Matched betting is something I’ve only really just started dipping my toes in the water with. After following the journeys of friends and other money bloggers, and seeing them doing really well, I finally decided to give it a go myself!
I was uber cautious as the last thing I wanted to do is end up losing money and, as someone who had never even put a bet on before, the whole thing seemed a bit of a mystery to me. But now I’ve done some research, had a go and realised that actually, as long as you’ve got a reasonable grasp of doing things online vs in-store, it’s not as confusing as it first sounds. I managed to make over £55 my first week, and after figuring out what I needed to do, the time taken placing the bets probably only took around 20 minutes in total!
If you make sure you understand what you’re doing before you go ahead and use caution, matched betting is actually a legal, tax-free way of making money. Potentially lots.
What is Matched Betting and how does it work?
One thing I want to point out right away is that matched betting is NOT gambling. With gambling you either win, or you lose. With matched betting you are never gambling your money, simply following a strategy to make a profit regardless of any particular outcome. However, if you think you might have a tendency towards gambling, it might be best to avoid the whole area. Check out this post for other ways to make money on the side.
With matched betting, to put it very simply, you bet on one outcome with a bookmaker, and then bet against that outcome with a betting exchange. This is called your ‘qualifying bet’. You do this in order to ‘qualify’ for a free bet with the bookmaker, which you then use to repeat the process and withdraw the profit. You should expect to make a small loss on your qualifying bet, but you’ll recoup that in the profit you make from using the free bet.
You can do this to take advantage of the many welcome offers that bookmakers have, and once you’ve exhausted those you can move on to ‘reload’ offers – offers the bookmakers send to try and draw punters back in to bet again.
I really recommend reading guides before starting out and making sure you completely understand what you’re doing. Mistakes could cost you! There are services you can use to guide you through the process which have software that help you to calculate and match the odds.
The easiest way to get started quickly is to sign up to a service like this. There are a few different options out there, but I used Profit Accumulator as it is widely recommended. They take all the hassle out of it by providing a comprehensive list of all free bet offers, and have tutorials and video guides to walk you through each offer. They also provide odds matching tools and calculators.
Of course, it’s perfectly possible to find offers and work out the odds etc yourself, but this can be incredibly time consuming, and for me, I felt more confident using an expert service that does the hard work for me! There’s no need to commit either; you can sign up for a free trial which will walk you through your first 2 offers, making you a profit of up to £45. This way you can get the feel of it and see if you think it’s for you.
What if I already have bookmaker accounts?
There are so many bookies out there, that there are almost certainly going to be some that you’re not already signed up to. I was already signed up to loads of them (I like to take advantage of casino cashback offers!) but I was still able to find quite a few that I didn’t have accounts with, and later on I’ll be able to use the reload offers on my existing accounts to carry on with matched betting.
What if I’ve never made a bet and I don’t like sports?
This was me, and it did put me off trying for a bit! But it actually doesn’t really matter. You’ll be able to pick up the process, learn how it works, and as time goes on you’ll get much quicker and more efficient at finding and placing your bets. I do have to laugh at myself when I’m obsessively checking football or racing times because I want to go get my profits out, when I’ve never been remotely interested in those sports!
How much can I make?
This will depend on a number of factors, such as how much time you have available to dedicate and how much money you have available to fund your pot. There’s no guarantee but the general consensus is that spending up to 30 mins a day you could expect to make around £500 a month, more if you have more time.
What are the risks?
In theory, matched betting should be a low risk way of making money. However, you do need to make sure you fully understand the process as not following it properly could potentially lose you your money. Aside from the possibility of making a mistake, other things that are unlikely but could potentially cause problems are if bookmakers cancel bets or change the odds. There are strategies you can use if this ever happens to minimise loss, but you do need to be aware of the possibility.
What about paying tax?
The great thing about Matched betting is that anything you make is tax free! In the UK, winnings from bookies and casinos are not taxable.
Will it cost me anything?
Although you will need money available to start matched betting (£50 or £60 should be enough to get you going) remember that you’re not actually spending/losing this money. It will be tied up for a bit though, as with some bookmakers it can take a couple of days for your money to hit your account after you withdraw.
This is the money you’re using to fund your qualifying bet and lay bet, which you will then get back because you’ve bet on all outcomes. Your next bet (the free bet) also covers all outcomes, and whatever you make from this is your profit. You can then use your profit to add to and build up your matched betting pot which will allow you to take advantage of more profitable offers.
It still all sounds a bit complicated?!
It does, doesn’t it! I think it sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. That’s why I recommend reading and watching guides and tutorials, they really helped me wrap my head around it. Honestly though, once you’ve done your first couple of bets it sort of clicks into place and you understand how it works and what you’re doing. The more I’ve done, the quicker and more efficient I’ve become and finding and making bets. You’ll soon get the hang of it. And if you try it and it’s not for you, that’s totally fine, there are plenty of other side hustles you can try, and other ways to make money online.
Where do I start?
You can start by signing up for a completely free matched betting trial, which will walk your through your first 2 offers and give you a profit of up to £45. This will also give you a good insight into how matched betting works, and also give you a feel of whether it’s something you want to keep doing.
If you do then want to carry on with them, you can upgrade your membership which has a monthly fee of £17.99 or you can pay the annual cost of £150. You should easily be able to make this back, and if you’ve done the free trial and liked the service, your profit from that should more than cover the first month!
Once you’re signed up and logged in, you’ll be able to see how all the offers are broken down into sections. Start with the Beginner offers, these are the easy to complete offers that don’t require a big pot. Once you’ve worked your way through the beginner section, you should not only have made enough profit to have a much bigger pot, but also have a much better understanding and knowledge of how it works. This will enable you to move on to the advanced offers, some of which work in a slightly different way or need a bigger fund.
All the way through, you will find videos, tutorials, hints and tips to help you learn and complete the offers. There is also a forum you can use to ask questions and learn from other matched bettors.
To round off…
Once you’ve got your head around how it all works, matched betting is potentially a lucrative, low-risk, way of making some tax-free cash.