Bookies Set To Continue With New Customer Offers… For Now


These are testing times for bookies, with a fiercely competitive marketplace and increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies. Thankfully for us matched bettors, it seems that operators are set to continue with new customer offers for the time being. Welcome offers are a one-time deal, so it can be considered good news to hear that some firms are potentially going to shift their focus towards customer retention. This should theoretically mean an increase in existing customer offers, which are needed to make a sustainable profit through matched betting.

What Is Matched Betting?

Matched betting is a means of exploiting bookmaker offers to make money online. The concept is simple enough to understand. Bookies will promote a free bet or bonus to attract your custom. This can be a signup offer or an offer for existing customers. In any case the reward on offer can be used to make an expected profit.

By placing the necessary bet to qualify for the offer with the bookmaker and laying against the same selection on a betting exchange such as Betfair or Smarkets, you can reduce the cost of qualifying down to just a few pence. A lay bet is to bet that something won’t win and it works best when the back odds and lay odds are very close.

Our members can do this easily with our odds matching software and matched betting calculator. Then once the free bet or bonus is credited, with a quick adjustment to the calculator, it’s easy enough to lock in a real money profit.

Are Bonuses A Necessary Evil For Bookies?

Most online bookmakers promote a signup incentive of one sort or another. This has long been the case but in 2017 the industry has become more competitive than ever. It’s now imperative for bookies to get the balance right between offers and the impact that they have on profit margins. Many firms are beginning to look at the kind of customers that they acquire through welcome offers and whether promoting free bets and bonuses is still an effective marketing strategy.

Oddschecker’s Guy Harding gave his thoughts on the challenges that bookmakers now face in an exclusive interview with Totally Gaming. The Head of Commercial for the leading affiliate site feels that the modern punter is likely to have multiple accounts, therefore allowing customers to cherry-pick the best prices and each-way offer terms with relative ease.

He also expects many betting companies to follow the example set by William Hill whereby a greater emphasis is placed on retention of high value customers at the expense of low value players that are mainly interested in betting offers. Firms are expected to increasingly  adjust marketing towards retention in the coming months.

Harding was also at pains to point out that some bookmakers need to clean up their act where terms and conditions are concerned.

“If certain unscrupulous operators pursue a bonusing strategy with overly onerous or opaque terms it has the effect of tarnishing the attractiveness of the offering across the industry.”

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently conducting an investigation into bookmaker T&C’s and an update is expected in December. There are two main aspects to the investigation, one being the clarity of the advertised offers and the other being any restrictions on withdrawals.

“Perversely operators could actually welcome any crackdown given that bonus abuse which is concerted and organised, albeit legal exploitation of the offering, is purported to cost the industry £20m a month.”

Protecting Your Bookmaker Accounts

The above excerpt should serve as a reminder to matched bettors to put in the effort to protect your accounts. By only placing offer related bets and taking the best value every time, you greatly increase the risk of having your account flagged. At the end of the day, if you are costing the bookie money they will limit your account, as there is nothing in it for them. You can try to avoid being ‘gubbed’ in a few different ways and a mix of the following suggestions is likely to extend the lifetime of your accounts.

Placing mug bets is a good starting point. Mug betting is trying to act like the average punter and backing non-offer related selections. You can bet on your favourite football team each week or place some football accumulators for example. Of course, you can lay these bets at an exchange to minimise losses.

Skipping some offers is another way to stay under the radar. If you place a bet every time a bookie is running an offer, then it’s only going to be a matter of time before your activity is noticed. Try to be selective and choose the best value offers.

Don’t bet on too many obscure events. When using an oddsmatcher it’s likely that some low-key football matches and minor horse races are going to pop up. Try to resist betting on these, as it doesn’t look natural. Sticking to high-profile and televised events is a good rule of thumb.

Another good tactic is to play in the casino from time to time. Most bookies have a casino product which can be accessed with your sportsbook login details. This will help you to look like a normal gambler and go some way to preserving your account.



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