In the United States a sportsbook (sometimes abbreviated as book) or a race and sports book is a place where a gambler can wager on various sports competitions, including golf, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, horse racing, boxing, and mixed martial arts. The method of betting varies with the sport and the type of game. There are roughly 150 licensed sportsbooks in the United States, all located in Nevada casinos, as such operations are illegal in the other 49 states[citation needed]. Sports betting is fully legal in many countries: for general coverage of the topic see sports betting. In English-speaking countries other than the United States terms such as betting shop or bookmakers are used rather than sportsbook. This article is restricted to sportsbooks in the United States and the impact of internet sports betting on the U.S. market.
Winning bets are paid when the event finishes, or if not finished, when played long enough to become official; otherwise all bets are returned. This policy can cause some confusion since there can be a difference between what the sportsbook considers official and what the sports league consider official. Customers should carefully read the sportsbook rules before placing their bets.
The betting volume at sportsbooks varies throughout the year. Bettors have more interest in certain types of sports and increase the money wagered when those sports are in season. Some major sporting events that don't follow a specific schedule, like boxing, can create peaks of activity for the sportsbooks.

In the mid 1930s, Leo Hirschfield started a company in Minneapolis, Minnesota called Athletic Publications, Inc., that published and distributed odds to bookies across the country by telephone and telegraph. He had a team of handicappers analyzing the matchups who also studied newspapers across the country. The company was a major provider of odds and prices until it finally disbanded, under fear of prosecution from the Federal Wire Act of 1961.
Today most sportsbooks get their opening prices from other sportsbooks as well as private companies like Las Vegas Sports Consultants. They adjust prices based on the bets coming in, news, injury, and weather information, and the price movement by other sportsbooks.

Nevada sportsbooks
Today there are roughly 150 licensed sportsbooks in the United States, all located in Nevada casinos. Now that many casinos share the same parent company, they offer the exact same wagering choices and odds, which is a disadvantage to the astute gambler who in the past could do more shopping for better prices.
In the 1950s the first Nevada sportsbooks, called Turf Clubs, opened. They were independent from the casinos, and had an informal agreement with the hotels that they would stay out of the casino business as long as the hotels stayed out of the sportsbook business. The sportsbooks had to pay a 10 percent tax so they charged a high vigorish to gamblers, but they still brought in a lot of business.
In 1974 the tax was lowered to 2 percent, (it was lowered to 0.25 percent in 1983), and in 1975 Frank Rosenthal, who ran the Stardust Casino, convinced legislators to allow them in the casinos, and soon nearly all of the casinos added them. The turf clubs were no longer able to compete and eventually all closed.

At Nevada casino sportsbooks you will find:

    * Betting windows
    * Big screen televisions
    * Interactive betting stations
    * Odds boards, usually computerized
    * Papers with different odds for the day
    * Places to sit and watch games & races

Sports betting on the internet
While internet sportsbooks lack face-to-face transactions, they can handle more customers than physical sportsbook shops and operate more cost effectively. They pass lower costs on to customers in the form of reduced vigorish (cheaper prices) or bonus incentives. They can also offer similar products, such as casino games, bingo, and poker to their existing clients.
While Internet sportsbooks take bets online, normally they are licensed in some jurisdiction. Taxation and regulation vary greatly by country.
Internet sportsbooks range from fraudulent operations with no intention of paying their customers to multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies. Furthermore, many internet sites have been reported for questionable customer service practices and withholding money from customers. Internet sportsbooks range in focus, as some primarily cater to American sports, while others focus on European soccer. Some sportsbooks handle large wagers while others have low wagering limits. Some offer many exotic proposition wagers, where others have limited choices. Payment methods are not universally accepted at all sportsbooks.
Costa Rica is home to a large number of offshore sportsbooks, as it caters to many of the needs of the industry with an open regulatory environment and a large, capable workforce. A number of sportsbooks are also located in Isle of Man, Jamaica, Gibraltar, Antigua, Curaçao, Australia, United Kingdom, Philippines and many other countries around the world.
The United States Justice Department claims that wagering at offshore sportsbooks is a violation of the 1961 Federal Wire Act. Jeffrey Trauman of Harwood, North Dakota, was the first player ever to be prosecuted for online sports betting in the United States. The former car salesman, who quit his job to become a professional gambler, was cited under a North Dakota state law.
In separate incidents in 2006, two executives of internet-based sportsbooks were arrested in the United States. On July 16, 2006 David Carruthers of BetonSports was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas while changing planes. On September 7 of that same year, Peter Dicks of Sportingbet Plc was detained in similar fashion at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Both men await separate charges on gambling-related offenses.

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