When is gambling not gambling? And why is it still gambling?

Jul 30, 2020


Here at Coaching for Geeks HQ, we get approached all the time to host gambling content. From unscrupulous SEO agencies trying to buy paid links to ‘online gaming sites’ which always turn out to be gambling sites to matched betting ‘experts’.

…and this intrigued me, gambling without risk, earn a nice side income… there’s got to be a catch right? So I asked ex-professional gambler, Terry, to explain what the deal is with matched betting – Robin

The lure of matched betting

“This is not gambling!”

“It’s 100% safe”

“You’re guaranteed to win!”

Heard this before? It’s an ever-growing phenomenon within gambling circles known as matched betting. Essentially it means betting on every conceivable outcome of a sporting event to ‘lock in’ profit. 

Does matched betting work?

Yes. Sort of. The premise is a good one. If there’s a tennis match, you can bet on player A with one betting site and player B on a different site. If you can find odds that work, then whichever player wins, you will make a profit. There’s even specific site for placing the opposing bets. These are termed ‘layed bets.’ 

And it goes further. A lot of gambling sites offer free bets. So, using our tennis example, we can bet on player A in cash and place a free bet on player B. So again, whoever wins we will end up in profit. Even more than the previous scenario as we are only using cash on one site. 

All good right? We win regardless. 

Not quite. 

Keeping with the tennis example, halfway through the first set, player A gets injured and withdraws from the game. Each bookmaker has a different set of terms and conditions. One bookmaker may refund the original bet, another bookmaker may pay out on the winner. This could leave you significantly in profit or result in a significant loss. Thus it is still gambling. 

The same applies for any sport. Different bookmakers have different rules for when a horse pulls out of a race, a football match is postponed or when cricket is called off due to bad weather. 

My experience with matched betting

I’ve spent significant time matched betting and have had both situations happen to me. I have also made slight mistakes when placing large bets and lost hundreds of pounds. It is easily done. That does not mean that you can’t make a profit from it. In its heyday matched betting was hugely profitable. You could comfortably make thousands a month. But there was, and always will be, an element of gambling. You can lose. And you can potentially lose a lot.  Plus, the bookmakers have wised up to this. If they think you are matched betting, they may ban you from the promotions, close your account and even refuse to pay out your winnings. 

I enjoy gaming, social media, and some very dubious websites. These are a breeding ground for firms to prey on innocent people who get a kick out of anything techy or who like playing around with numbers. Yes. I made a living from matched betting for about 12 months. But I was one of the lucky ones. At one point I had betting accounts open with over 20 different firms and was using friends and family members details to open accounts. I think at one point I had over 60 accounts on the go. 

You can imagine how badly that can go wrong – one ‘friend’ took over £1000 out of an account. She was supposed to send it my way. She did not. 

I’m not here to vilify gambling. I still like the occasional flutter. But be wary of the vultures who pray in those who like to game, gamble or be social. 

Yes, you can make money matched betting. Yes, the risk is less than a standard bet. And yes, matched betting is still gambling.


Driving Instructor at TCDrive
Carpenter, joiner, double glazing salesman, Burger flipper, store manager, professional gambler, driving instructor, budding writer, and everything in between. Also, dogs are awesome!

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