August 10, 2022

How Much do Professional Gamblers Make?

Samuel Kiprop
Written bySamuel KipropWriter

Sports bettors have all imagined what it would be like to live off of their hobby. Some have conjured up thoughts of walking away with a whopping 6-figure sum, spending a fortune on luxurious brands, and traveling to their dream destinations. The sight of professional bettors on TV seems thrilling. 

How Much do Professional Gamblers Make?

Wagering on the outcomes of a favorite team through a mobile sportsbook and scooping a jackpot sounds exciting. For these reasons, many upcoming gamblers often find themselves wondering if they can turn sports betting into a career. They also ask themselves, “How much can one make from wagering on sports?”

Is Professional Betting Lucrative?

Before answering this question, it is crucial to understand who a professional gambler is. Simply put a pro gambler is someone who earns a salary through betting. It requires some skills to generate a profit. So, anyone who earns money from legit sports betting sites throughout the year is regarded as a professional gambler. An avid sports bettor makes money but it may not suffice to cover all their day to day expenses. 

This means they need a supplementary income to cater for housing, food, clothing, transportation, and utility bills. Some bettors are considered semi-professional, i.e., they make enough cash out of sports wagering to complement their daily job but not on a full-time basis.

Factors Determining the Profitability of Sports Betting

On average, pros make at least $25,000 per annum by just wagering on sporting events. Though, the exact figure cannot be verified since some of the sites they use are very secretive. So, the amount of money they earn from sports bets depends on several factors.

1. Bet Size

The bet size is also known as the stake and may have an impact on the outcomes of a sports bet. By definition, a stake is a valuable item like money that the punter puts at risk to initiate his game. A general hypothesis is that a higher stake has a bigger probability of winning a high prize. Massive jackpots are more common with high rollers because these punters often contribute more to the bigger prize pool. 

This correlation may be affected by the odds of winning and the number of players, notwithstanding. Suppose the average bet size for an upcoming football match is $2 but has a very low odds of winning and the ultimate prize is set at $1M. In this case, a punter can place a higher stake to boost their chances of scooping the jackpot.

2. ROI

Every punter has a return on investment (ROI), which can be positive or negative. A positive edge means that if they wager more, they can expect to make more profits. Conversely, a negative ROI means they will lose more as long as they continue betting. ROI is the money a gambler makes vis a vis how much they wagered. In sports betting, it refers to the actual profit compared to the amount put at stake. 

When a player wins a prize, the amount they claim to have walked away with can be misleading. For instance, a $100 bet with 1.3 odds translates to $130 on the betting website, but the actual profit that the punter gets will be $30 after deducting the initial investment. Here, the ROI would be 30%, which is virtually impossible to maintain in the long term.

3. Total Stake/ Turnover

Turnover is the sum of all stakes. It is the estimated amount that a player expects to win or lose over a timeframe. For instance, a total stake of $500 and a +5 ROI has an expected outcome of 5% x $500 = $2,500. A higher turnover with fewer bets increases the variance and consequently raises the probability of a big win. The opposite is true.

4. The House Edge

Regardless of the sports that a punter chooses to bet on, the chances of the bookmaker making a profit are always higher than the player’s odds of winning. This happens because sportsbooks are in business. Some sports betting events have a lower house edge between 0.5% and 2% so they only generate minimum profits. For other events, the house can take 15% to 40%.

Some punters don’t have a proper understanding of the house edge and so they end up losing more. They think just because the bookmaker has a 5% edge, that they can gamble with $200 for hours and lose $10 only. What they forget is that the house edge applies to both their bankroll and the total amount in bets.

In Summary

Professional sports betting is not the easiest way to make money. There are several benefits of being a professional bettor such as having an additional source of income, the ability to gamble at flexible hours, and making independent decisions. While sports betting can transform one’s life for good, it is imperative to learn its drawbacks. Common risks include highs and lows, the possibility of losing everything and a lack of breaks. 

A smart gambler analyzes the pros and cons before indulging in betting or making it a full-time career. The potential benefits can be tremendous, e.g., in the case of a major sporting event like the World Cup. But the player must be disciplined enough and knowledgeable to handle the risks involved.

About the author
Samuel Kiprop
Samuel Kiprop

Born in Nairobi, Samuel Kiprop expertly marries the world of online casinos with the pulse of Kenyan life. Fusing urban flair with cultural wisdom, he's a name to know in East African digital gaming.

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