Bookmaking & The Use of Juice or The Vig
Some bookmakers refer to the profit that is made on taking a bet as “vigorish” or “vig”, but this is also commonly referred to as “juice”. Very simply, juice is the extra amount of money that is tied to any bet that is placed, which in most cases is 10 percent. That means if you bet $100 on a certain team to win and you end up losing that wager, you would owe the book $110. You do not pay any juice on a winning bet so that is why bookmakers try and balance the amount bet on either side and take their 10 percent cut on the losing end.
Juice is a vital profit center for any bookmaker, whether it is a one-man operation or a big name casino in Las Vegas. It is also an important way to make money booking bets while minimizing risk and exposure at the same time. The key concept to making the juice on a bet work for you is balance. As long as you remained fairly balanced on both sides of any sporting event you take action on, you should still walk away with a profit no matter which side wins.
There is also some tremendous value in using juice to build your bookmaking business as long as you do not get too carried away. While the industry standard is 10 percent, you can charge whatever you want when taking bets. I would still leave the juice at 10 percent for a good majority of the bets that do come in, but do not be afraid to discount that figure if you think you can attract additional business.
One example on how to use juice as a sales tool would be to discount the juice to five percent on any parlay bets. The odds are already in your favor on this type of wager, especially when your customer starts to combine three or more games in a play, so there is a good chance that you are going to pocket the entire bet. This strategy can be applied to any type of exotic bet that carries a higher risk/reward. A couple of things to keep in mind when discounting the juice on bets such as this is to offer it to your most loyal customers (the ones you know the best) and place reasonable limits on the amount of money that can be wagered on these types of bets.
Be careful of jacking up the vig too much as you will need to be competitive with other bookmakers either in your area or online. If a player sees you are offering a bet at -120 (meaning he has to wager $120 to win $100) but some where else has it at -110 he will probably go where has to lay the $110 to win a $100.
You can also use juice in the form of an additional moneyline on a straight-up bet as a way of driving action one way or the other. For example, if the total on a football game is set at 49 and you are trying to attract additional bets on the over, you could set a moneyline of -115 for a play on the UNDER while discounting the juice on the OVER to -105. This is a great strategy to use when you do not want to change the actual line. This is also a great tool for balancing out your bets without running the risk of changing a betting line.
Discounting juice can be also used as a reward or bonus for your most loyal customers. You worked long and hard at building your business and at the cornerstone of that success are the customers that have been around for the long haul. I would highly suggest that you set parameters for these discounts (lower juice on bets taken on a certain day or a lower amount of juice on high dollar wagers) to keep things under control.
You always have to remember that the goal of any bookmaker is make his money on the juice, as this remains the one constant in a very unpredictable business. However; do not be afraid to experiment with this profit margin as means of bringing in additional business or as simply a thank you to the customers that are most responsible for keeping you in the bookmaking game.
Most pay per head shops will let you customise the lines and juice on your own and also allow you set limits per player.