An accidental tourist in the world of Matched Betting

A big meme in the UK personal finance scene is matched betting. I was cynical about this for many reasons, but particularly because I assumed that this was arbitraging odds. Capitalism tolerates arbitrage, but you normally have to be very well-heeled to to do it. Your stockmarket platform uses arbitrage, hedge funds to, banks do it all the time, middlemen of all sorts. End consumers, not so much, and punters are are end consumers at the bottom of the food chain. Turns out I was wrong about the arbitrage – although that is one way people make money out of matched betting, the primary way seems to be making money out of freebie signups. Arbing odds seems to be an easy way to run into trouble. Gambling is very lucrative for the bookies, they throw zillions of promotional freebies out there, and you can pick up a few pennies from the firehose of offers to part prospective punters from their money.

what an online bookie looks like – Coral in this case

By betting on both the result and the anti-result you can eliminate the risk of the result and extract some of this free cash. There are many catches – it’s time consuming, you have to prostitute your personal details to many bookies, presumably your bank looks at the string of gambling transactions and won’t even think of advancing you a mortgage. On the plus side it’s a bit of a game, and particularly interesting for me is that it is tax-free. One of the things that holds me back from taking some jobs is the problem of accounting for piddling bits of money. I don’t ever want to work for a salaried job again, but on the other hand although I quite like the idea of hit and run jobs many are small, and paperwork bores me. The taxman doesn’t tax betting income because it’s usually anti-income and people would offset it against tax from real income.

The fact that a taxpayer has a system by which they place their bets, or that they are sufficiently successful to earn a living by gambling does not make their activities a trade.


As far as how it works, I’m not going to try and describe that. Too many others who know more about it have done that – take a look at oddsmonkey for how and why.

Why matched betting isn’t gambling

The key thing that makes matched betting not the same as gambling is that you back one side and lay the other, so the risk is cancelled out. Screw that up and it’s betting. Ask TFS about the Winner offer 😉 It’s actually TFS who started my foray into this underworld, because he had the cojones to narrate how he had screwed up. Everybody else is saying it’s money for old rope, so my bullshit detector was always going off. Mind you, TFS has a little of the gambler in him anyway, as I’m sure I saw gambling costs as a line item in one of his monthly summaries. And TFS is a fellow who dreamed of becoming a professional gambler. I was about to pollute his comment stream with a cynical comment as to ‘professional gambler, WTF is that?’. But them I thought I ought to really hit up Google in case I was about to display my ignorance, and it turns out that professional gambler is a thing. These are people who do effectively arbitrage odds, theoretically through a superior analysis of the event being betted on. I suspect very Few are chosen from the Many 😉 Matched betting isn’t professional gambling either.

The weird world of gambling and casinos.

“The music businessgambling world is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

Hunter S Thompson could have been talking about online gambling

I’ve never been in a betting shop and I hate sports, deeply, on all levels. I just don’t give a damn. The whole betting scene is garish as hell, it’s like a wall-to-wall caricature of Donald Trump in the way it appeals to the inner monkey in us.It’s like going to Las Vegas, you kinda feel a little bit dirty on the inside and outside after you’ve tangled with this sort of trash

But using Oddsmonkey it’s easy enough to sidestep a lot of that, going straight through to the particular page wanted. I found it was worth paying them the £16 a month simply to shorten the whole process, obviously you need to be making a lot more than that for there to be any point. In the beginning, with signup offers it’s easy to do that, although I suspect making a profit will get a lot harder later on, and at some point it will fall below the can’t be arsed threshold for me, which appears to be higher than for most other people at this. The Ermine is a lazy devil when it comes to pointless makework, which is what this boils down to. There’s also the wider issue that the annual dividends on my ISA are more than I’ll probably extract from matched betting signup offers in a year, and I get that for sitting on my backside and the dividends will keep coming year after year.

Why it won’t last

Fundamentally, matched betting is extractive, it creates no value. I presume the bookies are busy working on Bayesian systems to spot customer matched betting patterns, and restricting their accounts. Because of the dreadfully onerous know your customer rules in the UK you can’t just spin up new accounts to dodge that. I’d give matched betting five years tops before it’s stamped out. It’s possible that they make so much money on normal punters they don’t really bother, but the fact that bookies limit some matched better’s accounts indicates they perceive a problem.

What it could do for you

If you’re prepared to sit behind your computer most of the evenings and particularly weekends, then you seem to be able to extract about £15,000 p.a. Go look at Early Retirement Guy‘s alter ego, MatchedBettingGuy for a fellow who has hit this hard.

What it may do for me

I’ve extracted a couple of hundred. But then I’m lazy, and I don’t really need the money. I confess to a buzz at extracting money from bookies, and it reminds me a little bit of playing computer games – but the last time I did that was in the late 1980s on an Atari 800. I stopped that for the same reason I struggle with MB – it was fun but a pointless waste of time – and I made that call on computer games when I was in my 20s ;). Some part of me despises the valueless waste of my time with matched betting, I’m not improving myself or adding any value to the world doing this. I’ve probably trashed my credit rating for a while, but then one of the delights of being FI is I don’t need to borrow money from anyone. I have no idea of how people continue once they’ve burned through the new customer offers, because getting a decent return from existing customer offers seems really hard work. So maybe an Ermine hit and run on the bookies of Britain will be good for about a thousand pounds in all. Which is worth having I suppose, but I’m very clearly missing something compared to ERG.

Keep your nose clean and keep this stuff off your main computer

Remember Hunter s Thompson. This is an ugly industry feeding off human weakness; you don’t want it anywhere near normal life.

I use a separate gmail account, and a computer booted off a Linux liveCD so it’s new-born every restart. Although I don’t see most ads due to adblock plus I don’t really want the Big G to spam me senseless. And whatever your main bank account is, where your salary and mortgage get paid, well, it would be wise not to use that IMO 😉



49 thoughts on “An accidental tourist in the world of Matched Betting”

  1. I can confirm it’s not a scam, and you can get a bit more if you sign up to some of the accounts via cashback sites as well, but £1,000 is probably about right in total without too much effort. Being new to betting is an advantage because most offers are for new customers only. I think some of the ridiculous numbers you hear involve “helping” other people to make money out of it, i.e effectively opening multiple accounts. I have a friend of a friend who has signed up lots of his mates and takes a hefty commission to do it for them. Of course, you have to hide your IP address and equipment information in some way.

    Separate email accounts and bank accounts is definitely the way to go about it. First Direct once quizzed me live over the phone on some of my transactions when I was applying for a mortgage! I don’t think it impacts your credit rating though.

    Very interesting to hear that HMRC consider it tax free as I did wonder if it could constitute a trade. Although reading the last paragraph in your link, I think it still could if you’re making money out of a ‘service’ related to matched betting.

    The reason I’ve stopped doing it is that it does take time, and I’m not convinced it’s worth the effort. Taking ERG as an example, you have to wonder if even somebody making as much out of it as him would be better spending his time working on his job skills and career. If he secured a £10k pay rise from taking a better job then that extra money would be coming in every year until he retired, with limited further time and effort involved – unlike matched betting, which is hard graft and not a reliable future income stream.


    1. I took the career progression and pay rise. Hated it. Went back to my old job (granted, on more money than I’d left) and instead make up significantly more than the difference playing the ‘game’ of matched-betting.

      How much of the pay rise would I need to receive in order to match the £20k I made last year from Matched Betting? And how many hours of bullshit corporate ass kidding, middle management appraisal meetings and rounds of redundancies would I need to endure to get there?

      No thanks, I’d rather earn the extra from the comfort of my own home whilst drinking a few Bourbons & Coke.


      1. @ ERG

        I completely agree with you about corporate bs, but in my experience there is no correlation between how much you get paid and how much of it you have to put up with. It has much more to do with the company and the industry you work in.

        You’re very quiet on the question of how many friends you are “helping” in order to achieve the implausible £20k pa figure.

        Also if you are providing such a ‘service’ then you should have registered as self-employed and you should be completing a tax return to self assess for the tax and national insurance you should be paying on your business. This is clearly stated in the HMRC page which the ermine has linked to.


      2. Not quiet at all, I’ve stated multiple times in blog posts, comment replies and Youtube videos that I believe a figure of £300-£500 per month per person (yourself or helped) to be the achievable and expected level. Infact of all the people I’ve seen discussing Matched Betting online, I don’t think I’ve seen any that are more open with their precise figures and methods,

        What do you deem implausible about a £20k pa figure given the scalability I’ve described above?

        And my tax arrangements are all in hand, thank you for your concern.


      3. what ‘scalability’ have you described in the comment above? – I can’t find the section in your comment that discusses ‘scalability’. Have I missed something?

        It does seem from the various comments that scalability is a problem, i.e. once you’ve used up free bets with your accounts, get gubbed, etc. the returns get harder to come by, i.e. you suffer from diminishing returns on your time?


      4. I meant that as you get quicker identifying matches and the various ways of exploiting different offers you can move on to other opportunities or assisting people. For instance Each-way sniping or Scalping extra places are unaffected by gubbings and only really limited by the time you want to put in. I made £300 on a gubbed account from a single race thanks to an extra place scalp last month.

        If anything I’ve found things become much easier as your larger exchange balance allows you to tackle more bets simultaneously and earn a higher % return from free bets received.

        I’ve never described matched-betting as a get rich quick scheme. It does take alot of time and concentration, as Ermine acknowledges I commit. However for those with the free time or motivation, it appears to be one of the easiest ways to earn money from home.


      5. Any bookmaker that offers decent horse racing odds will eventually limit you to pennies. It could take years or even only a few months, but they’ll get you. Unless you have an endless supply of ‘friends’ that you can ‘advise’ in a legally dubious manner, there is no way that you’ll maintain a high level of profit without taking on much more risk.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My experience was very similar. I have no interest in sports either, or at least not in the sports that people customarily bet on. Also, gambling conflicts with the obsessive control freak side of my multi-personality personality 😉 Which could also explain why I found MB so time consuming. TFS says he spends 15 hours a month and makes more thank £1k. Seriously, 15 hours? Howthefuckdoesthatworkprettyplease? It was double that that time for me when I did it, and I didn’t even make a grand.

    I think you don’t need to worry about your credit rating. I couldn’t be f*ed to use anything but my main account, and lookie-see, no impact on either the credit rating or the ability to remortgage. At all. Which is kinda weird, since, having just remortgaged literally two weeks ago (with a customary credit search and all), I’d expect Experian to, I dunno, give out a twitch or something. But no. The credit rating was extra excellent when I started both MB and the remortgage process, and has stayed the same. The 3 months’ worth of bank statements I sent to the bank iro mortgage were a bit funny though – the first two months were half a page each, and the last month (thanks to MB) was 2.5 pages long. I fully expected the bank to ask about my gambling addiction, but no… no interest whatsoever. Anyway, MB (mostly) paid for the mortgage arrangement fee, so there’s that 😉


  3. Bravo for trying it out, ermine.

    There are some who make out that it’s easy money and risk free but it’s neither – like TFS, I’ve made a couple of big errors which have cost me a few hundred in profits. The main thing is that as I wasn’t gambling, I wasn’t out of pocket.

    The amount of profit you earn very much depends on how much time you put in and also (contra to the ‘risk free’ description), how much risk you are willing to take.

    I opened a new current account specifically for MB and haven’t had any issues with my credit rating (applied and got a new credit card recently).

    I think I’ve made close to £400 in November (not updated my spreadsheet yet), all from recurring/reload football offers.

    The matched bettors who rake in the huge profits seem to do a lot of horseracing and casino offers.

    Perhaps I could be doing something more constructive instead of MB but since I’m trying to improve my wealth, enjoying a hobby that earns me a bit of tax free cash seems to be a good way to spend some of my spare time.


    1. > credit rating

      I will carefully remove the tinfoil from my head then, it seems your and hosimpon’s experience shows I was being paranoid 😉

      > The amount of profit you earn very much depends on how much time you put in and also (contra to the ‘risk free’ description), how much risk you are willing to take.

      I’m definitely missing something here then. The risk in MB that I can see seems to be :

      1 – value at risk – if you take the other side of £50 at odds of 10 you are on the hook for £500. Which should be chilled if you are backing the same risk at similar odds, although you have to carry the float for a while


      2 – the risk of screwing up, a combination of data entry and not seeing limitations of the Ts and Cs

      I’ve had a preference for horseracing (because I’m not at work and it’s an easy win to get in and out quickly), but I’m certainly missing any other types of risk/reward subtleties. Which may simply indicate I am still a noob 😉


  4. @David, Hosimpson – its very interesting that your experiences seem to gel with what I saw. I switched from signups to looking at existing customer offers to test the sustainability and it just didn’t look good at all. Signup offers are short, profitable and easy, reloads are hard work for the return.

    So I’ll probably sign off oddsmonkey for December and do a massive hit of signup offers in January, and then quit and appreciate the free 1k. If I could do a TFS and get 1k a month for 15 hours I’d think about it, but from what I’ve seen he and ERG are either much faster workers than I or they know something I just don’t know 😉


    1. I am not interested in £5 free bets which is what most reload offers boil down to, often with lots of hoops to jump through, just ignore these and go for the bigger fish.

      There are plenty of reload offers that offer large rewards for small risk/work you just need to find them. Bet365 occasionally do a £50 free bet that should easily get you £35 guaranteed for about 20 minutes work. William Hills 4 means more offer can net you around £80 for backing/laying 2 bets, and Paddy Powers 2 up offer you can win theoretically an unlimited amount (When it actually cops, which will admittedly quite rare). Big banks are needed for these and these are not risk free offers but you should come out well up once you have copped a couple of them. Check the odds monkey forum or MBGs website for other ideas. Or as I said in my post below just start betting the arbs.

      I think this is what weenie refers to when she talks about how much risk you want to take on, there are risk free offers, offers with risk (low downside with large upside) and then there is just punting the arbs which is obviously very risky but overall the maths say you should make profit on this over time. And you can do no lay acca offers (I think weenie has tried this) again which should make more money and be less “work” than doing the onerous lay sequential acca offers, but you are taking on more risk by doing that.

      Make your base profit each month with some no risk offers (maybe 150-200) then indulge in some of the riskier stuff to really juice your winnings. This is how you can make 1K+ per month consistently using just one persons account. Additionally and obviously, and I don’t think anyone is trying to hide this fact, it is a lot easier to make higher profits if you are “helping your friends out” as well.

      There seem to be a lot of experts on this thread who have dismissed the idea yet have not even tried it or researched it in the slightest, if it’s not for you then that’s fair enough, there are many downsides to MB which are obvious for all to see and you’ve pointed out in the main post, but some of the comments here just seem overly negative and from a position of almost zero knowledge (people on the internet waxing lyrical on stuff they know practically nothing about… Whatever next!?)

      (Have to say fair play to the ones who have tried it (including ermine obviously) and have left constructive criticism/advice for others though)

      There are so many bookies out there now it will take a long time before you are gubbed by all of them so I think peoples concerns about longevity are totally overblown as well. You are far more likely to just get bored with the whole thing before you run out of Bookie accounts IMO so in that sense yes it’s not sustainable but tbh I don’t think any of the bloggers I have read MB posts on (and that’s just myself, MB guy and weenie really) have claimed it is anything but a “make hay while the sun shines” type of venture.

      I agree with MB Guy above about the career progression thing. Once you hit a ceiling you can only earn more by eating more bullshit and that is the same in any job or industry. I would love to know what magical job David has
      where he is getting 10K pay rises easily whilst not getting to deal with longer hours, more pressure and more corporate BS… David please enlighten us mate? 😉
      And like he says you can MB at any time day or night when you have a spare 20 minutes so if you can use dead time to make a bit of extra cash then why the hell not. There is nothing stopping you from skilling up in your career AND doing MB if you wanted to hit it from both sides in any case.



  5. This reminds me of a fascinating encounter one holiday with an Australasian guy [friend of a friend] who in response to the polite meeting a stranger opener ”So, what do you do ?” said he was ‘working’ for a syndicate operating out of Hong Kong that played against betting companies, professionally.

    It all sounded fiendishly complicated but involved paying people you knew to ‘borrow’ their identities to get sign-up freebies as well as co-operating in the betting when you shouldn’t. He admitted it made him nervous about getting caught even though done across borders; so a lot of the income ironically was an operating cost in that he (dope)smoked himself squint to keep calm.

    i couldn’t help asking the elephant-in-the-room question then …..”If you’re such a smart guy & work hard, why can’t you just do well in an equivalent legal job, it could still be morally vile/lucrative, like banking if that’s your thing?” His answer was that he was basically unemployable, being diagnosed ADHD & free-willed, with extra, added allergy to bullsh*t – ”You’ve just met me he said, so are operating only on a first impression … can you see me making it through an interview?” Fair enough I thought – seemed a kind, likeable guy too – it’s just a mad bad world right now, capitalism with canines. [as opposed to with a human face]


    1. > diagnosed free-willed, with extra, added allergy to bullsh*t

      I feel for him. Think that’s what ended my career too 😉 Although I don’t think MB is the answer either!


  6. Matched betting will be alive for as long as bookmakers hand out free bets. Though I hardly make anything from it now, my profit from matched betting is in the region of £30k over a couple of years. The big money was not made on sign up offers but the regular offers on weekend football and horse racing. The biggest cash cows were horse racing festivals, where price boosts (from Betfred in particular) and extra place offers at Aintree or Cheltenham could make you thousands over a couple of days. It was after the first year that profits started to decline as I was limited/gubbed/banned by bookie after bookie. Nowadays I can count on one hand the number of useful bookmaker accounts available to me, without using the thumb!

    It is actually the emergence of popular paid for services like Odds Monkey and Profit Accumulator that has helped to kill off matched betting as a longer term venture. Not that I begrudge them for making a quick buck; it’s the easiest money I have made and ever will make. Matched betting was never a secret, indeed it has been possible to learn for free for more than 10 years, if you were willing to put in a bit of effort (and back then you could make many. many thousands). However, these services have been so heavily marketed and matched betting made so accessible that the bookmakers cannot possibly sustain their generosity.

    Now you have thousands of people piling in to the same offer, at the same time and all betting on the same selections. For the bookmaker, this activity is so easy to spot: they see you betting on low odds to qualify for free bets, using free bets at high odds, only taking odds that are close to the exchange prices and only betting when there is a promotion on.

    Horses are the real killer: the bookmaker hates it when you are consistently taking odds higher than the SP (odds at the off). Are you winning more than you’re losing? Goodbye! Are you taking good value prices? Cya! Are you not putting a couple of hundred through the casino every now and then? Jog on!

    Even unrestricted accounts are becoming useless as bookmakers are offering less promotions and changing the terms of their promotions to make guaranteed profit much more difficult (the William Hill 2nd place refund offer comes to mind).

    The only way people are consistently making £1500/month for more than a year or two is by running accounts in other people’s names (gnoming), heavy shop arbitrage (sharbing) or doing non-risk free (but high expected value) sports/casino/bingo offers. Or by posting referral links. *cough cough* 😉


    1. Thanks for the insight – that kinda paints the picture a bit more with Weenie’s taking the risk in that I hadn’t seen the use of changing the expected value favourably.

      As for the Oddmonkey affiliate – well, it’s like supplying shovels in a gold rush 😉

      All still looks like too much like hard work for me, but I’m impressed by people’s tenacity!


  7. Through my work, [when still a worker ant in the misty brain-washed past when I trudged unthinking, daily, on my groundhog day commute to the busy-work mines] I liased/managed many tradesmen. It was noticeable how the one common denominator with them was the independent streak; they were assumed to be lumpen boneheads by my high-tech company, but I dealt with them directly & disagreed.

    They, the spine of today’s self-employed van army, were individuals who just couldn’t game the system: get a middle-class, bullsh*t, paper carousel ‘job’ clockwatching ’til 5pm/the weekend/payday. They couldn’t do the politics, interviews, hypocrisy, pretending to busywork, appraisals, forms, the pretense of enforced team bonding, the entire theatre that passes for half of so-called occupations today. A nurse is a real job, if you remove that person an essential aspect of everyday life stops, but who would notice if a hedgefund manager was vaporised? …..the worst that could happen is that you might get a better pension payout.

    People who ‘don’t fit in’ are the big losers in our majoritarian society that bullies & disenfranchises anyone who doesn’t fit the average profile. The current wave of popularism only amplifies this trend – the undiscovered Einsteins of this age would fail at the psychometric test stage of the pre-interview at recruitment agencies; those uber-modern gangmasters defining our time. Thank fk I’m FI & don’t have to sing for my supper any more.


  8. Thanks but no thanks. I’ll stay as far away from potential gambling activity as possible – even if you do collect a bit of inverse vigorish.
    I was on a cruise ship recently and had a few occasions to walk through the casino. Such an environment is the closest thing to my concept of Hell as possible – endless flashing lights, ringing bells and a large number of desperate souls.
    Eventually a zero sum game has to become exactly that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I did not too bad over six months, made a couple of grand. But it was an effort, it was boring and I felt it was about as close as I’d ever get to being an low level accountant. You have to check and double check what you’re doing because errors can be very costly. Then, after happily winning maybe fifty quid a weekend fairly regularly I was “gubbed”, or banned, from about every major bookies over the course of a month following the Cheltenham festival. I really couldn’t be bothered going through the process again for “friends” although occasionally I do think about it. If you have the time and notion, it is relatively easy money.


    1. > I do think about it. If you have the time and notion, it is relatively easy money

      Curiously enough I think this highlights a difference which I didn’t think I had. For sure I have the time, I’m better placed for horse racing as I have time in the morning and midday. If I haven’t sorted my shit out to do something with the day why not pick up a little MB cash. Similarly I avoid going out on weekends other than socialising because I have the weekdays to do things when there are fewer people about. So I could hit weekends MB’ing without taking a great hit. So dammit, this is made for me.

      But curiously in terms of MB it’s the sheer pointlessness that I struggle with, and find it hard to sustain motivation. It does seem to be easy money, and there’s even a game aspect to it, but the vacuous nature is tough to ignore.


      1. My take would be it implies that rather than being motivated solely by money, you are also motivated by ethics.

        Its not hard to think of things to do with your time that are more ‘virtuous’ than MB using ‘virtuous’ in the stoic sense.

        I’d be a bit embarrassed explaining to Maslow I’d spent a nice weekend hunched over a laptop trying to rip-off a bookies better than they were ripping me off

        I do think there is a tragic element to these money-making schemes that have a habit of cropping up in FIRE circles. Its a bit mis-guided from my perspective..


      2. It is possible that there’s an ethics issue here, but it’s slightly to my concern that it appears almost totally subconscious. Yesterday (Sunday) I could have been on the laptop looking for a few quid.

        But I was drawn to drive to Norwich and go see the Buckenham rook roost. It’s too early in the year to make a good recording and mine was terrible, but somehow it was a better class of Sunday futility 😉 MB is actually the first time since retiring that I’d had a motivation problem. Normally if I CBA then I just don’t do whatever it is, but somehow this is different and I don’t really know why. I’m not that well off as to normally leave a few hundred on the ground. Maybe it is that Maslow fellow.

        Maybe I haven’t yet truly reached Lacking Ambition’s Zen of “Edwardian Me


      3. @ermine – Have to say if I was FI like you, I would not be wasting my time doing MB. That is the biggest downside for me by far, is that there is literally zero self actualisation points on offer here (maybe even negative ones) which is one of the reasons I am donating 10% of my profits to charity to attempt to reverse that feeling. Not sure it’s working but at least some of the money is going to good causes.

        As you say it IS pointless so if you don’t need the money then don’t do it. It would be the same if you just went and got another corporate job that you didn’t particularly enjoy after hitting FI, who would do that!? You have got a huge variety of interests so knock yourself out looking at birds and whatever else floats your boat 🙂

        @Rhino – I kind of agree (see above comments!) on the tragic part of it (maybe a bit too strong of a word there but I get your gist!) but at the end if it helps people reach their FI goals sooner then what’s the big deal here? What would you suggest people do instead, just out of interest?


  10. Rather reminds me of the time all the mutally owner building societies were converting to listed companies in the 1990s and everyone would run around opening bank accounts with them in order to get free shares

    This lasted a few years and then they had all converted or had no plans to

    Needless to say within a decade all of these former building societies had all been taken over [ 🙂 ]or gone bankrupt [ 😦 ]

    The lesson I took from this is that there is no real connection between effort and reward


  11. I had a go at this for a few weeks, making about £100. It seemed to take SO much work that in the end I couldn’t be bothered. I didn’t like the risk of the bookies limiting your account either – seemed to be unquantifiable to me.
    I’ll stick with spending that time on making crappy affiliate and Adsense websites I think!


    1. It’s a funny old game, I found the hourly rate okay – for instance compared to designing the odd gizmo the pay per hour is better. But it doesn’t feel like time well spent 😉


  12. I see no point in betting on the anti-result. Just bet on the first option every time and statistically you would be in the same position, without needing to pay for the anti-result fee. You don’t need to make sure you don’t lose on ANY bet, but on AVERAGE.


    1. I can see your point if they were dishing out free bets for nothing, but the catch is that you normally have to place a bet with your own money to get the free bet.

      The odds are stacked against you on that one in the normal way. If you can match them reasonably well you can improve the expected value of that qualifier, although it will still be a small (known) loss. The aim is to make the proceeds of the total result more determined, regardless of the outcome of what’s being bet on.


      1. @alentin @ERG – thank you both for the nudge to ditch the lazy thinking, engage brain and actually get with it. The exchange percentage has got to come from somewhere 😉


  13. good-lad – that does sound like a better way to fritter away a sunday

    TBH – I’m not that convinced by my own argument. I just put it out there to see what it sounded like. I think if it were genuinely money on the floor I would prob bend down to pick it up.

    I suspect 3652 days is right though when, effectively saying for those with ‘a life’ the juice prob isn’t worth the squeeze, but if you don’t go then you won’t know..

    What may be causing me to rail slightly against it is the MB advocates in FIRE-land who possibly have mixed incentives, i.e. affiliate links and the like. There are a few of them out there who set off my BS detectors

    Nice link at the end there..


  14. Having perused a few blogs methinks that the insidious practice of payment for affiliated links/referrals is leading to a lot of people on the internet lying about about how easy it is to make money from matched betting to strangers

    People lying on the internet…whatever next!?!?


  15. My brother was matched betting while at uni 5 years ago, apparently back then they were saying it would be dead in 5 year’s time too.

    What will kill it is legislation or taxation. It only takes one MP to begin suggesting that giving away free bets is ‘irresponsible’ for promoting unhealthy gambling and the whole thing could come to a halt very quickly like drinks promotions in Scotland. Equally if free bets & bonuses were to be subjected to tax (an idea currently being thrown around by various think tanks) I suspect the bookies would pull all the offers as well.

    Or things might go the other way and the law changed to match an Australian system whereby bookies cannot turn down a bet/stake at advertised odds. Who knows?

    I certainly won’t be giving up the day job to matched-bet all day anytime soon but I will be hitting it as hard as possible while there’s still relatively easy money to be made and a very expensive wedding on the horizon.


  16. well it sounds like you’re a natural at it in terms of making much more money much more quickly than others are managing, so as you say, make hay while the sun shines


  17. I did MB for a couple of years. Since I’m not into betting or sports it was perfect for me; no temptation to be biased or to get hooked on gambling. I kept a spreadsheet of every transaction (bet and lay) and the outcomes, including errors (either my typo that I couldn’t fix, or Ts&Cs that bit me – tennis being my worst sport for that – and over the two years made just over £6k. Got gubbed by most bookies and wouldn’t bother doing it again unless I needed the money for a specific project, because it was just too boring and time consuming!
    For anyone thinking of trying it, I’d say “don’t bet more than you can afford to lose” since even though it’s supposed to be risk free, until the money’s in your account, you’re at risk, either from your own error, or one of the bookies deciding not to honour the bet in some way.


    1. I got into a fight with Nominet for masquerading as an ermine 😉 They want to know where domain holders live and demand mustelids show their papers.

      All the financial independence talk is clearly sedition of the highest order!


  18. Relieved to hear everything is ok at ermine towers.

    This would have been a bit of a barrier to publishing your blog when you were still employed, wouldn’t it?


    1. Yes, probably would have gone dotcom instead. Despite all sorts of threats of doom, as long as your fiction looks credible and you pay on time they don’t actually give a toss.

      I’m still of the old-school pre-millennial internet. Whenever anybody gives me a form for personal information it brings out the fiction writer in me. Particularly birth dates, but in general if they want to know it’s not to my advantage.

      It used to be one of the joys of being British that you could walk down the street and nobody’s entitled to demand your papers or name rank and serial number provided you weren’t engaged in criminal activity, but I fear the creeping authoritarianism will do for that in the next ten years.

      The Net is becoming increasingly authoritarian too – I fell out with Betfair betting exchange because they couldn’t match my data exactly, so they have £200 of mine orphaned, with no incentive to make the effort to fix it. Nominet’s heavy-handedness is just another brick in that wall. In fairness to them they don’t charge individuals to at least restrict some information from publication.

      Anyone with half a brain cell would be able to infer all this from various links and the content, but heck, it’s nice ot at least not have it automatically harvestable by Big Data creeps like the Amazons, Googles and Zuckerbergs of this world for their advertising advantage.


  19. Have read this blog for a while now on and off and always enjoyed it immensely. On the quest for FI and matched betting and advantage play has made a decent contribution to our net worth over the last 12-13 years. The MB spreadsheets are showing just shy of 60k profit over the last 7 years with my time and enthusiasm having waxed and waned and a ‘career’ to maintain on the side (lol). Prior to this casino bonus bagging netted a little under 30k (was late to the party unfortunately).

    I have taken to some of the less straightforward ways to maintain profitability from MB and have done a lot of shop arbitrage during an 18 month period.

    One thing in this is that I love ‘gambling’ and sports. Cheltenham week has been an absolute treat the last few years, although I think that the cash cow it has been will not be repeated due to the bookies taking such a hammering and with the masses joining the party.

    Anyway, thanks for the fascinating blog and was really taken to see a post on this.


  20. Can’t believe I’ve only just seen this!

    Thanks for the many links and for the entertaining take on matched betting. It’s ironic how my post on how I lost money actually persuaded you to give it a crack, haha!

    You are right that I have a bit of a gambler in me and did used to have a gambling row in the expense Column but over the year I usually turn a profit. Now I’m doing matched betting I still take a punt but the MB profits smooth out the winnings and losses of my in comparison small bets. I usually do small stakes on big odds so say I make 1000 in MB and lose 100 in gambling in a month is no big deal, but if I win maybe I win 2 or 3 hundred due to the higher odds taken. Also bet on arbs sometimes with higher stakes but don’t lay them off for the same reason as mentioned above about you will make more in the long term doing this (you could just call this “value betting”). Oddsmonkey as you know it’s basically an arb finder so once you’ve run out of offers to do on an account just start punting the arbs. You may get shut down quickly with some bookies doing this but so what, it’s not like we’re gambling for fun here are we? 😉

    I hope that explains partially at least how I’m making roughly a bag of sand a month with fairly minimal time input. Also… Casino offers!

    I’ll try to write up some of that and more in more detail on my blog soon!


  21. I’ve been doing matched betting for just over a year now and have probably made just shy of £5k from it.

    The thing is, you should look at this as a bit of pocket money on the side rather than a sustainable long term income, unless you are really careful with your accounts.

    Don’t overdo the offers with certain bookies and risk yourself getting gubbed.

    My personal favourite lately is doing No-Lay Accas, which hardly take any time to do and during the footie season would bring me £50 – £100 a week with little effort.

    You also need to enjoy what you are doing and luckily I love sports and I love getting something for free so matched betting is the perfect combo for me!!!



    1. > You also need to enjoy what you are doing and luckily I love sports and I love getting something for free so matched betting is the perfect combo for me!!!

      Maybe this is where the problem lay. I detest all sports and while technically I got the money for free it bored me to death, so I resented the time. Each to their own, but I’d rather create or originate something and get paid for that.


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