How do Private Bookmakers differ from traditional high street and online bookmakers?

Private bookmakers tend to operate by only accepting new clients on referral from an existing customer. 

The predominant reason for this is that private bookmakers traditionally trade on a credit basis where the customer places their bets via a trust system. 

The customer will place their bets by phoning the bookmaker, giving them instructions as to the bet concerned and the amount they would like to invest. 

Then, at a predetermined time (usually each week or each month), a tally is put together of all the customers bets and, if showing an overall profit, a cheque or a bank transfer is issued to the customer. 

Conversely, if the tally of outstanding bets shows a loss, the customer is then expected to “make good” the amount owed.

Depending on the bookmaker concerned, the customer’s level of credit will be determined by a number of factors such as the reputation of the person who referred the new member to the bookmaker, the average stake required by the customer and the expected frequency of the customer’s wagers. 

Once the new customer has proven their reliability it may be that the line of credit will be increased. 

Private bookmakers have an aura of exclusivity and traditionally tend to attract higher-staking customers. 

The suggestion often given by the private bookmaker is that this exclusiveness allows for a more personal level of customer service given that their client base is much smaller than the traditional online or high street bookmaker.

Details regarding private bookmakers are quite difficult to find but below is a shortlist of the most well-known:


  • Apollo Bookmakers
  • Fitzdares
  • Goldchip
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