How to Start an Online Sportsbook

Betting on sports has become a huge industry over the past few years, and the growth in online betting has boomed as a result. This growth, along with improvements in betting software, has made the online sportsbook an attractive proposition for many looking to get in on the action. Here are some of the top tips for starting an online sportsbook and what you need to do to succeed.

What is an Online Sportsbook?

An online sportsbook is a website that players can log in to and bet on sports they like. There are many variations, but they all essentially work the same way.


Passion is Important

Before you begin your journey into online sportsbooks, you need to find out if you can deal with what is needed. To be successful, you need to know your products and the best ways to sell them. This means you should have a passion for sport and understand the betting system to a high degree. There will also likely be many changes to the regulations along with the sports you are betting on, so you will need to keep up to date on these changes as well.

You Are Owning a Business

Running an online sportsbook is going to be a serious venture. You will need to have the skills to run it like a business or learn the skills you need as you go along. Speaking to others that have started their own sportsbook will be a good way to get advice and point you in the right direction.

How Much Time Can You Devote to it?

It is important to understand how much time you need to run your online sportsbook effectively. If you are also working another job at the same time, then when can you devote time to the sportsbook? Not only do you need to find time to deal with player requests, but you also need to build your player’s list to get things off the ground. If you feel that you will need more time than you have available, then you might need to consider lowering your hours at work or saving time elsewhere.

How Much Money Do You Have?

Your budget is one of the most important parts of the process. You will need a budget to start so you can pay for the pay per head service and other tools you need to do the job. If you don’t have any players on your list yet, then don’t start until you have built one up.

The next phase is to work out how much money you have to keep the sportsbook going. It is best to think of the worst-case scenario and how long you can keep paying out without getting any profit. If this is only a few weeks, then you need to secure more funding before you start.

Some people who start sportsbooks will secure funding from investors. This can be a good way to get started and have the cash behind you to cushion any losses. However, you will likely need to have a good business plan set up and show how your sportsbook will work before an investor will spend their money.

What is Pay Per Head?

When you are setting up an online sportsbook, you will need the software and support to help you take bets online and work out the odds. This is where Pay-Per-Head software comes in.

The service provides a website along with a number of sports betting options that are updated daily. This takes a lot of the hard work out of finding bets and writing them up. Because the software looks after all of the technical sides, it leaves the agent free to focus on growing their business and interacting with the players.

On average, most pay-per-head providers charge $10 per week. There are also cheaper options on the market, however, the service might not be as reliable or feature-rich as others.

What to Look For in a Pay Per Head Service

 One of the first things to consider is reliability. How much downtime does the service have? Do they get a lot of service issues? You want a service that will be reliable or your players will get frustrated.

  • Support is another key factor. You need to be sure that someone will be available if something goes wrong. If you are using software from another country, will they be available when you need them? Do they have a number of ways that you can contact them?
  • Value for money is important. The cheapest option won’t always save you money in the long run, but the most costly can sometimes be the same as the average cost software. Compare several providers and see what gives you the best service and features but also be cost-effective.
  • What payment types do they offer? Many people that play online games are moving to cryptocurrency, so you need to know that your service will support this and other popular currencies.
  • Compatibility with devices. If you want to get the most players, then you need to cater to whatever device they are using. Check that the software provider you are using will be compatible with all formats, or as many of the popular ones as possible.
  • Custom websites are an important part of your package because you want to have a site that will work right away. The templates that many companies provide will be easy to customize so you can get started as quickly as possible. However, there may be some providers that don’t offer custom sites so you need to be aware so you can design your own.
  • Reading the reviews from other online sportsbooks can be a good way to see how the software works. If there are a lot of complaints about compatibility or downtime, then this may indicate an issue with the software.
  • As well as your own customer service, you also need to ensure that the software is also customer friendly. It needs to have an easy to use interface and other features such as:
    • Web, phone, and mobile wagering options
    • 365 days, 24 hours wagering
    • A wide range of wagering types and markets

Testing the Service

Before you begin to operate, you need to know that all aspects of the sportsbook are working correctly. Test that their wagering service works properly and that there is no delay or lag that could affect the betting.

Ensure that you, or someone you trust, test the website for you to make sure it is fast and reliable. If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, you can hire someone ad-hoc to test it for you. They will also be able to make any recommendations about how to make it better.

Work Out Your Opening Deals

When you eventually start your online sportsbook, you will need to have deals in place that will entice players to give you a try. Many will have their favorite sites, and tempting them away can be hard. You may find that your price per head service already has special deals that will be appropriate for your needs. If not, think of a good way to get players to come over. One deal could be to offer a free trial for a period of time. Alternatively, you could offer a number of free bets as part of the sign-up process.

Choosing the Right Time

When you are looking to start your sportsbook, it is a good idea to look at what is happening in the sports world to see if you can coincide the launch with a popular event.

By choosing a big sporting event, you not only get the regular players, but also the one-time betters that just play for the odd event. Although those players won’t be regular enough to make it pay for you, they will often have friends that bet more often. A good word from them about your site will be better for your business than any amount of advertising.

If you are going down this route, remember to ensure that your software provider and your support staff if you have any, can cope with what might be a busy period.


You want people to know about your new venture, so marketing is going to be key to making your business successful. If you are on a tight budget, you don’t need to spend a fortune on marketing. There are many other ways that you can get noticed.

  • One way is to work on your social media. Set up a dedicated account for your site and start producing posts in advance of your opening. You want to post about the deals you are offering but also engage with those that interact with your posts. Posting the odd thing that isn’t betting related will also help to show people that this isn’t just a robot account. The most important thing is to reply to questions or comments about the site or the games. This will please your players because they will feel valued as customers.
  • Advertising is another good way to get players, but you need to check the rules regarding advertising in your area. Ensure that you stick to any guidelines laid out so you are not breaching any laws. You also want to be sure that any advertising you use is in the right area to capture those who will get the most from it. For example, if you are posting a paid ad on Facebook, adjust the options so that only people in the area you want and those who like sports are seeing it.
  • Another area you could consider is joining forums or Facebook groups that are geared towards betting or a particular sport. You will need to ask the moderator of the group if you will be allowed to post about your sportsbook, but it can be a great way to find people that share the same interests as those you are looking attract.

Once You Start, Stay Consistent

It is vital that once you launch your sportsbook that you maintain the consistency of the site and the wagers. Even if things seem a little slow at first, they will eventually start to pick up. If you are not updating the site regularly or not available to take wagers, then players will leave and it will be harder to win them back.

As your business grows, you may need to expand your employees to cope with the demand. Try to anticipate this before it starts to affect your business, then you can continue to grow and have the capacity to keep up with wagers. It will also allow you to expand your business and free up time to add more players.

There is a huge potential with sportsbooks and if you can set up your business in the right way and maintain a high-quality, then you will soon start to see the benefits of all the hard work.

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