Corner bookie vs online sports book: there are pluses and minuses to both. Overall, you’re safer placing bets online than with someone who might be involved in unsavory activity.
Why? Online Sportsbooks physically operate in jurisdictions where it is legal to make book, whereas your neighborhood bookmaker might be breaking long established laws against sports betting.
Corner bookies are prevalent in many urban areas where casual gambling is prevalent. They might not work on a corner. Instead, some local bookies operate out of pool halls, bars, restaurants, or parks. The best corner bookies are successful because they are able to pay winning clients. If it feels like you’re getting scammed by a local bookmaker, you probably are. Steer clear of those who act shady. Most importantly, talk to other area bettors first. If a bookie suddenly appears out of nowhere and begins taking bets, be cautious. However, a bookie working the same area for years is probably a good businessman.
The problem with local bookies arises when they offer credit to place bets (See our article about “Post Up or “Credit” shops). If you’re playing with scared money, don’t make a wager. Wait until you can afford to lose, or else you’ll dig yourself into a deep hole.
It’s true some credit bookies will send out linebackers to collect bad debts. The best way to bet and have fun is to play with money you have, never take a loan, and make good on all your debts. If you can do this, you and your bookie will have a great relationship.
Isn’t my bookie operating illegally? Why doesn’t he just open an office?
To be honest, bookmaking IS ILLEGAL in most areas. If you’re in Las Vegas (or any other part of Nevada) it’s legal to place bets on sports, and many well regarded casinos have sportsbooks. Check your local laws first before placing any bets. In areas where legality issues are murky, be on guard. Always choose your bookie carefully. It’s one thing to set up a March Madness pool with your buddies, but it’s another to meet some guy in a bar to place a big wager on Monday Night Football. This and other more blantant examples of “bookmaking for profit” are generally discouraged in most states.
Ok – so why is online sports betting any better? First of all, 9 out of 10 are situated in countries where it is 100% legal to make book. Furthermore, because they are considered legal in their respective jurisdictions, business operations are conducted like any brick and mortar casino in Reno, Las Vegas, or Monte Carlo. Well regarded offshore sportsbooks are not people camped out in a hotel room taking bets online. Instead, they are large, organized businesses that employ local workers, pay taxes, and must be licensed.
The internet allows you to research online sportsbooks more closely compared to your local bookie. If you can’t call or find a real address for an online sportsbook, it’s probably a shady operation. Otherwise, if the website has certifications from industry watchdogs, is legally licensed, and is favorably reviewed by other players, your’re probably not going to have any issues.
Customer reviews of “that guy” at the pool hall are probably not well publicized information, whereas internet sportsbooks are written up, reviewed, and regularly audited by many different interest groups.
The bottom line: Place your bets online and play it safe. Don’t bet with people who are breaking laws to provide a bookmaking service in your jurisdiction. Online sports betting is much safer. You’re dealing with reputable business groups that rely on returning customers to remain profitable and trustworthy operations.