What is Matched Betting? An easy guide
Matched betting is a way to turn the free bets offered by online bookmakers into real money that you can actually withdraw from your bank account. When you place a bet on a team to win, you always place a ‘matching’ one on that team not to win. This may sound a little confusing at first because you’re basically canceling your first bet out…BUT it means you’ve protected your money and taken the gambling out of betting.
How does matched betting work?
In matched betting, you always place two opposing bets. These are two different kinds of bet:
Back bet: This is where you put your backing behind an outcome to come true – you’re betting for something (usually to win). Back bets are placed at online bookmakers like Coral or Paddy Power.
Lay bet: With a lay bet, you’re doing the opposite and betting against the outcome you bet on before. You’re betting that it won’t come true and effectively canceling out your back bet. Lay bets can only be placed through online betting exchanges like Betfair or Smarkets.
Matched betting uses the free bet offers given out by bookmakers, such as “Bet £5, get a £5 free bet”. If you look at that offer, you can see there’s two parts to it: “bet” and “get”. In matched betting, you need to do the first part to be able to unlock the value in the second part. Let’s take a closer look:
Qualifying bet: By betting the £5 that the offer asks for, you’re qualifying for the reward of the free bet. Remember, matched betting means that you’re not really betting £5 of your own money because you’ll also place a similar lay bet which will effectively cancel the back out.
Free bet: With this second part, just repeat the process from your qualifying bet, which means place another back bet and another lay bet. This time though, you’re using the free bet rather than your own money at the bookmaker. And because of this, you’re able to extract some real money from the free bet.
A quick step-by-step example of matched betting:
Pick a bookmaker who’s offering a free bet like, ‘Bet £10, get £30 in free bets’. Deposit your money and place a back bet of £10 on Liverpool to win their next game. This is known as the qualifying bet.
Next, place a lay bet (on Liverpool not to win) at a betting exchange. This is your matched bet.
Liverpool play their game and either win, lose or draw. If they win, your back bet wins and if they lose or draw, your lay bet wins. You should have won a similar amount of money as you staked, but you’ll also have unlocked those £30 of free bets which is the important bit! Now it’s time to turn that into real money…
Repeat the back and lay process using your free bets, effectively turning them into real cash. You should end up extracting around 75–80% of the free bet amount, so a £30 free bet turns into around £24 profit.
Is matched betting gambling?
No. Matched betting isn’t gambling because the process of matching bets by placing a back and a lay bet on the same event means that both the win and lose options are covered. In gambling, you’re only betting on one outcome, which is why your money is at risk – that bet could lose. Matched betting takes away that risk.
Matched betting’s a legal way of using the free bet promotions offered by the bookmakers to make money.
How much do I need to start matched betting?
You’ll be able to build your bank more quickly the more money you have, but you can get started with any amount. That’s one of the great things about matched betting: anyone can have a go!
It’s also a good idea to have a separate bank account just for matched betting because it’s easier to keep track of all your transactions.
How to find welcome offers
You’ll find loads of welcome offers right here on matchedbetting.co.uk, along with step-by-step guides on how to make money from them.