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Is matched betting legal? The facts

Fancy making money out of the bookies but feeling a little concerned? Take a look to see if matched betting is legal or whether you should stay away.

Is matched betting legal?

I recently wrote a long guide to matched betting, covering the major points and how it works. But one issue that often seems to put people off is its legality. Surely if you can guarantee to make money from a bookie, then it can’t be legit?

What is matched betting?

I’ll touch on this briefly, as I’m sure most of you know. Matched betting is the method of taking advantage of a free bet offer from a betting site and placing a ‘lay bet’ at a betting exchange. Once the qualifying bet has settled, the matched bettor will receive a further free bet. They can then use this for a guaranteed profit.

So, is matched betting legal?

Matched betting is 100% legal. All you are doing is making the most out of free bets provided by a bookie. No legal contract stops you from placing multiple bets on the same event.

Why the concern?

As I said above, people become nervous about free or guaranteed money, and rightly so. With so many scams out there, it becomes difficult to know what’s a genuine money-maker and what you should avoid.

And when you look into the theory behind matched betting, it appears solid, so you begin to think that there may be some legal issues behind it.

But the fact is, matched betting is perfectly legal. And think about it, why wouldn’t it be?

As you probably know, matched betting focuses on covering both possibilities of an event. In what sense could that ever be illegal?

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Terms & Conditions

Take a look at some bookies’ T&C’s. Bet365 refers to the following with regards to the suspension or cancelling of accounts.

(b) bet365 considers that you have used the Website in a fraudulent manner or for illegal and/or unlawful or improper purposes;

(c) bet365 considers that you have used the Website in an unfair manner, have deliberately cheated or taken unfair advantage of bet365 or any of its customers or if your account is being used for the benefit of a third party;

As you can see, b and c are separate issues, with matched betting falling into the C category. You will never find any reference to matched bettors being prosecuted or being taken to court.

The legalities of matched betting

Dodgy ground

And think about this. Is it in the interest of a bookie to take somebody to court? They will have to explain to a judge that they are giving free bets to people to encourage them to gamble more. In today’s environment, which bookie would be willing to do that?

And finally, if matched betting was illegal, why would major news outlets discuss people making money from it?

What will happen if I’m found matched betting?

There are two possibilities if you are found to be a matched bettor. Actually, to be clearer, if you’re suspected of being a matched bettor. The bookies don’t need any kind of proof, all they need is to suspect.

  • The account is restricted. You will only be able to place a limited amount of money on specific events or no longer qualify for free bets.
  • Account suspended. You won’t have any access to your account.

Legal grey areas

Although we’ve established that matched betting is not against the law, there is a grey area. Or two.

Matched betting multi accounting

Matched bettors have been known to create extra accounts (also known as gnoming) to qualify for free bets. Although this is obviously against bookies’ T&C’s, it is unclear whether it is against the law.

If you’re creating an account in your own name and with genuine details, then this is not a problem.

But using fake details could be argued that it is a type of fraud, and you could be prosecuted. However, I haven’t found any evidence of any prosecutions.

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Matched betting for others

Recent years have seen an increase in the number of companies that are matched betting on other people’s behalves. This involves giving companies your details (such as photo ID) and allowing them to set up accounts in your name. The company will make £100’s (if not £1000’s) each month and give you just £50.

Again, this is against T&C’s and it’s not 100% clear whether it counts as fraud. However, I would never give companies on the internet permission to start accounts that I had no control over. You’ll never know what they are being used for.

But, I hasten to add that using a genuine matched betting service can really help. Companies such as Outplayed won’t bet for you but will explain the process and tell you how to make the most from of a new customer welcome offer.

So, is matched betting legal?

In summary, you have nothing to worry about legally regarding matched betting. The police will not be at your door when you place that bet and it’s a great way for a sports punter to turn the tables on a bookie.