Updated March 2020. If you prefer video introduction, watch this 3-min clip by OddsMonkey.
Matched betting is a risk-free way to beat the betting companies at their own game and legally make some profit on the side. It is what helps me make an extra £500-£600 tax-free profit every month whether that’s for buying a new gadget or quitting my day job earlier than expected!
The process takes advantage of the offers the bookmakers give away to make sure their customers keep betting with them. The idea is that we back one outcome with the free offer money and bet against this outcome with real money. A team will either win or not win. Since the “back” scenario bets with the free offer money, we end up with a guaranteed profit. It is not really gambling because, as explained in detail below, no matter which outcome wins we mathematically make a profit.
It takes little time to get started and a few hours every week should return £500-£600 monthly. If this sounds like a scam, it so did to me too! But I gave it a go and it paid off very well so far.
Let’s follow an example and see how we can turn an offer into £187 of cash in the pocket.
A simple example goes like this: “Sign up with Bet365 and get a 100% deposit bonus”.
In simple words, if you bet £200 on a team to win, you get an extra £200 to bet on whatever you want. You will have to be a new customer to be eligible for the offer, but there are plenty of other offers for existing customers. The logic is the same.
Sign up and deposit
First, we need to make ourselves eligible for the £200 free offer money. We have to sign up on the bet365 website, enter our personal details and make our first deposit of £200. You can deposit as little as £10 but we will place the maximum amount allowed to maximize our profits. Also, make sure you fill in the fields with your real details.
After depositing £200 we now enter the offer code received in our e-mail to become eligible for the £200 bonus money. The bonus should be added instantly into our account and look something like this:
The bonus cannot be withdrawn yet until the turnover requirements are met. In other words, Bet365 wants you to gamble the bonus money until you have either wagered 3 times your deposit & bonus amount (£1200 in our case) or you have lost to them. This sounds scary but it’s not; more about it below. Here are the actual terms:
Which simply mean:
- Deposit at least £10 to get £10, £20 to get £20 and so on, max £200
- First bet your real money, only then you can bet with your bonus
- Do not withdraw anything unless you’ve bet 3 times your initial deposit+bonus
- Bet at odds of 1.50 or higher
- You have to be a resident in Great Britain
Place the bet
We are now ready to bet and £400 sit in our account. Let’s pick a random match.
Everton plays Man City and the decimal odds* are as follows:
1 (Everton to win): 4.75
X (Draw): 3.8
2 (Man City to win): 1.80
It doesn’t really matter which match or outcome we choose, as long as we bet on odds of 1.50 or higher as stated in the terms and conditions above. Let’s go with Man City this time. First, we bet with our real money and then we can bet using the offer money.
We go on and place a £400 bet on Man City to win, in two chunks of £200 bets as shown in the picture.
£400 x 1.80 = £720. That is £320 profit. If Man City does not win, then we lose our £400. But to cover ourselves….. only if there was a place where we could bet on the opposite result – Man City not to win!
By betting against Man City somewhere else, we would be able to balance our bet and offset any losses against the gains of the opposite result. And since the back side bets with free money, we make a guaranteed profit.
This is where the betting exchange comes in.
What is a betting exchange?
A betting exchange, like Betfair (0% commission up to £50), is a place where you can sell (lay) bets. Simply put, you bet on anything but this outcome to win. If you lay Man City to win at 1.80 odds, you pay someone if Man City does win, or you get paid if Man City draws or loses.
By the way, sign up using this affiliate Betfair link to get 0% commission up to £50. I believe that’s better than signing up using the Bet £20 Get £20 offer. That’s like earning £20 vs saving £50 which of course, is more money in the pocket.
Fun fact: People in betting exchanges create bets for other people. When we are selling (laying) an outcome, we are actually creating a back bet for someone who wants to bet on Man City to win. Personally, I was quite excited when I realized I can become the bookmaker too!
It’s not the most straightforward idea, but it gets easier after a few times of doing it. I picked Smarkets because it has the lowest market commission (2%) and has been very reliable when withdrawing funds, avoiding betting delays etc. Another great exchange is Betfair, which is slightly more expensive (5% commission) but it’s easier to find good odds because most people are using Betfair.
If you sign up to Smarkets use the referral code smiste83 and we’ll both get a £10 risk-free bet!
With that said, Smarkets is the perfect place to balance our bets and turn the bonus into cash. To bet against Man City, click on the blue box of Man City for 1.84 and enter the lay amount.
The liability as shown in the picture below is £332.77. This means we will pay someone £332.77 if Man City wins but, of course, we will get paid back more by Bet365.
Why lay £395.60? It’s a good question since one would expect me to lay for the same £400 amount I backed with. You can definitely use the £400 as a guide for laying, but skewing the amount a bit is better. That’s because it will leave me with about the same profit in the exchange and Bet365. Otherwise £400 would leave me with more money in the exchange. Since Bet365 has a £1200 turnover requirement, I prefer to have more money there left to wager with, or an instant profit on the exchange.
Let’s do the math for all scenarios
Man City wins
Bet365 balance: £720
Bet365 profit: £520 (£720 – £200 our initial deposit)
Overall profit: £187.73
Man Utd does not win (Draw or Away wins)
Bet365 balance: 0
Bet365 profit: -£200 (our initial deposit)
Smarkets: +£387.68 (there is a 2% commission on my £395 win)
Overall profit: £187.68
Therefore, I made a profit regardless of the actual result.
- In case Man City does not win, we make an instant profit of £187.68 ready to be withdrawn from Smarkets!
- In case Man City wins, we make a profit of £187.73 but they are locked in our bet365 account until the turnover requirement is met. We cannot withdraw any funds from our account because doing so will forfeit the bonus. We will have to wager another £800 to satisfy the £1200 wagering requirement. We can select another match using similar odds and bet £800 on an outcome > 1.50 odds while laying the same on the exchange. Since we lost ~£13 to wager our first £400, we will lose about £26 to wager the next £800. That leaves us with £161.68 profit! Neat.
A day later…
Man City did not win. In fact, Everton won 3-0! That was music to my ears as I managed to make a £187 profit in 30 minutes…
I mean wow! Matched betting looks like a lengthy process but £187 in 30 minutes is much higher than my hourly wage!
This was just an example and we can repeat the process in various bookmaker websites to make more money. What I love the most about it is that I see it as an online part-time income. Whenever I have some free time, I do it.
You may need to spend more time reading different terms and conditions or sign up with one of the online matched betting software, as explained below. They do a great job describing every offer in baby steps.
Picking the right match
Actually, I lied – my match selection process was not so random… This is because I wanted a match where the odds of backing an outcome (1.80 in our case) and the odds of laying it (1.84) are as close as possible. The smaller the difference the less money I lose to balance them out. It is, therefore, important to pick good matches.
Luckily for us, nowadays there is a free service for comparing odds between bookmakers and betting exchanges that give us the best deals. The tool I used for this purpose is called OddsMonkey and it’s free to register and try. Here is a screenshot from the odds comparison tool.
As you can see, the higher the rating the closest the odds between the bookie and the exchange.These are the bets where you can retain most of the value (roughly £170 out of the £200 bonus).
I picked Man City because I want a match that settles the same day and because it’s a popular one. Plus I will not draw suspicion when betting on Bet365, by betting on some Russian 2nd division match.
[Update: OddsMonkey comparison tool is free for 3 bookmakers, but costs £15 for the whole market. The free version covers Betfred, Coral, and Skybet. However is quite easy to find close offers such as the above by yourself. All in all, £15 is a very small amount compared to the money I can make using additional offers.]
Using Online Matched Betting software to speed-up earnings
I have used both OddsMonkey and Profit Accumulator to find other offers and follow the best strategy for each offer. They have helped me to avoid making any costly mistakes too and they are both very similar in what they provide.
Basically, they save me the hassle of having to check every betting website to find offers and distilling the do’s and dont’s of the terms and conditions in plain English.
For example, OddsMonkey offers a “New account” offers section with all the possible sign up offers out there. They are sorted by difficulty and show the expected value you can make out of each one. Therefore, you can start with the easy offers and try harder ones when you’re confident enough. It also comes with an active community where you can ask questions or discuss various offers every day.
OddsMonkey or Profit Accumulator?
Personally, I’ve used both websites on and off for about a year. I believe OddsMonkey provides a better service and more up-to-date offers.
Read this guide to find out: OddsMonkey vs Profit Accumulator – Best Matched Betting software
What do you do when you have completed all the new customer offers?
This is where the reload offers come in, aimed at existing customers. Once you have signed up to all bookmakers you can then use one of the most useful tools to sustain your income.
Bet £100 and get £30 if your bet loses
I am talking about the Daily offer calendar by OddsMonkey, which lists all existing customer offers every day, sorted by the expected value. These can be “Bet X to get a Y free bet” or “Bet X and get X if your bet loses”, etc.
This saves the hassle of having to visit each betting website and check for offers, their difficulty, and expected profits.
As you grow your experience, spending the same time will reward you with more and more profits, the same way it happened to me.
Well, that was a long post! I hope that you will find Matched Betting as valuable as I’ve found it and that it will become another income stream to your pocket too 🙂
Let me know if you need some help via the comments or the contact form.
Is Matched Betting Legal?
Graham Sharpe, from William Hill, says the betting industry does not consider matched betting illegal. “There’s no illegal element,” he says. “It’s a free bet and you can do what you like.” Read more at this Telegraph link.
Is Matched Betting tax-free in the UK?
All winnings from betting in the UK are tax-free and there is no need to declare it to HMRC. Reason being, it would not produce any revenue.
Is there any risk of losing money?
There is no risk of losing money as long as you offset the bet by using a betting exchange. You also don’t have to be a math genius to get started since the calculations are made simple if you use an online software such as OddsMonkey. They even have a calculator that shows the exact amount you need to lay based on your back bet. You have to be really careful though when executing your bets because a misclick or laying the wrong outcome can cost you money!
Then why is not everyone doing this?
In fact, many people are doing matched betting without shouting about it. Bookmakers are not charities and can ban you from receiving bonuses if they find out they are losing money to a systematic player. It also requires a lot of discipline to stop gambling and start earning steady, risk-free income.
Can I bet from abroad?
Although the post is focused on the UK marketplace, there are similar opportunities abroad. Betting companies exist everywhere in the world and as long as there are offers and an accessible betting exchange, there is money to be made.
Feel free to share a comment if you have any questions or problems I can help with.
*Decimal odds make the calculations easier. To turn a fractional odd into a decimal one, take the division result and add 1. For example, 6/4 = 1.5 plus one = 2.5 in decimal odds.
** The bookmaker odds are usually slightly lower compared to that of the exchange. This is because they make their profits out of this difference. Bet365 is actually pretty good at offering good odds.
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