The society of the UK seems to have this idea that there is no such thing as a poor bookmaker. Those against gambling are stuck on this idea. However, if one looks more in depth into the business of being a bookie, it may not be as fruitful as society thinks. Here’s why:
Startup costs, operation costs, a decrease in turnover, and more can cost bookmakers a significant portion of their revenue. To begin, all bookies must receive a license from the Gambling Commission. The cost for applying alone can range anywhere from £160 to £881. This broad range exists because the cost is dependent on how many days one plans to work. Annual fees can be an additional £1,346 if a bookmaker expects to work 200 days or more out of the year.
Bookies also have to purchase and repurchase equipment over the years. One favorite bookie, Mr. Bryan Hazell, reported that he spent a whopping £13,800 on three new digital boards for his business.
The equipment expenses do not stop there. The stands bookmakers use cost around £2,600 in addition to the umbrellas (£400), computers (£640), and printers (£220). Business cannot even start until one acquires all of the necessary paperwork, gathers this equipment and sets it up, and then purchases some picks, which will end up deciding how many bets that bookie can field.
Prices of picks vary immensely. Some will cost nothing, but this isn’t without reason. Those picks are almost useless. Then, other picks will cost upwards of a quarter of a million. Famous bookmaker, Mr. Joe O’Gorman, said that a successful portfolio would cost about a million.
Then, after purchasing a pick, bookies must also buy a badge every single time they go racing. The badge typically costs five or six times the amount of average admission. To go to large festival meetings, bookmakers must pay for hotels, transport, computer support, as well as sponsorship fees and their workers’ entry; this can add up when having to buy multiple hotel rooms for various employees.
With the addition of the internet, bookmaking has become incredibly competitive and cutthroat. Because of this, many bookies have pulled out of the game because their running costs continued to exceed their revenue. Since 2002, the number of bookies in the UK has decreased by 15%.