A sportsbook is a place that accepts bets on various sporting events. These bets can be placed in-person or online. Sports betting was once limited to Nevada, but a Supreme Court decision in 2018 allowed more states to offer legal sportsbooks. The boom in legal sportsbooks has sparked competition and innovation, but it also creates new kinds of uncertainty for people who make bets. Ambiguous situations arise because of digital technology and changes in the sport itself, and many of them are resolved by the sportsbooks themselves.
To get the best bang for your buck, it’s crucial to shop around for sportsbook odds. Different bookmakers set their lines differently, and even a small difference can make a big difference in your profit margin. For example, the Chicago Cubs may be -180 at one sportsbook and -190 at another. That ten-cent difference won’t break your bankroll right away, but over time it can make a huge difference in how much money you win.
Sportsbooks make their money by charging a commission on losing bets, known as vig or juice. Then, they use the rest of the money to pay out winners. A standard commission is 10%, but it can vary from book to book. Sportsbooks also collect taxes on the winnings of players, which can add up to a substantial sum over the course of a season. Those tax revenues help pay for the operations of the sportsbooks, and they often serve as a substantial source of income for the gaming industry.