What Does Sportsbook Mean In Sports Betting and Wagering?
by Doc's Sports - 10/11/2014
The sports betting term "sportsbook" refers to a company, or even just a single person, who accepts bets on sports. They will take your bets and pay you if you win. They take a commission on winning bets. More formally, sportsbooks can be known as race and sports books. In Europe and elsewhere they are known as bookmakers, which can be shortened to bookies. In North America we’ll frequently refer to sportsbooks as just books.
When we think of sportsbooks we most frequently think of the special sections of the casinos in Las Vegas where you can make your bets and then watch pretty much any game you could want to - usually surrounded by dozens of other bettors with rooting interests of their own. At the betting windows you can bet on a wide range of sports, and make pretty much any type of bet you could want - from straight bets like the moneyline and pointspread or totals, to prop bets of every variety possible. You can bet parlays, teasers, pleasers, futures - there are no shortage of ways in which sportsbooks are willing to take your money - especially if they have a big edge, which they often do. Sportsbooks usually have a lot of energy around them while games are on. On big weekends like early in March Madness, the Super Bowl or during a big fight weekend, though, the places can be absolutely crazy - in a good way.
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The other common form of sportsbook is the online variety. These are also referred to as offshore books for a simple reason - they cannot be legally run from the United States. You can bet the same range of bets as you can at a bricks and mortar sportsbook - and often more because online sportsbooks have lower overhead, so they can be more creative and aggressive. Some online sportsbooks cannot be legally used in some jurisdictions, so it is up to a bettor to understand the legalities of their situation.
The fundamentals of betting are shared among sportsbooks, but each individual book can make their own specific rules. It is important that bettors understand these subtle differences because they can have a big impact on the bottom line. For example, some sportsbooks will treat a push in a parlay as a loss - making the entire parlay a loser. You need to know that that is a possibility before you make the bet in order to accurately assess the risk of your bet.
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