Beginner’s Guide to Matched Betting

beginner's guide to matched betting

Beginner’s guide to matched betting


Tax-free, risk-free and completely legal – matched betting certainly sounds too good to be true and we’re always told “if it sounds too good to be true then it is” but matched betting is certainly the exception. There is real money to be made and you don’t have to have any experience at a bookmakers to take advantage.

What is matched betting?

Beginner's guide to matched betting

In a nutshell, matched betting is taking advantage of the sign up offers that bookmakers use to entice new customers to their sites. Most will offer a free bet when you join and make your first bet, these bookmakers will then flood your email with offers to encourage you to keep coming back to them.

Quashing the myths

Firstly, let’s put to bed some of the myths and rumours about matched betting.

Q: Is matched betting gambling?

A: No! Gambling comes with a risk of losing and as long as you are doing it properly there is no risk to matched betting. The only risk involved comes with it is if you decide to go down the casino/slots route as nothing is guaranteed on them. Placing the bets on events that have a clear outcome (win/lose/draw etc) will not see you out of pocket.

Q: Will matched betting affect my credit rating?

A: No, the bookmakers do not need to do a credit check as they’re not offering you any credit but they will leave a small footprint when they do standard check against your details; to confirm your name, address, age etc. This footprint can only be seen by you and not any creditors. 

Q: Do I need a separate bank account for matched betting?

A: No, but it is recommended that you have a separate one. While matched betting won’t harm your credit rating, if a credit company wishes to see your bank statements then multiple transactions from your main bank account to bookmakers will look a little undesirable and they may assume the worst. A basic account with any bank will work fine and it will also keep your matched betting money separate to you regular money for things like bills, food and everyday expenses; means you don’t accidentally spend your rent money.

Q: Is it really legal?

A: Yes, you are doing nothing illegal by taking up the offers at the bookmaker and laying the bet off elsewhere. This doesn’t mean that the bookmakers will like it, they are obviously in the business to make money so they will watch your transactions and may ban your account if they suspect you are matched betting. This is easy to avoid by placing “mug bets” which are little bets that don’t connect to an offer and look like normal betting.

Q: Is it really tax free?

A: Yes, you do not pay tax on gambling winnings, and although it’s not technically gambling by definition (you are not risking any money) any earnings are classed as winnings.

Q: Can you really make a monthly “income”, what happens when you run out of sign up offers?

A: This is a perfectly sustainable way of bringing in a regular income. The bookmakers will continue to offer you promotions to keep you coming back and as there are sports events almost daily you will never run out of ways of earning. Many matched betters move on to casino/poker/slot offers once they get used to the regular sporting bets; some of these are risk-free and others come with a risk but are completely optional and not required to continue earning.

Q: Do you need £100’s to get started?

A: No. Many people start on as little as £60, it does take a little longer to get going as you will have to wait for money to return to your bank account to make the next bet but it can be started and be successful. Obviously the more you have in the pot the quicker you can advance onto the larger offers. NEVER use money that you will need for something else – rent/bill/shopping money should NEVER be used as you could be waiting up to 5 days for the money to return to your account.

How is the money made?

Unlike regular betting where you can lose the money you stake, matched betting requires you to make two bets on the same event. The first bet is the one with the bookmaker which is where you will get your free bet then the second bet is what is called a lay bet, this bet is made at an exchange site and is against the first bet.


Bookmaker bet: Manchester Utd to win

Exchange bet: Manchester Utd not to win – NOT a bet that the opposition will win as this doesn’t take a draw into account.

These will cancel each other out. This initial bet is called a qualifying bet and may see you slightly in  +/- after the event has occurred don’t worry as you will now receive your free bet which you use in the same way but this time you will make a profit (which will easily cover any loss on the qualifying bet).

After your initial bet and free bet you will start to receive weekly/daily emails from these bookmakers offering you more promotions (reloads) which is how this is sustainable passed the initial sign up.

Below I’m going to show you, how in a couple of minutes I can make just under £13 profit using matched betting.

Bookmaker: Coral

Exchange: Betfair


So, we sign up to Coral where the offer is “bet £5 and get a free £20 bet”. Making an account is quick an easy, register your bank card and deposit the £5. We also sign up to Betfair and use their EXCHANGE to lay the bet.


We head to Profit Accumulator (more about them further down the post) where we go to the oddsmatching tab – this will tell us which event we are best placing our bets on. For the qualifying bet we need a minimum odds of 1.5 (always work in decimals over fractions) so we filter the oddsmatching table to Coral and 1.5 or greater odds.

Profit Accumulator

You are looking for odds that are close together, with a preference of the exchange odds (pink box) being lower than the bookmakers box – this will result in a smaller loss or even a profit. Then, load up the calculator and input the odds, bet stake and commission taken by the exchange; in this case Betfair takes 5%. As this is a qualifying bet we need to set the calculator to “Normal”.

odds calculator

This qualifying bet is going to make a small profit of 1p or break even depending where the bet wins; sometimes it might be a small loss. The liability is the amount you need to have available in the exchange in order to place this bet, if your bet wins at the bookmakers then you lose your liability to the exchange (but have won the money at the bookmakers). The odds are subject to change at any time, which is why my odds on the matcher are slightly different to the calculator so make sure you check before you lay your bet that it hasn’t changed – if it has just recalculate it.

We then go to Coral, find the race and place the £5 bet on Zeeoneandonly to win. Once the bet is placed we head over to the EXCHANGE on Betfair to lay the bet off against Zeeoneandonly to win – on Betfair a lay bet is the PINK box, this varies for each exchange but you are always betting AGAINST the bet on the book makers

profit accumulator

Once this race is complete you will then be credited with the £20 free bet so you have to do the same process again only change the calculator to “Free Bet (SNR)” rather than “Normal”. You can also up your odds to get a bigger profit but remember that the higher the odds the more liability you need in the exchange.


For the free bet I’m going to go with odds of 4.5/4, which means I need a liability of £47.18 and I make a profit of £12.81 on this bet.


Then add or take away the profit/loss from the qualifier to give your final profit; in this case I broke even on the qualifier and won at the bookmakers giving me a final profit of £12.82.

Profit Accumulator

Jumping straight into matched betting by yourself can be risky, there is so much to get your head around and if you’ve never placed a bet in your life the whole odds calculations can leave you scratching your head – this is where a specialised service like Profit Accumulator comes in handy.

Profit Accumulator is a subscription service that basically takes all of the leg work away for you. The site posts the sign up and reload offers as well as guiding you through how to use them.

It includes oddsmatching software which will find you the best events, with a filtering option so you can tell it which bookmaker to use, which exchange and specify the events you want to bet on.

The site includes a very helpful calculator which will not only work out how much profit you will make from your bet but also how much you need to lay at the exchange so you are only betting what you need to.

They hold your hand all the way through with informative videos and a forum (for subscribed members) where you can discuss offers or problems with those who have more experience. As stated, it is a subscription service and comes with a monthly of £22.99 or annual cost of £150 but they offer a try before you buy offer where you can earn up to £45 before committing.

There are other sites and services dedicated to matched betting, and they can offer more or less information/help than Profit Accumulator but Profit Accumulator offers a good balance of offers, step-by-step guides how to take part in matched betting and a forum for discussion.

Matched betting on The Money Shed

There is a whole dedicated thread to matched betting over on The Money Shed forum where members share their experiences and winnings on offers as well as offering advice to anyone who needs it. There are many seasoned matched betters on the forum who are earning up to and above £1000 per month.

Anyone can give matched betting a try, you don’t need to be a seasoned betting expert or have £100’s in the bank. Give the free trial on Profit Accumulator a try, follow the instructions, make up to £45 and go from there – your winnings from that will fund your first month’s subscription and you will get a feel of how well you will do.

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  1. June 29, 2016 / 7:40 am

    I found profit accumulator a bit long. Used instead for learning how to do matched betting – much better guides and more fun!…and all completely free

    • Pennies in the Jar
      July 4, 2016 / 10:07 pm

      Thanks Catherine. I’ll have to check it out!

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