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Working Within The Bookmaking Industry

Bookmaking in Britain is one of the oldest leisure professions there is .Some historians date this profession as far back as the 1790’s some have it further back but it wasn’t until the passing of the Gaming Act in 1845 that the only only gambling allowed in the United Kingdom was at race tracks. Into the next century though under the Conservative Government of Harold Mcmilan betting shops were legalised paving the way for we take as the norm nowadays .Anew act in 2005 the Gambling Act introduced a new regulatory systemfor the industry .It is now overseen by a government body The Gambling Commission.

Bookmaking itself involves the pricing of sporting events which the bookmaker creates a ‘book’ which they price up the chances of a team or horse of winning that event. The bookmakers aim to achieve a set of prices which favours them over the punters judgement.

The leaders in this sphere in the UK are made up of the Big three companies –Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. Between them they have around 50,000 employees across the UK and 8000 shops.

The jobs within the High street operations range from Retail managers, Customer service and till staff (both full time and Part time).At the head office level the range of jobs vary from the odds compilers who are responsible for pricing up the sporting events, Marketing and advertising staff, operations staff as well as the broadcast team who provide the commentaries and presentation in their shops each and very day. Most bookmaking operations too operate an online service which is run by a team of customer service staff who deal with the customer base.

The phenomena of online betting too has witnessed a spiral of new companies as well the rise of the betting exchanges such as Belfair and Betdaq where the punter can bet and lay .In short they can become bookmakers on every sporting event or punt on their selection. Again these companies employ staff across all departments.

To become an on course bookmaker, taking bets on the track such as greyhounds and Horse racing, is the choice of some as a career. As mentioned earlier bookmaking at tracks first began legally in the 19th Century and has become common site on every track around the UK.Scotland boasts both codes of racing Summer flat racing and Winter game over the jumps. The country has five courses-Perth, Hamilton, Musselburgh, Kelso and Ayr. The bookmaker operates from a pitch which is owned by the bookmaker, these pitches are numbered and the better the number e.g. Number pick, the more expensive .These pitches can be traded between bookmakers. This is overseen by the AGT LTD (Administration of Gambling on Tracks) an independent body which represents the bookmakers and acts as a hub of information and assistance. If you are interested in becoming on course bookmaker, it is a good idea to contact them at their office in St Ives as they will provide you with the necessary steps to securing your licence.

The Gambling Commission which was set up under the Gambling Act of 2006 is the government organisation that will grant you your bookmaking licence; they oversee all gaming licences including bingo and casino operations. You will also have to be given clearance by Disclosure Scotland which deems you as a right and proper person to hold a licence.

On course bookmaking starts up cost will be quite expensive too, as you will need your bookmaking equipment, bookmaker joint, computer, printer, and electric display board. You will also have to employ a bookmaker’s clerk or assistant who will assist you. Most importantly you will have to buy your pitches too .So lots to think about as up front costs before you take a bet. Because of the growing costs many bookmakers are seen as ‘hobby’ bookmakers who have other careers and jobs and go to the track as a sideline.

On we can’t offer any on course jobs but we currently have various retail and customer service roles with some of the big High Street chains .Starting off here may lead you to get the bug and set you up in a career within in one of Britain’s oldest surviving industries

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