It is almost nine years since I took my first few nerve-racking steps and signed up to a bookie with the aim to make some ‘easy’ money from their sign-up up bonus. I was quickly hooked and after six months was earning a full-time income which meant that when I graduated university I was able to decide not to get a ‘real’ job. In other words, you have matched betting to thank for this blog and everything else I have done since. But a lot has changed since those early gold rush days, so does matched betting still work in 2017?
I sat down with my fiance, who has never done any gambling before, to find out. We would try a few different offers and hopefully make her a bit of money.
If you want to learn the basics about matched betting and how to make money from free bets, check out this post: Matched Betting – Risk-Free, Tax-Free Profit. I wrote it a couple of years ago but all the information is still accurate, and the Bet365 offer I go through can still be done now.
The first thing we did is sign-up to Oddsmonkey (or rather log-in, as I already had an account). It’s a matched betting service where you pay a monthly subscription and in exchange, they find you the best bonuses and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do them.
Back when I first started matched betting I had to find all these offers myself. I used to spend literally most of my day reading terms and conditions and typing into spreadsheets. Oddsmonkey costs £15 a month, which considering it gets rid of 90% of the work required for matched betting, is well worth it.
Now you can just log in and start working your way through the curated list of offers. As of 24 January 2017, there are 127 guides, and 35 reload offers just for today. Plus over 200,000 posts in their thriving forum.
Does the Concept Still Work?
It became quickly obvious from looking at Oddsmonkey that there are £1,000s worth of offers available. But before diving in head first I wanted to make sure that the bonuses worked the same way they used to.
We picked a fairly straightforward one for her to begin with. Betway’s sign-up offer.
- Deposit £30 and bet it on odds of at least even.
- As soon as the bet is placed, Betway will give you a £30 free bet.
- Place that free bet and any winnings from it can be withdrawn.
(note: since she did this offer, it has changed and Betway now have a £100 sign-up cashable bonus instead. Which is actually a better bonus… oops)
This style of bonus, where you place a ‘qualifying’ bet and get rewarded with another free one has always been pretty typical. Those in the matched betting community call them ‘stake-not-returned free bets’ because the stake part of the free bet isn’t returned when the bet wins.
To make the most money out of it the free bet needs to be bet on higher odds. If you don’t understand why check out the Oddsmonkey tutorials. They explain why a lot better than I can.
The process to make money out of this bonus was simple.
- Deposit £30.
- Bet £30 on odds of at least 2. Lay off at a betting exchange to hedge the bet. The lower the odds at the exchange the better.
- Bet the bonus amount on odds of at least 5 (around 7 is ideal). Lay off at the betting exchange.
Oddsmonkey made it all pretty easy. They have a tool called the ‘Oddsmatcher’ that searches through the bookie and finds the best opportunities where the odds are good. The higher the rating, the less more money you will make.
To work out how exactly how much to lay off, you can use one of the calculators on Oddsmonkey. (SNR stands for stake not returned):
She signed up to Betway and placed the following bets.
I’ve highlighted in orange to show that the entire process only took a few minutes. 9 minutes between placing the first bet and the free bet.
After each bet, she went over to Betfair and placed the hedge. A bit stupidly we didn’t use the calculator on Oddsmonkey to work out how much to lay, I just guessed.
Both bets won at Betway. Which was lucky, because my bad guessing meant that was the better outcome for her.
- £30 deposited to Betway. £266.25 withdrawn. £236.25 profit.
- £182.95 lost at Betfair.
Overall profit: £236.25 – £182.95 = £53.3
If they had both won at Betfair. She would be left with the situation:
- £30 lost at Betway.
- £45.6 won at Betfair (after comission).
Overall profit: £45.6 – £30 = £15.6
She put in a withdrawal and a few days later the money was in her bank account.
So does matched betting still work? Yes! It definitely does. My fiance just made a very easy £53.3 from probably about 15 minutes of ‘work’. Not only that, but the offer had exactly the same terms as those I remember doing nine years ago.
How Hard Is It To Make £500?
But maybe there are only a few offers as easy as Betway, and then everything dries up. To find out I went through the list of offers on Oddsmonkey to work out how hard it would be to raise her total winnings to £500.
WARNING: These are not all beginner offers, I have a lot of experience matched betting and so am comfortable doing complicated offers. If you are just starting out I strongly suggest working through Oddsmonkey’s beginner offers.
- Bet365 £200 sports sign-up bonus. £160 expected profit.
- Sportingbet £100 sports sign-up bonus. £70 expected profit
- William Hill £25 sports sign-up bonus. £20 expected profit.
- William Hill £25 live casino new player bonus. £15 expected profit.
- William Hill £20 games new player bonus. £10 expected profit.
- William Hill £20 vegas new player bonus. £10 expected profit.
- Ladbrokes £50 sports sign-up bonus. £30 expected profit.
- Ladbrokes £30 games new player bonus. £20 expected profit.
- X-Tip £100 sports sign-up bonus. £80 expected profit.
- Matchbook. £50 sign-up bonus. £50 expected profit.
- Betfair Sportsbook. £30 sign-up bonus. £20 expected profit.
Expected profit: £485
My aim when picking offers was to try and minimise the number of sites she needed to sign-up to.
Bet365, Sportingbet, and X-Tip all have quite large bonuses. William Hill and Ladbrokes have smaller bonuses, but you can claim both the sportsbook one and casino ones without needing to sign-up multiple times. And Betfair and Matchbook are both betting exchanges, so can be combined them with any of the other bookies.
Total sign ups needed: Seven.
Tackling The Offers
I am not going to go into the exact details of how to tackle each offer. You can either sign-up to Oddsmonkey and view their how-to guides, or you can research them yourself.
I did cover the Bet365 bonus in detail in this post.
But in brief: William Hill, Ladbrokes and Betfair Sportsbook were almost the exact same type of bonus as the Betway one above. The only slight difference was that at Ladbrokes she had to wait until the bet settled before the free bet was added.
Once again, Oddsmonkey provides pretty detailed step-by-step guides to doing each offer.
The other sports bonuses were slightly different. Cashable and not SNR. They are similar to the Bet365 one I which detailed properly here.
The casino and games bonuses were a bit more complicated, and unlike standard matched betting weren’t risk-free. I highly recommend making sure you completely understand what is going on before trying them.
I wrote a post about making money from casino bonuses here.
How Much Can You Make From Matched Betting?
After completing those bonuses, Oddsmonkey reckons she is 12% through the new account offers.
I reckon there is probably a straightforward two or three thousands pounds that can be made just from working through the sign-up offers.
But what do you do once you have an account at every bookmaker?
That brings us on to the area where I think Oddsmonkey is most worth the £15 a month. Reload bonuses.
Every day there are time-sensitive bonuses that anyone who has an account at the bookie can do. These are called reload offers.
Oddsmonkey provides a detailed, well-researched, daily reload offers calendar. Each morning you can log in and work your way through whatever the day has to offer.
Here are the offers available for today. Prepare yourself for a bit of scrolling!
I’ve blurred out the offer details because I expect Oddsmonkey will be annoyed at me if I post all their offers for everyone to see…
Most of them are only worth a few pounds. But as they only take a few minutes to do, that money really starts adding up.
Unfortunately, there is a maximum to how much you can make from matched betting. Eventually, the bookies will start closing your account or disallowing you from claiming bonuses. How long this takes seems to be pretty much down to luck. But until that happens there is still plenty of money to be made.
So, Does Matched Betting Still Work In 2017?
Yes, it does. Obviously.
It has changed since I first started. The bonuses are smaller. The terms & conditions are stricter. And there are a lot less bookies around.
But a lot of that is offset by just how good the tools are for the modern bonus hunter. I used to spend 90% of my time on research. Finding offers, hustling my way into private matched betting chat rooms, and trying to get my head around the complex maths of different bonus types. Now you can pay a monthly subscription and have someone else do all the hard work.
So on average, I would say that matched betting is probably easier to get into now and is more accessible than ever.
But for the professional or seasoned matched better, there is much less potential out there. Gone are the days when you could go into matched betting with the intention of making a career out of it. There are still professionals out there, but they are becoming increasingly scarce.
If you are thinking of starting out, I suggest you go in with the intention of grabbing a few thousand pounds of easy money and moving on.
I know some of my readers are more familiar with the current state of matched betting than I am. Does my analysis sound about right? Do you agree, does matched betting still work? Please let me know in the comments and I will continually update this article.