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Is Arbitrage Worthwhile Pursuing? Is Arbitrage Legal?

Arbitrage is ‘Sure Betting’

In the world of sports betting the art of arbitrage involves wagering on both or all sides of an event with the right combination of odds and stakes in place to make a profit whatever the outcome of that event.

Illustration - successful arbitrage bettingImage: 3Dmask (Shutterstock)

The principle of arbitrage is ‘sure betting‘, supposedly with minimum risk (for the seasoned arbitrageur) and long-term, guaranteed profits.

Surely this is the closest you can come to attaining the “Holy Grail” in betting? Or maybe not?

Despite the apparent rewards on offer the number of worldwide professional sports arbitrageurs is in the low tens of thousands, not more. In comparison, the German stock market employs over 3,200 staff, whilst one of the largest providers of automated arbitrage services, RebelBetting has even fewer subscribers than this number (as we write).

So, why such a relatively small group of customers taking advantage of the so-called ‘guaranteed’ gains averaging between 1.5% and 3.5% per bet (a typical ‘arb‘ provides around 2.5%), with perhaps 15-25% potential profit on the capital employed each month? That’s a far higher reward than any bank, building society, or share dividend offers!

Is Arbitrage legal?

There is no question that arbitrage is legal because the arber is simply exploiting price differences in the market, effectively buying and selling (bets) as any trader does. There is nothing illegal about this.

However, it is understandable that bookmakers are not fond of arbers. Every company has the right (even arbitrarily) to decide who their customers should be and many bookmakers prohibit arbers from their books. As soon as suspicion is aroused bookmaker accounts are quickly limited or even closed.

High Capital Requirement and Personal Characteristics

Successful arbitrage betting ultimately guarantees small returns but the sacrifice is that the process requires large funds. The money is tied-up in the venture for a potentially long period of time.

Pursuing an average 2.5-3.0% profit per betting round and targeting a return of 15-25% of the capital employed per month, the ‘arber’ needs, for example, a starting bank of at least 25,000 € in order to make 5,000 € profit per month.

Wow! A lot of money required at the start to make it worthwhile, and entering the arbitrage arena on these terms will be impossible for many.

Of course, arbitrage betting is a pretty safe investment, but in addition to substantial funds it requires not only great expertise but also some strong personal characteristics to make it possible at all:

  • Many time-consuming calculations must be performed. Ouch, lots of maths!
  • Clear and complete records of every transaction must be kept. How boring!
  • Discipline and consistency has to be maintained at all times. Far too unsocial!

And lastly, a really stable, reliable and fast internet connection is essential, without any limitations to any bookmaker or exchange worldwide.

However, the average punter is perhaps not such a ‘professional’ investor, but bets for fun and/or the excitement of watching an event knowing that money is riding on the outcome. Of course, he hopes to profit from the wager but his are gambles, not investments. Is that the reason why there are so few ‘arbers’ out there and active in the market?

Last Update: 1 February 2018

Categories:Arbitrage Betting Advice

81 Responses to “Is Arbitrage Worthwhile Pursuing? Is Arbitrage Legal?”

  1. 30 June 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Hi, in Germany there’s a 5%tax and Betfair is forbidden. Do you think it is still possible to do arbitrage in Germany?

    • 2 July 2015 at 9:04 pm #

      hi onur,regarding betfair and them not being allowed in germany , betfair is a betting exchange not a sportsbook , you may well need them for back/lay arbs but not necessarily for any other form of arbs trading.
      if you do use the other main exchange , betdaq for your arbs trading make sure the 5% commission payable to betdaq on your WINNINGS has been allowed for in the expected winnings on the arb.
      also not sure how you would feel about it , but a good VPN , like HMA or Easy-Hide-IP will fix the problem of not being able to get betfair there ,
      we cannot get betdaq in Australia ( they are Irish) , this is a betdaq choice not a government ban but i use HMA and i have no problems getting them , similarly with william hill , cannot get him here either , this is because w hill came to Australia about a year ago and paid something like 650 million dollars to buy 2 or 3 of our biggest books and he does not want to compete here with his own brand.

      good luck with your arbing. donar

  2. 27 May 2015 at 9:03 am #

    hi soccerwidow, i am interested in what you mean regarding complex maths and cross market arbing , do you mean , mixed asian handicaps /cross market arbs surely not .
    i can assure you it is very complex maths alright , far beyond that possessed by most people walking around.
    i paid a professor of mathematics in bosnia to make my calc and a lot of money too , with my arbs service program the exact wager amounts required are all given by , i have a variable stake calc , but the mixed arbs are not included in this , do not know how to do it and i am not paying the prof anymore .
    we have identified over 200 different m/a cross market combinations , this results in millions of possible wager types.
    in one soccer game recently we found 19 different mixed asians and in another we found 16 different asians And these are arbs that 95% of the other arb providers do not scan for , much easier to get ‘on ” when 1000’s of others are chasing the same odds , donar

    • 6 August 2015 at 8:47 am #

      Hi donar, sorry for the late reply but I didn’t see you question earlier.

      Give me one example of one ‘mixed arb’ where you cannot work our the stakes, and I’ll give it a try. If I come up with an easy solution I’ll probably even write an article about it.

      Always happy for new content ideas! 🙂

      • 6 August 2015 at 9:57 pm #

        hi , in reply to your message , i have no need to work out the stakes required in a mixed asian / cross market arb , i paid a mathematician in Bosnia some years ago to build me a calculator.
        in my arbs program all wager amounts are given , you really do not have the time to fiddle around yourself with calculators , the idea is to get your wagers on as quickly as possible before the odds change.
        but i will find a couple of mixed asian arbs and the stakes required and put them in another message , see if you agree with them , but please do not ask me to tell you how the stakes were arrived at , i am relying on my calc , the guy in Bosnia was a Professor of Mathemaics
        thanking you , donar

      • 20 January 2016 at 11:06 pm #

        hi robert ?? i hope this message reaches you ok , i sent a message a couple of weeks ago ?? i wanted to know if it is still ok if i mention my 2 web sites in a post.
        maybe you are still on holidays maybe up there around BACCART ? not sure if i spelt the town name correctly , but it is on the OTHER side of the Rhine and up towards Koblensk ?? from Bingen .
        i have been to Baccarat , i thought it was a fairyland , a magnificent timber walled village dating back , i think , to the 1200’s , beautifully preserved , if you could let me know about posting ?? thanks don rees

  3. 24 March 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    Nice article. Thanks for good info in this blog. One of the ways to make money on the internet is sports arbitrage betting. I would like to recommend you a website there you know more about sports arbitrage & can get list of sports arbitrage for free:

  4. 25 January 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    50-70k / annually? Well, you can make much more. I made 280k in my first year (€) and 430k last year. Arbitrage Betting is best business on earth.

    • 31 January 2015 at 6:03 pm #

      Emre, but how?

    • 23 March 2015 at 9:06 pm #

      please tell me are you still going ? Im very interested .

      can you email me .

    • 23 March 2015 at 9:20 pm #

      ermer , please tell me more about to get involved with 20 k .

    • 5 August 2015 at 12:48 am #

      Hello Emre….

      Could I just make you a few questions??

      What arbitrage betting software are you using?

      The top 3 betting softwares?

      Did you have many problems with the bookies limitating or closing your accounts?

      Could you please tell me the top 10 bookies you are using to do arbitrage trading?

      Thank for your help you and best regards.

    • 5 August 2015 at 9:50 pm #

      well emre , i am afraid i do not believe you , i have made over 2700 arbs trades , i have my owh software program scanning 22 of the better sportsbooks for quite a few different wager types and sports and i am sure you cannot make that sort of money.
      one reason why i say you are kidding us is i suggest it would be impossible to keep track of the number of trades you would have to make to make this sort of money , tell me , how much time a day do you spend checking that the bookmaker actually put your winnings into your account with him ?

      in my opinion arbing is a part time money earner , a boost to you regular income only and in this regards it is as good as anything else on the net.

      there are 7 bookmakers , real bookmakers , not mickey mouse ones like 10 bet , bet365, betway , blue square etc that do not care if you are an arber or not , they have worked out quite successfully that a bet from an arber is absolutely no different to a bet from anyone else , it either wins or loses , the fact that you have another bet with another bookmaker has nothing to do with them , it will either win or lose also.

      good luck in arbing to you all , donar

      • 7 August 2015 at 12:42 pm #

        can you say what the bookies are please I have tried many and been limited in very quick time

      • 16 September 2015 at 3:55 pm #

        Hi Donar. Can you let me know what 7 bookie sites you are using as the best ones? What amount if capital is realistically needed to make $1-2k per month? Also, how can I get the software you are using? I totally understand this isn’t a get rich quick deal, so I am just looking for some real answers. Thank you for your time. Andy

  5. 3 January 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Hello friend. I like the post becuase you support Arbitrage betting. It is offcouse legal process. Thanks for the requirement and personal characteristics you mentioned in the blog. You technique is good. Thanks for all the information.

  6. 25 December 2014 at 10:47 am #

    That’s a great blog. In my aspect many people find “Sport Arbitrage” helpful. I am also using the site, just for entertainment purpose.

  7. 5 August 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Arbing is a great way to make money if you are fast enough to spot the odds wanting to be matched on a betting exchange….this requires always having funds in each account — which obviously mounts up to a lot of capital investment/considering you will be dealing with at least 10 fixed odds bookmakers, but usually just relying on the hardcore 5 or 6. Rarely do u see arbs just there for the taking. 90% of them are judgement. judging a betting pattern. say, if at fixed odds best price is 11/4; yet someone wants £400 on at 3.65, this is a guarateed sign. usually the ppl wanting this hypothetical 400 on have had their own fixed odds accounts closed…therfore, wanting so much on early. and most probably these go off at race time at lower odds of say 3.2 or so. But where the arber gets stung, is if he greedily tries to arb to short, to enhance his profits. a number of things could happen in the interim period befre the horse race, such a ground changing. if the arb is not matched and the arber has already invested his fixed odds investment, the arber then has to make a decision; which is usually take a loss….or let it ride and hope it gets matched in-running….which many times they do, but if not its frustrating!!! but overall, over the year still profitable if your accounts are not closed down. the only way forward is using multiple ID….a good way for this is to accrue many ‘girlfriends’ lol

  8. 22 July 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    You do need a large starting bank before really good profits can be made. Personally I would want loads for practice first before I go risking all that cash. We’ve written about this subject and done arbitrage trading. It does take practice and experience.

    There are some simple and straight forward processes to follow that will limit problems like not being about to get both sides of the trade down and getting accounts closed by bookmakers.

    Cross market arbitrage are where the biggest spreads are. I believe the most experienced traders don’t only use arbitrage services now and then.

  9. 13 February 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Also, look at Mike above – he confesses to needing seven times starting capital to make 1,000 per month. This job guarantees that you will have to tie up a large chunk of money as investment in order to make the required returns.

  10. 13 February 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, Hunters, and yours is valued just as much as the next man. The point we were making is that you need five times the starting capital i.e. 25,000 to make 5,000 per month – never said we would not be satisfied with this level of outcome! Yes, arbitrage success demands a lot of accurate, sometimes complex math, especially when performing cross-market arbitrage. Get it wrong once and you undo the good work of many, many correct arbitrage transactions. I am also sure you will agree that unending repetition in any line of work can be extremely boring… 🙂

  11. 30 January 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    What a one sided retarded post ! Discipline and consistency are far too unsocial ? Lots of math ? How boring ? 5000 per month not enough for you ?

  12. 16 December 2013 at 3:54 am #

    I’ve been using rebelbetting for a year. starting with £300 i made all deposit bonuses and now spin £7000 making increasingly £1000ish a month

    Sure i got limited and/or my accounts got closed, but there’s many, and the best ones are actually arb friendly, and the allow to be in tousands, not under 100.

    RebelBetting also does all the math for me and its so easy i make more out of arbitrage then off my day job now.

    • 21 June 2014 at 8:56 am #

      hi Mike, it sounds good. i bought rebelbetting for week and i would like to ask you about some good practices. thanks

      • 1 July 2015 at 1:24 pm #

        I think spending 100’s of pounds to check sports arbitrage is not worth, certainly at one time our accounts will get limited. I tried some free sure bets website like betbrain or more popular website 1% arbitrage.

  13. 11 June 2013 at 12:05 am #

    This website was… how do you say it? Relevant! Finally I have found something that helped me. Appreciate it!

  14. 10 January 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Hey Nuno ,

    i would like to exchange some with arbitrage betting as i ve done it myself for some months. If you are interested get back to me: screecy[at]web[dot]de


  15. 9 January 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Hello Soccerwidow!
    First of all I would like to give you my congratulations for the good job you are doing. You have really good and applicable information in your site.
    I´ve tryed Arbing with good sucess, but after 5 months, all my accounts were either, limited or closed, by the bookmakers. I dont believe anyone can be a professional of arbitrage.


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