Is Matched Betting A Scam 2024? A Comprehensive Review

Is Matched Betting A Scam - A Comprehensive Review

Matched betting, often marketed as a risk-free way to make money online, has gained significant popularity in recent years.

Many individuals are drawn to the idea of turning the odds in their favour and making money online.

But is matched betting a scam?

I myself have been matched betting for over 5 years, so I want to give you an honest account of how I discovered it, how much I have earned, and whether I think it is worthwhile.

We will also cover the pros and cons of matched betting.

By the end of this analysis, you should have a clear understanding of whether matched betting is a scam or a legitimate means of income.

Matched betting is not a scam, but a way of profiting from bookmaker’s promotional offers. This is achieved by “laying” the bets at an exchange to cover all eventualities. Care does need to be taken to bet responsibly, and to adhere to promotional terms and conditions. In the UK all gambling profits are tax free, however users in other countries should check the tax regulations and comply.

Is Matched Betting A Scam - Making Money Online From Matched Betting

What Is Matched Betting?

Matched betting is a strategy used by individuals to profit from the free bets and promotions offered by bookmakers and betting websites. It involves placing two opposite bets on the same event to ensure a guaranteed profit regardless of the outcome. The two types of bets are:

a) Back Bet: This is a traditional bet, where you bet on a particular outcome to occur. For instance, you might bet that a specific football team will win a match.

b) Lay Bet: This is a bet against a particular outcome. In matched betting, this is often done on betting exchanges where you act as the bookmaker, betting that the same team will not win.

The basic principle behind matched betting is to cover all possible outcomes of an event, effectively eliminating the risk associated with traditional gambling.

The first bet will be backed and layed, ensuring you have as low a “qualifying loss” or “QL” as possible.

This is done by finding odds that are low, and very close to each other at the bookies and the exchange.

You can do this manually by eye or by using an “oddsmatcher” programme.

This then triggers the award of the free bet, and this is where you make the money.

You use specific calculators to calculate the amount to back and lay.

You can usually expect to retain about 70% – 80% of your free bet amount, so for a £10.00 free bet you would earn about £7.00 – £8.00.

You would have also incurred a small qualifying loss on the first bet, say £0.50p, so your overall profit from this promotion would be approximately £6.50 – £7.50.

One thing to note is that matched bettors tend to use the decimal version of odds, rather than the fractional. This makes the calculations much easier. You can change how the odds are displayed on bookmaker’s sites in the settings.

Usually you start with sign up promotions, and after these your existing bookmakers will offer you reload promotions.

Is Matched Betting A Scam - Betting On Football

How Matched Betting Works – A Step By Step Example

To illustrate how matched betting works, let’s consider a simple example and go through it step by step:

Step 1: The Trigger Bet

  • Sign up for a bookmaker, and take part in a promotion to place one bet to receive another a free bet once your first bet has settled, usually as part of a welcome offer. For example “Bet £20.00 to get a £10.00 free bet”.
  • This is usually referred to as a “Bet and Get” promotion.
  • You may need to claim the promotion to take part.
  • For your first bet, the “Trigger Bet” you would choose a particular sporting event to bet on.
  • You want low odds – check the promotion information as there may be minimum odds you need to stick to.
  • Suppose you decide to bet on a football match between Team A and Team B.
  • Place a £20.00 back bet on Team A to win the match, using the bookmaker website.
  • Straight afterwards (never before), after calculating the correct amount, place a lay bet on Team A not to win (which is essentially a bet against Team A) on a betting exchange like Betfair or Smarkets.
  • By placing these opposing bets, you cover all potential outcomes.
  • There will be a small loss on this initial bet due to the calculations and the exchange may also take some commission, this is your qualifying loss.
  • Once both bets have settled, this will release the free bet at the bookies.
  • This may happen immediately or in a given time frame – always read the terms and conditions.

Step 2: The Free Bet

  • Again, select a sporting event to bet on. This time you want high odds as this will give you more of a profit.
  • Follow the same steps as above.
  • Place a £10.00 back bet on Team A to win the match.
  • Straight afterwards (never before), after calculating the correct amount, place a lay bet on Team A not to win (which is essentially a bet against Team A) on a betting exchange like Betfair or Smarkets.
  • Again you want the odds to be as close as possible between the bookie and the exchange, within 10% ideally. So if your bookie odds are 8.0 then you want your exchange odds to be 8.8 maximum.
  • By placing these opposing bets, you cover all potential outcomes.
  • Regardless of whether Team A wins or loses, you are guaranteed a profit from the free bet you received.
  • The profit in matched betting comes from the difference between the back and lay bets and is not dependent on the outcome of the event.
  • This strategy is often seen as a way to turn bookmakers’ promotions into a risk-free income stream.
Is Matched Betting A Scam - Using A Laptop To Match Bet

How Do I Calculate The Amount To Bet?

  • There are specific calculators online to help you calculate the correct amount to back and lay.
  • They take into account the betting odds, and any commission you may pay at the exchange.
  • You can find a good basic free one with a company called Team Profit.
  • I started out with Team Profit and found them really nice and helpful.
  • As you become more proficient at match betting there are other more complex types of promotions you can benefit from.
  • One example is an “Odds Boost” promotion, where a bookie will offer you increased returns on your bet if it wins by upping the odds by a certain percentage, usually 100% or 50%.
  • To complete this type of promotion you would only do one bet (backing and laying it as before, according to the calculator) as the profit to you comes from the odds boost – the extra money you would win if it wins.
  • Another example is the “Refund If” promotion, where you would receive a refund either as cash or a free bet if a specific event happens, e.g. if a particular player scores.
  • There is also the “Early Payout” or “2Up” offer, where the bookmaker will settle your bet as a win before the event ends if a certain event occurs, e.g. if a certain team reaches 2 goals ahead of the other team in a given game.
  • All these different offers have different calculator, some with sliders.
  • You may also have the option to “Underlay” or “Overlay” some bets to achieve more returns.

My Experience Of Matched Betting

I started matched betting in 2018. I had been Googling different ways to make money online and came across a website called Team Profit.

They take you through the steps using simple instructions, they have a Facebook group and usually partner with another site that will offer the oddsmatcher software and more complicated calculators for a monthly fee. At the time that was a site called (now it is a site called

Team Profit are free however and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

In my first two years I made around £5,000 a year, so £10,000 by the start of 2020.

I had started to lose a lot of bookmaker accounts though, and my earnings were slowing down.

I tried a couple of the automated systems on offer by Mike Cruikshank, the “Each Way Sniper” and also a trading football system.

I wouldn’t recommend these to be honest. There is no doubt the software works, but it killed lots of my accounts. It is likely that the bookmakers detected the bots and I was removed from many promotions.

Then Covid hit in early 2020 and most sporting events were called off.

My profits took a nosedive and never really recovered.

I still do the odd promotion and actually have started receiving more offers from bookmaker sites that had previously restricted me.

I now probably make about £20.00 a month doing bits and bobs as they come in.

I put the £10,000 in an ISA.

I have to say honestly that it was a great experience and when you get the hang of it, matched betting is a lot of fun.

Let’s have a look at what to consider if you are thinking of starting to match bet.

Is Matched Betting Legal?

  • One of the primary concerns regarding matched betting is its legality.
  • The practice of matched betting itself is not illegal.
  • It is essentially a strategy of using free bets and promotions offered by bookmakers to your advantage.
  • However, it is important to consider the terms and conditions of the bookmaker you are using.
  • Some bookmakers may not allow matched betting, and if they discover that you are engaging in it, they can restrict or close your account.
  • It’s also crucial to be aware of the legal gambling age in your jurisdiction and adhere to responsible gambling guidelines.
  • Minors and individuals with gambling addiction issues should not engage in matched betting.

Tax Implications

  • Another aspect to consider is the tax implications of matched betting.
  • In some countries, gambling winnings are subject to taxation, while in others like the UK, they are tax-free.
  • The tax rules can be complex and vary from place to place.
  • It’s essential to research and understand the tax laws in your jurisdiction to ensure you comply with them.
Is Matched Betting A Scam - Laptop Diary And Mobile Phone

Ethical Considerations

  • The ethics of matched betting are another topic of debate.
  • Some argue that it exploits bookmakers’ promotions and free bets, taking advantage of their offers without engaging in traditional gambling.
  • Critics, however, suggest that it is unethical because it manipulates the system, potentially leading to the removal of generous promotions for other customers.
  • The counter-argument is that bookmakers are well aware of matched betting and its potential impact on their profit margins.
  • They choose to offer promotions to attract and retain customers, so it’s not necessarily unethical for individuals to use them as intended.
  • Some people choose not to match bet using horse racing, as they consider the sport cruel and do not wish to be involved with it.
Is Matched Betting A Scam - Horse Racing

Responsible Gambling

  • Regardless of the ethical debate, responsible gambling should always be a top priority.
  • Matched betting should not be a gateway to compulsive gambling.
  • It’s essential for individuals to set limits, have a clear understanding of the risks involved, and stop if they feel it’s negatively impacting their lives.

Risks Associated with Matched Betting

Account Restrictions

  • One of the significant risks associated with matched betting is that bookmakers may restrict or close accounts of customers who are suspected of match betting.
  • Bookmakers often have terms and conditions in place to prevent or limit the use of promotions for matched betting.
  • When they identify a customer who consistently exploits free bets and promotions, they may take actions such as limiting bet sizes or restricting access to promotions.
  • This can significantly reduce the profitability of matched betting.

Human Error

Matched betting requires precision in calculating bet sizes and odds to guarantee a profit. Human errors in these calculations can lead to losses.

Common errors include:

  • Rushing and getting the numbers wrong for your bet amounts.
  • Not reading the promotion terms and conditions properly and not fulfilling the conditions of the initial trigger bet.
  • This could be betting on the wrong event or at odds too low or high than the stated amount.
  • You then won’t get the free bet and will just have the qualifying loss.
  • I would always recommend screen shotting the promotion terms and conditions so you can refer back to them afterwards.
  • You can always then send them on to the bookies if they don’t award your free bet for some reason.
  • Sometimes when teams have very similar names it is possible to put your back bet on one, and your lay bet on another.
  • This can mean both bets can lose and you will lose money.
  • My advice is to be meticulous with it, and write everything down so you can check it back if you need to.
Is Matched Betting A Scam - Keep A Diary

You always need to back and lay exactly the same event to cover all outcomes.

Of course both bets might win, but usually if it can go wrong it will go wrong, and you are more likely to lose money than to be very lucky and win money.

This happened to me once and it was sickening! I lost a fair bit but I did make it back over time and I never made that mistake again!

Always check and double check your bets.

  • I write everything down in a diary – dates, promotion terms and conditions, any minimum odds needed, when the free bet is awarded, how much it will be, my qualifying loss and my profit.
  • Take your time, don’t rush.
  • Don’t leave bets to the last minute unless you are confident of what you are doing – the odds jump around and it becomes more difficult to get it right, especially if you have to keep re-calculating your amounts.

Dependency on Promotions

Matched betting heavily relies on the availability of free bets and promotions from bookmakers. If these promotions become scarce or less generous, it can impact the profitability of matched betting. Over time, as bookmakers adjust their marketing strategies, the opportunities for matched betting may decrease.

  • Some promotions can become overly complicated, needing lots of conditions or multi bets to hit the conditions.
  • An example of this is the “Build A Bet” promotion, which means a few different bets are combined and all need to win to generate a free bet.
  • The margin for error increases here and sometimes the free bet is just not worth the effort.
  • If a bookie stops sending you promotions – we call this being “gubbed”.
  • Usually they will email you and advise promotions have been restricted on your account.
  • If they don’t email you but you find you aren’t getting promotions sent to you anymore, or you can’t click on them on the bookie website, this could well be a “silent gubbing”.
  • You need to make sure you are eligible for the promotion before starting, otherwise you could make the trigger bet and then not be awarded the free bet, and be left with just the qualifying loss.
  • Another thing that can happen is a bookie can stake restrict you.
  • This means they will only allow you to place really small bets of say £5.00, £2.00 or £1.00.
  • You can’t really make much money if you can only place really small bets, so this effectively stops any promotion being worthwhile.
  • Over time, it is common to lose most of your bookies. I only have a few left that I receive promotions from regularly.
  • Some matched bettors try placing “mug bets” to look more like a standard gambler. Of course, you would lay these to minimise any losses, but the jury is still out on whether this actually works or not.
  • I would recommend to always bet on fairly high profile matches or sporting events. You will look more like a standard gambler and may avoid detection and loss of offers a little longer.

Time and Effort

  • Matched betting is not a “get rich quick” scheme.
  • It requires time and effort to identify suitable opportunities, place bets, and track results.
  • Some people may find the process tedious or overwhelming.

Technical Challenges

  • While matched betting is accessible to anyone, there is a learning curve involved in understanding the concept and using the necessary tools and platforms.
  • For beginners, there may be a period of trial and error, which could lead to financial losses.
  • Sometimes there can be outages at the bookmaker or exchange sites, or even the match betting software you are using.
  • This can happen when a high profile game or race is on, such as a football final or the Grand National.
  • This can prevent you getting your bets on and may cause losses.
  • There can sometimes be differences in the rules for payout between the bookmaker and the exchange.
  • This is true for the retirement rule in tennis, you will need to make sure that the bookie and the exchange you are using work to the same rules, otherwise you could lose both bets and be out of pocket.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Matched Betting?

1. Easy to start from home with a small amount of money and just your phone or tablet.1. You do need to put in a certain amount of time watching the guides and getting to grips with the concept.
2. The money you make is tax free (in the UK – please check if you live elsewhere).2. There will be a lot of bookie sites to join and login details to remember.
3. Nice supportive community – join the Facebook groups and online forums to ask for help and hear about promotions.3. There is a certain stigma with anything gambling related, lots of people will just assume you are standard betting.
4. You can do as little or as much as you want, provided you are getting offers through.4. You need to be strict with yourself and not fall into actual betting.
5. Reasonably risk free if you follow the instructions, bar human error and site outages.5. There is a certain amount of paperwork, logging bets, promotion details and profits.
6. You can make good money with not too much effort.6. It probably won’t last forever, over time promotions decrease and you will lose a lot of bookies.
7. It is fun.7. The risks, although minimised by following the instructions carefully, still do exist and you can have days where you will lose money.

The Future of Matched Betting

The Evolving Landscape

  • The landscape of matched betting is continually evolving.
  • As bookmakers adjust their promotional strategies and regulations change, matched betting opportunities and profitability may shift.
  • It’s essential for those engaged in matched betting to stay informed about the latest developments in the industry.
  • As matched betting becomes more mainstream, some individuals are exploring alternative approaches to risk-free or low-risk income generation.

Online Casino

  • One alternative approach is advantage play using online casino sites.
  • The concept is fairly similar to traditional sports match betting, in that you are using the promotions offered by online casino or bingo sites to leverage the odds into your favour.
  • This can mean taking advantage of welcome offers, free spins and free daily promotions.
  • Most bookmaker sites also have a casino section, e.g. Sky Sports and Sky Vegas.
  • There are also sites like Topcashback or Quidco that offer cashback when joining an online casino site.
  • The strategy here would be to deposit, then wager the required amount on a low risk slot or blackjack, then claim your cashback.
  • Again you always need to read the terms and conditions to make sure you are fulfilling the promotion in order to gain your freebie, whether it be cash, free spins or bingo tickets.
  • Something important to check is whether you need to wager your winnings. You will always need to wager your initial deposit to comply with anti money laundering regulations, but some promotions can ask you to then wager any winnings as much as 35 times before you can withdraw. This can make it highly likely to “bust out” and lose everything.
  • Online casino matched betting relies on the concept of “EV” – “Expected Value”. The house always wins by applying small but consistent advantages over the player. Casino match bettors leverage promotions to swing this into the player’s favour.
  • In practice however, this can mean long stretches of no profit, or losses. The idea is to “trust in the EV” as statistically eventually you will be in profit, but this can be difficult if you are in a negative swing.
  • Most matched betting casino sites will use a graph so you can see where you are in relation to the expected profit.
Is Matched Betting A Scam - Online Casino


Is Matched Betting A Scam?

No – Matched betting is a legitimate strategy that utilises bookmakers’ promotions to ensure a guaranteed profit, provided it is done correctly and within the legal and ethical boundaries.

  • It is not gambling in the traditional sense, as the outcome is not dependent on chance.
  • However, it comes with its set of risks, including account restrictions, human error, dependency on promotions, time and effort required, and technical challenges.
  • Whether matched betting is a viable income source depends on individual circumstances, including one’s risk tolerance, available time, and access to promotions.
  • It’s crucial to approach matched betting with caution, remain informed about changing industry dynamics, and practice responsible gambling.
  • As with any financial endeavour, there are no guarantees, and those thinking about starting matched betting should thoroughly research, seek advice from experienced practitioners, and understand the potential pitfalls before embarking on this journey.
  • While matched betting can be a profitable venture when done correctly, it is not a guaranteed path to wealth, and individuals should approach it with realistic expectations.

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