The sports betting market is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States today, going from a niche industry almost exclusive to Nevada to one of the hottest things on the market in barely half a decade. With plenty of advertisements for betting promotions and the sportsbooks that run them, it’s extremely tempting to get involved in the fervor. All the same, everyone has heard the mantra that “the house always wins.” Sports betting can be extremely lucrative if you know what you’re doing, but the reason the industry continues to operate is because the sportsbooks offering the odds know how to ensure that they come out ahead most of the time.

As such, anyone with an entrepreneurial streak is more likely to wonder how to get in on betting operation rather than placing bets… but those opportunities don’t come cheap, with an operator license clocking in at $500,000 for racetracks and $50,000 for their mobile partners—not to mention the potential millions of dollars needed in capital if someone’s wager comes up successful, or the industry expertise needed to set the lines in a way that ensures success. There are plenty of hurdles to getting started in the gambling industry unless you’re already on third base, to begin with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t test the waters all the same. Here are some examples of how.

Pool Betting Parties

One of the easiest ways to get involved in the world of running a betting operation is through Kentucky’s marquee sporting event. The vast majority of sports betting was illegal in the United States between 1992 and 2018, but some betting institutions managed to remain despite that, whether because of their cultural influence (like that of Las Vegas or, more pertinent, the Kentucky Derby) or because of legal loopholes in the definition of gambling, as was the case with the rise of fantasy sports betting.


Betting on horse racing has been a mainstay of the pastime since the English popularized the sport in the 1700s, although it likely has roots reaching back far earlier than that.

Beyond their historical importance, betting on horse races managed to avoid the blanket ban because of the peculiarities of the process. As opposed to other forms of sports betting, where someone places bets against a bookkeeper, horse racing employs parimutuel bets, commonly known as pool betting. Bettors are at odds with their fellow bettors instead of at odds with the person or entity hosting the event—although the betting operator does take a share of the pool, too. If one person places a massive bet on ‘Horse A’ at 3/2 odds, it’s going to shift the outlook for the rest of the field.

It’s a technique that Vegas and traditional sports betting sites in Kentucky use to a lesser extent, as bets placed on a team to win or lose can shift the point spread and money line. It pays to keep a close eye on how the odds shift, as a given horse can get much better payout odds if the money lands elsewhere: betting operators don’t want to offer lucrative odds if most of the money is on a single horse, giving an opportunity for other competitors to succeed.

While nothing beats the experience of heading to Churchill Downs to take in “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” in person, hosting your own Kentucky Derby watch party and fielding pool bets among your friends and family is an excellent second option.

Fantasy Football Commissioner

Just like with horse betting pools, it’s generally accepted that the commissioner of a fantasy football league should take a cut of the entrance fees, even if they aren’t the one who ends up winning the league.


They’re doing the most work, after all, keeping an eye on trade requests and deciding exactly how the league will operate, so it makes sense for them to earn some form of compensation for their efforts.

As with any leadership role, it’s critical to be a good listener. You want to be able to arbitrate between the various members of your league, negotiating concerns like the scoring system—point per reception or half point per reception, fractional points or whole numbers, for instance—to make sure that everything operates smoothly.

Your profit from operating a fantasy football league (or any other fantasy sport) will often depend on how much time you’re willing to put in. If you want to keep it to an exclusive pool like your friends and family or your coworkers, you won’t make as much as if you take a more ambitious outlook, overseeing multiple sports and leagues. The ball is in your court, and sports betting has never been more popular.