In the world of sports betting, a bookmaker is a person or company that sets odds, accepts bets, and pays out winnings on behalf of others.

Bookmakers are integral to the betting industry, providing a space for people to place bets on various outcomes, most commonly in sports.

While some started off small, focusing on the betting markets, they have since grown into mammoth business operations with platforms that include a huge range of gambling options.

Many have offices and online functions in multiple countries so you could be forgiven for thinking that they all operate in the same way.

However, while they may seem similar at first glance, they can vary significantly from one country to another.

Here, as this Vicbet Review highlights, there are major differences between bookmakers in Australia, Britain, and the United States.

1. Regulation and Oversight

One of the most significant differences among bookmakers globally is the level of regulation and oversight in their operations.

This disparity influences everything from the availability of gambling to the protection offered to customers.

For example, countries like Costa Rica, Curacao, and Panama are known for their more relaxed approach to gambling regulations, with little or no specific legislation for online betting.

Alongside favourable tax laws and reasonable licensing fees, it’s easy to understand why so many companies are set up there. The downside, of course, is that customers have far less protection against unfair practices.

In contrast, other countries have such strict legislation that gambling is all but illegal.

Japan has traditionally had very strict gambling laws, where most forms were illegal, with the exception of some public sports and pachinko.

Even today, with more recent updates to their legislation, the rules are still incredibly stringent.

And while Japan at least allows some gambling, in the UAE, all forms are strictly prohibited due to the country’s religious principles. Severe penalties for those caught gambling include hefty fines and imprisonment.

For those countries that are somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, there are still plenty of hoops to jump through.

Bookmakers in Australia are heavily regulated by both state and federal agencies, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) plays a crucial role in monitoring online betting activities.

With an emphasis on player protection and fair play, the types of bets and promotions that can be offered are strictly limited.

In the UK, the Gambling Commission oversees bookmakers under its comprehensive regulatory framework. While it allows for a wide range of betting options and innovations such as in-play betting, it is still focused on player safety.

The United States faces a slightly different issue in that regulation varies wildly from state to state.

When the federal ban on sports betting was overturned in 2018, some states, like Nevada, embraced gambling. However, others have chosen a more drawn-out process which is confusing for players as you can be allowed a bet in one state but not in another, making online gambling quite tricky.

2. Betting Options and Odds

The types of bets available and the odds provided can also differ vastly from country to country.

Bookmakers tend to offer a wide variety of sports to bet on, and Australians are no different, though they have a particular focus on rugby and Australian rules football.

With much higher operational costs and taxes, the odds can be less competitive compared to international bookmakers.

One aspect of sports betting in the UK that stands out is the larger range of options. That’s where you’ll find odds available on more niche markets, such as darts and snooker.

That is in contrast to the US, where bookmakers traditionally focus on American sports like basketball, football, and baseball. And, depending on where you live, the odds can vary significantly because of local sports teams.

3. Promotions and Bonuses

The last major difference between bookmakers around the world is the types of offers and promotions that they can use to attract new customers.

As mentioned above, there are very strict advertising laws in Australia which limits the types of bonuses they can offer.

Anybody who has ever placed a bet in the UK will know full well that the Brits are not bound to the same extent and frequently offer a huge range of bonuses to attract and retain customers.

Given that gambling is still in its legal infancy in the US, this is where the big bonuses are, with bookmakers all trying to outdo each other to attract new customers.

Perspective on Bookmakers Around The World

Like any other industry, the global landscape for gambling is as wide and varied as it can possibly get.

From almost no rules or regulations to outright bans that can incur prison sentences, what you get in terms of betting completely depends on where you are.

While on balance, countries like the the UK or Australia appear to have found a happy medium between profitability and player safety, for some it will never be enough until there is a complete ban.

For now, though, while bookmakers around the world may serve the same basic function, the way they operate can be vastly different.

So our advice is to always make sure you are betting with a company that is regulated in your country, one that offers you protection and makes sure that your best interests are always served.