A number of years ago when I was on the Client Care phone lines having daily conversations with our members, I always remember the conversation I had with one of our members who was a financial specialist in the banking industry and somewhat new to investing in the sports markets.
We talked on numerous topics during that hour, among which was the latest sport tips and matched betting. When I gave him the 30K foot view of matched betting, he at first was a little suspicious. I mean who wouldn’t….using free money to beat the bookies on the World Cup. As he bluntly said, “It sounded way too good to be true, especially with the claim it was risk-free”.
For those new to the matched betting…
Matched betting (also known as back or lay bet matching, or double betting) is a betting technique used by individuals to profit from the free bets and incentives offered by bookmakers.
I too am not much of a believer in schemes that purport to be risk free, so I approached the idea from both the good and the bad, and acknowledged is skepticism was typical.
But, to his shock, the introductory bet offers I showed him from the online sports books were plenty and impressive! Having taken about 25 myself, I’ve in fact made about a few hundred pounds. And the added bonus, is that it was made tax-free, and without risk. In the end, it isn’t about gambling. It’s taking advantage of offers to give you an edge over the rest, or a ‘try before you buy’ model to experience the service. Somewhat like free football tips that expert tipsters offer…but unique in its own way.
I was quickly to outline that while it says its free…it of course isn’t totally free. It’s a tedious bet to go through each of the offers for a little over an hour a day. But even when you take the time to calculate the number of bets, it’s quite a profitable hour a day sitting in front of the computer and earning by using matched betting.
Match betting is a fairly simple process: you go to your matched betting sites, and look at every free bet available. You bet with a bookie transaction, and then go with a betting site such as BetFair to “lay” on the same bet (assume a loss.) This means you’re in fact betting on both a win and a loss with someone else’s money, so one of them is bound to win.
An sports bettor can browse Google to find a few arbitrage sites, but this wasn’t nearly as useful as just searching online for “matched betting”. That pulled up a number of matched betting sites, such as laymybet.co.uk and freebets4all.co.uk.
These sites make it easy to figure out how much to bet, which online offers to accept, working out everything from amounts to bet to what the odds were. The sites also list who offers cash back and how much potential profit is to be made. For a novice like this new member, its meant taking all the guesswork out, so it was pretty easy.
This is NOT something I recommend any sports bettor or investor to do on a regular basis, sorry. I couldn’t tell you their profit model other than a back-end affiliate deal or kickback on new players and deposits, or percentage of revenue.
It is not gambling, because you’re betting on both sides (you can’t actually lose) so I have little insight how the business aspect of matched betting works. There are ways of course that the individual could do it wrong (you could just use the free money and bet it all on one side, basically doing actual gambling, at which point you run the risk of losing everything).
Of course, the house is going to make money by slightly shifting the odds and online sports books as Betfair takes a commission, but after all is said and done, you take home about 60% of the total winnings, which is really not bad when it’s 60% of someone else’s money.
While there are different promotions available, I tended to avoid ones larger than free £50 bets– because the larger the bet, the more strings attached, such as convertibility.
For example, some online sports books may offer the matched betting to only new players, and only to discover there is a turn over of 3X or greater before they can withdraw. In other cases, sports books that also promote online casinos or poker, may add terms to the matched bet whereby the free bet winnings can only be converted over to other games before withdrawing. Thus the bookies are using this to entice new players or winback of lapsed players, and keep the money in the house by increasing the probability of losing the money in an online poker game, or in the casino, or better yet, having to turn over the money X fold on other wagers…all significantly increasing the probability you lose the free money.
It’s also a good idea to check the terms and conditions, because sometimes you might find hidden strings there. Keep track of all your bets, as well as all the usernames and passwords you create in a spreadsheet or a notebook.
And finally, when you’re out of free bet deals, stop betting unless you’re an experience sports investor who follows a sound bankroll management and sports betting market strategy. Without this most will see hundreds in profits turn into a loss in short order.