Posted by Bob on April 24, 2004
In Reply to: You can make book posted by Henry on April 23, 2004
: : : i've looked all over for the origin of this phrase, and it seems that it comes from gambling terminology. make book means to be sure of something, or, more precisely from the dictionary, to accept bets from a game or race. i'm wondering where the phrase comes from. thanks.
: : From: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000:
: : BOOKMAKER: 1. One that edits, prints, publishes, or binds books. 2. One who accepts and pays off bets, as on a horserace. Also called bookie.
: A bookmaker does not want to incur a loss! When he makes his book on a race, he sets the odds on each runner so that the money he receives in bets should exceed the amount he will have to pay out whatever the result of the race. As bets are placed, he will adjust the odds and may lay off some bets with another bookmaker. The bookmaker therefore does all he can to ensure that he makes a profit.
Before computers, of course, the bookmaker would keep a record of his bets in a notebook.