Start by being a smart bookie. A low key bookie. A bookie who flies under the radar. If you have not as yet affiliated yourself with a good price per head service, do it now. Why? Because in this way you will avoid the number 1 penalty for being a bookie and it is the endless cycle of checking lines, grading games and searching for the business card that you wrote down Charlie’s wager on and having no control whatsoever over line movements an such, along with the legal penalty also, of course. Next, be an honest bookie and stand up guy because if you are not you won’t do very well in the bookmaking business anyway.
The very best way to avoid the legal penalty for being a bookie is to not get caught (Duh). Simple, right? Well, maybe not so easy in this modern world that we live in. We in the bookmaking business have a lot of new marvelous toys to play with these days. Especially for those who used to carry around 2 or 3 beepers and a roll of quarters at all times. But remember, those other guys have a lot of new toys as well and they can come at you from a lot of different directions these days.
Paperwork is something that could incriminate you in some way or the other. Eliminate it all together (as said before) by working with a reputable pay per head software provider capable of taking care of all of your book keeping and have it available to you via the Internet on a page that only you can access. Leave yourself open to being in “possession of gambling records” which is a class E felony.
Working with your new price per head service, which will probably be located down in tropical Costa Rica where wagering on sports is legal, all interactions between you, your players and the service all take place on the service companies servers and in their call centers… not in your back room. This is a basic, no brainer step back to take to avoid the penalty for being a bookie.
There are still rules and regulations against taking wagers in most states and, once again, careful discretion is called for in choosing who you will do business with. Remember, word of mouth is always the best bet when recruiting new players to your package.
Today’s bookie has to walk a rather fine line between being that popular man about town that everyone knows and trusts and being the guy that stays just under the radar and so manages not to call the wrong kind of attention to his activities.