This story examines how two guys built a bookie business. One passage reviews attracting customers. It seems, a bookie business follows the same approach as HBO. The teaser trial quote:
Like a cable company's free-HBO-for-a-year promotion, Luke and Steve knew they'd have to set more gambler-friendly lines at the beginning to hook them in before normalizing everything and raking in the profit.
"We started with like 10 guys and, to be honest, we put ourselves out there the first couple years," (Luke) says. "We would lower lines, we would move lines so that they would be more favorable for them and people would want to bet with us. Like if the Packers were playing the Niners and the Packers were -7.5, for the first couple years we'd make it -6.5. That might not sound like a lot, but it is."
They would also lower the "juice" (also known as "the vig") — the commission a bookie gets for taking a bet — to try to get guys to jump ship. It worked.
From that point, this business relied on referral marketing to expand its customer base.