What Is a Sportsbook?

A sportsbook is a gambling establishment that accepts wagers on various sporting events. Its customers place bets through legal channels, such as online and mobile betting platforms, or through privately run enterprises referred to as bookies. In the United States, a sportsbook must be licensed to operate. This requires filling out applications, supplying financial information, and undergoing background checks. It also must meet specific rules regarding the types of betting options it can offer and how it will protect consumer data.

The types of bets available at a sportsbook include straight bets, moneyline bets, point spreads and futures bets. Each type has different odds, which are set to balance out the likelihood of winning or losing a bet. Straight bets are based on the winner of a particular event, such as a game or fight. They can be placed on an individual team or player, and can cover a wide range of outcomes.

Point spreads are popular among football and basketball bettors, as they balance out the differences between two teams by adding or subtracting points from the final score. They are generally determined by the sportsbook’s oddsmakers and reflect the expected margin of victory.

In the case of a losing bet, the sportsbook will refund the money if the match is deemed to have been “official.” However, some sportsbooks may require bettors to play the full game or at least part of it in order for their wagers to be considered official.