Article update: It still works in 2018!
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You may have heard the term Matched Betting but didn’t know what it was or maybe you now, but you haven’t tried it. I set out on a quest to find out if Matched Betting still works in 2017 and to make myself some extra income.
I originally heard about ‘Matched Betting’ on the Money Saving Expert forums going back at least 5 years ago, perhaps more, but when I followed the thread with instructions of what to do, it just seemed so complicated. I was worried about losing my money and therefore, I never tried it.
Turns out, I wasn’t the only one that thought this and I was right to be concerned, without the help of a Matched Betting service, I really don’t think I could do this and make a profit. It’s complicated.
But don’t let that put you off. Let’s dive in and see how Matched Betting went for me (a complete novice with anything gambling related!).
What is Matched Betting
Matched Betting is a way of extracting profits from the free bet sign up offers by bookies (ie bet £10 and get a £10 free bet).
You place a BACK bet and a LAY bet for every event that you bet on.
Each bet involves two stages – the qualifying bet, where you make a very small loss (usually between 10p for a £5 bet and up to £2.50 for bets of £50 and above). And then the free bet where your profits should be about 80% of the free bet offered.
Some Bookies will give you your free bet straight away, but others wait until your original bet has been settled, and in a few cases up to 7 days later.
The best thing about Matched Betting is that you win – no matter what the result of the bet.
So if you have a free £10 bet, you can expect to make approximately £7-8 even after taking into account the loss from your first qualifier bet.
Did I mention it was complicated? Yep, it is at first. Especially if, like me, you are completely new to placing a normal bet, never mind having to match it with a LAY bet at a betting exchange (such as Smarkets or Betfair) and worry about the odds and what % will be your profit.
You can read more about how and why it works here, but if you are interested in giving it a go, I would suggest that you sign up to a Matched Betting service such as Profit Accumulator.
Once signed up, spend a few hours watching their training about how it all works. Trust me, this is worth your time!! I spent a couple of days before I even started Matched Betting reading all of their training blurb and watching the very informative videos.
You can sign up for a week before you even have to pay anything and they will also walk you a couple of initial sign ups before you commit to paying the monthly or yearly subscription fee – so you can make about £45 profit before you even commit! WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE? 🙂
I wondered whether Matched Betting still works in 2017 and the answer is yes, it definitely does still work.
The sign offers are still there in abundance and you can make a good profit from these. Since joining the online Bookies for their sign up offers, I have also had lots of ‘reload’ offers, where the bookies are trying to tempt me to place more bets by offering even more free bets!
But I have to say, many of the reloads depend on a certain outcome (such as your chosen team scoring a goal or your horse being placed) and therefore if that doesn’t happen, you won’t get the free bet offered, which means NO PROFIT. But if you were determined to stick to absolute guaranteed profit, you would still make a tidy sum each month.
For my first 2 weeks doing this, I made a profit of over £350 just my start up offers and 2 simple reloads from William Hill. Most of them were relatively easy offers (bet £10 get £10 free) and only 1 of them had a wagering requirement.
These can get tricky – especially if you have a small bank/float. They mean that you have to place a certain amount of bets BEFORE you can withdraw any money from the Bookies.
The one I did was with BWin and it was a bet £20 get a £20 bonus offer. Which sounds great, but it had a £200 wagering requirement. This meant that before I could withdraw any money, I had to place an additional £200 in bets.
To do this and still ensure that I was making a good profit off the £20 bonus, I had to use relatively low odds. But this meant that I kept winning at the Bookies, rather than the exchange.
So by my third bet, I had a lot of money ‘trapped’ in the bookies and not so much left at the exchange.
Luckily I had a bank of about £500 so I was able to continue placing the bets until I could eventually withdraw all of my winnings and my 4th and 5th bets won at the exchange.
If you only have a small bank, I strongly advise that you stick to the straightforward bets, rather than the ones with a wagering requirement as you could potentially run out of money at the exchange before you can withdraw from the bookies. Once your pot has grown, then you can move on to the ones like this that involve wagering requirements. READ ALL OF THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY before you commit to any bets.
I completed 20 sign up offers + 2 reloads from William Hill. I made £355.57 TAX FREE profit in total in 2 weeks (this is what I made AFTER all of my qualifying losses have been taken off).
Big winners and some losers…
Ladbrokes; I made £33.14 which should have been £38.14, but a glitch on their system duplicated my free bet and took the 2nd bet out of my winnings (which I then had to cash out to cancel) so I lost a fiver.
Moral of the story is – withdraw your winnings as soon as you can!
William Hill; Off 3 bets (1 sign up and 2 reload offers) I made a total profit of £48.01 in the 2 weeks. I like William Hill 🙂
BWin; even after the numerous bets I had to place to meet the £200 wagering requirement, I still managed to make a very decent £26.92 profit off my £20 deposit, so it was well worth doing.
One that didn’t come in and I lost £2.55 on the qualifier bet was with Paddy Power. It was on the Northern Ireland v Norway game and I can’t remember what the qualifier was exactly (I screwed up my piece of paper in disgust!!) but I think it was ‘bet £25 and get a free £25 bet if both teams score’. Or something like that.
Anyway, they didn’t, and I lost my £2.55 which I’ve taken out of my total profits.
This is the only ‘gambling’ qualifier that I did during the whole process. Some Matched Betters love these types of bets, but I don’t. It sucked big time when I lost.
If you do decide to do them, remember to choose them carefully and always keep the qualifying losses to an absolute minimum because they will add up. I couldn’t get mine below £2.55 and at this point, I should have just walked away.
I would only have need a few more of these and I could easily have wiped out £20 of profits in a couple of weeks.
Smarkets (the betting exchange) offer a £10 bonus when you lose with them which was a nice surprise, and they only charge 2% commission. I used them for most of my bets and they were great. Betfair were also OK, plenty of liquidity in all of the markets I was looking at (mainly English and European football), but they do charge 5% commission.
Easy extra income which can be done pretty much anytime day or night and is TAX FREE here in the UK.
The subscription services Profit Accumulator (or Profit Squirrel) pretty much do all of the work for you for the early sign up offers. Do not even attempt to do this without their help! I have personally spoken to people that clearly didn’t understand what they were doing but trying to do it on their own – and making a loss.
By trying to save yourself a few pounds a month for the subscription fee, you could potentially LOSE money by doing this wrong or betting on the wrong events.
Longer term offers are still around but many of them have an element of gambling to them, which means that they MAY give you a free bet (and therefore a profit) but they may not.
It takes a bit of dedication to do this and you cannot be distracted. If you need to do it at work in your lunch hour or if you have a young family, make sure you do not get distracted or it may cost you!
The bigger wins and the ‘fast’ profits require a bigger start-up bank. It can be done with a small start up of say £60, but it will take time to build up your profits.
Your ‘bank’ or float will be tied up in the bookies/exchanges whilst you are doing this and you won’t be able to use that money until you decide to stop and withdraw it all. I withdrew mine after a couple of weeks to pay for a mini break in Europe.
Can you do it long term?
This is a complicated question! Yes is the simple answer, but there are certain things that you will need to consider. I started out hoping to make a regular £500-1000 doing this each month, but from what I’ve seen so far, this really isn’t possible unless you are willing to put A LOT of cash into this and keep in there untouched OR until you decide to stop.
Also, without gambling and hoping for certain things to happen during an event, you will not get enough free bets after the initial sign up offers.
Many of the people in the Matched Betting forums that claimed to be making over £1000 a month were actually including an element of gambling in their systems, NOT just Matched Betting. Some of them even admitted to doing the casino offers which are never guaranteed profit. Monthly incomes seemed to vary massively, with a few people that had made £1-2k this month (but they admitted most of it from Matched Betting + gambling or casinos).
A word of warning; in the forums there were more people that had made a LOSS from gambling/casino offers and some that were doing quite well until in a moment of madness they decided to take a punt on something, rather than sticking to Matched Betting.
You can do this long term and potentially make a good side income from it (and remember you LAY all of the BACK bets that you place, so the losses are always minimal), but there are not as many people making the huge profits that they once were from MB than a few years ago.
Another downfall of long term Matched Betting is that many of the people doing this for over a year have now had their accounts ‘gubbed’ by the bookies, which means that they cannot partake in the free offers, which means that it is even more difficult to make profits.
Would I do it again?
Yes I will be doing again, to make a few quid extra cash when I need it, although I won’t be doing it on a regular basis as I am now spending my time getting this blog up and running and also concentrating on my freelance work.
Gambling really isn’t my cup of tea, I was gutted about my £2.55 loss with Paddy Power (yes I really was!) so when I do start Matched Betting again, I will only stick to the offers that give guaranteed profits, not the ones that need something to happen to release a free bet.
In my opinion the risk of a loss just not worth it for a ‘possible’ free bet, although the many people making a decent income each month would probably disagree with me!
Would I recommend Matched Betting?
YES! Matched Betting is definitely worth doing. Why would you not want to make £200-£500 in a month, TAX FREE?
If you stick to using the subscription services such as PA you can’t really go wrong as they do the majority of the hard work for you!
An alternative is Profit Squirrel Their monthly subscription is slightly more expensive than PA, but they have a special offer for their yearly subscription at the moment which works out at £12.50 a month!! You could EASILY make that back just doing this for a couple of hours a month!
The only reason I would tell you to stay clear is if you have a gambling problem. Matched Betting gives you a system that guarantees profit, but for gamblers, that isn’t enough and the temptation to have a punt on certain markets will be too great. Gambling is for mugs, you will NEVER beat the bookies in the end so if you think you are going to be tempted to blow your profits on a flutter here and there – stay away, this system is not for you.
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