A sportsbook is a gambling establishment that accepts wagers on various sporting events. Its legality depends on state law, with some states banning sports betting altogether and others allowing only horse racing, greyhound racing, jai alai, and more recently, football and basketball games. In the US, most sportsbooks operate online and use geolocation to ensure that gamblers are in a state where sports betting is permitted.
Sportsbooks handle bets by requiring gamblers to lay a certain amount of money to win another, which guarantees the sportsbook a profit in the long run. For example, a sportsbook will require bettors to put up $110 to win $100. In the short term, this handicaps bettors but in the long run, it provides a steady source of income for the sportsbook.
Another way that sportsbooks make money is by taking bets on total (over/under) wins. If the combined score of a game is exactly equal to the proposed total, it’s a push and most sportsbooks refund all bettors’ wagers on these outcomes.
In addition to offering lines on a variety of different sporting events, sportsbooks also offer a wide range of other types of wagers, including futures bets. These bets have a long-term horizon and are based on the likelihood that a specific team will win a particular event. For example, a futures bet on the 2017-2018 NFL season can be placed before the season starts and offers a higher payout than bets made on individual games. However, bettors should note that these bets may not pay out until well after the final game of the season has concluded.