What is Matched Betting?

So many people ask us daily; ‘Seriously, what is Matched Betting?’

Matched betting, in short, is a form of risk-free betting that makes use of bookmaker offers, particularly sign-up offers, in order to turn a profit regardless of the outcome of any given event. These offers give us a short-term advantage to draw us in in the hope that long-term we bet our deposit, any potential profit we may make from free bets, and continue to bet with that bookmaker most likely at our cost and their gain!

It’s a very competitive industry and though matched betting has existed for a long time, it’s only recently it’s earning potential has been realised by many gamblers and non-gamblers alike due to the thousands of offers and bonuses made constantly available for the sake of industry competition.

Also known as ‘bonus bagging’, matched betting makes use of our current online gambling industry where we have exchanges such as Betfair, Betdaq, and Smarkets, as well as your normal bookmakers like William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, and their incentives. These most recognisably are something like ‘£20 free bet when you deposit £10’ or ‘we will give match your first deposit in free bets’.

Matched Betting Exchanges

Today we have many betting exchanges, Betfair Exchange is by far the biggest but Betdaq and Smarkets are worthy alternatives. A betting exchange enables punters to bet FOR or AGAINST an outcome, trading bets between each other without a middle-man or bookie dictating the odds. Betting FOR is your normal bet – you are backing an outcome that you predict will win. This is a BACK bet. Betting AGAINST is the opposite, it means you are laying a bet against an outcome, predicting an outcome where your selection will not win. This is a Lay bet. If you place both using equal stakes, they cancel out and thus your net profit loss is £0.

Using this ‘match’ between the two opposite types of bet, we can play two bookmakers against each other by using free bets and covering all results, meaning we lose no real money of our own, and ‘convert’ or extract the free bets given to us by bookmakers into withdrawable cash, in either the betting exchange (where we place our lay bets), or the bookmaker which gives us the free bet (where we place our back bet).

Matched Betting Offers

Some offers are really simple to bag, and don’t require any terms to be fulfilled before they are given to you other than by depositing enough initially to qualify. These are offers like ‘Deposit £10 and get £20 risk-free’. Offers like this can be bagged by backing and laying using our free bet as a stake, meaning we either profit from it in the bookmaker site or in the exchange.

Others have associated terms we need to work around. These are most frequently offers like; ‘bet £10 and receive £20’ or ‘bet £10 and receive 3 £10 bets’. In this case, we are being asked to risk our money in order to gain our free bets.

This means there are two stages to bagging the bonus; the qualifying stage and the bagging stage. We must first back and lay our qualifying bet, the ‘bet £10’ part, in order to fulfill the bookmaker’s criteria so they credit us with a free bet, and must then bag this free bet using another matched bet between our bookmaker and the exchange. Both can be completed using the back and lay method, covering all results, meaning we don’t risk our own money at any stage of the process.

It isn’t just sign-up offers that we can bag using matched betting, but on-going offers too, though this is more tricky. These might be offers like ‘free bet matching your stake if your horse wins at 3/1 or more’ or ‘money back as a free bet if one leg of your four-fold accumulator lets you down’. Any offer with any condition is an opportunity for us to make risk-free profit.

Firstly though, we need a firm grasp on backing and laying, how it applies to matched betting and how it enables us to bag offers of different types. The only way you can lose money when matched betting is by being unsure, confused and making a mistake, and it’s only when you’re sure of its concepts and techniques that you should begin to place your first bets. After then, you can explore all the less obvious routes to making risk and tax-free income on a monthly basis, even when the initial sign-up offers run out.

Next Steps: Learn Backing and Laying in more detail.