Welcome to the world of matched betting!
Matched betting has been gaining popularity in the UK recently, and for good reason.
It’s a clever strategy that allows you to take advantage of the free bets and promotions offered by bookmakers, turning them into (almost) guaranteed profits.
You’ll often hear it referred to as “no risk matched betting”, but that’s not entirely true. Matched betting, when done correctly, is a low risk way to make money online, but it’s not without its dangers.
That said, there are ways to minimise the risks – and overall, it can be a very profitable and fun way to make extra money.
So, let’s get started and uncover the secrets of “no risk” matched betting. Get ready to level up your betting game and discover how to turn free bets into real, cold hard cash!
What is matched betting?
At its core, matched betting is a clever strategy to profit from the free bet offers given by bookmakers.
And guess what? Despite what you might think from the name, it’s not gambling at all!
In fact, it’s a calculated and systematic approach that – done correctly – eliminates chance.
Here’s how it works: when you spot an offer like “Bet £10, get a £20 free bet”, you place a qualifying bet using your own funds. But fear not, risk-averse friends! We’re about to work our magic.
We strategically place another bet, called a lay bet, on a different platform. This ensures that no matter the outcome, we’re covered. Win, lose, or draw—it doesn’t matter. Our matched bets cancel each other out, meaning we come out even and we’ve qualified for the free bet offer.
But how do we make the most of these free bets? Well, it’s all about extracting maximum value from each offer.
With research, smart decision-making, and a bit of patience, we can turn these free bets into cash through another pair of matched bets.
That’s matched betting—an intelligent and methodical way to make money without gambling.
One of the things that makes matched betting such an excellent side hustle in the UK is that you do not have to register as self employed, declare it on your tax return, or pay tax.
That’s right – you get to keep 100% of the profits.
Why? Because even though matched betting is not gambling, any money you make from betting sites counts as ‘gambling wins’ in the UK. Gambling is not considered ‘trading’ by HMRC and as such, you do not have to declare gambling wins or pay tax on them.
Even though matched betting is not gambling, it does obviously involve using betting sites and placing bets. It can be easy to get sucked in by all the promotions and get tempted to bet real money.
How does matched betting work? Step by step
So you think matched betting might be for you, but you want to know more about how it works? Let’s break it down into simple steps:
Step 1: Find a juicy bookmaker offer
Look for promotions that dish out free bets or bonuses. These are the golden tickets to matched betting success.
The best offers are usually the ‘sign up’ offers, reserved for new customers. But don’t worry if you’re already a member of several betting sites – there are dozens if not hundreds of sites out there, so you’ll always find new offers.
Step 2: Make a qualifying bet
To qualify for the free bet offer, you usually have to deposit and bet a certain amount of your own money first. Bet a specific amount on a certain outcome, making sure you meet the requirements of the promotion. This is like warming up for the big game.
Step 3: Lay your qualifying bet
The ability to lay bets (bet against a specific outcome) is what makes matched betting work. Head over to a betting exchange (such as Betfair or Smarkets) and place a bet against the outcome you bet on in Step 2. This covers all bases and ensures you’re in the money no matter what happens.
To work out exactly how much to bet (this will change depending on the odds), you’ll need to use a matched betting calculator. I have always used the one included with Outplayed.com membership.
Step 4: Grab that free bet or bonus
Once your qualifying bet settles, the bookmaker rewards you with a shiny free bet or bonus funds. Cha-ching!
Use that free bet to secure a guaranteed profit by laying the bet on the exchange – again using the calculator to help.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat
Then, you simply repeat the process. Find another free bet offer, back and lay it, get another free bet. It’s like a perpetual money-making machine!
Don’t go it alone
For best results, it’s always helpful to rely on a trusted matched betting service to help you find the best opportunities and maximise your profits. I personally was a paid member of Outplayed for many years and I highly recommend them. They’re like a personal matched betting coach, guiding you to victory. Plus their tools will save you sooooo much time.
Here are some of the reasons you should join Outplayed:
- Step-by-step tutorials for every bet (including video walk-throughs for the early offers – this is invaluable if you don’t know your way around a betting site like me!)
- Massive lists of offers (sign ups and reload offers), updated daily
- Matched betting calculator, Oddsmatcher (bet finder tool), match catcher and other essential tools
- Customer support 7 days a week (phone, live chat, email, messenger) – they will even talk you through any tricky bets or advise you if you made a mistake
- Very active private Facebook group and forum to discuss offers, hear news and get advice
- Track all your bets and profits in one place
You could earn around £40 this weekend with a free trial of Outplayed. Give it a go and see how much you earn!
How much can I make matched betting?
The short answer is: it depends.
The long answer is: there are no guarantees in matched betting, and it depends on many factors such as the size of your bank roll and the time you can put in.
That said, many people find they can make an easy £500-£600 just going through the sign-up offers in their first 1-2 months.
After that, I would say a realistic target for ongoing earnings is around £200 per month – although many people make more.
Be aware there is a steep learning curve after you finish the sign-up offers. You’ll need to spend some time learning advanced techniques.
But for people who put in the time and effort long-term, it can be possible to make £500+ each month.
For a more detailed answer to this question (and social proof), see this post:
Is matched betting really risk free?
It’s often referred to as “no risk matched betting”, but is it really risk free? The answer, sadly is no – but it is very low risk, if done correctly.
Here are some of the risks you should be aware of:
1. Risk of gambling
I know I mentioned this above, but it’s important so it bears repeating. Betting can be addictive, so it’s essential to be careful and stick by the rules of matched betting to avoid going down that slippery slope.
If you have any kind of history of gambling issues, you need to stay well clear.
But even if you haven’t, many people are surprised how tempting it can be to just bet just a little of their own money – and before you know it, you’re not matched betting, you’re gambling.
Follow the matched betting formula to the word, and never place a bet without laying it.
And if you get tempted, stop.
2. Mistakes/human error
Next, there’s the risk of making mistakes.
We’re all human, and sometimes we mess up the calculations or click in the wrong place. One tiny wrong figure in the matched betting calculator can cost you money.
Using a matched betting service like Outplayed can help because their support team can talk you through any mistakes and show you how to correct or minimise losses, where possible.
3. Not getting free bets
Even when you’re doing everything right, sometimes things don’t go to plan. Sometimes bookies won’t give you the free bets they promised. They might change the rules or find reasons not to give them to you – or maybe you missed a key condition in the T&Cs and didn’t qualify.
This doesn’t happen often, but be aware it’s a risk.
4. Changing odds
Imagine this: you’re in the middle of placing your back and lay bets, and suddenly the odds change. It messes up your plan, and you might lose some money.
This is a higher risk when you bet on live games, or events just about to start.
You can generally minimise this risk by only betting on future events, giving yourself plenty of time to recalculate even if odds do change.
5. Technical glitches
Betting platforms and exchanges can experience technical issues, leading to missed bets or incorrect odds. While rare, these glitches can impact your matched betting results.
6. Casino risks
Now, let’s talk about casino offers. Many matched bettors see some of their biggest wins in the casino section, but they also come with higher risks. It’s a balancing act between winning big and losing money.
The slots in particular can be the most addictive of all matched betting activities, so prepare your iron self control.
The ‘Diamond’ Outplayed membership covers casino offers and software. Study their materials carefully if you want to give it a go.
7. Unreliable income
The first few weeks of matched betting can be incredibly profitable, and many people think they’ve found a new money stream for life!
Just be aware that profits do tend to dry up over time as you get gubbed (restricted) from various bookies.
Because of this, matched betting income can be inconsistent and unreliable. It can be risky to put all your eggs in one basket and count on matched betting income to pay bills, for example.
So what are the benefits of matched betting?
So, you’ve learned about the risks, but don’t let that scare you away!
Matched betting comes with a bunch of fantastic benefits that make it a real winner. I’ve personally made thousands of pounds with matched betting and I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me.
So now that we’re informed about the risks, let’s dive into the perks that make it such a great way to make extra cash:
1. Easy money
I still believe that matched betting is one of the easiest ways to make some decent cash quickly online.
If you’ve struggled with making pennies from online surveys or put up with the hassle of packing, shipping and customer support for your eBay side hustle, you will be amazed at how easy and profitable matched betting is.
Once you get the hang of it (which won’t take long, promise!), you’ll be raking in those profits without breaking a sweat.
2. Ongoing earning potential
The sign-ups get all the attention, but it’s not a one-and-done deal!
Matched betting offers ongoing earning potential. There are always new bookmakers with fresh promotions and reload offers to boost your bankroll.
Although it does get harder over time, it’s pretty manageable to make at least £200, maybe more per month in the long term. Keep those profits rolling in!
Matched betting is oh-so-flexible! You can do it in your pyjamas, on your sofa, or even during your lunch break. It fits around your schedule, making it perfect for those with busy lives.
And if life gets hectic or you’re off on holiday, simply put matched betting aside for a few weeks. You can pick it up again whenever you’re ready.
4. Tax-free gains
Now, this one’s a real treat – all your matched betting winnings are tax-free in the UK! Yep, you heard that right. No need to worry about handing over your hard-earned money to the taxman.
Essentially, that means your matched betting profits are worth more than if you earned them in any other job. Look at it this way: if you’re in the standard 20% tax band and you make £200 from matched betting in a month, that’s equivalent to £250 extra in your pay cheque before tax. Not bad at all!
5. No self-employment hassles
Another awesome benefit is that you don’t need to register as self-employed just because you’re making money through matched betting, and you don’t need to declare it on your tax return. It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
So if you’ve been putting off the idea of a side hustle because you’re worried about the self-employment/tax aspect, matched betting is a neat way to side-step the hassle.
6. Low startup costs
Unlike many other businesses or side hustles, matched betting requires minimal upfront investment. You only need a small bankroll to get started, making it accessible to almost anyone.
I recommend at least £100, but it should be possible to start with as little as £60 and build it up as you go.
Remember, at the time of writing Outplayed is guaranteeing your earnings up to £250!
7. No prior experience needed
You don’t need to be a sports expert or have any prior betting experience to succeed in matched betting. The process is straightforward, and you can learn the ropes quickly.
I should know – I literally didn’t know anything about sports (and still don’t). But I was able to quickly turn a profit just by following the step-by-step videos on Outplayed.
8. No product or service to sell
Matched betting doesn’t involve selling products or services. Unlike many other side hustles or home business ideas I recommend, you don’t need to worry about inventory, shipping, or customer service. It’s a straightforward and clean way to make money online.
How to minimise the risks in matched betting
Although matched betting is not 100% risk free, there are plenty of things you can do to minimise the risks!
Here are some tips on how to keep those risks in check and maximise your profits:
1. Start small and learn
If you’re new to matched betting, start with smaller bets to get the hang of the process.
Take your time to understand the concepts and double-check your calculations before moving on to larger stakes.
2. Use reliable matched betting services
There are several matched betting services and tools available online that can help you find profitable opportunities and navigate the process.
My top recommendation is Outplayed. You can make up to £40 with a free trial, and they even guarantee your first £250 earnings as a paid member.
3. Stay organised
Keep track of your bets, promotions, and profits in a well-organised spreadsheet or app. You can do this within Outplayed, or there are plenty of free spreadsheets floating about online.
This will help you stay on top of your earnings, manage your bankroll, and spot any potential issues.
4. Double-check bookmaker terms
Always read and understand the terms and conditions of bookmaker offers. Look out for wagering requirements, time limits, and any other restrictions that might affect your bets.
They can vary offer to offer, so don’t just assume you know the drill!
5. Be mindful of account restrictions
To avoid drawing attention from bookmakers, don’t solely focus on promotions. Place some regular bets (‘mug bets’) and keep your betting patterns diverse to reduce the risk of getting gubbed.
6. Stay away from risky markets
While matched betting is generally low-risk, some markets can be more volatile than others.
Avoid unfamiliar or unpredictable sports events, as well as in-play events, and focus on mainstream markets with stable odds.
This reduces the risk of odds changing on you mid-bet, and also helps you look like a regular punter to avoid gubbing! Major British/European football leagues are generally a safe bet.
7. Set a budget
Determine a budget for investing in your matched betting activities and stick to it. Only use money you can afford to set aside for this purpose, and never gamble with your essential living funds.
8.Limit your betting time
Matched betting can be time-consuming, but don’t let it take over your life. Consider setting specific times for betting activities, so it doesn’t interfere with other responsibilities or leisure time.
9. Stay emotionally detached
Matched betting is a numbers game, so avoid emotional decision-making. Whether you win or lose a bet, stay focused on the overall profit and don’t let emotions cloud your judgement.
‘No risk’ matched betting – give it a go?
So, is matched betting completely risk-free? Nope. But if you’re careful, follow the rules, and stay in control, you can make money with very little risk. Just be aware of the risks, and use my tips above to minimise them.
I recommend joining Outplayed, the UK’s biggest and most trusted matched betting site! You could make up to £40 this weekend with a completely free trial.
Matched betting offers a flexible, tax-free, and easy way to earn money online. Whether you want extra cash or have savings goals, matched betting can be a rewarding and profitable side gig. So, go ahead and give it a try!
Good luck on your matched betting journey!
Get the answers to all your questions about matched betting here: