Question: What is the easiest way to make a quick £100 profit while arbing with only a small bankroll?
Well, Matched Betting is a term I have only just come across, but it seems to be a common one which I simply hadn’t encountered. I used to call it Bonus Arbitrage, or simply Bonus Hunting, but it seems that everyone who didn’t know Arbitrage trading existed simply called it matched betting – and it the easiest way to make some easy bonus cash while arbing.
The concept is simple – claim a freebet or bonus from a bookmaker and then instead of ‘risking’ that freebet, you ‘match’ your bet with a corresponding bet at another bookmaker. By using the right technique you can guarantee that you will keep around 90% of the original freebet (stake not returned*) or even as much as 100% of a bonus (stake returned*). Most freebets range between £25-£50, while some bonuses get as large as having several hundred pounds on offer. Free money to those in a position to take advantage of it.
Before I explain the best way to claim this bonus money, lets quickly explain what ‘Stake Returned’ and ‘Stake Not Returned’ mean. Nearly all bonus offers available come in one of these two forms:
Stake Returned (SR) offers are usually added to your bankroll and treated like normal real money in your account. When you place a bet, there is no differentiation made between the bonus money and your real money. So when you place a bet and it wins, your winnings include the initial stake (£50 on odds of 2.00 gives you £100 back).
In order to stop people taking advantage of these offers, bookmakers place turnover requirements on these bonuses. If the specified volume of betting turnover isn’t reached before you try to withdraw, then the bookmaker will take their bonus money back.
Stake Not Returned (SNR) offers are usually kept separate from your normal betting account, and are identified as ‘Free Bets’ or ‘Bonus Money’. They need to be treated separately to your normal funds because when you place a bet using your freebet funds, if it wins the stake isn’t returned (£50 Freebet (SNR) on odds of 2.00 gives you £50 back if it wins).
Most bookmakers include turnover requirements before you can withdraw any winnings from your freebets, however, if your freebet loses there is no turnover requirement on your normal funds.
1. Read the Conditions
Before you can arb out either type of bonus you need to take the time to read the terms and conditions of the bonus. Don’t skim it – read it. Read it twice. These are the rules which you *must* play by when taking this money – it is a small task when you consider how easily you are going to be making money from doing this.
Once you have thoroughly read the conditions then you will know what turnover is required before you can withdraw, you will know what the turnover is based on (usually the lesser of the winnings or the stake – sometimes based on the stake, but only if the odds bet on are great than 1.50, or 2.00 etc), and any other conditions to be met. And finally you are at the stage where you can deposit money and claim the bonus (where possible – some bonus are based on your first bet).
2. Stake Returned Offers
When working with SR bonuses there is really nothing special outside of general arbitrage trading that you need to be aware of. Place normal arbitrage trades with this bookmaker. If you are lucky, the side with the bonus money will always lose and you will empty your account at that bookmaker. The turnover requirement is no longer a concern because you don’t need to withdraw.
If you aren’t so lucky, you will win some and lose some at the bookmaker with the bonus – this isn’t a problem at all, it just means you will have to keep arbing until you have met the turnover requirement – hopefully you won’t want to withdraw before that point.
Depending on how the conditions are set, it is usually a good idea to stick to arbs with odds around evens for when rolling over your turnover requirement. This is because most bookmakers only count the lesser of the two sums – the stake or the winnings – anda t even odds, they are the same amount. Meanwhile if you back odds of, say, 9.00, then your stake may be only $100 but will win $800, and if it does win, then you end up with $800 of your bankroll trapped in this bookmaker which you are unable to withdraw from (without forfeiting some profit anyway), and the bet will have only added another $100 to your overall turnover requirement.
3. Stake Not Returned Offers
Working with SNR offers is very different to working with SR offers because you first have to make your potential profit a real profit. To do this, we want to place our Freebet (our SNR money) on the highest odds we can find in a two way situation (draw no bet, over/under, back/lay etc), and then we cover the other outcome at a different bookmaker.
The reason for using the longest odds we can find is twofold. Firstly, we want it to lose. If the freebet loses, then we have no turnover requirements (and the other side covers the loss and maintains the freebet profit). Secondly, the longer the odds the greater the percentage of the freebet we get to keep. This remains true regardless of whether the odds we are using create an arbitrage situation or not. See the following image for examples of possible scenarios:
Note how the arbitrage situation (+ or – 1%) does have an affect on the profit, but is insignificant compared to the affect of whether your freebet is placed on long odds or short odds. So you really do need to try to get the longest odds you can get – preferably up around 10.00.
Once you place your Freebet and then lay it off at a betting exchange, or cover the other remaining outcome (following all of the standard rule mismatch concerns with normal arbitrage) you simply wait for the freebet to lose. If the freebet does win, then you will unfortunately end up with a lot more money in that account, and have a turnover requirement to meet (specified in the bookmakers terms and conditions with the freebet). At this point, what to do becomes identical to the strategy with SNR offers – you have to arb the money out like normal. Place arbs, hopefully lose the money out, but worst case scenario you simply place enough bets to meet the turnover requirements, then you will be free to withdraw.
By taking advantage of these offers, it is just so easy to get amounts like £25, £50, and even as much as £250 in some rare cases really quite easily in the course of normal arbitrage trading. The bookmakers usually aren’t put out by it, because in the ideal situation you are actually losing to them anyway. Where you do win with them (they never like this), you have done so in a way which has provided ample opportunity for them to profit – you have met their turnover requirement, and not taken advantage of them in any way. One pointer for this part though – never meet the turnover requirement exactly, and then withdraw everything. Always go a bit over the turnover. Always place a couple more bets than you strictly need to. Don’t run the risk of really pissing them off.
So go out, find freebets and bonus offers – claim them, roll them over, and then move to the next book and do the same. You can usually work 3 or 4 bonuses at once very easily, and as you find you have funds available, open a new book and start working their bonus. SureBetBookies lists bonuses on offer at sportsbooks, plus the alert services which uses that sportsbook – check it out to find sportsbooks you can arb and bonus hunt with.