Vigorish, which is also referred to as “the vig” or “juice” is a fee applied to a wager by casinos and sportsbooks and is the primary way they make their money from a bettors action. In other words, it’s a commission a sportsbook or casino places on each bet placed through their establishment. An important thing to note is that if a bettor wins a bet, they do not have to pay the vigorish. However, if they lose, then they do, in fact, pay the vig.
As many bettors know, the sportsbooks aim to have the same amount of action on each side. To take the Ravens vs Patriots NFL playoff game for example… Ideally, the casino wants say $10 million on the Ravens and $10 million on the Patriots, that way, regardless of who wins the game, the players’ bets will essentially cancel each other out, and the casino will still reap the benefit of the big, or juice paid by the losing bettors.
However, most sportsbooks rarely split the action evenly, so they either bet on themselves to win in the long term to turn a profit, or in some cases when a casino has a very lopsided game with way more money on one particular side, then they’ll offload some of their action onto another casino to diminish the risk some in case the heavily bet on team wins. These are all basic but important gambling terms and concepts that all sports bettors need to be familiar with.