Quite simple: The word ‘bookie’ is a slang for bookmaker, in the world of gambling, especially when it pertains to sports wagering.
A bookie provides odds to clients and accepts bets on sporting and other events. He or she then is in charge of collecting the losing wagers and paying out winning ones that he accepts on the said events.
Bookmaking and placing bets through a bookmaker is generally illegal in the United States if not done through a licensed company. Sports wagering through a licensed bookmaker is only legal inside the state of Nevada, and through one of the corporations.
The legality of other different types of gambling is determined by state governments, and could very well be changing within the next few years. New Jersey is one state that is taking its case to the Supreme Court to try and get straight bets to be legalized within its state boundaries.
In principle, bookies make their money by charging a fee on their customers’ bets known as a “vigorish,” (also known as “the vig” or “the juice”). Generally speaking, in football and other sports where a pointspread is attached, that “vig” is 11-to-10. This means that the player has to risk $110 to win $100 (for example). If the player wins, he collects $100; if he loses, he pays the bookie $110. Bookmakers do not usually make their money by placing bets themselves.
There are two types of bookmaking operations on the street: credit and post-up.
Credit action is when the bookie provides the player a line of credit, and the player settles weekly regardless of how much he wins or loses. Sometimes the credit bookie will agree upon a figure that the client pays or collects with him and there is no weekly settle-up; only when the figure gets to the number both parties agreed to.
Post-up is where the player send funds offshore to an online sportsbook, and that amount is what the player starts with in their bank roll. The positive thing for post-up players is that they cannot get in over their heads and lose more than what has been posted up.