What is matched betting?
Matched betting claims to be a completely legal and tax free way of making big money online from bookmakers.
It’s not gambling, because your bets are based on mathematical calculations, not chance. When done correctly, you make a profit every time.
Better still, all your winnings are tax free, because they technically count as ‘gambling wins’ which don’t have to be declared to HMRC in the UK.
Sounds too good to be true…
That’s what I thought when I first heard about matched betting. I was very sceptical and definitely turned off by the word ‘betting’. I have never gambled in my life and don’t even follow any sports.
But I couldn’t quite let the idea go.
I did a LOT of reading and research before I started, and finally decided to give it a try.
Today marks one month since I started matched betting, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!
So far I have made over £260 tax free, and I know that this will increase next month now I’ve got the basics down.
Read about how I made this cash below!
How does matched betting work?
The money in matched betting comes from the free bets that bookmakers offer to entice new customers.
Have you ever seen an advert saying something like ‘bet £10, get a £20 free bet’? There are dozens of betting sites all with similar offers.
Matched betting takes advantage of these free bets to make a profit.
In order to make sure we don’t lose any money while we are qualifying for the free bet, we have to ‘match’ our bets at a betting exchange. A betting exchange (such as Betfair) allows us to place ‘lay’ bets.
A lay bet is betting that something doesn’t happen. So if I place a bet on England winning the world cup at a bookie, say Coral, I also lay a bet on England winning at an exchange, like Betfair.
Note that I don’t bet on England losing, because this wouldn’t cover a draw. A lay bet covers any event that is not winning – so losing or drawing.
If I have bet on England winning in the bookie, and laid against England winning in the exchange, then whatever happens I will win in one place and lose in the other. My bets will cancel each other out, and I don’t win anything.
(In fact, I make a small loss at this stage – around 20p – because the exchange charged me commission to make the bet).
However, I have now qualified for my free bet!
I repeat the process of betting and laying a bet in a bookie and an exchange.
This time I know that whatever the outcome, I will make a profit, because I used a free bet and didn’t put in any money of my own.
This is a very simplistic explanation and if you are interested I suggest you do a lot more research before getting started! There are lots of websites and tools out there to guide you through the process.
Here’s a video which gives a bit more detail:
Get help with matched betting
I personally have been using a site called Outplayed (previously known as Profit Accumulator). This is a subscription site which is a complete guide for matched betters.
It has a list of all the offers out there with detailed instructions on how to do each one.
It even has video guides for the first few offers, which is amazing if you’re confused because you can just follow along with each step.
The website also has other tools for members, such as the ‘Oddsmatcher’ which helps you find the best games to bet on, and a calculator which will tell you exactly how much money to bet each time.
There are a few different matched betting calculators out there and some people have even designed spreadsheets to do the job, but the Outplayed calculator is the most user-friendly one I’ve tried.
It’s certainly possible to do matched betting without using a site like Outplayed, and lots of people do it under their own steam.
However, if you are unsure about the process – particularly if you have never done any betting before or if you are not good with numbers – I would really recommend using Outplayed or a similar site for a few months until you are familiar with the process.
They have amazing customer support who you can talk to seven days a week, and there is also a really active forum where other members will help you out with questions and tips.
How to make up to £40 this weekend
Outplayed has a free trial which will talk you through your first two offers. They claim you can make up to £40 with these two offers!
Confession time: I made a stupid mistake on my very first bet, so I only made about £25 from my free trial. Still, I was in profit overall – and £25 is not bad for a couple of hours’ work from my sofa on a Saturday morning! I also learned my lesson and haven’t made the same mistake since 😉
If you are on the fence about matched betting, I really recommend just giving these first two offers a go and seeing how you feel!
After that, you can become a full member for £29.99 a month or £199 a year. I went straight for the yearly membership and made back the money in less than a month.
Who can do matched betting?
Outplayed is only open to residents of the UK and Ireland. If you live outside of these countries, I advise you to look carefully into the laws where you live.
You don’t have to know anything about sports to do matched betting. You definitely don’t have to have any experience with sports betting!
I was a complete newbie to the world of betting when I started. Yes, you will have to go more slowly to start with as you get used to the betting jargon and learn your way around the sites, but just take your time and anyone can learn how to do this.
If I can, anyone can!
Please note that although matched betting isn’t gambling, it does involve use of betting sites. So if you have a history of gambling issues or addiction, it’s best to stay clear.
And it goes without saying that you must be over 18.
How much can you make matched betting?
I have made £266.52 in my first month of matched betting. I didn’t count exactly how much time I spent on it, but I’d estimate it was about an hour every other day.
Some regular matched betters on the Outplayed forums claim to make between £1000 and £2000 a month. Personally I think you would have to put in some serious hours to see these results. The amount you can earn definitely correlates with how much time you put in.
Outplayed suggests the following income targets:
- 2+ hours per day: £1000+ per month
- 30-60 minutes per day: £750 per month
- Every few days: £250 per month
Your earning potential is also linked to how much money you have in your matched betting ‘pot’ to play with.
I decided to do all my matched betting through my Paypal account, mostly because we are hopefully applying for a mortgage in a few months and I don’t want any bookies showing up on my bank statements! You can find a list of bookmakers that accept Paypal here.
(UPDATE: recently most bookies don’t offer bonuses if you deposit using PayPal, Skrill or other money transfer services. Check the T&Cs of individual offers before you deposit. If you’re concerned about a mortgage application, it might be safest to lay off the matched betting for a while.)
I invested £100 into my Paypal account to start me off, but quickly found that this was only really enough to do one bet at a time. Even though you will win all your money back – plus profit – your funds are tied up for a while until the bet settles.
I also sometimes had to wait for a couple of days after requesting a withdrawal of my winnings. This really slowed me down to start with and I could only do half the offers I wanted to.
If you have a bigger pot to start with, you won’t have to wait and you can dive in there and do as many offers as you like. My plan is to wait for my matched betting pot to grow to at least £1500 before I start making withdrawals.
I definitely feel like matched betting is one of the best ways to make money fast in the UK – especially once you’ve got your first two or three bets out of the way and you’re feeling more confident. I can’t think of any other side jobs or money making sites where you could make this much, this quickly.
It is also worth mentioning that all earnings are tax free in the UK and you don’t have to report it to HMRC or register as self employed just for matched betting. This is because gambling wins are not taxed. Even though matched betting is not gambling, it falls under the same umbrella.
‘No risk matched betting’ – is it really risk free?
You often hear matched betting described as ‘no risk‘. But is it true?
Matched betting is based on mathematical calculations. Unlike traditional betting, you remove the element of chance by ‘matching’ or balancing each bet in a betting exchange.
In theory, yes – it should be risk free. In most cases you even know exactly how much money you will make from each bet before it settles!
However, there is an element of risk and that comes from human error.
Matched betting can be almost risk free if done correctly – but remember that if you mess up your calculations or bet on the wrong thing, you will be losing real money.
There is also a small chance that bookies could refuse to honour a promotion, go out of business, or something else that messes up your expected payout.
You are more likely to make mistakes if you bet on live games, or very close to kick off, when the odds change quickly and it can be difficult to stay on top of the numbers. To minimise this risk, try to bet on events a couple of days in the future when you first start.
If you give matched betting a go, stay patient, take your time, and triple check each bet to eliminate risk.
It also helps to set your matched betting budget and have it in a separate bank account, if you can. It can be tempting to invest more and more money at the start to see returns quicker, but don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose, especially while you’re still learning the ropes. And keep in mind that it can take a few days or more for withdrawals to be processed, so don’t rely on that money to pay your bills.
A subscription to Outplayed includes access to 7-days-a-week customer support so there is always someone to talk you through if you do make a mistake or get confused.
One question I often get about matched betting is, what happens after you’ve done all the signup offers?
Well, you can continue doing matched betting even after you have completed all the signup offers, because all the bookies periodically run other special offers for their members. These are called bookie ‘reload’ offers.
Some of them have regular weekly offers, and most of them have all kinds of special offers when there are special sporting events on.
With all the reload offers bookies have on, you can carry on making money from matched betting long after you finish the initial round of sign up offers.
Outplayed shares information on new reload offers daily, so you don’t have to spend time looking for them. It’s recommended that you finish all the signup offers first though, because they’re usually a bit more straightforward.
Matched betting: Boost My Budget rating
I am extremely happy with my matched betting experience so far. I would go so far to say that this is the closest thing to free money out there! You don’t even have to understand much about betting and sports.
If you join a service like Outplayed to guide you through it, just follow the steps posted on their website and watch your bank balance go up.
I will definitely be making time for matched betting regularly from now on. I’ll keep you posted!
Do you have any questions about matched betting? Let me know below and I’ll try to help you out!
- Matched Betting for Dummies: Your Questions Answered!
- How Much Can You Make From Matched Betting
- Is Matched Betting Legal?
- Can You Do Matched Betting Long Term?
- Is Matched Betting Safe?
- Matched Betting and Mortgages: What You Need to Know