PPH Sportsbook

It’s no secret that online betting is a billion-dollar business; but, if you want to see your profits soar in your PPH sportsbook instead of being wiped out then you’re going to have to learn how to maximize your profits.

Before you read the tips, however, do you know how a pay per head sportsbook makes money?

How Does Pay Per Head Bookie Make Money?

As you may agree, part of the appeal of being a bookie is that you can consistently make a profit. Most bettors will probably lose in the long run, not only because they tend to make bad bets but also because sportsbooks usually have things tilted in their favor.

You should know, however, though you may have an advantage over most bettors if you don’t understand exactly how sportsbooks make money you’re probably going to get burned as a bookie.

In essence, your job as a bookie is obvious. You take bets from people, taking in money if a bet is lost and pay out if it’s a winning bet.

If you take more money in than what you pay out then you make money, right? Yes, but if you only do it this way you can be wiped out fast by someone who knows what they’re doing (and you’d be leaving a ton of money on the table).

Here's why...

If you only make money based on the results of games, you wouldn’t have much control of how much you can win or lose because you can’t really know the outcome of a particular sports event (unless it's fixed but let's not get into that).

But, bookmakers figured out a long time ago a way to make sure they would make a profit regardless of a game’s result.

You can find out how below but before you read ahead, take some time to learn how using a pay per head is the best way for you to get your bookie business started.

And, if you want to learn more about how sportsbooks make money, you can read the infographic found at the bottom of this page.

How Does A Pay Per Head Work?

Let’s forgo for now the thought that you can open a land-based or online sportsbook offshore; unless you have millions of dollars in the bank, going that route is probably not going to work out.

Don’t worry though because there’s a much better way to become a bookie that won't cost you an arm and a leg and it’s by using a PPH sportsbook.

Price per head services makes it easier to get your bookie businesses going because they’ll manage most of the difficult day-to-day details of running your business.


In exchange for providing you with a sports betting website, bookie software, line management, and most of what you need to run a shop (except clients of course), you’ll pay a set fee for each of your players.

This means that your main job will be to settle any monies owed to or from your clients. 

In case you’re asking yourself if you have to pay for all your players, it doesn’t work that way because you’ll only pay for those that actually bet during a week’s time.

In other words:

·         Say you have 20 players and 15 of those take action in a week…

·         And your pay per head price is $15 per player

·         That means you only pay $150 that week (15 x 10)

This type of arrangement is your best bet if you want to become a successful bookie because practically all you really have to do is get clients.

What should you look for in a Pay Per Head?

While there’s obviously more to running a successful sportsbook that what we explained above, you can probably see some of the advantages of using a price per head sportsbook.

Before you choose a pay per head service, however, you might want to check out some of the things you have to look for to choose a pay per head that’s right for you, which you can read here.  

Moving on…

If you agree that hiring a per head is right for you, there are still a few questions you have to answer first.

7 Questions You Should Have Answers To Before Opening Your Pay Per Head Sportsbook

1. Do You Have Enough Money?

The answer to this question seems to be fairly straightforward, but there’s really a lot more than meets the eye.

Because there could be money you need to cover other potential expenses you might not be considering. 

When you use a pay per head you don’t really need to worry about such things as licenses, rent, employees, and utilities but, even so, you still need to make sure you have enough cash to cover bets when you take losses (and there will always be those weeks).

Let’s say you take action on five games at -110 odds as follows:

·         Game 1: $1,000 on Baltimore and $900 on Denver

·         Game 2: $650 on New Orleans and $750 on San Francisco

·         Game 3: $700 on New York and $650 on Carolina

·         Game 4: $2,100 on New England and $1,750 on Green Bay

·         Game 5: $1,500 on Atlanta and $1,250 on Houston

For each game, your risk is as follows:

·         Game 1: $100

·         Game 2: $100

·         Game 3: $50

·         Game 4: $350

·         Game 5: $250

In other words, your total risk is $850 on $5950 in bets taken. More than likely you’ll win 2-3 games and break even without considering the vig (more on this ahead).

But you should also consider the worst case scenario that you’ll lose on all bets and have to pay out $850.

2. Do You Have Enough Clients?

You should really only start your sportsbook when you have at least 10 players that bet more than enough to cover the pay per head fees you’ll be charged.

If you have, for example, 25 players that bet an average of $110 at -110 odds, and considering an average 5% vig (more on this ahead), your profit would be $5 per bet.

If your fee is $10 per active player, given your $5 average profit, you’d need to have two bets per client to break even. Which means with three or more bets per player, you’d be making a profit, does that make sense? It all comes down to the numbers. 

Another scenario that you have to pay attention to is when you have small action players.

Let’s say one of your players makes two $22 bets in a week at -110 odds; if he wins one bet and loses another, you’d make a $2 profit on their one loss [22 - (22/1.10)].

If you’re paying $10 per player to your pay per head, that means you’d lose $8 when after subtracting your winnings. If that client only bets on average $44 per week then they’re probably not a client you want to have.

Again, it all comes down to the numbers. 

3. Is Pay Per Head Legal?

You obviously have to check your local laws and consult an attorney (as stomach-churning as this may be) if you want to know the answer to this question.

But, it's important you know the risks. 

Many countries have different laws regarding running a sportsbook, some of which are very strict. Needless to say, it’s up to you if you’re willing to take the risk of getting into this business.

If you are, by using a PPH sportsbook you’re reducing the risk because all of the information is handled online and for the most part anonymously. 

While it may not make what you’re doing legal, it does take some of the risks off your back.

4. How To Set Your Lines Correctly

If you’ve already covered your back and have enough cash reserves to back up the bets you take, the next thing you need to make sure of to have a profitable book is to have sharp lines.

Basically, you have two options: setting the lines yourself (good if you’re a genius) or you can rely on using the lines offered by your pay per head.

Back in the day, Vegas oddsmakers were worth their weight in gold because they could make or break a casino’s profits.

A bad line will have bettors jumping on it like white on rice and you can lose lots of money in an instant if you take too much money on one side. 

In any case, you always have to be watching how much money you’re taking on games. If there’s too much money on one side, you need to adjust the line to balance your risk and always make a profit from the vig.

5. Do You Know What Your Vig Is?

Remember when I mentioned that bookmakers had figured out a way to make a profit regardless of the outcome of an event? Well, the “vigorish” is how.

Since bookies set the odds for all the wagers they lay, they include what’s called vigorish, vig or juice that basically a commission to ensure they’ll always make a profit.

Let’s say you take a bet on the outcome of a coin toss; there are only two possible outcomes with each one being equally as likely, 50% heads and 50% tails.

If they’d offer true odds at even money (2.00 in decimal odds, a +100 moneyline, and 1/1 fractional odds), on 100 $10 bets with 50 people betting tails and the other 50 betting heads, they wouldn’t make any money since they would pay out $1000 of bets won and take in $1000 of the lost bets.

To get around this, bookmakers include the vig in the odds which is typically 1.9091 (-110 in moneyline, 10/11 in fractional).

This guarantees a profit no matter the result of an event; let’s say for example that you take $11,000 on both sides of a contest at -110 to win $100, you’re basically locking in a $1,000 profit.

On the side that you lose, the bettors get back their $11,000 and a $10,000 profit. But, since you’re collecting $11,000 from the other side and using $10,000 of it to pay off the winning bets, it leaves you with a $1,000 profit.

6. How Will You Grow Your Pay Per Head?

One of the big benefits of having a price per head is that it gives your players many ways to gamble on sports. Increasing your revenue is easier once you’re able to offer lines on practically any sport you can imagine and accept many additional bet types that you probably cannot take if you’re a one-man-show.

Also, most bookies only take bets on one or two sports, but a pay per head opens up the market for you to not only take bets on major sports like football and basketball but also on baseball, hockey, soccer, MMA, boxing and even live betting.

As well, imagine how much you can increase your profits by booking not only straight bets but also parlays, teasers, round robins, and if-bets. These types of bets are usually “sucker” bets because they’re much harder to win.

The fact of the matter is that your bread and butter will be square players, so the more options you give them to bet the better you’ll do.

As a word of caution though, make sure to have a plan for how you’re going to grow. While you may be excited that your player base is getting bigger, without a plan things may fall apart quickly.

Grow your business but also grow your cash reserves. Increase your player base, but consider limiting the bet amount you accept to avoid getting burned. Offer other sports but have a handle on knowing who your players are.

 7. How Will You Keep Track Of Things?

One of the harder aspects of owning a sportsbook is keeping track of things. Once you have a fair amount of players in your book, there will always be holes to plug up which can get out of hand if you don’t have a way of staying on top of what’s important.

Not to knock doing it the old fashioned way by using pen and paper, but these days it’s much easier to track your bettors by using a system.

Having a bird’s eye view at the click of a button will help you plug up any holes.

8. How To Avoid Losing Your Shirt To Sharp Bettors

As you start to grow, you’ll find out that your sportsbook will attract players that make a living out of betting.

In other words, some players will win consistently and you need to know what to do with these types of players because they can put a big dent in your hard-earned nest-egg.

There are some sportsbooks that cater to sharp players. But, when you’re starting out it’s probably a better idea that you deal with squares until you’re knowledgeable enough in the business to take on sharps.

You’re bound to have players that win and some of them will have a long win streak. This doesn’t mean they’re sharp (and you probably should avoid kicking them out if that’s what you’re thinking); it only means you should pay extra attention to what they’re doing.


How Bookmakers Make Money Infographic