If you’re looking for an answer to the question, “what is matched betting?” then you’ve come to the right place.
You don’t need any experience at all to make money from matched betting. You don’t even have to be able to name a bookmaker or have placed a bet before. Seriously, you don’t even have to like sports.
Table of Contents
A Matched betting is a way to turn the free bets offered by bookmakers into real money. The technique relies on maths rather than chance which means the risk is low.
Lots of bookmakers use promotions and incentives to attract new customers to their sites in the hopes of encouraging them to sign up. They’re a kind of welcome gift. These offers come in all shapes and sizes:
By removing the risks associated with gambling, you can ensure that your money is protected and you win no matter what the outcome of your bet is.
If you’ve Googled matched betting at any point, you might’ve seen it referred to as ‘no-risk matched betting’. This is when you compare it against traditional betting or gambling.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) considers the claim of matched betting being 100% risk-free “misleading because although theoretically sound, the process was open to human error”.
If done ‘properly’, the risk is minimal. However, with the ASA ruling in mind, let’s look at some of the potential risks of matched betting:
However, with matched betting you’re not putting your money at risk. Instead of placing just one bet with a bookmaker, you actually place two; you ‘match’ that bet with another one at a betting exchange.
In a word: yes.
It’s just a different way of using the promotional offers. As long as you’re over the age of 18, matched betting is completely legal. And the betting industry’s fine with it, too.
In an article with The Telegraph, Graham Sharpe, former Media Relations Director at William Hill, said that “There’s no illegal element,” and that “It’s a free bet and you can do what you like.”
(from an article by: Murray-West, Rosie. “Is this a bet you can’t lose?”, The Telegraph. Dec 2010.)
Not technically, no. Even though you’ll be using a gambling site (the bookmaker) to do it. It also benefits from the fact that winnings from gambling activities are not currently taxed in the UK. So why isn’t matched betting gambling? With gambling, you take a risk when you play games of chance in the hopes of winning money. You’re ‘taking a punt’ on the outcome ending up in your favour.
#1 - To be 18+ : Although matched betting isn’t gambling, you’ll open accounts with online bookmakers, so you do need to be aged 18 or above. This is the minimum legal age in the UK.
#2 - To live in the UK : Because we’re located in the UK, most of the offers we find and post on BetSlayer are UK-based.
#3 - A laptop and the Internet : At this point, all you need is a computer with a good internet connection. It doesn’t matter if it’s a laptop or desktop. The most important thing is that you need to able to move between tabs and windows quickly without worrying about your connection dropping out.
#4 - Matched Betting Software : Matched betting software allows you to find the opportunities for profit. Mainly it's broken down into 2 parts, 1 is the profit finder & 2nd is the oddsmatching software.
#5 - A separate bank account: This one’s completely up to you. The main argument for having an account especially for matched betting is so everyday spending doesn’t get in the way. It’s as simple as that. With a separate bank account, you can keep track of your incomings and outgoings more easily.
Most of us have direct debits set up for things, so we need money in the bank on a certain date. Withdrawal times differ between bookmakers and sometimes there’ll be extra delays that are out of your control. It can be a bit of a waiting game. And this all means that you won’t always be able to guarantee when you have the amount of money you were expecting. Or that you’ll have enough money for those bills.The easiest way to do this is to open an account with monzo, which is a great challenger bank which moves quickly. Simply download the app and they’ll approve you within a couple of hours and then your card will arrive in 2 days normally.
#6 - A float/bankroll : Another one that’s up to you. Well, it depends on your circumstances and how much money you can afford to set aside for matched betting. We’d recommend a minimum bankroll of at least £50, but the more you start with, the more you can earn. A larger bank roll means you can do more offers at once, without having to wait for your money to transfer between bank, bookmaker and betting exchange accounts.
Free bet offers
Free bets and promotional offers are where your matched betting profits come from. You need to find bookmakers who are running promotions or sign up offers. But searching for offers could take up quite a bit of time. That’s where matched betting companies come in.
How does it work?
Here’s a quick example, but we’ll also take you through a real offer step-by-step in a minute:
How matched betting works
There’s an offer to ‘Bet £10, Get £30’. To get the £30 bet from the bookmaker, you have to stake £10 of your own money. This is known as the ‘qualifying bet’.
Place a £10 ‘back bet’ at the bookmaker on England to win a game.
With matched betting, you match this at the betting exchange by placing a ‘lay bet’. In this example, a £10 bet that says that England won’t win. This covers both a loss and a draw:
Now, because you’ve placed two bets which cover all possible outcomes, you won’t win any money. The important thing is: you won’t lose any either – the two bets cancel each other out. So where does the money come from, then? It comes from the £30 free bet, which you’ve unlocked by doing the qualifying bet.
5 steps to making a profit from matched betting.
In this section, we’ll go through how matched betting works:
#1. Sign up with a bookmaker
Find one offering a welcome bonus and deposit some money into the new account. Check the T&Cs of the offer to make sure you’re meeting the criteria.
#2. Open an account with a betting exchange
…and deposit some money. You’ll need to put in more than you did in the bookmaker account to cover something called ‘liability’. (have explanation below in “Betting dictionary” section)
#3. Use matched betting software to find an event to bet on
The original odds matching software sources and sorts the best odds for you. Use the filters to finds matched betting opportunities which fall within the T&Cs of the offer you’re doing and use the built-in calculator to work out how much you’ll need to back and lay, as well as how much money you’ll make.
#4. Complete your qualifying bet
Find and place your back bet at the bookmaker and do the same for your lay bet at the betting exchange. Once the event you’ve bet on has taken place, the bookmaker will credit your account with the free bet. Depending on the bookmaker, this could take up to 48 hours.
#5. Complete your free bet
In matched betting, you’re looking to keep around 75% and 80% of the free bet amount. For a £20 free bet, this is around £15 to £16. Using almost exactly the same method you’ve just completed the qualifying bet with, find and place the back and lay parts of your free bet. Again, we’ll show you exactly how to do this with written and video guides.
The answer to this question is a bit ‘how long is a piece of string?’. But that just means that matched betting is a flexible way to make money and can fit around your lifestyle.
Based on the expected value of each of the initial signup offers, you can probably make between £1000 – £1500. Obviously this is reliant on a few things, such as odds taken and float, but it’s a pretty nice chunk of money.
Then once you’ve opened all of your bookie accounts, there are many ongoing and daily offers you can take advantage of. Betslayer has guides and tips for these offers, as well as the support available in our thriving Community.
Matched betting isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme but with a little time and effort, you can earn tax-free money each month.
BOOKMAKER: A bookmaker, or ‘bookie’, offers odds on sporting and non-sporting events to people who want to gamble. They accept bets and then pay out if they win! For example, if you bet on England to win, and they do, you get money. The amount you win depends on the odds you took.
Traditionally, bookmakers were located in shops on the high street and at racecourses. You’ll have seen them on any high street you’ve walked down. Examples include, Coral, Betfred and William Hill. You can walk in, place a bet and (if your bet wins) return with proof of your bet to collect your winnings.
These days, bookmakers are online too. Online bookies offer the same service as shop ones but with the obvious convenience of being able to ‘visited’ whenever your internet connection allows. Choose and place a bet and if it wins, your funds will be added directly into your bookmaker account. It’s then up to you to withdraw these into your bank account. Depending on the bookmaker and/or your payment type, withdrawals can take 2-5 working days.
Not all bookmakers are created equal, so make sure you know who you can trust. It’s your money, after all. OddsMonkey looks into bookmakers that are licensed to operate in the UK & Ireland and who have a good reputation. But we’d always recommend doing your own research too. And if you’ve got any doubts or reservations, don’t hesitate to ask.
ODDS: The way the likelihood of a particular outcome is shown in betting. Odds are shown as ‘fractional’ (10/1) or ‘decimal (11.00). 10/1 means that you’d receive 10 ‘units’ for every 1 units you staked (put on), plus your original bet amount too. If you stake £1 and you win, you’ll get £11 in back.
PUNTER: (Traditional) Also known as a ‘bettor’ or ‘gambler’. A person who risks money by gambling or placing a bet on something.
BETTING EXCHANGE: An online website, platform or marketplace where gamblers can bet against each other, rather than against a bookmaker. Essentially, you can take the place of the bookmaker against someone else’s bet. There are currently 4 online betting exchanges available to UK customers: Betfair, Smarkets, Betdaq and Matchbook.
BET: In sports, this is the act of predicting the outcome of a race, game or event and agreeing to forfeit money if you’re wrong. Betting isn’t just limited to sports though. Bets can be placed on anything from TV shows to the date Man’s going to land on Mars.
FLOAT: The amount of money you have available to you before you start betting. Also known as a bankroll. The idea is to build this up by completing all of the welcome offers so that you can boost your earnings later on in your matched betting journey.
QUALIFYING BET: The first bet you have to place at the bookmaker in order to qualify for and unlock the advertised free bet amount. In matched betting, you’re not aiming to make any money from this bet. That comes from the free bet itself.
BACK BET: A type of bet placed at the bookmaker. When you ‘back’ something, you are betting ‘for’ the team (or horse, or player, etc) to win. Another way to think of it is that you believe it will happen.
LAY BET: Just a complicated way of saying you’re ‘betting against’ something. Lay bets are placed at the betting exchange and are the opposite of back bets. If you ‘lay’ England to win, then you’re saying that you don’t think they will. Again, this covers both a loss and draw outcome.
FREE BET: The type of bet often ‘given away’ by bookmakers. In gambling, you’ll have to risk some of your own money in order to unlock the free bet, but with matched betting, you can unlock it and protect your own money at the same time.
LIABILITY: This is probably one of the most confusing things you’ll come across when you’re starting out matched betting. But stick with us. In traditional betting, liability is the amount of money that the person you’re betting against with Betfair stands to win from you. However, it’s different with matched betting. Don’t worry if they win it from you because you’ll win the same amount from the bookmaker. You won’t lose the liability amount.
The liability of a lay bet depends on the odds taken when you placed the bet. If you’re into the maths side of things, this formula shows how to calculate your liability: Liability = (Decimal Odds -1) x Stake.
Here’s a quick example: if you were to place a lay bet using £10 stake with decimal odds 6.5 your liability would be:
Liability = (6.5-1) x £10
= 5.5 x £10