Gambling and betting can be addictive. For this reason, it is easy to earn offering such games. A bookmaker, bookie or turf accountant, called Wettanbieter in German language, collects sports or other (political, for example) bets.
Most bookmakers adjust the odds to ensure they will profit regardless of outcome. They can achieve this by getting the same number of bets on each one or other measures. Some even trade bets so that one bookmaker can sell some to another. They also help each other by sharing information regarding odds, which has gotten easier with mobile phones. Their disputes with governments and others are settled by IBAS, although not all are its members.
Most countries regulate betting and bookmaking or even outlaw them completely. For instance, some governments reserve the monopoly in taking bets. On the other hand, United Kingdom used to encourage race betting, which brought huge fortunes to bookmakers.
It is not surprising that like many other activities, betting is also moving online. A few years after introduction of such services, bookmakers also started operating there. But this is not a complete win for them: new computer programs can match bets automatically, without help of a real person, and this takes opportunities from them.
There are ethical concerns: is it right to take advantage of others’ addiction? Some people blow unbelievable amounts of property on betting. Contestants and bookmakers might even deliberately deceive them so they would lose. In some contests, bets increase chances that people will bribe judges, give doping agents to athletes or racing animals they bet on and hinder others. Animals that do not come in first places can be killed, in part due to betting.
However, not everyone cheats when taking or placing bets and not everyone plays unreasonably.
With everyone’s responsibility and legal regulations, bookkeeping can be a harmless business and contribute to the economy.