Official betting refers to wagers made at regulated, licensed sportsbooks. Bets are placed on a range of events, including game outcomes and player performance. The bettor’s money is placed into an account with the bookmaker, which then pays out winning bettors and collects losing bettors’ stakes. A small amount of the total amount wagered is retained by the bookmaker as a commission, known as vigorish.
The earliest examples of official betting were in horse racing and boxing, but the practice was not popularized until modern times. Most professional baseball players are banned from gambling on games, and those who violate this rule face a lifetime ban from the sport. The most famous gambling scandal in baseball history took place in 1919, when gambler Joseph Sullivan paid eight members of the Chicago White Sox to fix the World Series. This scandal led to the infamous Black Sox name and a long ban for the players involved.
Sports betting is now legal in many states, and there are a variety of online and mobile sportsbooks to choose from. In addition to big brand names like FanDuel and DraftKings, some states host their own local sportsbooks that operate as part of a state-approved licensing system. These local sportsbooks often offer a mixture of big brands and hometown heroes, making them an ideal place for bettors to find the best odds. In addition, some sportsbooks feature ongoing bet boosts that reward customers with bonus credits for (often risky) wagers.