Matched betting is a way to turn bookmakers’ free bet offers into real money. They say that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. So is that the case here or is matched betting legal?
How does matched betting work?
First, let’s take a quick look at how matched betting works. You’ll find our complete guide to matched betting by clicking that link. But for a quick intro, this article covers the basics.
Bookmakers give out free bets and other offers to attract both new and regular customers. One example of a new customer offer is: Bet £10 and get a £10 free bet. That means, if you bet £10 of your own money, you’ll receive a free £10 bet to use. In traditional betting, or gambling, you rely on luck in order to win. If the first bet loses, you lose £10 of your own money. Yes, you’ll have the free bet to use, but what if that loses too? You have no profit to show.
However, with matched betting you can bet in such a way that you cover all potential outcomes. For example, place your £10 bet as normal at the bookmaker. But place an opposing bet at the betting exchange. So if you bet on England to beat France at the bookmaker, you would bet on England not to win at the exchange. In the case of a football game, the matched bet – known as the ‘lay’ bet – would also cover a draw result.
Is matched betting legal?
Matched betting is completely legal. It’s kind of a loophole, which you can use to unlock real profit. In the UK, as long as you are over the minimum gambling age of 18, then matched betting is legal. Whilst matched betting isn’t gambling, you do need to open and use bookmaker accounts, which is why you need to be at least 18.
There are no laws in the UK that prevent the placing of back or lay bets on a sporting event. In fact, matched betting has often been covered and celebrated in the national press.
What do bookmakers think of matched betting?
According to Graham Sharpe, former media relations director at William Hill, the sports betting industry doesn’t have a problem with matched betting. “There’s no illegal element,” he said. “It’s a free bet and you can do what you like.” (Source)
Clive Hawkswood, former CEO of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), said: “As long as nobody is breaching the terms and conditions that are attached to free bets then technically they are doing nothing wrong”. (Source)
The reality though, is that bookmakers would rather matched betting wasn’t around. They don’t like the idea of anyone beating them. Whilst it is completely legal, you may see reference to “bonus abuse” in their offer T&Cs. So what does this mean?
The term “bonus abuse” generally refers to the process of signing up to a sports betting service multiple times. This would be done in order to receive multiple welcome or sign up offers. These marketing offers are intended for new users only and the T&Cs may state ‘one account per customer’.
However, with matched betting, there is no need to open multiple accounts with just one bookie. There are numerous bookmakers offering sign up bonuses. The idea is to open just one account with each.
Are there any repercussions to matched betting?
Whilst the answer to the question “is matched betting legal?” is yes, there can be repercussions. Matched bettors sometimes find their betting accounts restricted or ‘gubbed’. However, this may or may not be directly linked to matched betting. No one really knows.
If you do find your accounts restricted, this doesn’t mean your matched betting journey is over. There’s always another profit-making opportunity available. In fact, the benefits of matched betting outweigh upsetting the bookies now and again. Not only is any profit you make from matched betting yours to keep, it’s also tax free.
And OddsMonkey has everything you need to make regular profits. Give matched betting a go and start your free trial today.