Simple glossary (alphabetical order)
A back bet is a bet that is placed on something to happen. For example, if you place a back bet on England in a football game, it means you’re betting on them to win the match. Back bets can be placed at a bookmakers, such as William Hill or Coral, either online or instore.
A bet is an attempt to predict outcome of an unpredictable event. For example, “I bet Player A will win his next tennis match”. If someone disagrees with you and believes the opposite, you’ve got yourself a bet. People often add a monetary value to their bet. If you win the bet, you keep your initial stake and the other person’s money. However, if you lose, you lose your stake.
A betting exchange is a website where you can bet against other people rather than against a bookmaker. You can place lay bets at the betting exchange, which is where you bet against an outcome, rather than for it. Examples of exchanges include Betfair Exchange, Smarkets and Betdaq.
Bookmakers can be found either online or on your local high street. This is where you place your back bets. Examples of bookmakers include William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral.
Commissions are how betting exchanges make their money. The amount of commission charged on winning bets varies exchange to exchange, so make sure you check first. Sometimes, a betting exchange will offer a lower commission rate to customers who bet regularly or have been with them for a long time.
Free bets are often given away by bookmakers to encourage new customers to sign up to their services. There are different types of free bet but here’s an example: “bet £10, get a free £20 bet”. In matched betting, free bets can be turned into real money. There are two parts to a free bet: the qualifying bet and the free bet. You usually have to do something before you receive the free bet.
A lay bet is a bet that is placed against something to happen. For example, if you place a lay bet against England in a football game, it means you’re betting on them not to win the match. This bet would also include a draw result. Lay bets can only be placed at online betting exchanges, such as Betfair Exchange or Smarkets.
In gambling, liability is the amount of money you’re liable to lose if your lay bet loses. You need to have the correct amount available in your betting exchange account to cover your lay stake before you can place your bet. However, this money is protected and you won’t lose it if you do matched betting instead of gambling.
Odds are the numbers bookmakers use to indicate how likely something is to happen. Odds are usually shown as fractions, such as 10/1 or 10-1 but can also be shown as decimals, such as 2.5. Fractions are often used in gambling but decimals are most commonly used in matched betting.
When free bets are given away by bookmakers to attract new business, you usually have to do something before you receive the advertised free bet. For example, you might have to bet £10 before you get the free £20 bet. This is known as a qualifying bet – you have to qualify to receive the free bet.
In matched betting, your aim is to make money from free bets. In order to get the free bet though, you usually have to place a qualifying bet and this is where a small loss can be expected. It’s usually only pennies and is covered from the profits made when you use your free bet. If you were gambling and you placed a £10 bet that lost, you’d lose the entire £10. However, in matched betting because you place two bets which almost cancel each other out, if your bet loses, you might only lose 45p – NOT the entire stake. The qualifying loss is caused by a small difference between the odds from the bookmaker and betting exchange.
A stake is the amount of money that is bet on the outcome of an event.