I have seen this multiple times. The hero goes to fight at a clandestine location, bets are placed, money changes hands, but no ticket is given to the gamblers like they usually do at horse tracks.

So how do they pay the bets after the fight is over?

My guess would be that it is just a director's trick to enhance the chaotic nature of the moment, but to me it just doesn't make sense so I wonder if I'm missing something.

The last time I saw this was in the Netflix Iron Fist, when his girlfriend entered the cage.

  • Somewhat different but interesting: A friend took me to a location in Hong Kong. On a wall software titles were displayed. (With prices?)(A few years back.) DO NOT TAKE PHOTOs he said. I did, of course :-) - not people - just room wall with software descriptions etc. People then walk past a 'hole in wall' and convey their choice to an unseen person. "Buyers" then walk outside and wait. In due course they go to a nearby but unattached location. Money is passed through a hole in wall. Stuff is passed out. Occasionally the police raid. Stuff is torn off the wall. Police leave. Business resumes. Jul 3, 2019 at 8:47
  • ... I didn't try to buy anything, of course :-). Being there was fun enough. Photos somewhere :-). Jul 3, 2019 at 8:48
  • Tokyo. Pachinko pinball. Hundreds of machines and obsessive gamblers - some live there, almost. Prizes may only be in goods - not money. Somewhere nearby you take your goods to a hole in the wall. Goods get passed in. Standard payment gets pushed out. Goods no doubt circulate :-). I heard about but did not see the refund part of this. google.com/… Jul 3, 2019 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


The same way you place any other bet.

There is someone setting the odds (the bookmaker) and you give him your money up front. There's a huge element of trust here that the bookie will record who bet, how much, on what result and at what odds.

Depending on the movie or show, you may or may not see the bet being recorded....but it almost certainly is...the bookie will probably have a boss!

If your chosen fighter wins, you go to the bookie and collect your winnings.

Of course, given the (often) illegality of bookmaking and especially on illegal fights you have to hope the bookie will be there to pay you off...or has the money to do so if they got the odds wrong.

  • 1
    But the scenes usually doesnt show that. Just money change between hands. I guess written a ticket doesnt add much to the plot. Jul 2, 2019 at 18:00
  • As I said, you may or may not see the bet being recorded but often you will. It's not really necessary to show it since, as you mentioned, it doesn't add much unless it's essential to the plot.
    – Paulie_D
    Jul 2, 2019 at 18:03
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    Also these are illegal operations, the last thing people want is written receipts for gambling floating around. If the event is raided, the bookie can dispose of one single piece of evidence.
    – Paulie_D
    Jul 2, 2019 at 18:04
  • @JuanCarlosOropeza: Films and movies tend to omit irrelevant pedantic details that halt the flow of the scene. This is similar to how people seem to always know where their coworkers/friends live. Them having to look it up is omitted because the looking up of the address is an irrelevant detail to the plot that just wastes screentime and bores the viewer. Similarly, you don't need to see every little thing the bookie needs to do. All you need to see that there is a bookie who is taking bets. Anything else just wastes screentime.
    – Flater
    Jul 3, 2019 at 9:30

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