make small plays ($100 to $200 a game) are worth having.
A player like that will lose several thousand dollars in a year’s time, and, if dealt with correctly, he will also pay several thousand dollars in a year’s time. What he can’t afford to do is lose and pay several thousand dollars in a week.
Keep an eye on his figure, remind him (in a respectful manner) that all money owed is expected to be paid, and, if need be, have an arrangement with him where his settle up figure is $500, or anytime it gets to $1000. If he has had a bad run at the end of the week and his figure is $1200 on Friday morning, he is not allowed to play until he meets you and gets his figure back to zero. What this prevents is his losing another $1200 before settle up day rolls around and owing you almost $2500. Again be respectful, but keep in mind that your main goal is to collect as much as possible.
Avoid Letting Customers Get Too Far Behind
Preventing a customer from getting completely buried is a way to make sure he continues playing and continues paying. You can collect $500 from a small-time player 10 to 12 times a year. When he loses that amount in one week is when he feels overwhelmed and decides to just not pay at all. Keep him under control, monitor his figure and consider adjusting his settle terms.
A specific scenario to be conscious of is when a newcomer calls you out of the blue halfway through a season and says, “So and so gave me your number, and he says he has been a customer for years and bla, bla, blah.” This guy is wanting to start an account and knows one of your customers.
Usually you want your current customers to spread your name around like butter, hoping to get interest of a potential player in just this manner. Two things about this situation: first, tell your current customers to always let you now if they have given your number to someone and second, have them give you the reason this guy is starting to gamble halfway through the season.
Maybe he has just moved into town, maybe he has never wagered before and wants to start or maybe he has just run out on a debt with another bookmaker in town and has to find a new place to play.
Don’t assume that all new callers are in this situation, but I can guarantee you that some are. Again, make sure that your current customers know to call you before their buddy calls you. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions about the potential customer without him already having your number.
You can risk losing your entire business trying to collect $400 from a customer who refuses to pay, but why? In the life of every bookmaker there are deadbeats who inspire the use of swear words and blunt objects. Cursing those customers is fine; doing your best O.J. on those customers is not the way to go.
If you enter this line of work, you are accepting that from time to time there will be customers whom you pay when they have won and then, when it is their turn to pay you, they will become invisible. No use in getting into specifics here, as it will only serve to anger, and the quality of the writing goes way down when that happens.
What you need to always keep in the front of your mind is that the longer you operate smoothly, the more profit you make. Be mad, be angry, be unpleasant, but also be open for business. If Wal-Mart were to set the hounds loose on every 9-year-old who swiped a Snickers, the profit margin on the candy aisle would increase, but the store itself would soon be closed. The same thing occurs in your business.
Understand going in that you may write $800,000 worth of winners during college basketball season, but you ain’t gonna collect all of that. Wal-Mart figures in losses due to theft, and it seems to do all right every year. You should do the same.
This section could also be titled “Laziness.”
- If you have locked your keys in your car and you have six cell phones and 30 Las Vegas schedules in the backseat, you probably don’t want to flag down a policeman and ask him to help you unlock your door. Pay the $40 and wait the hour for a locksmith to come.
- If you are filing tax returns that show $9,000 of income for the past year, you need to take the few extra days it may require to have your brother or best friend or whoever go to the dealership and buy the $53,000 Mercedes. After that person has purchased it, you can “borrow” it to do your running around in. Have as little as possible in your name.
- If the walls of your office are so thin that you can hear the business conversations of the people next door, odds are they can hear yours. Take a few days to find a more suitable spot, hire some movers, and vacate quickly. Remain anonymous at all costs.
- If you are in the habit of going to bars or strip clubs, getting drunk, and flashing around stacks of cash, you should start drinking alone. You are setting yourself up for, at best, a robbery, or, much worse, being turned in by a dancer or disc jockey or bartender needing to cut a deal with the police.
These are just a few examples of things we have either witnessed or experienced. Do whatever you must to remain in business. This means sometimes you will not be able to take every shortcut, and sometimes you will actually have to do some work. With 95 percent of your workdays consisting of about three hours of work, those occasional days shouldn’t be too much of a burden.
Owe Bookie Money Bill
If you do take necessary care to remain anonymous and to act responsibly while you are the main (only?) employee, you should soon be able to hire a clerk or two. At that point you can be much more immature and frivolous.
The root of all evil, right? Well, if not, they are definitely not a positive cash-flow situation, and in this business, it is even more so. Ways women can cause you trouble as a bookmaker?
- Sometimes a customer’s wife really may find his schedule and phone numbers, but the kind of woman that will ruin your situation won’t threaten the husband first. She will go straight to the police from the outset. This is mostly out of your control. We will label it “bad luck.”
- In Toronto, we had two main area codes, 647 and 416. As the 1996 football season began we, of course, got new phone numbers. After about a week of being open, I got a call one night on the office line from a woman saying, “If your customers don’t quit calling my house trying to make bets, I am gonna call the police and give them this number!”
When securing the new cell phone numbers, we had been unlucky enough to get the same number as this individual, only we had the 647, while she had the 416. This also goes into the “bad luck” category but is made worse by the “some of your customers must be morons” category. I remade the tape that night, and before any lines were listed, reminded all callers that our numbers began with 647. After opening the tape with that for about the next week, it seemed the problem had solved itself.
What made it frustrating is that only a woman would have called and reacted the way she did. I don’t think a man would have called at all, and if he did he probably would have asked to get some action on the Monday night game.
- Under the “hell hath no fury” heading, women who have become ex-wives and ex-girlfriends are prime candidates to bring your operation to the attention of the police. Women are mean, spiteful creatures when they have been wronged and exact unreasonable measures of revenge.
Hell, I had an ex-favorite stripper threaten to call the police when I started getting my table dances from another girl at the club I frequented. Be careful when getting involved with a woman, as far as letting her know all the nooks and crannies of your business.
Point to remember: The slightest fit of laziness or stupidity or greed can lead to had things for you. When you are establishing your business, work hard and work intelligently.
The spoils of bookmaking will be yours soon enough, and you can then hire a clerk or a pay per head company like Realbookies to take most of the day-to-day burden of the business off your shoulders. Until that time, use as much common sense as you can muster and bide your time. If you have a good work ethic and good decision-making, your rewards are just around the corner.
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The movies always depict the bookies as dangerous mobsters that you should avoid at all costs. The movies only show the most desperate of gamblers and degenerates using the bookies. For once, Hollywood got it right. To be fair, most bookies I’ve met or have ever known weren’t actually in the mob, but they were still people you’d have big issues with if you pissed them off.
If bookies have such a bad rap, why do people use them? And more importantly, should you or should you not use them? I’d like to tackle both of these questions today with some insider knowledge and experience from someone who has been in the gambling industry for just under 15 years. I have a lot of personal firsthand knowledge that puts me in a good position to answer both of these questions. Too often, the only resources you have to answer these types of questions are the movies or Google, either of which may or may not give you correct information.
Why Do People Use Bookies?
Before I can answer whether or not you should use a bookie, I need to talk about why people use bookies in the first place. There are two answers – one that I understand and one that is no longer valid. Don’t worry; I’ll explain what I mean. The two answers I always hear are convenience and credit.
In the old days (and by that I mean before the internet), the only way that people could bet legitimately was at a casino. This required that you be in close proximity to a casino or willing to make however long the trek was to get there. For most people, this wasn’t an option, so they were left with three choices. One, they could move closer to a casino if they really wanted to bet that badly. Two, they could just not bet. And three, they could bet through a bookie.
A bookie was someone that you could place your bets with, and they would operate much like the casino sportsbook. When you won, they would pay you out, and when you lost, they would keep your money. In theory, this sounds like a great idea although it creates issues that we’re going to cover in a minute. For now, just be aware that this is one of the reasons people give (still to this day) for using a bookie.
The second and scarier reason that people use bookies to place their sports bets is credit. Bookies will allow people to make bets with money they don’t have. The original idea of this was out of convenience that you could call your bookie and place a bet, and they would honor it without making you run over and give them the money right away. This is all well and good except that it transformed into more.
Bookies were allowing people to bet on credit for much larger amounts than they knew the person had. If the person lost, they would then owe the money back with interest. As you can probably imagine already, this creates some issues. If you’re already saying this wouldn’t be you, you may be correct, but there are some sides of it I want to cover in the next section that may change your mind about that. Again, for now, just know this is the other reason that people choose to bet with a bookie.
Should YOU Bet with a Bookie or Not?
The best way to address this question is to talk about the two reasons people give for using a bookie. If those reasons are valid with no other better options, then the answer will be yes. If those reasons are not valid and there are better options, then the answer will be no, you shouldn’t bet with a bookie.
Regarding convenience, this made a lot more sense years ago. In the days before the internet, you had to be close to a sportsbook or willing to travel a long way just to make a bet. This was of course not ideal and really not feasible for most people. The key part of that phrase though is “before the internet.” In the past 20 years, online gaming and sports betting have taken to new heights. Instead of having to be close to a casino or sportsbook to place a bet, all you need to have is an internet connection and a device to access the internet, and you’re able to place bets from anywhere.
How is this different than using a bookie? A LOT of ways. First, casinos and sportsbooks are regulated by gaming commissions and licensing boards. What does this mean? This means that they are required to pay you and can face penalties or the loss of their licensing if they don’t. Not only that, if an online sportsbook does not pay out customers, it gets spread around the internet like wildfire and their business crashes. This means you can count on them paying you.
Bookies, on the other hand, answer to no one. Yes, if they screw you, none of your friends will probably ever bet with them, but they can just move on to a new town or a new group to take bets from. You have no recourse either if they screw you. Why? Because being a bookie is illegal. This would be like going to the cops and telling them that your roommate stole your drugs. You can’t intelligently do that without opening yourself up to criminal charges.
This continues if there is ever a dispute with a bet. If you have a dispute with an online site, there are groups that you can go to for help to have the situation mediated. It’s also in the best interest of the site to deal with the issue fairly and in good faith. Bookies, on the other hand, are probably ALWAYS going to rule in their favor. You will never win a dispute with a bookie unless you have insane influence over some of their other customers.
The second and scarier reason that we mentioned people use bookies is the ability to use credit. Originally, the idea of credit was developed for sheer convenience. You wanted to make a bet but didn’t want to have to run to the bank and then run to meet your bookie all before the game started. I get it and understand why that would be nice.
The problem is the credit system developed into something way worse than that. Bookies started letting players bet bigger on games for more money than the person should have been betting. This made it easy for people to quickly spiral into debt and then they were left owing the bookie money with interest. This wouldn’t be like your standard bank loan kind of interest. The “juice” was high and basically ended up putting people into holes they could never get out of, and they end up forced to sell possessions or do things they never dreamed of just to avoid the consequences.
These consequences are sadly a lot like the movie depicts. The mildest form is public shaming and letting friends, family, and coworkers know that you’re someone who doesn’t pay your debts. They could single handily ruin your life if they wanted to and make everyone in your life think you’re a scum bag. The consequences for non-payment move up from there and have frequently involved violence, intimidation, and sometimes worse. The point here is that you do not want to end up owing money to a bookie.
The sad part is a lot of times bookies will allow this to happen on purpose. They take advantage of people with gambling problems and allow them to dig their own grave. This allows the bookie to basically own the person and make a ton more money off of them. It’s important to point out that my knowledge on this is not coming from the movies. This is coming from real world observations and things I have personally seen happen.
You may be thinking that you can use a bookie and never let yourself fall into this trap. The problem is that most everyone says that and has full intentions not to. The issues arise, though, when they start losing. If you have $100 in your betting bankroll and you take it to an online sportsbook and lose, you aren’t tempted to do something crazy to win your money back. Why? Because you don’t have the money to make another bet and that is your safeguard. If you take that same $100 to a bookie and lose, you may be tempted to place another $100 bet to win your money back because the bookie allows you to do so without putting up any money.
If you lose that bet, you now owe the bookie $200 and have to figure out some way to pay them back. This is usually when someone thinks they find a game that is a lock and they bet $200 to try and win that money back ($200 that they don’t have). Lose that bet, and you’re now down $400, $300 of which you do not have. The bookie now comes to you to collect, and you can’t pay. He informs you that you have X amount of time and starts charging you interest on the money. Hopefully, in this simple example, you can see how easily you can spiral into one of these situations.
The Bottom Line
The answer to the question here is that you should never bet with a bookie. There are too many convenient and trustworthy options available thanks to the internet that there is no excuse ever to need to use a bookie. Internet sportsbooks have come a long way and in my personal opinion surpass the brick and mortar (and bookie) alternatives. You can shop lines easily, always count on being paid, and never have to leave the comfort of your own home.
A bookie might seem like a convenient option, and the idea of betting on credit might sound appealing. I can guarantee as well that a bookie is going to come across as your buddy and the best friend you’ve ever had when they want to get your action. The problem comes into play when they’re ready to collect, and you can’t pay. I know you don’t think you’d ever fall into that trap but I can guarantee you it’s a lot easier than you think.
Look at credit cards for example. Almost everyone that uses a credit card says they will never let them get out of hand and will never let themselves get into massive credit card debt. If they were all correct, then why does the average American household have over $16k in credit card debt.
The reason is that it’s easy when things are going well, but everything changes when times get tougher. You can say you aren’t going to use that credit card if you don’t have the money but what happens when your car needs to be fixed, and you don’t have the cash? Or you want to go on that once in a lifetime vacation that all your friends are going on?
It’s the same with sports betting on credit. Everything is great until you start losing and need to win back your money. I’m not going to continue to hammer this, but just promise me you realize that no matter how protected you think you are, you are susceptible to falling into this trap. Why not just choose the option that has protections in place to keep you from doing that?
Again, the answer to the question is NO, you should not ever be betting with a bookie especially in today’s world.