Describes a brokerage facility that books (takes the opposite side of) retail customer orders without actually having them executed on an exchange. The term comes from the practice of placing an order in a bucket rather than transmitting it to an exchange as a broker would normally do. Bucket Shops were popular during the 1920’s at a time when many stocks traded at over $100 a share and the average salary was $1,000 a year, making investment in the stock market too expensive for most people. The most sophisticated bucket shops, known as bucketeers, were hard to distinguish from legitimate brokerage offices, having their own ticker tapes and chalkboards. The bucketeers would often take opposite positions in the market to ensure that their customers could not win.
See also: Jesse Livermore