Introduction to Matched Betting


Part 1 – Basic Knowledge:

Many online bookmakers and betting exchanges try to entice potential new customers into registering and betting with them by offering free bets and sign-up bonuses.

Some of these firms continue to offer periodical incentives during the lifespan of the customer’s account (even if they don’t continue betting regularly), whilst others have numerical points and/or loyalty schemes in place triggering further bonuses when betting turnover targets have been reached.

House of matches on a building trowelImage: Winiki (Shutterstock)

This series of articles concentrates only on free bet bonuses and how to convert them into cash. This can be achieved with no risk involved only if the mechanics of each bonus are fully understood and the matched betting process is followed flawlessly by the bettor. Of course, there is a risk of financial loss when human error creeps into the equation and needless mistakes are made.

Matched betting is a science and requires precision in the same way that a master chef needs just the right balance of ingredients to make the perfect dish. The principles of matched betting can just as readily be used to release mid-term bonuses, also as straight cash.

In the United States, matched betting is called ‘double betting’ and effectively the principle is simply that; betting on both the ‘win’ and ‘lose’ outcomes of a chosen event using the particular free/bonus bet mechanism of any given bookmaker which, in turn, guarantees the transaction returns a profit. This could be interpreted by many as a ‘loophole’ but nevertheless it is a completely legal activity and most bookmakers also do not have a problem with it.

The lure of a free bet or a bonus is of course just a basic marketing ploy to encourage the bettor to play in the first place, and at its worst it becomes a lasso snaring him/her into regular betting with that firm. This is when the free bet ‘bait’ becomes a worthwhile investment from the bookmaker’s perspective. It should be noted that the average amount most bookmakers are prepared to spend is around GBP £300 in order to obtain a new sign-up because in the long-run they always get their money back…and usually more.

The concept of obtaining profit from betting just on the basic two possible outcomes of an event, in other words, ‘win’ and ‘lose’, may be difficult to grasp at first but please be assured it is completely logical. There are many Web sites purporting to teach matched betting and all of them tend to say that it is a source of easy, free money. Soccerwidow agrees that this is free money of sorts, but the applications involved are sometimes long-winded, time-consuming and intricate, and importantly, also differ from bookmaker to bookmaker.

For the beginner, it’s definitely not as easy as many sites make it out to be and thorough practice is needed on paper before even committing to your first monetized matched betting transaction. Again, be assured that one slip can cost you dearly, perhaps the equivalent of a handful of other matched bet offers wasted in order to retrieve the losses from a flawed transaction, or maybe worse, an irretrievable depletion of the betting ‘float’. At very best, a mistake will cause just a small, but annoying loss and of course, a wasted profit opportunity.

This series of articles will teach you to avoid all the negatives and help you build up a nice nest egg within a relatively short period, enough perhaps for a luxury holiday in 6-months’ time, or maybe you are just keen to create a bigger war chest with which to hedge/trade? Whatever your reasons, Soccerwidow will provide the basic training necessary to fully grasp the concept of matched betting and will explore in detail each bookmaker’s bonus offer showing how to cash the free bet, and pointing out the pitfalls and traps to be wary of along the way.

The first piece of advice on this subject is to use each bookmaker’s account purely to extract the free money on offer and not for regular ‘gambling’.

Once the initial free bet extraction is performed you may choose to leave the account dormant (it won’t affect your credit rating), until such a time as you are contacted about further free bet offers, which some of the bookmakers make periodically (usually on special occasions or big matches such as ‘El Clasico’, the Champions League final, the English FA Cup final, et cetera).

However, if you prefer, email customer support asking them to close down your account as soon as your initial matched betting win is secured. It’s your call. They will not be offended and this of course will prevent you from ever being tempted to ‘gamble’ unnecessarily, thereby undoing all the good work you will have performed during the matched betting exercises.


Go Forwards To: Part 2: Preparation for Matched Betting
Go Forwards To: Part 3: Matched Betting Check List
Go Forwards To: Part 4: Matched Betting Tools: Calculators


Last Update: 23 May 2012

Categories:Betting Guidance Matched Betting



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