Be a Sports Book Writer: Career Info and Education Requirements

Sep 13, 2019

Sports book writers require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Sports book writers sells bets concerning sports teams and game outcomes. There is no required education, but one would benefit from the minimum of a high school degree. Licensing is required for some states, while sports book writing is illegal in others.

Essential Information

Sports book writers take bets for and against sports teams, using statistics to balance their take and payout to make a profit regardless of the outcome. Sports book writing does not require any particular education, but a thorough understanding of sports, teams and statistics is necessary. A bachelor's degree might provide useful foundational knowledge in topics such as sports management, mathematics or computer science. Like all gaming services workers, sports book writers must be licensed by their states.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements State licensing
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% for gaming services workers
Median Salary (2018)* $24,430 for gaming and sports book writers and runners

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Sports Book Writer Career Overview

A sports book writer, also known as a 'bookie,' sells bets on sports teams or individuals, generally making a profit by balancing the odds in favor of all outcomes. Sports book writers work in a fast-paced environment where they work with computers, money and people and must have a thorough knowledge of betting methods in order to turn a profit. Sports book writing is illegal in some areas and prospective sports book writers should always be aware of the laws in their area.

Five Steps to Become a Sports Book Writer

Step One: Earn a High School Diploma

Most sports book writers must have experience in other professions before making books full time. Earning a high school diploma or GED equivalent is usually necessary to be employed in most industries. Good classes to take include mathematics, computer science and physical education.

Step Two: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is not necessarily required; however, it can help accelerate one's career path in sports book writing. Majoring in subjects such as computer science, sports management, mathematics and statistics elevate job opportunities for future sports book writers.

Step Three: Work in Customer Service

Having customer service experience is highly recommended for those who want to be sports book writers. Because of the high level of customer interaction, as well as working with computers, a customer service job is a good opportunity to train for a career in sports book writing.

Step Four: Understand Sports and Teams

Sports book writers must understand the sports and teams for the books they are making. Every change in the status of a team may affect the outcome of a game and therefore must be factored into the odds when making books.

Step Five: Learn About Statistics

Sports book writers use the science of statistics to 'balance their books,' manipulating their numbers so that they take as much money on one side of a bet as on the other and thereby keep from paying for a loss out of their own pockets. They make money by creating a point spread, where they keep slightly more on the take than they pay out to winners.

Altogether, an individual who wishes to become a sports book writer should follow these five steps: earn a high school diploma, obtain a bachelor's degree, work in customer service, understand sports and teams and learn about statistics. They should also be aware of the laws concerning sports book writing in the state where they would like to work.

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