How Do Betting Syndicates Work?

Sports betting is rapidly gaining traction in the US. As of early 2021, more than two dozen states and Washington, DC, had legalized sports betting, either at retail sportsbooks, online, or both. Among these states is Illinois, which launched legal sports betting in 2019.

Typically, most sports bettors tend to work alone. There are many benefits to this, but there are also downsides. When working alone, you have to generate all of your capital and do all your own research, among other things. This is where joining a sports betting syndicate can be an advantage for certain bettors. This page will break down those benefits as well as cover any disadvantages regarding sports betting syndicates in Illinois.

What is a sports betting syndicate?

A sports betting syndicate is when two or more bettors form a group to wager on sports as a collective. This can mean combining bankrolls, sharing research, and many other things.

A sports betting syndicate can range from a small group of friends to large corporations. When considering joining or starting a syndicate, it is important to understand what will work best for you. Regardless, joining a syndicate can have major advantages for sports bettors in comparison to working alone.

Are sports betting syndicates allowed in Illinois?

This is a tricky question with a multifaceted answer. Technically speaking, it is illegal to place wagers on behalf of another individual in Illinois. There are ways around this, though. Established sports betting syndicates should have the right structure in place to make it legal.

Essentially, as long as the individual who places the wagers does not receive payment for simply placing the wager, then it is legal. So, as long as winnings are divided up as they should be, and there is no fee/charge for placing the wager, then yes, syndicates are legal.

What is the purpose of a betting syndicate?

Sports betting syndicates are designed for individuals to profit more from sports bets than they would on their own. It can involve combining bankrolls and sharing research. A betting syndicate basically allows a group of people to place wagers that they could not on their own.

Professional betting syndicates will share data and resources and place wagers that capitalize on mispriced odds. They do this as a collective, which can lead to greater payouts long-term. Syndicates do this by shopping for lines, creating algorithms, and timing bets.

Main benefits of betting syndicates

There are several benefits to forming a betting syndicate. For one, to be a professional sports handicapper is hard work. When you work alone, you do everything alone. When you have a team of people, there is less work per individual. Here are some additional reasons why forming/joining a sports betting syndicate can be advantageous:

1. Mutual responsibility

Perhaps one of the biggest positives of joining a syndicate is the shared responsibility. As previously stated, it takes work to be a professional sports handicapper. On top of that is all the research that goes into it.

The whole idea of sports betting is to take advantage of the markets. Also, people have different strengths and weaknesses. When you join a syndicate, all the tasks of sports betting are split up among the group. This allows for every stage to run more efficiently. It also allows individuals to focus on their strengths.

2. Shared bankroll

Another major advantage of joining a sports betting syndicate is that you share a bankroll. This is huge, as typically, the larger the wager you place, the larger the payout. As an individual, you can only place so much per bet. Even if you are confident in a play, it might not be easy to risk the amount you would like on a bet.

With a sports betting syndicate, capital is less of a worry. Ideally, the more members, the larger the bankroll. This can allow more freedom when placing large wagers. A larger bankroll also means increased payouts and larger profits faster.

3. Betting limits

Another major advantage of joining a syndicate is that betting limits will no longer be a concern. Many sportsbooks have a cap on what you can place as a single wager. With a betting syndicate, you can hammer weak lines all at once when you work as a group. This maximizes earning potential.

Another advantage is the ability to place several bets simultaneously. Typically, more wagers on a line will shift that line. A syndicate has the ability to make several plays almost simultaneously, which allows its members to maximize potential at the best possible line.

4. Data and research

Success in sports betting generally requires data collection and research. This can also be one of the most tedious and time-consuming aspects of sports betting. When you have multiple people working in a syndicate, you can cover far more ground in less time. You can have people focusing on specific aspects. The more people you have collecting data and running simulations, the more reliable predictions will become.

5. Shopping lines

Shopping lines, like research, is time-consuming but important to actually succeed at sports betting. Sportsbooks tend to have slightly different odds and lines for the same game. These lines are also constantly changing based on wagers coming in. Sports syndicates have people specifically in place to watch and monitor lines, so they won’t miss those opportunities.

Things to consider before starting a syndicate

Running a sports betting syndicate is a full-time job. The previous section provided a small idea of just how much effort actually goes into making a syndicate operate. We have discussed the advantages of sports betting syndicates, but it is important to understand the potential issues.

Perhaps most important when forming a betting syndicate is to consult a lawyer. While this page provides some general tips, it is in no way the same as actual legal advice. Having everything in writing for a lawyer to look over is another good idea.

Legal issues

While we’ve briefly touched on this, it is important to ensure that the entire operation is legal. For this, it’s important to know the law and make sure you are following it. For instance, it is illegal to place wagers for other individuals for a profit. You may potentially want to form an LLC or corporation. Again, check the laws and make sure you are operating within guidelines.


A betting syndicate requires two or more individuals to operate. When you have two or more individuals, it is important to understand how you are dividing any profits. Systems can vary from syndicate to syndicate, so before starting one, you need to research and understand how you will split profits.


This is perhaps one of the biggest concerns when starting a sports betting syndicate. For one, you have to trust the individuals who are doing research and deciding what bets to place. You also have to trust the individuals who are actually placing the bets.

Procedures for members joining and leaving

This is another thing that you should have in writing before starting the syndicate. It would be best if you had bylaws in place for exact procedures involving members joining and leaving. Another factor is understanding how a potential buyout would work if a member decides to leave who has capital already invested.

Losing streaks

Just like any business with investors, it is important to know how to handle losses. You are bound to have losing streaks here and there with sports betting, even if you operate a syndicate. When starting a syndicate, you have to know how long you can operate during losing streaks and how to explain these streaks to investors.

How to start a betting syndicate

As far as the basics, when starting a syndicate, all you need is two or more people, an internet connection, and a workspace. It is also important to have capital, make sure you are operating legally, and have everything, including your betting syndicates rules, in writing. We recommend starting small and growing from there. This can lead to more success, as you have a learning curve in the beginning. Also, always remember that running a sports betting syndicate is a full-time job, and you should treat it as such.

Key points of betting syndicates

Sports betting syndicates have many advantages like shared resources and mutual responsibilities. They also have some potential downsides like legal issues. If you join or start a sports betting syndicate, it is important to always remember to do your research and bet responsibly.