If you are wondering how to become a bookmaker, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this field, as well as sport and leisure job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Bookmakers can work ‘on course’ or ‘off course’. Off-course bookmakers, also called betting shop managers, run licensed betting offices. On-course bookmakers, or turf accountants, work in betting shops on location – usually at horse or dog racing tracks.

    As a bookmaker, you would manage and coordinate all gambling activities. This may include:

    developing a team of cashiers
    taking money, placing bets and paying out winnings during busy periods
    recruiting and training new staff
    dealing with complaints
    setting sales targets
    balancing accounts at the end of the day.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good bookmakers include:

    good communication, negotiation and customer service skills
    the ability to manage a team of staff
    the ability to understand betting regulations
    an awareness of security issues
    the ability to make calculations quickly
    time management skills
    good organisational skills
    basic keyboard and computer skills
    honesty, integrity and trustworthiness
    some knowledge of sporting events.

    How to become a bookmaker
    You can begin working in this field either by starting out as a cashier and working your way up (see Betting Shop Cashier profile), or by applying to a bookmaker for a position as a trainee manager. You may also be able to apply directly for a management position if, for example, you have previous experience as a customer service manager.

    There are no minimum academic entry requirements to start work as a trainee manager, however, many employers will prefer you to have GCSEs (A-C) including English and maths. Some off-course bookmakers may want you to have qualifications such as a BTEC HND or degree. Subjects with a strong business or maths element would be most useful (check with colleges or universities for entry requirements).

    When you apply for a job as a bookmaker, many employers will ask you to sit a basic maths test to show that you can deal with percentages and calculate odds and payments. Extra maths tuition is sometimes provided by an employer.

    You may have an advantage when looking for work if you also have previous experience of customer service, supervising colleagues and handling money.

    By law you need to be at least age 18 to work in a betting office.

    Training and Development
    Once you start work with a betting shop, you will usually receive on-the-job training from your employer. This may include spending some time as a cashier (if you have no previous betting shop experience), then gradually taking on the duties of a deputy or assistant manager before going on to manage the shop independently.

    If you work for a large employer you may also spend time at a central training centre with other trainee managers. You will usually be trained in areas such as:

    calculating bets
    betting and gambling laws
    marketing the shop
    betting shop administration
    product knowledge
    customer service
    managing and developing staff
    company policies.
    You may also have the opportunity to work towards NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Customer Service. Once you are fully trained and working as a manager, you could work towards an NVQ Level 4 in Management.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Starting salaries for trainee or assistant managers can be between £13,500 and £15,500 a year.
    Managers can earn around £20,000.

    Job Prospects
    You would find job opportunities at one of the many race courses with on-site betting, or within one of more than 8,000 betting shops spread across the country.

    You may find greater opportunities for promotion within larger betting shop chains, managing shops with a greater turnover or having responsibility for all the shops in a region or district.

    Many vacancies are advertised in the local press or the Racing Post. You could also contact local betting shops and chains directly to discuss opportunities.

    With experience and financial backing, you could go on to be a self-employed bookmaker. You can get details about this, including the legal requirements, from the Association of British Bookmakers.

    Useful leisure or sport resources:
    Association of British Bookmakers Ltd
    Regency House
    1-4 Warwick Street
    W1B 5LT
    Tel: 020 7434 2111

    This page is for bookmaker careers advice and training opportunities.

    Recent Articles


    Related Stories

    Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox