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Is Matched Betting Risk Free? What You Really Need To Know

Matched betting is a great way to make an extra tax-free income and can sometimes see people earn over £1,000 per month. But, it’s often described as ‘risk free’, which isn’t strictly true. Let’s take a look at what matched bettors need to be careful of.

is matched betting risk free?
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6 reasons why matched betting isn’t risk free

  • Different betting rules
  • You can make mistakes
  • Odds can change
  • You can be ‘gubbed’
  • New bookmakers can’t always be trusted
  • Could be drawn into gambling.

Is matched betting risk free?

Regular readers of this site will know that I’m always on the hunt fora new side income as I try and break away from my day job. Of course, some ways are better than others and one of my favourite money makers has been from matched betting. If you’ve never tried it before, take a look at my full guide on how it’s done.

Many people avoid it because they assume that it’s just like gambling, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t come with some possible risks. And even though other people keen on promoting matched betting by calling it risk free, there are some downsides you need to be aware of.

Here are 6 reasons why you should be cautious when it comes to matched betting.

Different betting rules

The first pitfall you need to watch out for is the different rules between bookies. In a worst-case scenario, your winning bet could be cancelled and your losing one left to stand.

One prime example of this is in tennis. If a player is to withdraw through injury during a match, some bookmakers will class this as a win to the opposition player. Other bookies though, will class this match as void and will refund all bets.

This is why I never bet on tennis unless I’ve read through the terms and conditions first. In fact, I tend to stick to betting on football as the rules are generally the same at most bookmakers.

Making a mistake

As we’re all human, we’re prone to making the odd mistake now and again. Bookies have lots of different markets on single events and it can become confusing in what they mean. The Asian markets such as -0.5 and -0.25 are a common place for people to make mistakes when they’re not 100% sure on what to back.

And you’re more liable to make mistakes if you are under pressure to place a bet within a certain time. If you have a bet to place during a live event, you can sometimes only have a matter of minutes to get it done. I’m guilty of placing a bet on a completely different market because I hadn’t scrolled down far enough.

If you do bet on the wrong event, you can often minimise your losses. Some bookies will allow you to cash out immediately for a small loss and if that’s not possible, you can place a lay bet at the exchange.

If making a mistake or a difference in rules concerns you, then I recommend you use a third party company like Profit Accumulator to guide you through the process. For a small fee, they’ll help drastically reduce the risks involved.

A change in odds

As I said above, in some cases you might have to place an in-play bet and have a short space of time to do it. When this happens, you’ll notice that the odds can change very quickly in a matter of moments.

So, you can find a good match and place your first bet and suddenly, something can happen. A team can score a goal or a rider can fall and the odds will change drastically. Granted, this could work your favour but it’s just as likely it to go against you.

Once this happens, there’s very little you can do. Again, you may need to minimise your losses by cashing out.

Is matched betting still worth doing?


What’s a gubbing I hear you ask. Well, it happens when the bookmaker stops you from qualifying for free bets or limits you to how much you can bet. And a gubbing happens to all matched bettors eventually.

Usually, once you’re gubbed, you just have to accept it and move on. But a gubbing can happen when you’re working through an offer. For example, some offers require you to place a series of bets before you qualify to receive your freebie. If you’re restricted mid-way through completing an offer, there’s little you can do. Except feel incredibly frustrated.

Fortunately, fewer and fewer bookies use these kinds of offers.

Beware the new bookmaker

Many years ago, there used to be a steady stream of new bookmakers joining the market each year. And each one came with a tempting free bet offer to attract new customers. Although the majority of these companies were genuine, there were a few that left customers out of pocket.

In many of these cases, it was because the new bookmaker offered generous bonuses that couldn’t be fulfilled. When customers started to withdraw their winnings, the bookie just didn’t have the finances to cover the cost and they folded before paying out.

And in some cases, the bookmaker was just a scam.

In recent years, you won’t see quite as many new bookies. If you do come across a new one, check where it’s registered before depositing your money. If it’s located outside of the UK or the EU, then it might be far harder to get your money back if there’s an issue.

Getting drawn in to gambling

Now, this is the biggest risk facing anybody when it comes to matched betting. All of the above issues that I listed above pale into insignificance as they are short-term and usually relate to small losses.

The fact is, matched bettors can be drawn into gambling. I’ve lost count of the number of times where I have placed a series of bets at the bookmaker, only to see them all win. It then crosses my mind that if I hadn’t placed lay bets at the exchange, I would have made a huge profit.

Try not to get yourself caught up in the heat of the moment and the excitement when a bet wins. This is all purely business and you need to make sure that you treat it as such. If you feel yourself getting drawn into the temptation of gambling, then stop and take a step back.

If you begin to struggle, then take a look at GameCare for free advice.

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