Is matched betting gambling?
July 11, 2019
Many people who haven’t tried matched betting before or don’t understand how it works believe that matched betting is simply gambling. However, their opinions mostly change once they understand the dynamics behind matched betting and that the strategy behind it is ‘mathematically’ sound.
So, what is matched betting?
In short, matched betting is a method of making a profit from bookmaker incentives such as free bets, money back offers, bonuses and more. Matched betting doesn’t just apply to betting on sports as you can also apply different matched betting strategies to casino offers. You’re able to do this by reducing the risk of your bets losing by covering all outcomes. By covering all outcomes, one of your bets will win. Of course, you won’t make any money from this and will most likely lose a little. However, by placing these bets, you will receive a free bet or bonus. These free bets are where the value comes from in matched betting and what makes it profitable.
As mentioned, by covering all outcomes, you will most likely lose money. However, by matched betting your free bet, you should be able to return an overall profit regardless of the outcome.
So, if we can make a profit from free bets and other betting offers regardless of the outcome, is matched betting gambling?
The vast majority of people who understand matched betting would say that it’s not but it’s important to understand all of the risks involved in matched betting.
Wait, there are risks?
Well, there is one main risk which we’ll explain below.
The first and biggest risk with matched betting is human error. Matched betting isn’t an automated process and requires you to place both back bets at a bookmaker and lay bets at a betting exchange. Then, after you have placed your qualifying bet, you have to repeat the process with your free bet. That’s a total of four bets at a minimum you have to place in order to make a profit. Each of these four bets have to be placed with the correct stake. Thankfully, there are matched betting tools such a matched betting calculator to help you with this but at the end of the day, you still have to manually place these bets yourself at the betting sites. This leaves room for errors and errors can cost you money. The more experience you have with matched betting the lower the risk of making mistakes. However, it’s inevitable that you will make a mistake somewhere down the line and this is a risk.
Also, as all of our bets when matched betting involve betting offers, there’s a chance that we can not adhere to the terms 100%. For example, in order to receive a free bet, we may have to place a bet on football at odds of 2.0 or greater. If we don’t spot this in the terms, we may place a qualifying bet at 1.7 and be wondering where our free bet is once our bet has settled. These mistakes are quite common and you can lose money when they happen. Thankfully, the losses aren’t usually significant but these mistakes are still a risk.
Whether you believe matched betting is gambling because of the risks involved or not, there’s no denying the fact that mathematically, it works. With the main risks in matched betting being due to human error, it’s even more important to make sure that you are fully trained up and understand what you are doing before you start. By doing so, you reduce the risk of making a mistake yourself and stand a better chance of making a profit on the days that you do matched bet.