What Is a Sportsbook?

A sportsbook is a company that accepts bets on sporting events. It is also known as a bookmaker or a bookie, and it can be a physical location or an online website. In addition to accepting wagers on the outcome of sporting events, a sportsbook also offers a variety of other betting options. The most popular bets are single-game and moneyline bets.

Typically, sportsbooks collect a commission (usually 10%) on losing bets, which they use to pay winning wagers. This is called vigorish, or juice, and it is an essential component of sportsbooks’ revenue streams. In addition, they must comply with local and federal gambling laws.

Sportsbooks must keep detailed records of all bets placed, and most accept wagers only after customers have logged in to their apps or swiped cards at the betting window. This makes it nearly impossible to make a large bet without being recognized as a significant player.

It’s important for sportsbooks to maintain balanced books and minimize financial risks. One way to do this is by using layoff accounts, which are designed to balance bets on both sides of a game and reduce risk. A lot of online sportsbook management software vendors offer this functionality, and it can be a useful tool for lowering your risks while still making profit.