Gambling: The Bookmaker

Most sports provide means for betting, even cricket, that gentle pastime of languorous summers.

At many big matches in Engl since 1970, a discreet bookmaker’s office has quoted odds during play on batsmen scoring centuries, or on the time of the winning hit or anything else suitable.

Betting on golf is big business at American tournaments, in 1972 a betting marquee appeared for the first time on a British course, at Turnberry.

The bookmakers were delighted with the spectator’s response, but the golfing establishments views betting with wariness.

A method for betting on American football basketball has been devised by American bookmakers. The bookmakers estimates the likely difference in points between the two sides; this is then added to the weaker team’s actual score for the purposes of betting.

For instance, the bookmaker might quote Team A a 10-point favorite over Team B. This means that bettors on Team A win if their team wins by more than 10 points; bettors on Team B win if their team is beaten by fewer than 10 points.

If the difference is exactly 10 points, the bet is off. Bookmakers will take bets on either team, but both teams will be odds-on, either 6-5 or 11-10 according to the bookmaker the sting of the client.

Doubles trebles are accepted known as ‘parlays’. A bookmaker offering odds of 5-6 for the single will offer 12-5 for a two-team parlay a 5-1 for a three-team parlay.

Baseball bets are made in more conventional fashion with odds quoted about each team. The odds might be quoted thus: ‘1:80-1:140. Yankees’ favorites’. This means that bettors on Yankees must lay 180 units to win 100; backers of the opponents will win 140 units for 100.

On this example, the advantage to the bookmaker is nearly 6 percent.

The same odds might be quoted by some bookmakers as ‘9-7 Yankees’ favorites’, meaning the Yankees are 9-5 om, the opposition 7-5 against.

Boxing has always been popular with gamblers, perhaps because it is such a physical sport. Repressed aggressive instincts might lead some people to find both boxing gambling attractive.

Because there has always been a feeling that fights are frequently crooked or fixed, bookmakers are not over-anxious to bet on them, when they do they usually want a good percentage.

Most betting is therefore private. In the days of prize fighting, champions were sponsored by the aristocracy betting was high. In the eighteenth century, the Duke of Cumberl sponsored John Broughton, who has a commemorative stone in Westminster Abbey, lost 50,000 pounds when Broughton was beaten in his last fight.

World title fights are the biggest attractions for gamblers. There are often surprises, George foreman was a 5-2 underdog when knocking out Joe Frazier for the heavyweight championship in 1973.

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