Now, I’m not a gambler by any means. But I have made enough money from bookmakers in just six months to pay for an £860 flight (return) to Australia. And I’ve got some company too after walking a good friend through this risk-free technique.
The result is this guide, where I’ll share the exact steps with you too, including screenshots and a free tool.
Why should I trust this guide?
What I’m teaching you here is a completely legal, tried-and-tested method called ‘matched betting’. Matched betting basically allows you to turn the tables on the bookmakers to extract their free bet offers.
Matched betting is legal and a spokesperson for William Hill has indicated that the betting industry does not have a problem with this use of free bets – Wikipedia
I’ve used it myself for several years and have never lost any money doing it, but I have taken my time and been very careful to avoid making mistakes.
Do not rush this guide – make sure you understand it 100% before depositing any money, and please ask any questions in the comments if unsure of anything.
I’ll be taking you through the ‘need-to-knows’ then showing you how I made £13 in 20 minutes in a full-blown example.
Piece by The Guardian on making money from free bets
One of many comments on this page by other readers
What is Matched Betting?
Matched betting is a technique that allows you to mathematically guarantee a profit from the many free bet promotions offered by bookmakers. All the bookies advertise these offers (especially during big sporting events) to entice new customers to place bets with them.
For example, “bet £25 with us and we’ll give you a £25 free bet!”.
How does matched betting work?
Firstly, you don’t need to know all the betting terminology if you follow the steps below, but it’s important that you know two types of bet which allow matched betting to work:
A ‘back’ bet
Betting for a certain outcome to come true. Eg. “I bet England will win” is a backing bet. If it comes true, you win the bet and the winnings. If England lose or draw, you lose your stake. You can place a back bet at any bookmaker, such as Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes etc.
A ‘lay’ bet
Betting against a certain outcome to come true. Eg. “I bet England will not win” is a lay bet. If they lose or draw, you win the bet. You can only place a lay bet at a betting exchange such as Betfair.
Matched betting works by cancelling out the risk on the ‘back’ bet at the online bookies by betting against yourself at the same odds (know as ‘laying’ a bet) which you can do at a betting exchange. In other words, you are ‘matching’ your bet.
Following your first or ‘qualifying’ bet, you will then be awarded the free bet by the bookmaker. This is where the profit is made. Quite simply, you repeat the process: bet using the free bet and then lay the bet. Whatever the result you are guaranteed to make a profit (which I’ll be demonstrating below).
How much profit can I make?
For each matched bet, you will be left with up to 95% of the free bet amount as profit. This is because betting exchanges usually charge a commission of 5% on winnings. You may also make a very small loss on the qualifying bet due to the minor difference in odds on each website. This is normal, and you will recoup this when you use the free bet.
In the steps below I’ll show you how to profit from a £20 free bet using a real life example. Replicate the same steps across the hundreds of free bet offers each year and you can quickly be looking at £1,000s.
And it’s worth pointing out, earnings from the gambling industry are currently tax-free.
What’s the risk?
Anyone can learn how to do matched betting and, in theory, there is no risk involved because you are covering yourself by betting for and against the same event.
However the risk comes when mistakes are made so, once again, you need to double-check everything and follow the steps exactly. On rare occasions free bets do not always come through right away, so just be patient.
Once you’ve understood the process and been successful by following the steps below, you can then continue matched betting at many other online bookies with free bet offers (see my table at end) which can quite quickly land you a lot of money without risk.
It’s also worth knowing that depositing at gambling websites does not affect your credit rating.
Your First Profit In 7 Steps
Note: This is literally a step-by-step, hold-your-hand kind of guide. There’s lots of fragmented information out there on forums etc, which can often result in costly mistakes for novices. Below I outline exactly the steps I follow, using the practical example of one free bet with Coral. So long as you follow word for word, you can’t go wrong. I strongly suggest reading through all the steps first before making any bets.
1. Sign up for Betfair.com
Betfair is a betting exchange where you can ‘lay’ bets to cancel out your risk at the bookmakers.
Unlike traditional bookmakers, Betfair is a place where you bet against other people.
They sometimes even offer free bets for new customers too (if you’re lucky).
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2. Sign up for Coral.co.uk
The best offer by far right now is with Coral who are offering £20 free bets on new sign ups when you bet just £5 (don’t worry we’ll be matching this too). So we’ll be using this ‘bookie’ in this practical example.
Always check the T&Cs of receiving free bet offers. There may be some restrictions on what you can bet on or an expiry date.
They will also tell you whether or not the free bet is returned with winnings. In this example and generally speaking it is not, but we’ll still be making a nice profit.
During registration, you will be prompted to make a deposit. Choose one of the many payment types and deposit just £5 (needed to unlock the free bet).
3. Use decimal odds
Once you’ve logged into Coral.co.uk, change your odds display from fractions to decimal for easy comparison with Betfair. You can do this from the link in the top menu across the site. This is essential!
4. Find & place your qualifying bet
Ideally you want to find a sporting bet (I recommend football) which has the closest odds on both Coral.co.uk (the bet to back) and Betfair.com (the lay bet).
Lay odds on Betfair are the red boxes, not the blue. If you cannot see any red boxes, you need to go to the exchange by clicking the top left link “Go to Exchange” or “Exchange“.
For this free bet offer, Coral’s terms state you must pick odds of 1.5 or greater. It’s better to choose a bet with low odds for this step, between 1.5 and 4.0 if possible.
See my example below then use the Oddsmatcher tool which does everything for you!
I used the Oddsmatcher below which suggested a football match between Liverpool and Sevilla. So I put “Liverpool v Sevilla” in the search boxes on Coral and Betfair, then found the “Match Result” market on Coral and “Match Odds” on Betfair.
I will back Liverpool to win at Coral.co.uk with odds of 2.25 and lay that same bet on Betfair.com with odds of 2.36.
In my example bet, the difference is 0.11 which the Oddsmatcher calculated as giving me a small acceptable loss of 37p on this qualifying bet.
Here are my betting slips on both websites for my qualifying bet:
Oddsmatcher tool (Qualifying bet)
Use the Oddsmatcher tool below. This will save you a LOT of time and maximise your overall profit.
It fetches live odds from Coral and finds the equivalent lay odds on Betfair for thousands of upcoming football matches.
The hardest part is also done for you, which is to calculate the best matches for your qualifying bet based on the closest possible odds and smallest loss. Feel free to switch between them and the steps and calculations will be updated (below the table).
Just click the blue refresh icon to start and then follow the 4 steps.
Get instant bonus tips & more free bets:
5. Claim your free bet
In my Liverpool v Sevilla game, Sevilla won 3-1. So my profit of £4.87 (the “Backer’s Stake”) ended up in Betfair, which after commission is £4.63. Meanwhile I lost the £5 bet with Coral.
The total amount between the accounts is therefore 37p, as calculated by the Oddsmatcher.
As I have placed and seen through the £5 qualifying bet, I now have a £20 free bet!
My Betfair account is up to £14.63 (my initial deposit of £10 + £4.63).
So whatever the outcome, because you matched the bets, you have close to your initial deposits back between the 2 websites (minus the small loss we expected).
The free bet of £20 will be credited to your Coral account.
6. Find & place a new bet
We’re basically going to repeat the process in step 4, but using the £20 free bet instead of the £5.
The £20 free bet will usually be received as 4 x £5 free bets, so simply place them on the same event as separate bets.
This time it’s worth picking odds greater than 3.0 to maximise your profit, but just bear in mind that the higher they are the more you’ll need to have in your Betfair account to lay it (see the “Liability” amount in the tool below).
I used the next step of the Oddsmatcher (embedded below) which suggested a football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United. The odds are above 3.0 and have only a 0.2 difference between the websites.
You’ll see below that I am backing a draw on Coral (3.5 odds) and then I’m laying that bet (for a draw not to happen) at Betfair (3.7 odds).
On Betfair I already had £14.63 remaining from the first bet, so I deposited £23 to more than cover my calculated Liability (total £37.63).
Here are my bet slips on both websites for my free bet (I placed 4 of the same bet on Coral since they split my £20 free bet into 4 x £5 bets):
The Oddsmatcher below calculated that I’ll make a clear profit of £13.01, whatever happens. Nice 🙂
Oddsmatcher tool (Free bet)
Just click the blue refresh icon to start and then follow the 3 steps.
Once again, feel free to switch between the matches in the table and the calculations will be updated.
7. Withdraw the profit
Whatever the outcome, you will now be in profit to the amount calculated in the Oddsmatcher. Now it’s time to cash out!
In my example of the Crystal Place v Man Utd game, the score ended in a draw at 1-1. This means my Coral £20 free bet won (because I backed a draw to happen) with a return of £50. Meanwhile I lost the £36.99 Liability on Betfair.
So £50 (winnings) – £36.99 (liability) = £13.01. This is exactly the amount of profit calculated for me by the Oddsmatcher.
My total profit from both matched bets, accounting for the 37p loss on my £5 qualifying bet, totals £12.64. I spent just under 20 minutes on the whole process, giving me an hourly rate of £37.92 as I move onto the countless other free bets out there (best listed below). Beats stacking shelves…
More Free Bets
If you are confident enough with the process of matched betting and eager to make much more profit, work through the free bet offers in the table below (ordered by ease).
The same key steps above still apply, and I’ve written a mini guide for each one. As always, check the terms of each offer.
Current free bet total: £2,410
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